Could Donald Trump Have Had an Addictive Relationship?

Something that could have derailed Trump’s rise is in the open, but ignored.

Posted Feb 16, 2019

Early in 2018, CNN’s Anderson Cooper successively interviewed two women who claimed to have had sexual relations with Donald Trump. One woman, who went by the name Stormy Daniels, reportedly had a one-time sexual encounter with the man who was to become the President.

Daniels herself characterized their liaison as inconsequential. The other woman—whose liaison overlapped with Daniels’—said she conducted an eight-month affair with Trump in 2006-2007, early in Trump’s marriage to Melania.  Karen McDougal, who was 46 at the time of the interview (when Trump was 71) had been Playmate of the Year in 1998. 

A remarkably beautiful woman, McDougal is much more than that. Extremely well-presented and articulate, she described how “she and Trump fell in love and wound up seeing each other at least five times a month until she broke up with him in April 2007.”

But political opponents, commentators, and the media largely ignored McDougal in treating the two affairs. Perhaps because of Daniels’ profession (porn actress), she seemed to welcome the spotlight, and selected a celebrity attorney who was attention-grabbing in his own right. As a result, the two extramarital relationships were often lumped together, with Daniels always in the foreground.

McDougal sought no more attention after her interview with Anderson. She wore a cross in line with her recovered Christian identity, spoke of how she was wracked with guilt during the affair (especially after Trump gave her a tour of his and Melania’s bedroom), and detailed how she ended it despite Trump’s protestations and subsequent outreaches. Her story was one of an attraction she regretted but hadn’t been able to resist.

And what was Trump’s motivation? Why was he drawn to, and did he immerse himself in, a relationship that had to end?

He certainly had much to lose. If the relationship had become public it could have impacted his subsequent run for the presidency. Trump, then 60 years old, had already been imagining himself as—and taken steps to run for—President for a number of years. Moreover, he was openly flaunting a new marriage (his third) that would have been extremely expensive to end.  He had already at times been alienated from his three older children due to conflicts with his first wife, and was largely out of touch with his second wife and their daughter.

What did Trump need that McDougal provided? That an extremely beautiful woman was drawn to—cared for—him was seemingly something Trump couldn’t resist, no matter what the cost to his potential political career, financial status, and family relationships. Is this ego, insecurity, or a generic neediness?

Put another way, is Donald Trump a lonely man seeking love and acceptance? Rather than administering cognitive function tests to the President, perhaps his physicians should measure Trump’s addictive relationship proclivity and its source. Then maybe we could begin to understand the man who is our President.