Trump ‘personally invited’ Putin to 2013 Miss Universe pageant

Washington: Donald Trump before becoming the US President, personally wrote a letter inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the 2013 Miss Universe pageant which was held in Moscow, a media report said.

At the bottom of the typed letter, Trump scrawled a postscript adding that he looked forward to seeing “beautiful” women during his trip, informed sources told The Washington Post.

Trump, the real estate magnate who owned the Miss Universe pageant, wrote the note at a time when he was looking to expand his brand to Russia.

The letter has been turned over to investigators probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. It is unclear whether Trump’s missive was ever delivered to the Russian President – and if so, whether Putin responded.

Meanwhile John Dowd, an attorney for President Trump, said he was not familiar with the letter.

“It’s all nonsense,” he said.

The White House and attorneys for the Trump Organisation have declined to comment.

At the time, Trump made no secret that he hoped Putin would attend the Miss Universe pageant, which was being held in Russia for the first time, The Washington Post reported.

In a June 18, 2013, tweet, Trump wrote: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?”

However, Putin did not attend the pageant and instead sent Trump a “friendly” letter and a gift of a Russian lacquered box.

Over the years, Donald Trump has offered inconsistent stories about whether he met Putin before he became president.

In October 2013, a month before the Miss Universe pageant, he told late-night host David Letterman that Putin was a “tough guy” and that he had “met him once”, reports The Washington Post.

During a Republican primary debate in November 2015, Trump said that he knew Putin “very well”.

But in July 2016, he told a CBS affiliate in Miami: “I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.”