The virtue of porn stars, and the desirability of one, became a hot topic in President Trump’s legal fights Wednesday.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is now the public face of the Trump legal team, used an appearance in Israel to take shots at Stephanie Clifford, the adult-film actress better known as Stormy Daniels.
He seemed to denigrate the attractiveness of Ms. Clifford, who claimed Mr. Trump had an affair with her in 2006-07, by noting to the “Globes” Capital Market conference in Tel Aviv that the tycoon had married three beautiful women.
He said first lady Melania Trump does not believe Ms. Clifford’s claims of an affair, saying “excuse me, when you look at Stormy Daniels,” then making a grimace.
“I know Donald Trump and — what good is three wives — beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels?” he asked rhetorically, making another grimace before he was interrupted by “Globes” editor-in-chief Naama Sikuler, one of the event’s moderators.
“On this stage, we respect every woman,” she said.
Mr. Giuliani didn’t back down.
“Yes, I respect porn stars. Do you respect porn stars?” he replied dismissively. “Or do you think porn stars desecrate women? Do you think porn stars don’t respect women?”
He then answered his own rhetorical formulation.
“I’m sorry I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who … isn’t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation,” he said.
This goes to the heart of the he-said-she-said legal issues, daring Ms. Clifford to testify in her cases against Mr. Trump and attorney Michael Cohen for defaming her.
“So Stormy, you want to bring a case, let me cross-examine you. Because the business you were in entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility any weight,” he said.
The ex-mayor also added that because she made pornography, Ms. Clifford’s reputation cannot be hurt — a key element of defamation lawsuits.
“And secondly explain to me how she could be damaged. She has no reputation. You’re gonna sell your body for money, you have no reputation,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Ms. Clifford’s attorney took to Twitter to protect his client’s virtue, calling Mr. Giuliani “a misogynist.”
“His most recent comments regarding my client, who passed a lie detector test and who the American people believe, are disgusting and a disgrace,” Michael Avenatti wrote, before going on to reply in kind with reputation attacks.
“His client Mr. Trump didn’t seem to have any ‘moral’ issues with her and others back in 2006 and beyond,” he wrote.
He went on CNN later in the day, telling Anderson Cooper that Mr. Giuliani is “an absolute pig” for suggesting that damaging a porn-star’s reputation is impossible.
“I certainly hope that we’re not going to reach a place where Rudy Giuliani is going to be the police to decide which women deserve respect or not,” he said, going on to demand that Mr. Giuliani “should be fired immediately by the president.”