Stormy Daniels Is the Hero America Needs

In her testimony and especially in her cross-examination, writer/director/actor Stormy Daniels became the hero that America needs right now. She was on the stand for the prosecution of Donald Trump, a rapist who is also a former president, for falsifying business records to hide the hush money he paid to Daniels for a sexual encounter in 2006. Over the course of two days, first under questioning from Manhattan prosecutor Susan Hoffinger and then under dickish cross-examination from Trump attorney Susan Necheles, Daniels put a human face on what could be a somewhat dry financial crimes case and, in a much larger sense, responded to the complete bullshit of the Trump side with cutting common sense and two feet squarely in reality. 

Like in this exchange with Necheles, where Necheles was trying to say that everything Daniels was doing was just for money:

Q: That motivates you a lot in life, making more money; right?

A: Well, it is the United [States] — that’s what we do here. (Shrugs)

In another exchange, Daniels schools Necheles in modern capitalism (and, as I’ve argued, Daniels is a more successful business person than Trump). Trying to show how much Daniels has monetized her hatred of Trump and her mainstream celebrity because she has been so vociferous in her condemnation of him, Necheles brought up some products that praise Daniels, like a prayer candle.

Q: That’s one of the items you sell in your store, something called “Stormy, Saint of Indictments candle”; right?

A: Yes. That was made from a store in New Orleans.

Q: You’re saying that’s not you bragging about how you are the Saint of a person who got President Trump indicted?

A:  No. I’m not bragging. I think it’s funny that a store made those for me to sell, so I put those on my site.

Q: And you’re making $40 on each of those, right?

A: No. I’m actually making about $7.

Yeah, that’s how shit works in the real world. You don’t make the amount that you’re selling something for. That’s basic online retailing, Etsy-level shit. Necheles was lying or ignorant, not Daniels.

Daniels honest answers made a mockery of Necheles questions. The lawyer really thought she was going to have a Perry Mason moment of catching Daniels in a lie, openly calling Daniels a liar to bait her in to cracking. But the things Necheles keeps quoting were not said under oath. Who gives a fuck if Daniels didn’t tell In Touch magazine the whole truth? Necheles’s client is an extravagant liar but refuses to go under oath and face real consequences for lying. Instead, Daniels fucked up Necheles time and again. Look at this exchange where Necheles tried to get Daniels to say everything she’s doing is just acting, like Daniels does in the mostly adult films she’s in. 
Q: So, you have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex appear to be real, right?

A: Wow. I’m a — (Laughter.) That’s not how I would put it. The sex in the films, it’s very much real. Just like what happened to me in that room [with Trump].

Q: All right. But you’re making fictionalized stories about sex; you write those stories?

A: No. The sex is real. The character names might be different, but the sex is very real. That’s why it’s pornography and that’s a B movie…

Q: And you have a lot of experience in memorizing these fictional stories and repeating them; right?

A: I have of experience in repeating stories and of memorizing stories? I do a lot of that, but not just about sex, I’m pretty sure we all can do that.

Q: And you have bragged about how good you are about writing porn movies and writing really good stories and writing really good dialogue; right?

A: Yes.

Q: And now you have a story you have been telling about having sex with President Trump; right?

A: And if that story was untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better. (Laughter.)

Daniels kept on schooling Necheles. When Necheles said Daniels worked in sex clubs, Daniels retorted, “I don’t work in sex clubs. I work in strip clubs. So that’s a big difference.” And she’s right. Trust me. It’s a huge difference, as anyone who ever inappropriately touched a stripper in a lap dance room has learned.

Necheles wanted to shame Daniels and her profession. Like a cop asking a rape victim why she wore a mini-skirt to a bar, Trump’s lawyer had a fucking nauseating exchange with Daniels, showing a basic misunderstanding of porn, of sex, and of seeing Donald fucking Trump in his underwear.

Q: So you say you came out of the bathroom and he was on the bed in his T-shirt and boxer shorts; right?

A: Yes.

Q: And, according to you, when you saw him sitting on the bed, you became faint, the room started to spin and the blood left your hands and feet, yes?

A: Yes. It was shock. Surprise.

Q: So just so I can be clear on what you are saying, you’ve acted and had sex in over 200 porn movies; right?

A: 150-ish, yes.

Q: And there are naked men and naked women having sex, including yourself in those movies; right?

A: Yes.

Q: And, but according to you, seeing a man sitting on a bed, in a T-shirt and boxer shorts, was so upsetting that you got light headed, blood left your hands and feet, and you almost fainted; right?

A: Yes. When you are not expecting a man twice your age to be in their underwear — I have seen my husband naked almost everyday — if I came out of the bathroom and it was not my husband and it was Mr. Trump on the bed, I would probably have the same reaction.

The obscenity here isn’t Daniels having sex in adult films. It’s Necheles asserting that even when Daniels was off the clock, she shouldn’t care if random dudes strip for her. That kind of sexist, assaultive shit should have been squashed like a bug by the judge.

Daniels was a goddamn champ, time and again, correcting Necheles, needling her, and obviously getting under her skin while she was desperately trying to get under Daniels’s.

But the biggest fuckup by Necheles might have been a form that was shown to Daniels and the parties in court. It was a financial form related to Daniels being ordered to pay Trump’s attorney fees for a failed defamation case a few years back. As the form was displayed on screens, Daniels whispered to the judge, “This has my address…That’s got my address.” Daniels was afraid of Trump seeing her address and knowing where she and her daughter live. It freaked her the fuck out.

Even Judge Merchan saw it and commented to Necheles, “She turned to me, she looked very fearful, and she said, ‘That’s got my address’…She is very much afraid of this form.” Later, when Necheles asked Daniels why she left out information about her daughter’s identity on another form, Daniels responded, “I won’t fill out information that endangers my family or my daughter, no matter what.”

Of course Daniels was freaked out. She had just described to Hoffinger how, in 2011, a man came up to her and her infant daughter in a parking lot in Las Vegas and threatened her, telling her to stop talking about the sexual encounter with Trump. Daniels has implied that Trump was somehow behind it, and even if he wasn’t, well, Trump sure likes to make it seem like he’s capable of that kind of blatant thuggery. Why wouldn’t she be afraid?
That’s why Daniels is a goddamned hero. It’s not just because she handed Trump’s attorney her ass in court. It’s also and especially because she is overcoming fear and derision and threats to sit there and take this. It’s because Trump dangled the promise of mainstream legitimacy in the skeeviest, most elitist way, promising her that she’d “get out of the trailer park” by sticking with him and being on his bullshit TV show, using power and money to coerce her into accepting having sex with him, and then Trump never came through, and now she’s willing to risk herself to make sure everything is taken away from him. 

And I’d love it if in at least some small way, Daniels wants to shove Trump onto the shit heap of history because he promised her dinner in 2006 and he never fucking delivered.

Q: And you are saying that this was a big deal that you didn’t get dinner; right?

A: I was invited. It was dinnertime. I was running hungry, yeah. We talked about ordering food or going down to get food, we never got to eat. It was dinnertime, and we never ate.

Q: And you made a big point of that on numerous interviews; right?

A: Yeah, I went to go to dinner and I didn’t get dinner.

Fuck, yeah, Stormy Daniels. You deserved dinner and so much more. America owes you big time.

Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on May 13, 2024 on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.

Image: CNN

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