A group of college students pranked Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with a phony endorsement from the prestigious Harvard Crimson student newspaper — and the real estate mogul’s campaign is not taking the joke lightly.
The group of students, which included members of Harvard University’s humor magazine, The Lampoon, was photographed last month at Trump Tower in New York City alongside the billionaire, according to Crimson president Stephen S. Lee.
Lee told the student newspaper that Trump was photographed sitting in the Crimson president’s chair, which had been stolen from the newspaper’s offices in June as part of a long-running prank war between the two student publications.
That photo ran last week alongside an faux editorial titled “Crimson Endorses Trump For President” that was published on a website mirroring the Crimson’s.
“Donald J. Trump is known as a celebrity above all, and although some voters see his celebrity as an indication of style over substance, we would argue that this style is the very substance that elevates his candidacy above the rest of the GOP field,” the editorial read.
“Trump’s unique brand of media ubiquity—whether on social media or primetime TV— lends him a highly valuable ability to both understand what Americans want and enact change to satisfy those needs,” it continued.
The faux editorial went on to praise Trump’s record on job creation, including, in what should have been a dead giveaway, his efforts to “reach out to celebrities who have been inactive or troubled and help them to redefine their careers through business education and brand building” through his reality competition show “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
But Lee told the Crimson that the prank didn’t unravel until the Trump campaign reached out to him directly about the supposed endorsement and he explained that the newspaper does not endorse presidential candidates this early in the race.
A campaign spokeswoman brushed off the prank in a statement to The Hill.
“The students who perpetrated this are fraudsters and liars, but frankly it was a waste of only a few minutes,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The Hill. “Mr. Trump attended the great Wharton School of Finance, a school that has more important things to do.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.