Nearly two and a half months after canceling a scheduled appearance on “The View,” adult-film star Stormy Daniels finally settled into the hot seat Tuesday, answering round after round of pointed questions lobbed at her from both sides of the table.
Co-host Sunny Hostin kicked things off with the most obvious thought: “How come you came here today?”
“Because I’m tired of being threatened,” said Daniels, who is currently being sued by President Trump for $20 million and could potentially face a $1 million fine every time she speaks out about her alleged 2006 tryst with the former reality show star. “I’m done being bullied.”
Daniels, now months into a media tour that has included “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “60 Minutes,” seemed calm on the talk show. Dressed in a royal blue top with her long, blond hair cascading around her face, the adult-film star, wife and mother held her own with the ladies of “The View” during an hour-long interview. The daytime appearance came just one day after Daniels showed up outside a Manhattan courthouse where Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen was appearing before a judge in conjunction with his federal investigation. Which brought the ladies to their next question: So why were you there?
According to Daniels, she wanted to make her presence known. Daniels’s camera-ready lawyer, Michael Avenatti, emphasized that her appearance was not a publicity stunt and rather “serious business.” But Meghan McCain, the panel’s resident conservative gadfly, pushed back on that idea.
“It seemed a little like you were just trying to get attention,” McCain said bluntly, adding that the porn star appeared to be profiting from her newfound fame and that the publicity was benefiting her career.
Daniels is currently making appearances at strip clubs throughout the country on a tour titled “Make America Horny Again.” But here’s a fun factoid: Daniels isn’t a big fan of that name. In fact, she thinks it’s “awful” and “cheesy.” She admitted that more bookings and subsequently bigger checks have come her way since her name became publicly tied to Trump’s but that the consequences of speaking out were significant. Daniels said she spends money on bodyguards, private cars and tutors for her young daughter to protect herself and her family from the negative attention.
“You should never apologize for making a living,” said Joy Behar, the longest-serving “View” co-host.
Before their appearance on Tuesday’s episode, Avenatti announced via Twitter that the pair planned to release a sketch of the man who Daniels claimed warned her in 2011 to “leave Trump alone.” During her “60 Minutes” interview, Daniels had told journalist Anderson Cooper that she took the warning, which included a reference to her then-infant daughter, as an obvious threat.
Roughly halfway through the live hour, the sketch was released for the first time to the public. McCain, again playing the skeptic, wanted to know why Daniels didn’t just go the police in the first place.
“First of all, I was scared,” explained Daniels, before adding that, at the time, the affair she had with Trump wasn’t public. “I was embarrassed to say something.” Avenatti then took that time to promote the $100,000 reward he is offering for any information leading to the identification of “the thug.”
For the next half-hour, Daniels expertly and eloquently batted down rumor after rumor. No, she wasn’t high during that must-watch “60 Minutes” interview. She said that rumor is “just ridiculous.” No money was exchanged between her and Trump after their one night together. And, no, she wasn’t thinking about appearing on “Celebrity Apprentice” at the time of the affair. She had put herself in a position, Daniels explained, where it seemed like “more trouble to say no” to Trump’s alleged advances. And, no, she doesn’t concern herself with the impact any of this has on the Trump family.
What does Daniels say to people who think she’s untrustworthy because she’s a porn star?
“What I do for a living should not matter,” she said. “What I do for a living doesn’t impact my ability to know right from wrong or tell the truth.” Applause applause applause.
Finally, Daniels got to answer the one question most people seem to want answered. It’s the question that Avenatti probably posed to her in one of their first meetings or what her husband may have asked her in the calm before this media storm.
What’s the end game?
“It is my chance to defend myself,” said Daniels, who wasn’t able to finish her thought before Whoopi Goldberg had to cut to commercial.
When the show returned for a brief sign-off, Daniels got the rest off her chest and said that if she could “inspire or convince a woman” who feels as though she has been intimidated or bullied to step forward and bring their attacker to task, “then I’m happy.”