A Dark Cloud

By Megan Lehman

“I am not a victim.”

Stephanie Clifford, or as the world prefers to know her, “Stormy Daniels,” sat down Sunday night with Anderson Cooper for an interview during “60 Minutes.” Watched by a record 22.1 million people, including the president of the United States, Clifford had plenty to say in her desire to set the record straight.

Clifford has made it clear that she is in no way, shape, or form a victim of now-President Donald Trump. Recalling the fateful night in 2006, Clifford detailed how she met the Trump at a celebrity golf tournament. She then met him in his hotel room. After excusing herself to go to the restroom, Clifford walked out to find Trump “perched” on the edge of the hotel bed.

Realizing what she had gotten herself in to, she knew she would have to sleep with the 60-year-old celebrity. In fact, Clifford insinuated that the act of sleeping with Trump was more akin to her penance for foolishly going to a man’s room alone. As a woman, I do not know whether to be more offended at Trump’s sexual assumption or the fact this woman thought she had no choice in the matter.

Now that the story has leaked and the world is aware of the $130,000 that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, made to Clifford in what the public may view as hush money, questions have been raised as to whether this payment violated campaign finance laws. Cohen admitted to the payment.

Despite whether an accusation is true, it can be devastating to a case, reputation, or campaign. But if that is the case, why did the president not breach the subject before the accusations became public knowledge? Why did his legal team pay her off instead of stepping forward and making his side of the story the only story?

I have a hard time believing that paying someone off and creating a coverup with implications so ridiculous that you could potentially be exiled from the most powerful office in the land was the best option that his legal team could have thought to initiate.

With that being said, one could argue that Cohen’s statement on damages means he knew exactly how the funds he paid to Clifford would benefit the Trump campaign, funds that the world now views as hush money and campaign contributions.

Questions have been brought as to whether Clifford has any credibility in this tale. She has made many previous claims about the relationship being a farce. But as she and her lawyer have stated, the legal “fixers” on Trump’s team were harassing and bullying her in such a manner that she feared for her future if she did not comply. Bringing her story to the frontlines now is her way of setting the record straight, defending her name.

Speaking of names, you may have noticed that this article has referred to Stephanie Clifford as Stormy Daniels, well-known adult film actress, only twice. Her career, while I find it immoral and reprehensible, does not take away her rights as a human to be heard, listened to, and respected. Labeling her as a porn star, though true, and only referring to her as Stormy Daniels, her stage name, does nothing but reinforce that due to her career choice, she has no value. All life has value. She deserves to be heard. And we deserve to hear a response from president.

It is no secret that the relationship our president has with women is, at best, tumultuous, though there are plenty of women who support him. Women are over half this country, Mister President.

And as a Republican woman, I cannot help but be sick about the mockery that is being made of what should be the greatest country in the world. This is the United States of America. You were elected to do great things and make good on big promises. At this rate, no matter what you do during the rest of your political career, all the good will be overshadowed by the mountain of hatred, divisiveness, and, frankly, stupidity that you have already found yourself on top of.

We expect more. We demand more. Do better.

About Megan Lehman 21 Articles
Megan Lehman is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where she studied Communications and Spanish. After an internship in the Senate in Washington D.C., Megan decided to pursue two of her passions: writing and politics. She currently works and lives in the Iowa City area, where she is a member of the young professionals leadership council and hopes to run for office.