Radio shock jock Howard Stern thinks President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign started as a publicity stunt — and he claims to have received “inside information” to prove it.
Stern made the claim during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired Thursday. When asked about his history and relationship with Trump, Stern offered his support for a theory that has been floated by others before him.
“I have no doubt because I have some inside information,” Stern said of his suggestion that Trump’s campaign was a “publicity stunt” at the start.
The infamous radio host said the notion that Trump could mount a presidential campaign as a PR strategy dated back to Trump’s “Art of the Deal” book.
Stern credited Trump’s earlier teases of presidential ambitions to that same strategy.
“And then this time around, in the last election, ‘The Apprentice’ ratings were not what they were. NBC was not gonna give him a raise, and what’s a better way to get NBC’s interest,” Stern asked. “‘I’ll run for president, and I’ll get lots of press,’ and I think that’s what happened.”
Watch the video below, via CNN:
Radio shock jock Howard Stern: Trump's candidacy for president was a "publicity stunt" in order to get a raise from NBC for hosting "The Apprentice." https://t.co/3jPiLiY4AG pic.twitter.com/dc4mPCmSjA
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) May 24, 2019
Asked whether he believed Trump enjoys being president, Stern didn’t mince words.
“I don’t think he likes being president at all,” he said. “I think he liked winning the presidency — he likes to win.”
Stern’s relationship with Trump dates back to numerous interviews on the radio host’s infamous program. Reflecting on how some of the clips of those appearances have resurfaced since Trump entered the political arena, Stern offered a defense of Trump.
“That was a very jokey thing on my show,” Stern said of one clip featuring Trump comparing avoiding sexually transmitted diseases to his own personal Vietnam War. “If you went back and listened to the tape, you would not take that seriously. He was in the spirit of the program.”
Stern also reflected on a campaign trail conversation with Trump, who asked the radio host to appear at the 2016 Republican National Convention and endorse his candidacy. Stern declined the offer, but the shock jock suggested he could have ended up as head of the FCC if he had been “all in” on Trump’s campaign.