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Opinion | Margery Eagan

Forget Stormy Daniels and Melania Trump. How does Ivanka feel?

Photo Illustration/Associated Press

FORGET STORMY DANIELS, the porn star; Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model; Summer Zervos, the former “Apprentice’’ contestant who is in a legal wrangle with President Trump.

Forget even Melania.

How does Ivanka feel?

Over the past several days, Daniels and McDougal announced to America that during sexual trysts with Donald Trump, he told both women they remind him of Ivanka. He talked about her. To them.

Mull that over, daughters.

Is the Ivanka talk part of philanderer Trump’s modus operandi? Surely it’s a recurring theme.

Trump told the women of “The View” in 2006 that if Ivanka “weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” He told Howard Stern three years earlier that Ivanka has “the best body’” and later OK’d Stern’s calling Ivanka a “piece of ass.”


Mull that over, fathers. Is your daughter “a piece of ass?”

“The yuck factor,” said CNN’s elder statesman David Gergen after Anderson Cooper’s “60 Minutes” interview Sunday night with Daniels, was “very high.”

What would Andy Rooney have to say?

But other than the Ivanka talk, a nasty parking lot threat, and a naughty tale about Stormy spanking Trump with a magazine — “Turn around,” she said she told him, and “drop ’em” — the “60 Minutes’’ interview did not live up to the Super Bowl-like pre-game hype.

First there were her lawyer’s hints of pictures. Then head shots of the president, the playmate, the porn star, and Zervos — all bunched together — popped up everywhere on CBS and CNN, teasing salacious new details. Endless shots of Stormy’s astonishing cleavage spilled forth.

Then she appeared, harnessed and stern, in what looked like the electric chair, one black strap above and one strap below that aforementioned formidable bust line. Turns out it was not the electric chair, but Stormy taking a polygraph test to prove that she did indeed bed Trump in Lake Tahoe, before or after he bedded McDougal, while Melania was home with infant Barron.


Pre-interview we also learned that Stormy was no ordinary stripper-turned-porn-star. No, the woman born Stefanie Clifford was editor of her high school newspaper, president of the 4-H club, and a blue-ribbon equestrian who began a run for US Senate in Louisiana in 2009 with the motto “Screwing People Honestly.” She won 19 adult-film acting awards, seven directing awards, and three wins for “Favorite Breasts.” She also had cameos in Judd Apatow’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” “She’s very nice and super smart,” Apatow told Conan O’Brien.

And then, Sunday, she was super businesslike, matter-of-fact, apologizing for none of it.

“I’ve never said I was a victim,” she told Cooper, separating herself from the #MeToo movement. She also separated herself from McDougal, who told Cooper on Thursday that she fell in love with Trump during a 10-month bicoastal affair that went from a Playboy pool party to a Beverly Hills bungalow to Manhattan’s Trump Tower and Melania’s separate bedroom. She said she ended it out of guilt.

After that sudsy interview with McDougal, Sunday with Stormy felt cold and anticlimatic, even if a diversion from daily Trump-fueled anxiety and existential dread.

As for fallout, I doubt this will hurt with Trump’s base. They may be cheering for him. I doubt it will dissuade white evangelicals, self-described Christians who make endless excuses for Trump while claiming gay marriage a brutal affront to their religious sensibilities.


It probably doesn’t matter to Trump detractors, either, who’ve come to see sleaze as part of this presidential package.

Still, it’s all so depressing, especially juxtaposed to the righteous and passionate idealism of hundreds of thousands of young Americans who took to the streets Saturday demanding that their lives count more than politicians’ corruption and cowardice.

“Character does matter in the White House,” Gergen said Sunday night. Sadly, it does not live there anymore, or in much of Washington either.

Margery Eagan is cohost of WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio.”