October 17, 2016 at 12:30 PM
A curious thing has happened this election cycle: the Howard Stern effect. A deluge of news reports have centered around old interviews that the radio host conducted with Donald Trump over the years; the two often had on-air raunchy conversations, featuring Trump bragging about his sex life and rating women.
But Stern isn't going to be replaying those interviews anytime soon, even as he watches reporters "scrambling" to unearth old episodes.
"These conversations that I had with Donald Trump weren't done in private, like the Billy Bush tape. This was on the radio. This was all on the air. This was not something hidden away," Stern said on his SiriusXM radio show Monday morning. "I feel Donald Trump did the show in an effort to be entertaining and have fun with us, and I feel like it'd be a betrayal to any of our guests if I sat there and played them now, where people are attacking him."
Stern, a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter, said he recently tried to reach out to the Republican presidential nominee, and told him that "I want you to know I'm not sitting there releasing these tapes. I don't do that. I wouldn't do that to any of my guests."
He continued: "Quite frankly, I'm surprised they didn't find these earlier. There's nothing to find. They were right there in the open."
The interviews, which Stern says number 50 in total, weren't done to sabotage Trump, Stern said.
"I fully knew what I was doing when I was interviewing Trump," the radio host said. "I had a guy who loved to talk about sex. I had a guy who was very open about his opinions. I had a guy who loved to evaluate women on a scale from one to 10, and these were the avenues I went down because I knew it would entertain the audience, and I knew it would bring out an aspect of Trump's personality, and he was great."
As a presidential candidate, Trump has downplayed his appearances on Stern's show, describing them as over-the-top entertainment that played up a playboy image that didn't match reality.
"I never anticipated running for office or being a politician, so I could have fun with Howard on the radio and everyone would love it. People do love it," Trump told The Post in April. "I could say whatever I wanted when I was an entrepreneur, a business guy."
The crude talk between Trump and Stern over 15 years — about oral sex, the famous women they'd like to have sex with, and women's body parts — is pretty standard fare for the show. And it was broadcast publicly.
But a tape The Post published earlier this month included audio of Trump on a hot microphone talking to then-"Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush about fame allowing the businessman to grab women "by the p—y." Trump has since described those comments as "locker-room talk."
On Monday, Stern said his show was, in some ways, an effort to recreate the "locker room" in a public space.
"All the times I've been around guys — believe me, when I'm around guys, 85 percent of the time you're talking about p—y — but I've never been in the room where someone says 'grab them by the p—y,'" Stern said. "No one has sort of advocated that step where you go, 'Hey, I'm going to invade someone's space.'"
Stern has turned down about 500 interviews with publications recently, he said. But he hasn't spoken to Trump since before the Republican National Convention, when he asked the candidate by phone, "Why are you doing this? Why are you running?" Stern warned old dirt would be dug up, the public would want to see his tax returns and "they're going to want to listen to everything you've said sexually."
"He said, 'Well, let's see what happens,'" Stern recalled. "It was early on."