Donald Trump Claims Joan Rivers Voted Him for President. She Died 2 Years Before the Election

Trump and Rivers crossed paths in 2009 when she appeared on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’

<p>Bill Pugliano/Getty Images; Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images</p> Donald Trump and Joan Rivers

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images; Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Donald Trump and Joan Rivers

Donald Trump said that late comedian Joan Rivers voted for him when he ran for president in 2016. But Rivers died in September 2014, more than two years before the presidential election.

Journalist Ramin Setoodeh interviewed Trump, now 78, at length for his new book, Apprentice in Wonderland. During one conversation about Celebrity Apprentice, Setoodeh raised Rivers' political views.

“Joan said she was a Republican, did you know that?” Setoodeh asked Trump.

“I thought she might have been a Republican,” Trump replied. “I know one thing: she voted for me, according to what she said.”

PEOPLE reached out to Trump's spokesperson for comment about the impossible claim and did not receive an immediate response.

Related: Donald Trump Has 'Severe Memory Issues,' Says Author Who Interviewed Him at Length: 'He Couldn't Even Remember Me'

<p>Larry Busacca/Getty Images</p> Joan Rivers in 2010

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Joan Rivers in 2010

Trump and Rivers crossed paths when she and her daughter, Melissa, appeared on Celebrity Apprentice in 2009. Melissa was fired from the competition in the season’s ninth episode.

Rivers, meanwhile, wound up winning the season. “Joan was so angry,” Trump said, according to Apprentice in Wonderland. “She went crazy when I fired the daughter.”

“Joan loved Melissa more than anything she’s ever loved before,” he continued. “She thought Melissa was the end-all, and she went totally crazy in defense of her daughter. Oh, they were both yelling. It was great TV. But maybe Joan had more of a right to be yelling.”

Related: Donald Trump's Fixation with Former The Apprentice Contestant Jennifer Murphy Explored in New Book (Exclusive)

<p>James Devaney/GC Images</p> Donald Trump in 2024

James Devaney/GC Images

Donald Trump in 2024

Setoodeh, who spoke with Trump six times for his book after the Republican politician left the White House, claimed during a recent MSNBC appearance that the former president had “severe memory issues.”

“As the journalist who spent the most time with him, I have to say, he couldn’t remember things. He couldn’t even remember me," Setoodeh said.

A spokesperson for Trump defended the former president's memory in a statement to PEOPLE at the time, saying, in part, "President Trump was aware of who this individual was throughout the interview process, but this ‘writer’ is a nobody and insignificant so of course he never made an impression."

Related: Why NBC Didn't Want Ivanka Trump to Replace Her Father on The Apprentice, According to New Book

<p> Bill Pugliano/Getty</p> Donald Trump in 2024

Bill Pugliano/Getty

Donald Trump in 2024

Apprentice in Wonderland examines Trump’s rise to power from his days on The Apprentice to him becoming the 45th president of the United States. The book was packed with revelations about him, cracking the reality competition series’ facade.

The book’s revelations include Trump asking for a salary of $6 million per Apprentice episode, along with him having an alleged fixation with contestant Jennifer Murphy.

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