- Thomson Reuters
Donald Trump on Friday denied masquerading as a spokesman for himself after The Washington Post uncovered an old recording of someone who sounds like Trump but identifies himself as “John Miller.”
The recording is from a 1991 conversation between a People magazine reporter and a man who said he was a publicist for Trump.
The voice and cadence sound very similar to Trump’s, The Post noted – and he was quoted in a subsequent People magazine story from that year saying the call was a joke.
But in a Friday interview with the “Today” show, Trump denied he was the voice on the recording.
“No, 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,” Trump said. “I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice, and you can imagine that. This sounds like one of these scams, one of the many scams. It doesn’t sound like me.”
He continued: “It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that. It was not me on the phone.”
The Post reported that such calls – from men who identified themselves as Trump publicists named “John Miller” or “John Barron” – were well known to reporters who covered Trump in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s.
The recording in question was from a call for a People story about Trump ending his relationship with Marla Maples, who later became his wife, for Italian model and future first lady of France Carla Bruni. (The People story identified “Marla” as “Maria.”)
The People story reads:
A curious PEOPLE reporter called Trump’s office to ask if the story were true. Five minutes later, a man identifying himself as John Miller called back, said he was handling publicity for Trump and confirmed everything, in detail. Yes, said Miller, it was over with Maria. “It doesn’t matter to [Donald] if Maria talks; he truly doesn’t care.”
As for that diamond ring Trump bought Maria several weeks ago, “It was never an engagement ring,” said Miller, who went on to brag about the army of women he said were rabidly chasing The Donald: Madonna was one, he said, Kim Basinger another. “Important, beautiful women call him all the time,” said Miller. It was a fascinating interview, made all the more fascinating when the reporter realized that the man she was talking to seemed to be … no, it couldn’t be … yep, it apparently was: Donald Trump, posing as a fictitious PR man.
Maples also spoke to People and identified the voice on the recording as Trump’s.
In another People story from later that month, Trump seemed to admit that the “John Miller” calls were a joke. People reported: “The John Miller fiasco he called a joke gone awry. ‘What I did became a good time at Marla’s expense, and I’m very sorry,’ says the newly humbled tycoon.”