Trump Hired Diet Coke Valet Despite Sexual Misconduct Claims

Photo: James Devaney/GC Images

When we first learned of Donald Trump’s Diet Coke valet about 100 days into his presidency, he was just a guy who would come running with fizzy aspartame water whenever the “leader of the free world” pressed a red button on the Resolute Desk — an event that might occur a dozen times a day.

After Trump left office, we discovered that the valet’s name is Walt Nauta, and that he’d become one of the former president’s closest aides; eventually, he would also become his co-defendant in the classified-documents case. After serving Trump as a military valet in the White House, Nauta joined him at Mar-a-Lago as his “personal aide and general gofer.” A March 2023 Washington Post profile depicted the Navy veteran as subservient, extremely loyal to Trump, and uniquely uninterested in stabbing colleagues in the back to advance himself. “Some staffers who worked in the White House with Nauta recalled that in the freewheeling world of the Trump administration, he was one of the few staffers who appeared to perform his role — no more, no less,” the paper reported.

But maybe, despite his apparent competence, Nauta is less of a rarity than he initially seemed. The Daily Beast reported on Friday that Nauta — like his boss and many other Trump-world figures — has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. The allegations against Nauta, which three female servicemembers reported to their supervisors in spring 2021, led to him being swiftly reassigned. Per the Daily Beast:

Weeks before Nauta — a Navy enlistee stationed with the White House Presidential Support Detail since 2012 — traded Washington, D.C., for Palm Beach, Navy officials had escorted him off of White House grounds, reassigned him to a new post, and docked his White House security clearance in response to accusations of fraternization, adultery, harassment, and other inappropriate sexual conduct, including “revenge porn,” two people with direct knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.

These accusations included “multiple overlapping and emotionally abusive romantic relationships” that took place over several years, while Nauta was married and serving as Trump’s Diet Coke valet at the White House. The report says: “The ‘revenge porn’ included supposedly compromising images of women that Nauta had allegedly retained and threatened to make public, according to the sources.”

The first claim surfaced in a “command climate survey” conducted around April 2021, as Nauta was recalled from a temporary postpresidential assignment at Mar-a-Lago. Nauta was reportedly among the group of Navy officers briefed on the then-anonymous accusation. A source told the Daily Beast that he emerged from the meeting “cool as a cucumber, ready to find the culprit.” When two additional women came forward and identified Nauta as the man in question, he reportedly admitted to the relationships and was escorted from the White House grounds.

It’s unclear if Nauta was ever officially charged by the Navy, or if he was just allowed to quietly retire. Either way, it seems the circumstances of Nauta’s exit from the White House didn’t bother Trump; he was hired as the former president’s body man in August 2021.

Trump’s indifference, assuming he was aware of the accusations, isn’t very surprising. Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women, and was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of rape. Trump has also repeatedly defended other men accused of sexual misconduct, from staffers to donors to candidates for political office (as long as they’re not Democrats).

This new information about Nauta may, however, shed some light on why he’s remained so loyal to Trump, the man who hired him as his Navy career was potentially imploding — even as his new gig led to seven federal charges.

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