Playmate’s diary of Trump affair
DONALD Trump engaged in elaborate efforts to cover his tracks while undertaking multiple extramarital affairs, according to a bombshell new report.
The story in The New Yorker relies heavily on the first-hand account of Karen McDougal, a former Playmate of the Year, who recounts her consensual affair with the current American president before he was elected, according to the Post.
Journalist Ronan Farrow obtained an eight-page, handwritten note from Ms McDougal's friend detailing their relationship.
Ms McDougal confirmed that it is her handwriting in the letter.
In one section of the letter Ms McDougal writes, "We got naked + had sex. After, we got dressed (to leave) and he offered me money. I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, 'No thanks - I'm not that girl!'"
According to The New Yorker, Mr Trump met Ms McDougal during a taping of his reality TV show, The Apprentice, at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
Mr Trump had been married to his current wife Melania for less than two years, and their son, Barron, was a few months old.
The White House has called the report "fake news," which is its default response to unflattering stories.
But Mr Farrow, along with New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, helped uncover Harvey Weinstein's alleged decades of harassment and sexual abuse.
The story may attract attention not for the revelation that Mr Trump was involved in an affair before he was elected to the office, but for its presentation of details of how he kept such relationships quiet and how he attempted to buy the silence of the women with whom he interacted.
Central to these efforts was the close relationship that Mr Trump maintained with American Media, Inc., the publisher of supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer.
The gossip publication paid Ms McDougal $150,000 ($188,000) for the exclusive rights to the story of her affair with Mr Trump, but killed the piece.
In his report, Mr Farrow suggests that the publisher of the Enquirer, David Pecker, is a "personal friend" of Mr Trump's.
The piece claims the tabloid also contracted Ms McDougal to write a fitness column, and approached Ms McDougal about extending her agreement after news broke that Stormy Daniels had been paid not to discuss her own alleged affair with the US president.
Ms McDougal told Mr Farrow for the New Yorker article, "At this point I feel I can't talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don't know what I'm allowed to talk about. I'm afraid to even mention his name."
During the affair, Mr Trump also took pains to avoid leaving a paper trail. When he would travel with Ms McDougal, he would have her book and pay for her own flights before reimbursing her.
Mr Trump was obsessed with his accomplishments, sending Ms McDougal favourable articles about his businesses and showering her with merchandise from his golf courses, according to Mr Farrow's article. Mr Trump allegedly gave Ms McDougal tours of Trump Tower and his New Jersey, golf club. In Trump Tower, Ms McDougal wrote in her eight-page document, Mr Trump pointed out Melania's separate bedroom. He "said she liked her space," Ms McDougal wrote, "to read or be alone."
The nine-month affair with Ms McDougal, which took place mostly at a private bungalow in the Beverly Hills Hotel, ended in April, 2007.
Mr Trump's alleged infidelities have been public knowledge for years, but Mr Farrow's story implies that the Enquirer functioned as a veritable protection racket for the president. Jerry George, a former AMI senior editor, told the New Yorker that the company never published anything about Mr Trump without his approval.
Mr Pecker also maintained a close relationship with Harvey Weinstein, and offered to buy the rights to the story of one of his accusers as a possible means of silencing her, according to a report in the New York Times.
This article first appeared in the New York Post and is republished with permission.