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TRUMPED UP (A novel)

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Last week, the Wall Street Journal triggered a new scandal for President Donald Trump when it reported that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, had paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about a decade-old sexual relationship she had with the future president. Cohen released a statement from Daniels denying she had engaged in any “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Trump. But immediately other accounts emerged challenging that denial.

Slate’s Jacob Weisberg reported that in 2016, Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, told him that in 2006 she and Trump began a sexual relationship that lasted nearly a year. The Daily Beast published a story citing friends of Daniels saying she had told them about a fling with Trump. In Touch published an interview with Daniels from 2011 in which she herself described having a sexual affair with Trump. And Mother Jones has learned that Daniels years earlier talked about having had a sexual relationship with Trump—and in lurid detail. According to 2009 emails between political operatives who were at the time advising Daniels on a possible political campaign, [ed.: wut?] the adult film actor and director claimed that her affair with Trump included an unusual act: spanking him with a copy of Forbes magazine.

Dear God:

Although we here at Farrar Straus and Giroux always appreciate a deft political satire, your latest effort along these lines is, I’m sorry to say, not something that interests us at this time.

Because we have had a long and fruitful working relationship, I’m going to speak candidly, so as not to waste any more of your time (infinite though it may be) and ours: As it now stands, TRUMPED UP would simply be an embarrassment to your existing oeuvre.

The latest draft chapter you’ve submitted, “Stormy Weather,” was frankly difficult for me to read all the way through. For one thing, the central plot point — the reality TV president ends up having paid a six-figure settlement to a porn star to cover up his affair with her at the time that his new wife was pregnant — is just incredibly over the top. I mean does she have to be a porn star? How about a regular actor, or maybe even — perish the thought — a professional woman?

And the narrative details! She spanks him with a copy of Forbes?!? Does the phrase “heavy-handed” mean anything to you any more? You used to be so much better than this.

Also, the business about how he told her she reminded him of his daughter was tasteless in the extreme.

Although I don’t want to overstep my editorial bounds by lecturing the Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and of All Things Seen and Unseen, I must gently remind you that, to be both aesthetically pleasing and rhetorically effective, a satire must retain some minimal degree of plausibility.

Cordially,

Delbert Grady
Senior Editor
FS&G

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