President Donald Trump is upset with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders over her responses Wednesday regarding his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, a source close to the White House tells CNN.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, filed suit against Trump this week alleging he hadn’t signed a nondisclosure agreement that would have prevented her from discussing their alleged sexual affair.
On Wednesday, Sanders told reporters that the arbitration was won “in the President’s favor.” The statement is an admission that the nondisclosure agreement exists, and that it directly involves the President. It is the first time the White House has admitted the President was involved in any way with Daniels.
“POTUS is very unhappy,” the source said. “Sarah gave the Stormy Daniels storyline steroids yesterday.”
Two other White House officials came to Sanders’ to defense, insisting Trump thought she did a great job.
This week’s developments are the latest installment in a continuing controversy for the White House involving Daniels, and a distraction from Trump’s attempted rollout of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Just weeks before the 2016 election, Trump’s legal counsel Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 of his own money, which he admitted to in February. Cohen has said the President “vehemently denies” any sexual encounter between the two.
While Trump has rarely accepted personal responsibility for any of his self-inflicted political wounds, the two White House officials say any fault surrounding this Stormy Daniels legal drama lies well beyond the West Wing.
“It’s Michael Cohen’s mess,” one official said, frustrated that this controversy has landed squarely in the lap of those who work in the White House and had nothing to do with creating it.
The issue continues to cause tension in the West Wing and the person at the center of it – the President – is not accepting any of the blame.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.