NEW YORK, May 13 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called a report suggesting he posed as his own PR person in the 1980s and 90s in part to talk up his own dating life a "scam."
The Washington Post reported Friday it had received a recording originally made by a former reporter for People magazine of a 1991 interview with a man who identified himself as "John Miller." The spokesman said he was working for Trump handling public relations.
The recording was made while Trump was tabloid fodder for his pending divorce with his first wife, Ivana, and dating model Marla Maples.
In the Post article, the People reporter, Sue Carswell, said she played the tape for coworkers who had dealt with Trump before and immediately identified the voice as Trump himself, not a spokesman. She later played the tape for Maples, who also immediately thought it was Trump, and who burst into tears at a portion of the recording where "John Miller" says Trump did not intend to marry Maples.
Carswell said Trump later apologized for impersonating a PR man and invited her for a night out with he and Maples to make up for it.
Asked about the recording on NBC's Today show Friday morning, Trump denied he posed as his own spokesman and called it "one of the many scams" he's faced since running for president.
"I don't think it was me," Trump said. "It doesn't sound like me. I don't know what they're talking about."
The Post article goes on to quote other reporters at New York tabloid newspapers in the 1970s, 80s and 90s who said they regularly received calls from a Trump "spokesman" named "John Barron" who they took to believe was actually Trump himself. Tabloid editors at the time, the Post reported, said calls from "John Barron" about Trump were so frequent they became a sort of running joke on the papers' city desks.
"This was so farcical, that he pretended to be his own publicist," Carswell told the Post. "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."