Does Trump’s bizarre comment about sharks and seals confirm Stormy Daniels allegations?

US president’s dislike of creatures made known by adult-film actress when describing alleged affair

James Crump
Friday 21 August 2020 23:05 BST
Trump rants about sharks and seals: 'Not a big fan'

President Donald Trump appeared to confirm an element of Stormy Daniel’s claims about their alleged affair, when he ranted about sharks at a rally in Pennsylvania.

While talking about Iraq during a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, Mr Trump got distracted when a mosquito flew in front of his face, according to the Washington Post.

“I want to get that mosquito,” Mr Trump said, waving at the mosquito. “I don’t like —they’ll say it’s cruelty to animals. I don’t know — no, it’s true!”

After the audience laughed, the president abandoned his previous line of thought and switched his attention to sharks and seals, and a campaign to save the former.

“They were saying the other night, the shark. They were saying, ‘Sharks, we have to protect them.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, wait.’ They actually want to remove all the seals in order to save the shark. I said, ‘Wait, don’t you have it the other way around?’

“I’m not a big fan of sharks, either,” president Trump said. “I don’t know, how many votes am I going to lose? I have people calling me up: ‘Sir, we wanted to — we have a fund to save the shark. It’s called save the shark.’ I say ‘No, thank you. I have other things I can contribute to,’” he added.

Although Mr Trump did not confirm what he was specifically discussing, The Guardian reported that he may have been referring to Maine, where culling seals is being discussed as a way to reduce the chances of shark attacks in the area, after a woman was killed last month.

In 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that adult-film actress Daniels had claimed she received hush money to keep the details of a 2006 affair with the president private.

Mr Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 (£99,288) in 2016 to keep the affair a secret in the build up to the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax evasion and campaign finance violations, and claimed he did so under the direction of the president, “for the principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. The president denies these claims.

In 2011, during an interview with In Touch Weekly that was published after her claims were made public, Daniels said that Mr Trump invited her to see him again at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 and that when she arrived he was watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

“The strangest thing about that night — this was the best thing ever,” Daniels said. “You could see the television from the little dining room table and he was watching Shark Week and he was watching a special about the USS something and it sank and it was like the worst shark attack in history. He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks.”

Daniel said that “he was like, ‘I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die,’” and added: “He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know.”

Mr Trump had previously tweeted about his dislike of sharks, and in 2013 wrote: “Sorry folks, I’m just not a fan of sharks — and don’t worry, they will be around long after we are gone.”

He later added: “Sharks are last on my list — other than perhaps the losers and haters of the World!”

In her 2018 autobiography, Full Disclosure, Daniels reiterated the shark element of her encounter with the president in 2007, and claimed Shark Week distracted him from a call with Hillary Clinton, when she was running for the Democratic nomination at the 2008 presidential election.

“He had a whole conversation about the race, repeatedly mentioning ‘our plan’,” Daniels wrote, but “even while he was on the phone with Hillary (Clinton), his attention kept going back to the sharks”.

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