Why does Donald Trump keep denying that he’s into golden showers?

There have been a lot of explosive stories about Donald Trump since January 2017, when the Steele dossier was first publicly reported, and with the dossier’s credibility in question, it hasn’t been a major story for years. But for some reason, Trump keeps reminding people about one of its most eye-popping allegations: that there was footage of him watching Russian sex workers urinate on each other.

If you’re thinking about all the bad things that Trump has done, you might be thinking about how he recently echoed the words of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in describing political opponents as “vermin” to be eliminated, or about his threats against judges, or about his multiple indictments and his fraud trial—the reasons he’s attacking judges to begin with. If you’re thinking about allegations regarding Trump’s sex life, you might think of his payoffs to adult film star Stormy Daniels and another woman he committed adultery with, or you might think of the $5 million jury verdict against him for sexually assaulting writer E. Jean Carroll.

But Trump is still thinking about the golden showers thing. And he’s going to make the rest of us think about it, too.

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Trump denied the nearly seven-year-old allegation at some length at an Iowa campaign event over the weekend:

”He was with four hookers”—you think that’s good to go up that night and tell my wife, “It’s not true darling, I love you very much. It’s not true!” Actually, that one she didn’t believe, because she said, ‘He’s a germaphobe. He’s not into that, you know? He’s not into golden showers as they say they call that stuff.” I don’t like that idea. No, I didn’t—I thought that would be a big problem, I was going to have a rough night, but that one, she was very good on.

At a donor event in 2021, Trump similarly brought up the story unprompted, in order to deny it. Again, no one but him was talking about this.

Trump’s story about his wife’s response has also changed. In 2018, former FBI Director James Comey wrote in his memoir that Trump had repeatedly urged him to investigate and discredit the report—and Melania’s response was part of the reason Trump said it was so important. Trump, Comey wrote, “brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ … It bothered him if there was ‘even a one-percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true.” This astonished Comey, who wondered, “In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?” So it seems that Trump wasn’t always saying Melania waved off the story.

It is just strange that after so many years with so many other damning—and more credible—reports about Trump, he keeps returning to this one. At this point, it is Donald Trump himself, more than anyone else, who is giving the public reason to wonder if the story is true.

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