David Pecker, the CEO of the company that owns The National Enquirer is a close ally of Donald Trump. Their alliance has come up on several occasions during Trump’s run for the White House. In August, Pecker paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal, a 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year, to cover up her story of the consensual affair she had with Donald Trump in 2006, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Trump married the former Melania Knaus in 2005. Melania Trump gave birth to their son Barron Trump in 2006.
Technically, the Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for the story of her affair with Trump, much as tabloids frequently do for stories. The Enquirer just didn’t publish it. So we’re all clear on dates, the Enquirer and McDougal reached their agreement in early August, just after the Republican and Democratic conventions. Indeed, it was likely during the Trump-Khan War which took up much of the first half of August.
As The Wall Street Journal describes it, McDougal didn’t think she was taking hush money. She thought the Enquirer was going to run her story. But they didn’t.
This isn’t the first of the Trump-Pecker alliance (I know, I know). During the spring Pecker ran interference for Trump running damaging stories against Trump’s enemies of the moment. It was the Enquirer that ran the story suggesting that Ted Cruz’s dad was tied to the Kennedy assassination. In March, the Enquirer ran a story with unsubstantiated claims of Cruz affairs. A source The New York Daily News called an “industry insider” said “Trump is a big friend of Pecker. So no John Edwards-type investigations.”