Former Playboy model Karen McDougal talked on TV for the first time Thursday about her alleged affair with President Trump. Here are six takeaways from her lengthy interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
McDougal says Trump tried to pay her for sex
“After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me,” McDougal told Cooper. “And I actually didn't know how to take that. ... But I looked at him, and I said, 'That's not me. I'm not that kind of girl.' And he said, 'Oh,' and he said, 'You're really special,' and I was, like, 'Thank you.'”
McDougal says she had Trump's direct phone number
“I have his direct phone number,” McDougal said. “I have quite few of the direct phone numbers. I also had his bodyguard Keith [Schiller's] phone number.”
This might seem like a small detail, but it contrasts with the story of Stormy Daniels, the porn star who also says she had an affair with Trump around the same time, in 2006 and 2007.
“I never had Donald's cellphone number,” Daniels told In Touch magazine in a 2011 interview that was published for the first time in January. “I always used Keith's.”
One simple explanation could be that Trump was more invested in a relationship with McDougal than with Daniels. But defenders of Trump, who denies both affairs, could try to use inconsistent accounts of how closely Trump guarded his phone number to discredit one or both women.
McDougal was attracted to Trump and says they were in love
The model described an affair that both parties treated as a serious relationship. At the outset, McDougal said, “I was attracted to him, yes. He's a nice-looking man. And, you know, I liked his charisma. ... He's got great posture.”
She said that over 10 months of dating, “He always told me he loved me.” McDougal added that she thought, at the time, that she was Trump's only girlfriend — while he was married to Melania — but expressed doubts about her singular status, having heard the claims of other women such as Daniels.
McDougal does not recognize Trump's public persona as president — but she did vote for him
“What everyone sees on TV, I didn't see in that man because that man was very sweet, very respectful, very loving, very kind and caring,” McDougal said. “That's the man I saw.”
McDougal does not have many documents to support her story
She shared with CNN old calendar entries that denoted days on which, she says, she rendezvoused with Trump. McDougal claimed she and Trump had sex “many dozens” of times.
But she also said she does not have photos or text messages that would support her story.
“If you're in a loving relationship, do you try to collect evidence?” she asked.
McDougal feels 'scared' and 'threatened' — and sorry for Melania Trump
“There could be a big lawsuit against me,” she said. “There could be financial ruin. ... Am I scared? Do I feel threatened? Absolutely.”
Cooper asked McDougal what she would say to the first lady.
“What can you say except, I'm sorry?” McDougal replied. “I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me. I'm sorry.”