A Letter to Karen McDougal About Cheaters

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal has reported in a CNN interview that she had a 10-month affair with Donald Trump. The relationship began shortly after the current Mrs. Trump, Melania, gave birth to a son and at the same time he had unprotected sex with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Reading the transcript of her interview with Anderson Cooper, I could not help reacting to what was said as well as to the sordid story that crept out from between the lines. The public has vilified Karen McDougal for her actions and her participation in the affair. What she did, however, was not very different from what other mistresses and trophy wives have done — just more prominent.

Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Donald Trump

Like Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal was manipulated into intimacy when a dinner invitation from Donald Trump turned into a private dinner in a private bungalow with a man who expected sex. Unlike the savvy Ms. Daniels, Ms. McDougal did not learn from that sad experience and stay far, far away.

A Few Questions for Karen McDougal

But here’s what surprised me. After their first (unprotected) sexual encounter, Mr. Trump offered her money. Karen McDougal reports that she didn’t know what to make of that. Say what?

Well, honey, there is only one way to interpret a man offering you money for sex. He thought you were a whore (call girl, escort, girlfriend). That’s all the respect he had for you.

When you replied that “I’m not that kind of girl,” he said you were special. Uh-huh. You were special because he got free sex. From his perspective, you were better than a call girl because you asked for nothing in return.

More importantly, did his actions during the dinner and subsequent intimacy make you feel special? Not at all. By your own account, you felt so terrible you cried in the car on the way home. And you had good reason: you had just been tricked and abused, sexually and emotionally. Taken advantage of. Put in a situation from which you did not feel you could extricate yourself. Forced to do something you had not planned to do and had not wanted.

Well-practiced Lines

Still, you couldn’t have felt that bad because you continued to see him after that, at least five times a month for 10 months. You traveled to meet him and you thought that the two of you had developed “a genuine bond.” After all, he always told you he loved you. Don’t they all?

And you fantasized that he might marry you.

Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Donald Trump, sexual assault, sexual harassmentAt that point, Donald Trump was a married man with five children by three different wives. I’m sure that he told Marla and Melania that he loved them. They committed adultery with him, too. Did you realize that you were just the next woman in line? Did you know he had recent, unprotected sex with a woman who has sex for a living?  You knew he talked to ladies but you thought you were “the only one.”

Denial is powerful. How else could you think you were the sole object of his sexual attention after his three marriages and multiple adulteries? And if he had divorced Melania to marry you, what would you have gotten?  A confirmed adulterer who would do to you what he had done to his three previous wives, that’s what.

A cheater doesn’t stop cheating just because he met another Special Girl. He pulls out his polished lines and carefully tailored lies to draw you in. A man who will cheat on his first wife will cheat on his second, his third, his fourth. It gets easier every time. By Number Four, he’s got it down to a system: flirting, dinner, private bungalow or hotel suite, pressure, and the promise of something you want: marriage for you, prime-time visibility for Ms. Daniels. That’s not a relationship, it’s a carefully crafted deception. A trap.

He used that same trap on Stormy Daniels, a woman who has succeeded in a very tough business. And got away with it. Don’t beat yourself up about that.

A Long Line of Women

Donald Trump, sexual assault, sexual harassment, accusers

Donald Trump’s Accusers

You have one consolation, Ms. McDougal. You are not the only woman by far to be trapped and exploited by an experienced cheater. You are not the only woman who believed what he told you, what you wanted to believe, what might make your life better.

You were just the latest in a long, long line of women Mr. Trump groped, seduced or raped and exploited for his own gratification. This list — in chronological order — now includes:

  1. Jessica Leeds (early 1980s)
  2. Kristin Anderson (early 1990s)
  3. Lisa Boyne (mid 1990s)
  4. Jill Harth (1992 – 1993)
  5. Cathy Heller (1997)
  6. Temple Taggart McDowell (1997)
  7. Mariah Billado (1997)
  8. Karena Virginia (1998)
  9. Bridget Sullivan (2000)
  10. Tasha Dixon (2001)
  11. Mindy McGillivray (2003)
  12. Rachel Crooks (2005)
  13. Natasha Stoynoff (2005)
  14. Samantha Holvey (2006)
  15. Jessica Drake (2006)
  16. Ninni Laaksonen (2006)
  17. Cassandra Searles (2013)
  18. Summer Zervos (2007)
  19. Stormy Daniels (2016)
  20. Karen McDougal (2016 – 2017)

You ended the relationship and that was the right thing to do. You got out before he could throw you away or insult you in public, as he has so many others. Then Mr. Trump’s legal team went to work on their tried-and-true “catch-and-kill” strategy. They offered you a boost to your career in return for your story—which they then tied up in a contract and buried so your voice could never be heard.

Beautiful Like My Daughter

Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, beautiful like my daughterThe final fillip is that Mr. Trump told you that you reminded him of his daughter. You were “beautiful, like Ivanka. Smart like Ivanka.” He said the same thing to Stormy Daniels. You didn’t know this, of course, so you didn’t realize how sick and creepy that statement was.

People have called you stupid, trasiy, gullible and naïve, along with a lot of other things and some pretty terrible names. I think you got snookered by a champion snookerer, conned by a big city con man, taken in by fake charm. A man with a reputation for doing this to a lot of women.

Don’t feel bad: this is what charismatic sociopaths can do.

One thing really bothers me, though. After being manipulated, seduced, lied to, tricked, and silenced, you voted for him.

And now this man is President of the United States.