Turnabout is apparently fair play in politics. A cellphone number purported to belong to the poll-topping Donald Trump was made public Monday by Gawker in "the spirit of open and fair political debate." The move came less than two weeks after the reality TV star and leading candidate for the Republican presidential nominee publicized the cellphone number of South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is also running for the Republican nomination. Trump's campaign responded Monday that the number is out-of-date and unused.
Sam Biddle, a senior writer at Gawker, wrote that he shared Trump's number "since Trump, in his considered political judgment, has decided that opening up a direct, personal channel of communications between his supporters and his primary opponents is a noble campaign tactic, we think it's only fair and right that Republican primary voters be able to reach out to Trump himself." Gawker did not explain how it had acquired Trump's personal number.
here’s donald trump’s cell phone number http://t.co/c7tAtihL25
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) August 3, 2015
Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN that he did not know about the post when he was reached for a comment, but that the published number is "not the number I use when I call him, so I don't know where that number goes." The campaign later said in a statement that "It's a very old number. This is not one he uses. Mr. Trump has several numbers so this is not an issue."
Trump revealed Sen. Graham's number after calling him a "lightweight" and an "idiot," according to Politico. During that episode July 21, Trump held up a card showing Graham's phone number after the senator called Trump a "jackass" for his comments criticizing Sen. John McCain's war record.
"He doesn't seem like a very bright guy. He actually probably seems to me not as bright as Rick Perry," Trump said, reported Politico. "I think Rick Perry is probably smarter than Lindsey Graham." Graham released a comedic video the day after the rally depicting him destroying his cellphone, making fun of Trump's gesture.
Gawker reported that an aide picked up his cellphone for at least some of the time, and urged readers to ask for Mr. Trump. Biddle also urged readers to ask Trump questions related to the candidate's numerous controversies: "Does he still think Mexicans are out to rape you? Speaking of rape, does he think it’s possible to rape your own wife? Just how much did he exaggerate his net worth to hit the $10 billion figure? What about breast milk does he find so disgusting? Which cabinet position would he give Sarah Palin?"
Upon dialing the provided number, the call went to a full voice mailbox. MSNBC said Monday that Trump used the same number to call into the network in June.