Trump's Miss Universe Gambit - 2018-02-19
By the late nineteen-sixties, ownership of the Miss Universe Organization had passed to a lingerie company called Kayser-Roth. Cindy Adams, who was an assistant at the company, and her husband, the comedian Joey Adams, were friends of Roy Cohn, the New York lawyer and fixer who had been a close aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy. "Roy used to invite us everywhere, and once we went to a party on Long Island, where I happened to be seated at a small table with this tall young guy with blond hair," Adams told me recently. "Roy told me at that dinner that one day Donald would own New York. I said, 'Yeah, pass the gravy.' "
In 1971, Adams arranged for the Miss Universe contestants to walk down Seventh Avenue as a publicity stunt for the pageant, which was to take place in Miami that year. "Cops studded the route. Nobody was allowed near the contestants in the line of march," Adams wrote later, in the New York Post, where she is a columnist. "I look over. Who's alongside some nifty beauty from some Who-Knows-Where-Country? My brand-new Best Friend. He wasn't The Donald then." Adams concluded, "I also knew then that he loved beauty, loved blondes, and loved the Miss Universe Pageant."
In 1996, Trump attended the Miss Universe pageant, which was being co-hosted in Paradise, Nevada, by the second of his three wives, Marla Maples. Trump heard that the owner of the organization was putting the business up for sale. "How could I pass up the opportunity to own the world's premiere beauty pageant?" he later wrote. As with so much regarding Trump's finances, the price he paid for it is something of a mystery. In "The Art of the Comeback," he wrote that he beat out several competitors with a bid of ten million dollars; in subsequent interviews, he said that he had paid only two million.