“Deny, deny, deny”: Donald Trump’s advice on sex scandals

Stormy Daniels says Trump paid her to keep quiet about an affair.
Stormy Daniels says Trump paid her to keep quiet about an affair.
Image: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Donald Trump has continued to deny a series of allegations that he paid past sexual partners to keep quiet, including porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen MacDougal. It’s the same tactic he once advised a friend to use, according to Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House.

When the unnamed friend “acknowledged some bad behavior toward women,” Trump gave him the following advice, Woodward writes:

“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny, and push back on these women,” he said. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. That was a big mistake you made. You didn’t come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”

Daniels and MacDougal are far from the only women whose stories Trump rejects. Seventeen women have accused Trump of sexual assault or misconduct; Trump denies all the accusations.

In 2016, an audio recording revealed Trump boasting that he could “Grab [women] by the pussy.” In the immediate aftermath, Trump took responsibility for the statements and apologized; he later reportedly began spreading falsehoods (paywall) about whether the recording was really him.