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Trump acted as his own PR guy to offer juicy bits to reporters

us presidential election Updated: May 13, 2016 20:50 IST
Yashwant Raj
Donald Trump Washington Post

A man takes picture of a speaker in the shape of a bust of Donald Trump, displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai, China on Friday.(Reuters)

Donald Trump has impressed everyone with his handling of media, the way he plays the news cycle and dominates prime-time slots. It seems he has been practicing for a while.

As a New York real estate billionaire with a lifestyle that made him a fixture for gossip columns, Trump pretended to be a public relations man, representing himself to reporters.

The Washington Post reported on Friday a 1991 recording of a call from a man called John Miller in response to a request for comments from a reporter writing about his marriage.

“Have you met him (Trump)?” Miller asked the reporter. “He’s a good guy, and he’s not going to hurt anybody... He treated his wife well and ... he will treat Marla well.”

The reporter was working on a  story about the tycoon’s collapsing marriage to his first wife Ivana Trump, his affair with Marla Maples, who would soon be his second wife, and other women.

The Post and the reporter concluded that Miller was no one else but Trump himself, pretending to be Miller. While he called Trump “him” and “he” mostly, he slipped up once, and used the pronoun “I”.

Besides, the reporter played the recording to others who knew Trump well — including Maples — and they all agreed it was him, pretending to be Miller, his PR man.

Trump denied the man on the tape was him. “It was not me on the phone,” he told NBC news on Friday. “And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me.”

The Post said New York reporters who covered Trump in the 1970s, 80s and the 90s, would get calls from Miller or a man named John Barron, offering to speak on Trump’s behalf.

“Trump was such a pretender he even used to fake being his own spokesman, as I learned recently,” Susan Mulcahy, who was once a reporter and editor at New York Post, wrote recently.

Barron, who figured even in reports in The New York Times speaking on Trump’s behalf, is also the first name of Trump’s son from his third wife, Melania Trump.