Trump aide dismisses audio tape as
Democrats raise character issue
Send a link to a friend
[May 16, 2016]
By Ginger Gibson and David Lawder
WASHINGTON, 2016 - A top aide to Donald
Trump said on Sunday he did not believe the Republican presidential
front-runner posed as his own spokesman to brag about his personal life,
a controversy that came as Democrats sharpen their attacks on the
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign
rally in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/File
The Washington Post released an audio recording on Friday of a man
who identified himself as Trump publicist "John Miller" and talked
about the real estate tycoon's romantic encounters in a 1991
conversation with a People magazine reporter.
After listening to the tape while appearing on CNN's "State of the
Union" show, senior Trump adviser Paul Manafort said he did not
believe it was the Republican candidate's voice despite his past
admissions of sometimes using a pseudonym.
"I could barely understand it," Manafort said. "I couldn't tell who
it is. Donald Trump says it's not him, I believe it's not him."
Trump told NBC's "Today" show on Friday that the voice was not his,
although he has admitted in years past to using at least one
pseudonym to speak to reporters.
The original People article, which ran in 1991, winkingly described
Miller as "a mysterious PR man who sounds just like Donald."
Within a few days of that article, Sue Carswell, the People reporter
who originally made the recording, reported that Trump had admitted
that he posed as Miller as a joke and had apologized for it.
Trump earlier this month effectively locked up the Republican
nomination to run in the Nov. 8 presidential election and has been
working to try to unify his party after many of its leaders opposed
Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's allies
have described Trump as "deceptive" and honed in on his treatment of
women. Clinton has begun attacking Trump more aggressively since he
effectively secured the nomination, deriding his character and
recently suggesting he is hiding something by not releasing his tax
Trump has reacted angrily to criticism he sometimes reduces women to
their appearances, and in turn has criticized Clinton for how she
and her husband, Bill Clinton, treated women who accused the former
president of sexual indiscretions.
Bill Clinton has admitted to having extra-marital affairs with two
women: Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, and Gennifer Flowers,
a singer and actor from Arkansas.
On Sunday, Trump used his Twitter account to deride a New York Times
article in which several women said he had "unnerved" them over the
years with comments about their looks and unwelcome advances. The
article also said he had a good track record of promoting women to
senior positions, which was rare in the real estate industry.
[to top of second column]
"Everyone is laughing at the @nytimes for the lame hit piece they
did on me and women," went one message posted on Trump's account on
'LOTS OF PEOPLE USE PEN NAMES'
Democratic President Barack Obama used a commencement speech at a
university on Sunday to criticize Trump's positions, including a
proposal to temporarily ban non-American Muslims from entering the
"Isolating or disparaging Muslims, suggesting that they should be
treated differently when it comes to entering this country, that is
not just a betrayal of our values, that is not who Americans are,"
he told the students at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Although it was widely reported in the early 1990s that Trump
sometimes posed as a fake spokesman in order to shape media
coverage, the recording of what is said to be such an occurrence
only emerged a few days ago.
It quickly rippled through American media. The comedy television
program "Saturday Night Live" showed a skit with an actor posing as
Trump calling reporters pretending to be his own spokesman, named
Trump's willingness to pose as a fake spokesman first emerged in
1990, when he testified during a lawsuit that he had used the
pseudonym John Baron, sometimes rendered in news reports as John
Barron, when speaking to journalists by telephone.
"Lots of people use pen names," Newsday quoted Trump as saying after
his testimony. "Ernest Hemingway used one."
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen
in New York and Timothy Gardner in Piscataway, New Jersey; Editing
by Alan Crosby and Paul Simao)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.