Stormy Daniels‘s Politics and Prose book talk didn’t start until 6 PM, but that didn’t keep people from arriving early to beat out the anticipated crowd. Some, like retiree Pat Hulbert, arrived as early as 3:30 PM and managed to snag one of the few unreserved seats toward the front as a result. When asked if she and the women beside her were special guests, Hulbert said, “No, but we sure feel like it!”
In the hour leading up to showtime, the store filled up almost exclusively with local seniors. The few young folks in the room were journalists with outlets like CNN, Buzzfeed, and the New York Times. Many came out of sheer curiosity, like 73-year-old Suzanne Stack. “Trump, of course, is always in the news,” she says. “This is an interesting Trump-related story, and I’d like to see Stormy for myself.” While most were generally warm towards Daniels, calling her “personable” and “funny,” only a couple in attendance had bought Daniels’s actual memoir, Full Disclosure. Richard Rector bought one out of habit and, again, curiosity. “I come to a lot of these events, I get autographs and photos with various book authors,” he says. “If I get a picture of her, maybe I can start a Trump-scandal [collection] because I got a picture with Roger Stone earlier.”
As the start time loomed, seats were long gone and late attendees stood in the back or sat on the ground to get a good view. When Politics and Prose owner Bradley Graham appeared up front in a red sweater over a checkered button-up, he discussed logistics: Daniels would need to leave at 7 PM sharp for “another engagement”—a show at the Cloakroom—so books were signed before the event. “We ask you to stay in your seats so Stormy can get escorted out,” Graham says. Chuckles rise from the crowd. “Oh, c’mon, guys.”
After a thorough introduction from Graham, Daniels, in black knee-high boots over matching black pants and a maroon scoop-neck top, and Quinn, in a suede navy pantsuit with a silk mulberry blouse underneath, took the stage to cheers and applause. “Last time I was here, I was interviewing Steve Weisman about the history of the Jews,” Quinn says. Laughs erupted.
The talk consisted mostly of Quinn asking questions about Daniels’s childhood, career, and experience with Trump, who only took up “two minutes out of her life,” she notes. The conversation was candid and riddled with humor. In the talk, as in her book, Daniels described the sacrifice she made to save another little girl from sexual assault, the way her mother changed after her father left them, and how she strategized making her career in adult entertainment last.
Daniels talked a lot about horses and how they changed her life. Riding kept her afloat during a traumatic childhood, and it was the risk of losing her horse that led her to forgo college, despite her excellent academic record. Maintaining a horse was costly, so she began stripping, which led to her pursuing a pornographic career, which led to her tepid tryst with Trump. “That’s what I should’ve called this book,” she jokes. “I Did It All for the Horses.” (Today, she owns eight.)
With ten minutes to go, Quinn asked how Daniels got her $130,000 in hush money. (“This is gonna take a lot more than ten minutes,” Daniels jokes. “Buy the book, people!”) In short, according to Daniels, their affair was leaked to the press by either an old friend or an ex-boyfriend, and Daniels took a lie detector test to prove it. But the story never ran. In her account, after Trump was called for his side of the story, she was threatened in a parking lot by a man who said, “Wouldn’t it be sad if something happened to your little girl’s mother?” Daniels, then a new mother, preferred the story to stay silent. After an aggressive campaign for her silence—a nondisclosure agreement for $130,000—Daniels said that Michael Cohen began shopping a book that promised to reveal her story, despite her reluctance to go public in the first place. “So I’m like, great, not only do I look like a whore, but I look like a cheap whore!”
Towards the end, Quinn called Daniels “one of the most powerful people in the world” for one reason: “You’re the only person I can think of that Trump is afraid of.”
“You have turned ethics and values and morals around, upside-down in this country,” Quinn continued. “You’re looking at this group of people in the administration whose words don’t have any meaning, and you—Stormy Daniels, the porn star—are the person with ethics and values.”
And Daniels, with a knowing smirk, responded: “How fucked up is that, yo?”