Few recent developments have garnered as much universal interest and anticipation as Sunday evening’s edition of 60 Minutes, featuring the first sit-down interview with Stormy Daniels following the ever-unfolding sex scandal involving her and President Trump. Its airing being delayed slightly by a classic March Madness encounter between Duke and Kansas extending into overtime garnered humorous vitriol online—it takes something special to overtake an Elite Eight matchup like that in terms of viewer desire.
The interview itself delivered some new details regarding the situation brewing between the porn star and the president, but left some facets of the case shrouded, likely because it is still making its way through the courts. What it did give audiences was plenty for the masses to chew on until the next round of facts undoubtedly rolls out. Here are some highlights.
01. That Forbes spanking
Easily the most laughable on the surface (and gross when pondered upon) detail to release to date is the report that Daniels spanked Trump with a copy of Forbes with his face on the cover. For the first time, Daniels described that act for every viewer who simultaneously wanted to hear about the president’s dumb vanity but not think about him actually engaging in any kink play. The act resulted from a dare of sorts after Daniels listened to Trump drone on and on about being featured on the cover of the magazine. “Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it,” said Daniels, to which the president replied, “You wouldn’t.” Daniels rolled it up and the president “turned around and pulled down his pants a little—you know had underwear on and stuff—and I just gave him a couple of swats.” The explanation was predictably laughable and gross, but it did give some added insight into the mind of the man whom, again, is the president.
02. The president has a submissive side
While the story didn’t allow for a confirmed classification of where the president falls on the D/S spectrum, it revealed that he does have some amount of submissiveness in him. Once Daniels delivered her swats, the man who couldn’t stop talking about himself changed. “He quit talking about himself and he asked me things and I asked him things and it just became like, you know, more appropriate,” said Daniels. It took someone challenging the myopic ego of the president to expose a side of him that hardly anyone else has seen—that and some light impact play. It was also at this point that Trump said that Daniels reminded him of his daughter, Ivanka. No matter how funny things get, it always circles back around to a dry-heave inducing bit of “ew.”
03. The act of sex
Just repeat that last line and remember how basic and generic Daniels described the experience as being in her unreleased 2011 interview with In Touch.
04. Daniels’ resignation to her sexual fate
More worrisome than the physical act that occurred between the two was Daniels’ explanation of her internal dialogue during the encounter. “I just felt like maybe … I had it coming for making a bad decision, for going to someone’s room alone, and I just heard the voice in my head, ‘Well, you put yourself in a bad situation, and bad things happen, so you deserve this,’” said Daniels. While she made sure to classify everything as consensual, it’s hard to stomach that she felt forced to engage in something that she did not want to do, simply because she felt she had put herself in a bad situation. The recent toppling of power struggles and uncovering of rampant sexual misconduct by those in power makes these feelings even more indigestible. Whether Daniels classifies herself as a victim or not, she was preyed upon by a patriarchal system that influenced her to go against her own judgement and desire. At least she spurned his later advances.
05. Another possible crime committed by the Trump campaign
Breaking from the more salacious bits of the interview, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission Trevor Potter took center stage to explain how the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels from Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, could violate campaign finance law:
It’s a $130,000 in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he’s allowed to give … And if he does this on behalf of his client, the candidate, that is a coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the purpose of influencing the election, of benefiting the candidate by keeping this secret.
According to ABC News, government watchdog group Common Cause filed complaints with both the FEC and the Department of Justice last month asking the agencies to investigate the payment.
06. That parking lot threat
The most harrowing bit of the interview detailed an encounter in a Las Vegas parking lot during which Daniels, while holding her infant daughter, was threatened by an unnamed man. Occurring after Daniels’ 2011 interview with In Touch, the man told her to “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,” before “he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone,” Daniels said.. Eerie to say the least. Ultimately, the In Touch interview never ran, but of more concern to Daniels was her fear for her daughter: “I was rattled … my hands are shaking so much. I was afraid I was gonna—drop her.” She did say that while she didn’t know the name of the man who threatened her, she could still identify him if she saw him.
07. ”They can make your life hell in many different ways”
Anderson Cooper did offer some resistance to Daniels’ answers during the interview, most notably on the subject of her agreeing to the non-disclosure agreement. She said that she signed the agreement “because they made it sound like I had no choice,” which Cooper quickly refuted, saying they didn’t have a gun to her head. That provoked another line that will stand out among others regarding the coercion of Daniels: She revealed she was directly threatened once again, stating, “The exact sentence used was, ‘They can make your life hell in many different ways.’” No matter who delivered those lines, the admittance of multiple threats against her person and child further paints the president as disturbingly terrible among other recently exposed sexual predators.
08. The ratings
According to Deadline, Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes garnered 21.3 million viewers, the most for the iconic news program since a November 2008 episode featuring an interview with the newly elected president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. American interest in the salacious stylings of the Commander-in-Chief was never in doubt, but the immense interest in hearing Daniels’ account shows that the story isn’t going away anytime soon, despite the president’s desires.
09. Setting the record straight
When asked why she chose to speak up now, Daniels was resolute in her want to set the record straight and defend herself to those who are saying “whatever they wanted to say” about her. “I was perfectly fine saying nothing at all, but I’m not okay with being made out to be a liar, or people thinking that I did this for money,” said Daniels. She continued, “People are like, ‘Oh, you’re an opportunist. You’re taking advantage of this.’ Yes, I’m getting more job offers now, but tell me one person who would turn down a job offer making more than they’ve been making, doing the same thing that they’ve always done?”
Daniels has weathered numerous public attacks from Trump’s legal team, not to mention the public opinion being tossed around, and has every right to be upset with having her name derided because of her past or perceived motivations. Much of the evidence expressed publicly thus far has borne her statements out, but that will only find finality within the courts.
10. Cohen’s lawyer’s response
While it didn’t occur during the broadcast, Michael Cohen’s attorney, Brent Blakely, sent a letter to Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, shortly after the interview aired. The response singled out Daniels’ claim that she was threatened, labeling it “false and defamatory.” It read:
I hereby demand that you and your client cease and desist from making any further false and defamatory statements about my client, that you immediately retract and apologize to Mr. Cohen through the national media for your defamatory statements on ‘60 Minutes,’ and make clear that you have no facts or evidence whatsoever to support your allegations that my client had anything whatsoever to do with this alleged thug.
Daniels hasn’t been silent to date, and there is much doubt that she’ll revert back to silence in the foreseeable future. Sunday night delivered enough to keep the country intrigued, but also shed more light on a side of the president that is already widely known publicly: The president is a bombastic bully with no empathy to call his own, unless you spank him with a magazine or remind him of his daughter.