Stormy Daniels is filling strip clubs nearly every weekend on a national tour, but the porn star who says she had a 2006 affair with President Donald Trump is getting only a “negligible” income boost from the nude shows, her attorney says.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, will be performing around the corner from the entrance to Trump International Golf Club and only 4 miles from Mar-a-Lago on Friday and Saturday at the Ultra Gentlemen’s Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach.
The president, who has denied Daniels’ claims, is scheduled to arrive in Palm Beach Sunday night to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to a Federal Aviation Administration notice, Trump is expected to stay in the area until April 22.
In addition to her weekend stripping gigs, Daniels is reportedly cooperating with federal investigators who on Monday raided the office of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels just before the 2016 election to keep silent about her alleged affair with Trump. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One last week that he had no knowledge of the payment.
Local Republican activist Paula Prudente says she believes the president rather than the porn star.
“This is just a very disgusting way to undermine the American people," Prudente said of Daniels’ tour.
The Ultra club is along one of the routes Trump’s motorcade often takes to his golf course. On at least one occasion, in February, the presidential convoy drove past the club’s sign advertising Daniels’ appearances. She is performing two shows each night at Ultra, with tickets ranging from $25 to $1,000 for a 20-person “VIP room” near the stage.
Ultra manager Stacy Saccal said the Daniels shows are nearly sold out and the weekend “by far will be the biggest” in her 11 years managing the club and its predecessor, T’s Lounge. The only comparable event, Saccal said, was the 2013 appearance by Nadya “Octomom” Suleman.
Daniels was already a well-known performer, writer and director in the pornographic film industry and a veteran of the strip club circuit when The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 12 about the $130,000 pre-election payment to Daniels.
Documents related to that payment were reportedly among the items seized Monday when federal agents raided Cohen’s office.
Daniels signed a Jan. 30 statement denying any affair and adding, “I will have no further comment on this matter,” before appearing that night on Jimmy Kimmel Live and dodging questions about her alleged encounter with Trump at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.
In March, Daniels filed a lawsuit claiming her 2016 hush agreement was invalid because Trump had not signed it. In a 60 Minutes interview that aired March 25, Daniels said she had sex with Trump and had signed her January denial because she felt coerced.
All the attention has helped draw crowds to her strip club performances.
“We broke a three-day record of guests through the door,” said Deja Vu Showgirls general manager Michael Durham after Daniels appeared at his Nashville club at the end of March. “We’ve been in Nashville 28 years and this was our best week ever.”
Daniels drew a “bigger than normal crowd” last weekend at the Country Rock Cabaret outside St. Louis in Sauget, Ill., said Roy Westerheide, who owns four strip clubs in the area. The crowds for Daniels were a little older and “definitely more liberal” than his usual clientele, said Westerheide, who said Daniels also drew some patrons in hats bearing the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
When he booked Daniels in January, Westerheide said, “I didn’t think it would be this big. I was thinking it would kind of go away but I hoped it didn’t.”
Ultra manager Saccal said she booked Daniels shortly after her Kimmel appearance.
“I got really lucky,” Saccal said this week.
Danny Capozzi, who books Daniels’ appearances for New York-based Centerfold Strips Entertainment, wouldn’t discuss Daniels’ fees but said basic economic principles apply to a porn star in the public spotlight.
“Obviously since the news broke her rate has increased, and since that time it has held steady…It’s all about supply and demand. There’s only one Stormy Daniels and demand is at its peak,” said Capozzi.
But the increased attention and earning power has its downside, said Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti.
“The net increase if anything has been negligible because her expenses have skyrocketed. She requires extensive security,” Avenatti told The Palm Beach Post. “There’s only so many shows she can do in any given period of time, so that’s a finite number. While there may be more patrons, again, that security expense has gone through the roof.”