Donald Trump may be a master marketer and know how to get himself into the news, but there’s one headline that he probably wishes would just go away.
It stems of a 1991 recording unearthed by The Washington Post of someone claiming to be Donald Trump’s spokesman/publicist and a then PEOPLE magazine reporter named Sue Carswell. In it, this publicist who identifies himself as “John Miller” brags about Trump’s success in business and sexual conquests, and a story later runs. The PEOPLE correspondent later reported in the magazine that Trump admitted to her that it was in fact him the whole time, and not a publicist, on the call.
Writes The Washington Post: “After Carswell’s story appeared — headlined ‘Trump Says Goodbye Marla, Hello Carla . . . And a Mysterious PR Man Who Sounds Just Like Donald Calls to Spread the Story’ — Trump invited the reporter out for a night on the town with him and Maples. Carswell says Maples persuaded Trump to issue the invitation as an apology for tricking her. A few weeks later, when PEOPLE ran a story about Trump and Maples getting engaged, Trump was quoted saying that the John Miller call was a ‘joke gone awry.”’
And if all this were not bizarre enough, this morning on NBC’s TODAY, Trump denied that it was him or any recollection of what Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer were asking him about.
“No, I don’t think it — I don’t know anything about it. You’re telling me about it for the first time and it doesn’t sound like my voice at all,” he said. “I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice and then you can imagine that, and this sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams — doesn’t sound like me.”
Then he attacked Guthrie for bringing up something two decades old.
“You’re going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago about whether or not I made a phone call,” Trump said on TODAY.
(Read full text of the ‘John Miller’ interview)
Hearing the tape for the first time in decades, Carswell told The Washington Post, “This was so farcical, that he pretended to be his own publicist. Here was this so-called billion-dollar real estate mogul, and he can’t hire his own publicist. It also said something about the control he wanted to keep of the news cycle flowing with this story, and I can’t believe he thought he’d get away with it.”
So could this be damaging to Donald Trump?
“He is denying something that years earlier he admitted to,” says Glenn Selig, a crisis management expert and founder of the national PR firm The Publicity Agency. “Pretending to be your own publicist, misrepresenting yourself in that way, is not a great display of character and bad enough. But then to deny something you already admitted to years earlier adds a whole new layer of bad.
“Any one else would probably go down or be critically wounded. With Donald Trump, I would not bet on it. Some fence-sitters might now ask themselves: Why would he lie? Trump is known as the guy who tells it like it is. But is that only the case when it doesn’t involve him?”
Selig says it would be wise for Trump to be ready for anything now that he has all but locked up the nomination.
“He may have friends. But he clearly has enemies. And he has many powerful people who will do almost anything to make sure he never occupies the White House.”
SOURCE: The Publicity Agency
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