Any other Friday night, Gold Club Centerfolds, a strip club on the outskirts of Sacramento, would be sparsely populated — mostly with men. And politics would be left at the door. But Friday night, women packed the sold-out venue to see Stormy Daniels, keenly aware of the celebrity porn star’s bombshell allegations that she had an affair with President Donald Trump in 2006, and a decade later, accepted a $130,000 payoff to keep silent about it during the 2016 presidential election. Daniels played up her national spotlight, walking out to “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz and wearing a red, white and blue sequined dress. As she stripped down nude, the voices of women rang louder than those of the men in the crowd. At one point during her striptease, the crowd sang along to Tom Petty’s “An American Girl” as Daniels squirted her body with lotion to loud cheers and screams. Many women said Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, drew them to see her perform because of her willingness to speak publicly about her past relationship with Trump, and because of the payment, both of which have contributed heavily to the legal and political turmoil surrounding the president. “I’m not here to watch her get naked or strip, I just wanted to show support for another woman,” said Samantha Paulson, 32, of El Dorado Hills. “She has the guts to talk about her experiences and her views, and that’s not easy right now in this political climate. “I wanted to support her right to have a voice, and I didn’t want it to be all creepy guys throwing ones at her,” Paulson said. Shoshana Steele also came out specifically to see Daniels. She’s not a strip club regular, she said. “I think that she is someone who is influencing politics right now,” said Steele, who did not provide her age or city of residence. “The influence she could have on what’s happening in the U.S. right now makes her someone worth seeing.” Normally, women make up about 20 percent of the crowd, club manager Lars Gudenberg said. But Daniels drew about half women. “We’re definitely seeing more interest from women, and older, more affluent people,” Gudenberg said. “There’s a lot of political motivation and she has a name you recognize, whether it’s polarizing one way or the other. “Her notoriety, positive or negative, is a driving force of why people wanted to come out tonight,” he said. Daniels has attracted widespread attention for speaking publicly about her alleged affair with Trump and his alleged role in keeping her silent before the 2016 election. She has not been shy about disclosing salacious details, including describing the president’s genitalia. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has testified in court that Trump directed him to make the payment to Daniels. Trump first denied, but later acknowledged, that he knew about the payment to Daniels, but only after Cohen had already made it. Trump has denied the affair. Daniels, performing on a national tour called “Make America Horny Again,” is also promoting her new tell-all memoir “Full Disclosure.” She performs two additional shows, Saturday night at 9 p.m. and midnight, at Gold Club Centerfolds in Rancho Cordova. Friday’s early crowd was spirited but not rowdy, with no one yelling out or heckling the porn star. A San Francisco man, who declined to give his name because of concern over stigma for going to a strip club, said Stormy Daniels’ willingness to step into the public spotlight is part of the reason he came out. “She’s getting under (Trump’s) skin,” he said. “She’s standing up to him, and more women are willing to stand up too and not be shoved around anymore. If it takes a porn star to stand up to Trump, I’ll take it.” Trump critics weren’t the only ones who showed up. Some said they wanted to see Daniels perform simply because of her place in history. “This isn’t a regular thing. I’m here because of the Trump drama,” said Mindy Tang, 39. “I like it. And it’s not over.
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