“Honeybunch” tells her story of the man who greets her at his door in silk jammies with a smile…

Vince Rizzo
5 min readMay 8, 2024

I don’t know about you, but I am having trouble washing the image of DJT in his jockey shorts and Brando-styled wife-beater from my mind. The storylines in this sordid tale lend themselves to mocking the former president for perhaps one of the more expensive one-night stands whose cost is now far better measured in infamy than dollars.

As Stormy Daniels nee Stephanie Clifford’s testimony is being related to us by court reporters and transcripts, the damage seems undeniable. His sleaze factor is already baked in for most of us, yet his peeps expect it and glory in it. The rest of us are suitably repulsed by his vulgarity even as we expect it. The nickname “Teflon Don” has defined his life up to this point. Like the mob boss who wore the sobriquet like a freshly pressed Brioni suit, Donald Trump shares more than a passing reference- both He and John Gotti shared a counselor. When John Gotti was arrested in a mob hit case in 1962, his lawyer at the time was Roy Cohn who arranged a plea deal that had Gotti plead to a reduced charge of manslaughter and a prison term of 4 years for the murder.

No one is accusing Trump of murder (yet) Cohn, identified as his legal mentor and fixer during his early years as he built his real estate empire, has been credited with instilling in his young charge the tactics that have made Trump what he is today- a criminal. Reading the transcripts of day 1 of Stormy the prosecution played their hole card. If Stormy doesn’t testify, it would have opened the opportunity for Trump to take the stand later and deny the affair with relative impunity. With her testimony, Trump will have a difficult time denying the encounter ever happened without perjuring himself. The prosecution now appears to have the goods to undo him on cross-examination.

What is almost lost in the defense team’s cross-examination of Ms. Daniels is in their attempt to discredit her testimony they have placed their faith in the jury’s inability to follow the ball. The encounter and whether it happened has little to do with the alleged criminal activity. Trump is not being accused of cheating on his wife or of being taken for $130,000. The crime is defrauding the government by listing the payments to Michael Cohen and calling the payments “legal expenses” instead of a campaign expense. Paying the porn star to silence her story before the election constitutes a felony under New York state law and Federal election reporting obligations. Trump’s defense is to smear Daniels as if that is even relevant in this case. The goal is to make her go away- to convince the jury that she is lying. So they introduce a legal to confuse the jurors. Daniels’ role in the trial is relatively insignificant. Her testimony dirties up Trump for the prosecution. Her encounter with The Apprentice host lays the predicate for the crime, but as she has repeatedly stated in her interviews and her book on the matter, the act itself was forced but consensual. Her testimony in which she confirms that and the fact that she was offended by Trump’s offer of money rings true and makes sense- she’s a porn star, not a hooker. But the crime is about the fraud and how it may have bought Trump an election.

Like other women who fall into Trump’s orbit, she was lured by the promise of a job. For those who fault women for being ambitious, I suppose they believe she has some culpability, but the fact pattern suggests otherwise. Trump’s MO is to use emotional jujitsu to use his victims’ normal impulses against them. Earlier this week I wrote about Hope Hicks and some on this site chose to criticize even the suggestion that she was a victim ala Lawrence O’Donnell’s take on the subject. Trump’s skill is in clouding distinctions, especially for women. That Stormy Daniels, Hope Hicks, or whoever would court advances of a horndog like Trump for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be less objectionable in a male (see Bill Barr, Mad Dog Mattis, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, et.al). Each sold himself for the lure of fame and power and, while they received their share of criticism, none to the extent of their female counterparts. Males are immune from slut-shaming. I’ll accept the moral equivalency when I see any of them in a court or before a Congressional committee recounting their experiences with the man they enabled to take down our democratic institutions.

Daniels is our clearest example of the unfairness. She is flawed. Unlike Hicks or Cassidy Hutchinson (who has also received some shade here), Daniels grew up without privilege. As Trump and his lawyers try to dehumanize and denigrate her, her early life was unlike Trump’s upbringing or that of most of his other women:

Stormy Daniels-whose real name is Stephanie Gregory Clifford-was born March 17, 1979, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Daniels’ parents, Sheila Gregory and Bill Gregory, divorced when she was a toddler. She was raised by her mother in Baton Rouge; her father had little involvement in her upbringing. Daniels was a member of the class of 1997 at Scotlandville Magnet High School. Although she was accepted by several colleges, she decided to become a stripper instead.


She described her family as being lower middle class. She was editor of her high school newspaper and wanted to become a journalist but life intervened. So, in their minds, she is ripe for smearing. She earned her living in a trashy business, but her money was earned honestly. Unlike the scowling reprobate who decided to dangle a flashy opportunity to cross over into television- a more respectable career opportunity — so he could bed her, she kept her part of their tawdry bargain. He bailed.

So, for those who would judge her like the other women who tried to use him for the promise of a job- a position in his organization, or a desk in the White House, she was just another pretty thing there for his amusement. Trump’s defense lawyer attempted to bring the point home using the common trope for women accusing men of wrongdoing:

Necheles practically shouted, “You were looking to extort money from President Trump, right?”

“False!” Daniels said with a vigor that obscured whatever her true motive might have been.

Later, Necheles charged, “Your whole story is made up, isn’t it?”

“No, none of it is made up,” Daniels replied.

- NYTimes, “Stormy Daniels Stood Up Well to the Taunts of Trump’s Lawyer” by Jonathan Alter

NYTimes, “Stormy Daniels Stood Up Well to the Taunts of Trump’s Lawyer” by Jonathan Alter

Who would make up such a sordid tale? The script reads like a headline from The National Enquirer: “But he wanted her, and he thought for certain she felt the same.” He wore silk jammies when he invited her to his suite and he had an itch. Sometimes you get what you pay for. After his appropriately termed “grossed up” fees to Michael Cohen, Trump, in effect, paid $420,000 for a one-night stand. Daniels settled for far less.

Somehow she paid the higher price.

Originally published at https://vincerizzo.substack.com.



Vince Rizzo

Former president of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) and a founder of a charter school based on MI theory.