The political world’s most famous adult-film star strutted onto the stage at a Melville strip club in the wee hours Friday as Long Island fans, lookie-loos and media came out to see the woman who has been said to have had an affair with President Donald Trump.
Stephanie Clifford, who performs as Stormy Daniels, said in a brief interview shortly before she performed at Gossip that “it’s busier” since The Wall Street Journal reported last month she had been paid $130,000 for her silence during Trump’s 2016 campaign. She otherwise deflected questions on life after landing in the political spotlight.
Daniels has since declined to confirm or deny the affair.
But at Gossip, as music thumped amid a haze of cigar and cigarette smoke, there was little doubt from those at the club Tuesday.
Tori Ann Lopez, a 28-year-old dancer from Commack who opened for Daniels with lit sparklers attached to stiletto heels, said she believed her story.
Nevertheless, she likes Trump for his blunt manner. The “locker-room talk” he has been accused of, she said, “is a normal Tuesday at a strip club. He’s honest.”
Mark, a 52-year-old lawyer from Oceanside, who declined to give his last name for fear of antagonizing Trump supporters, happened to be at the club with his son when he found out Stormy Daniels would be performing.
“Very exciting!” he said. “She’s been in the news.”
He declared himself “not a big fan” of the president.
“I’d like to support Stormy Daniels for anything unpleasant she has to deal with involving our current president,” he said.
After Daniels’ appearance on stage, a man who gave his name as Gary, 30, of Melville, waited as she signed merchandise for fans. He said he supported both the president and Daniels, calling her “a 21st century Marilyn Monroe.”
Trump, he said, was “the first honest politician in a long time.”
But his reason for coming out was more practical.
“Not that many people come to Melville that are important,” he said.
The club, charging its normal $20 cover, was at less than capacity in the lead up to Daniels’ performance. In the smoke-filled club with pounding music, at least a dozen members of the media sipped waters or beers and seemed to disappoint performers offering dances, while a handful of patrons took seats at the stage or near the bar. As midnight approached, the club filled up until Daniels appeared, in a Little Red Riding Hood costume, the same shade of red as Make America Great Again hats, which was then discarded.
Gossip co-owner Brian Rosenberg said it took tripling Daniels’ normal fee — which he declined to disclose — and booking her on a Thursday to get her out while she was still in the news.
“It’s an interesting thing to be a part of. People say it’s a porn-star story. It’s not. It’s a cultural story. It’s rare for someone in her industry is involved in the political landscape.”
Rosenberg added he wasn’t trying to anger “Trump or anyone. I’m just a businessman. We’re not political at Gossip. Whoever the president is we support him.”