Did Donald Trump tell People magazine in 1998 that if he ever ran for president, he’d do it as a Republican because “they’re the dumbest group of voters in the country” and that he “could lie and they’d still eat it up”?
A public relations representative with People told numerous media outlets that the magazine couldn’t find anything like that quote in its archives, either. People‘s Julie Farin said in an email: “People looked into this exhaustively when it first surfaced back in Oct. We combed through every Trump story in our archive. We couldn’t find anything remotely like this quote –and no interview at all in 1998.”
In 1998, Trump was cited frequently in the pages of People, but at the time, most of the stories were about Trump’s pending divorce from Marla Maples and appearances at various social and entertainment events.
There were several stories in the late 1990s about Trump’s flirtation with a presidential run. (This became a running theme for Trump, who claimed he was considering a run for president in 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2012. That prompted some early on to dismiss Trump’s claim this time around that he’d run for president.)
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 30, 1999, Trump said he was mulling a run for president, and it sounded like he was considering a bid as an independent.