Q: Has Stormy Daniels announced she’s running for president?
A: No. That false headline is based on a question she asked in jest.
Adult film star Stormy Daniels continues to challenge President Donald Trump in public and in court over the legitimacy of an agreement that prohibits her from publicly discussing their alleged 2006 extramarital affair. Trump, who was married to now-first lady Melania Trump at the time, has denied the accusation.
But the actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has not declared her intention to challenge Trump on the ballot.
A false headline claiming as much — “Stormy Daniels Announces Plans To Run For President” — appeared on several websites and circulated on Facebook this week, accruing thousands of comments and reactions. On pages such as the “Conservative Hub,” commenters reacted to the supposed announcement with humor, disbelief and, in some cases, outrage.
But the stories, such as the one on conservative101.com, don’t support the headline’s claim.
“Porn star Stormy Daniels is considering running for President in 2020. And she would run as a Republican,” the June 19 post claims, citing certain comments Daniels made in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “Then the conversation turned to the ridiculous idea of running for President. At first she was resistant and then she changed her mind.”
In reality, the June 16 Tribune article notes that Daniels “said she has no plans to run for office.” The newspaper said Daniels cited the campaign costs, in addition to her opinion that “the person best suited to represent the people probably would never get elected.”
The Tribune report goes on to add that Daniels mused about running for the highest office — but seemingly in jest:
Chicago Tribune, June 16: “But at the end of the interview, she said, ‘I don’t know, should I run for president?’
A laugh. And then: ‘The terrifying thing is I might win.'”
Apart from those comments, we could find no record of Daniels making any announcement about seeking any office.
It’s worth noting that Daniels actually did entertain the idea of entering politics once before. She publicly considered running against then-Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, in the 2010 midterm election, and notably declared she was switching her party affiliation, from Democrat to Republican.
Daniels said in an MSNBC interview at the time that she was prompted to weigh the run after fans drafted her in hopes that she could unseat Vitter. The senator was facing his first election after the 2007 revelation that his phone number had been linked to a Washington, D.C., prostitution ring. Daniels decided not to run and Vitter won reelection.
The saga over Daniels’ nondisclosure agreement spilled into public view in January, when the Wall Street Journal reported that, weeks before the 2016 election, Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged to pay Daniels $130,000 to sign the agreement. Trump, who had initially denied knowing about the payment or where Cohen got the money for it, later admitted that he had reimbursed Cohen.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk false stories shared on the social media network.
Greene, Morgan. “In Chicago, Stormy Daniels muses: ‘Should I run for president?’” The Chicago Tribune. 16 June 2018.
Magloff, Spencer. “Stormy Daniels Calls Off Senate Bid.” CBS News. 15 Apr 2010.
“Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.” Press release, White House. 7 Mar 2018.
Rothfeld, Michael and Joe Palazzolo. “Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment for Adult-Film Star’s Silence.” The Wall Street Journal. 12 Jan 2018.
Farley, Robert and Eugene Kiely. “Q&A on Stormy Daniels’ Payment.” FactCheck.org. 3 May 2018.