Former President Bill Clinton tried to bat down the theory Tuesday that he urged Donald Trump to enter the presidential race in a phone call before the billionaire Republican front-runner announced his candidacy in June.
“I had a very pleasant conversation with him and it wasn’t about running for office,” Clinton said of the phone call in an interview with Stephen Colbert on CBS’ “The Late Show.”
In August, the Washington Post reported that Clinton and Trump talked by phone in the spring and, while Clinton didn’t tell Trump to make the leap into presidential politics, he supposedly “encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party.”
“The call came as Trump was making a final decision about whether to run, and he was candid about his political ambitions and his potential interest in seeking the White House during the talk,” reported the Post.
“I get credit for doing a lot of things I didn’t do like that,” Clinton told Colbert Tuesday.
“His daughter told my daughter that he had tried to call me and I didn’t get the message, so I simply called him back,” Clinton explained. “I think by the time I got him back he had forgotten why he called me in the first place.”
Clinton also gave his analysis of what he thought was driving Trump’s appeal to voters.
“He’s a master brander and he’s the most interesting character out there,” Clinton said while laughing.
“It may have a short half-life, his campaign, I can’t tell yet,” Clinton went on. “But he is a master brander and there is a macho appeal to saying, ‘I’m just sick of nothing happening. I make things happen. Vote for me.'”