Politics in general and elections specifically tend to bring out the worst in people, and the 2016 election cycle has been no different. Candidates have already resorted to name-calling, finger pointing, and sometimes downright low moves, like when Donald Trump gave out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s personal cell phone number because Graham called him a “jackass” (which he did after Trump’s comments about McCain’s war hero status).
On Monday, Gawker decided to level the playing field.
“In the spirit of open and fair political debate, we now bring you Trump’s number,” the site writes. “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.”
While Graham responded to Trump giving out his number by making a comical video showing all the ways one can destroy a phone, Trump reacted quite differently.
Rather than destroy his phone, Trump simply turned the voicemail into a campaign ad.
“Hi, this is Donald Trump and I’m running for the presidency of the United States of America,” he says on the recording. “With your help and support, together we can make America truly great again! Visit me at twitter @realDonaldTrump and check out my campaign website at www.donaldtrump.com Hope to see you on the campaign trail, we’re going to do it!”
Regardless of what you think of Trump, he turned Gawker’s attempt to retaliate into a positive. Lindsey Graham’s number, which I just called, has been disconnected. All that’s left is a video of him destroying his phone, which is already forgotten news. Many people, who will likely get a thrill out of dialing up the business mogul, will hear a campaign message—forever, or at least as long as he decides to keep the line up and running.
Thank you @gawker! Call me on my cellphone 917.756.8000 and listen to my campaign message.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2015
As one Twitter user commented, this is precisely the difference between an entrepreneur and a “government slug,” and the reason The Donald will not go down without a fight.