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Why Is Trump Being So Quiet on Stormy Daniels, and Can He Keep It Up?

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If there’s one thing we know about our president (note: there’s a lot we know), it’s that he can’t resist a biting public response when someone insults or even questions him in any way. This is true of any potential opponent, from John McCain to Alec Baldwin to Colin Kaepernick, but it seems especially true if his antagonist is a woman. I mean, this is a person who got called out for being a raging misogynist on national TV, and then essentially bragged about it:

And how did he respond to that encounter? By implying that Megyn Kelly must have been on her period.

The man likes to lash out, especially at women. So why is he being so quiet about Stormy Daniels, the former porn star who has been all over the news claiming she and Trump had an affair and that he paid her hush money to keep it quiet (both charges initially reported by the Wall Street Journal)?

As Politico noted today, he hasn’t really said a word in public:

Trump hasn’t directly addressed Daniels’ claims since the story surfaced earlier this year, instead letting White House staffers and his personal lawyer deny the allegations for him.

The muted response is unusual for a president who has rarely shied away from a fight. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. The president has refuted those claims — often loudly.

Even when you look at this very specific situation—women accusing Trump of sexual harassment or infidelity or other sins of a sexual nature—he’s been adamant in shouting down his accusers—usually with his trademark gentility:

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened!” Trump tweeted earlier this year in response to a story about allegations that he kissed Rachel Crooks on the mouth in 2006.

During a 2016 rally in Florida, Trump publicly denied that he forcefully kissed a former People Magazine reporter who wrote a first-person story about their 2005 encounter. “Take a look, you take a look. Look at her, look at her words, you tell me what you think. I don’t think so,” he said.

The White House is being mum about the Daniels allegations, as you’d expect, but the strategy of starving this story of oxygen isn’t quite working—Trump’s alleged mistress has taped an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, and when that airs, all bets are off. Trump is already lawyering up in a big way, but when things go all pear-shaped after the CBS segment airs, it will be the ultimate test of Trump’s nature: Can he maintain his calm, or will the Twitter floodgates open?

I’ve got my money on the latter. Composure isn’t the man’s strong suit.

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