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- President Donald Trump leaked false information to the press in the 1980s and 1990s about members of the British royal family staying at his properties, according to CNN.
- A slew of false claims appeared in New York tabloids and then were picked up by national publications.
- While the rumors were denied by Buckingham Palace, they triggered major publicity for Trump properties.
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President Donald Trump apparently leaked false information to the press in the 1980s and 1990s about members of the British royal family staying at his properties to garner publicity, according to a report from CNN.
The news comes on the heels of the president’s three-day state visit to the United Kingdom, during which time he was hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and spent time with other members of the royal family. His visit sparked controversy as tens of thousands of protesters took to London’s streets to object to his visit. Most notably, the "Trump baby" blimp made its second appearance before being stabbed by a supporter of the president.
A slew of false claims that appeared in New York tabloids and national publications between 1981 and 1995 stated that members of the royal family were purchasing Trump properties — rumors denied by Buckingham Palace, according to a review by CNN’s KFile team of archival papers, audio, and books about Trump. Despite never being verified, the rumors triggered major publicity for Trump and his properties.
For example, an August 1981 article published by the Associated Press claimed that "Prince Charles and his new bride are planning to buy a $5 million, 21-room apartment in a building under construction here, the New York Post said today." The story mentioned that Buckingham Palace aides personally met with Trump regarding the deal.
But, a follow-up article from the Associated Press denied those claims. "There is no truth at all in this story," said David Wiggs, a spokesperson at the time for the British Information Service. "Prince Charles is not planning to buy a condominium in New York." Trump declined to comment for that story.
Two years later, the Boston Globe also reported a rumor that a Trump Tower condo was bought by Prince Charles, while acknowledging that "Trump’s public relations people cannily refuse to confirm or deny" those claims.
Around a decade later, a cover story in the New York Post, with the headline "Di a New Yawker? She may be building a $5M ‘palace’ at Trump Tower" touted a similar claim. The article acknowledged that the rumor was "maybe started by the Trump Organization."
When New York Post reporter Cindy Adams asked Trump about who inquired into the properties for Princess Diana, he said "it’s a corporation based in London. Each time a cousin or one of the royals buys another unit, I hear from this same guy. Very aristocratic. Extraordinary English accent. Not brought up in The Bronx, understand." When pressed on the name of the source, Trump said "Can’t tell you that. But these people come often. They’re here much more than anybody knows."
As reported by CNN, those claims were denied by Buckingham Palace and Princess Diana never purchased an apartment from Trump. A 1993 biography of Trump, called "The Lost Tycoon" reviewed by CNN, said that the original claim about the princess emerged after Trump leaked information about the fallacious deal to Adams.
Despite that, in 1993, Trump stood by the rumor, telling Howard Stern on his talk show that she was looking into buying a Trump Tower property. Trump added "she is really hot. She has gained 20-25 pounds, she looks great… there could be a love interest. I’d become King of England."
In October 1994, a second New York Post cover story read: "Diana set to buy $3.5M apartment in Trump Tower." That same year, other reports surfaced that Princess Diana and Prince Charles had joined Mar-a-Lago. Publications including the Associated Press and The New York Times wrote about those rumors, with the Times later issuing a correction and the AP publishing a new report.
Michael d’Antonio, the author of ‘The Truth About Trump" told CNN that Trump often made outlandish claims about celebrities and that while "these tidbits were generally thrown-away entertainments" they could "when picked-up by the wire services or more legitimate press, become real reports printed around the world under the banner of a credible source like the Associated Press."
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