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Monday, May 16, 2016

Who's the real Donald Trump: or who's the real John Miller?

The New Yorker writer John Cassidy spotlights Donald Trump's multiple personality character disorder.
(This article supports my point about Trump "Liar-Liar-Pants-on-Fire")

JOHN CASSIDY
DONALD TRUMP AND THE “JOHN MILLER” TAPE: 
A QUESTION OF CHARACTER
Composite Sketch - Donald Trump or John Miller? 

Back in the late eighties and early nineties, when Cassidy worked for the London Sunday Times out of New York and Washington, he sometimes wrote about Donald Trump—mostly covering his business deals, but also his personal life, which was splashed all over the New York Post and Daily News

"In my recollection, Trump was easy to get in touch with, which was one reason why he got so much ink", writes Cassidy. 

After calling his office, he’d be put through to a woman named Norma Foerderer, who was his top aide. Foerderer, who died in 2013, would say that she’d check if Trump was available. You’d hear talking in the background, and then he'd get on the phone and tell you how fabulously everything was going for him.

Since Trump’s voice, even then, was instantly recognizable, it’s hard to conceive of him pretending to be somebody else, such as a fictional spokesman. 

But, evidently, that is what he did when dealing with some reporters, calling himself John Miller or John Barron. Now the Washington Post has surfaced a tape of one of those conversations, which took place in 1991 with Sue Carswell, then a reporter for People magazine.

On Friday morning, Trump denied that he was the person on the tape. “It doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that. And it was not me on the phone,” he said on the “Today” show. But anyone who listens to the recording will quickly discover that it sounds very much like Trump. It’s full of braggadocio, narcissism, and scarcely believable claims.

The alleged spokesman says that Trump, who was then struggling through a real-estate bust and emerging from a divorce from his first wife, Ivana, was faring “tremendously well financially” and was being besieged by attractive women who wanted to date him, including Carla Bruni and Madonna. At the time, Trump was engaged in an on-off relationship with Marla Maples, a young model who would go on to become his second wife, and Trump had just declared, via a story in the New York Post, that this was one of the off periods. “Have you met him?” the man identifying himself as Miller asked Carswell. “He’s a good guy, and he’s not going to hurt anybody. . . . He treated his wife well and . . . he will treat Marla well.”

The Washington Post said that it obtained the tape from a source who “asked to be identified only as a person with whom Carswell shared the microcassette of the call shortly after the interview.” After being contacted by the Post and hearing the tape for the first time in decades, Carswell said, “This was so farcical, that he pretended to be his own publicist. Here was this so-called billion-dollar real-estate mogul, and he can’t hire his own publicist. It also said something about the control he wanted to keep of the news cycle flowing with this story, and I can’t believe he thought he’d get away with it.”

Trump has gotten away with a lot, of course, and he will surely remain brazen during this flap. On the “Today” show, he affected outrage that anyone would bring up such an old story. “You’re going so low as to talk about something that took place twenty-five years ago, about whether or not I made a phone call?” Trump said. “Let’s get on to more current subjects.”

Coming from someone who is constantly harking back to stories about Bill Clinton that are decades old, this was a rich response, and it won’t quell the media furor. That’s partly because there’s an actual tape for news outlets to play and for people to share online. But it’s also because Trump is now the presumptive G.O.P. nominee, and every aspect of his persona is going to be examined anew.

As noted in previous Cassidy posts, there's plenty of material in both Trump’s personal life and his business career that bears inspection. He has successes to his name, including some trophy buildings and a collection of upscale golf resorts, but he is also a man who has built his career on hype and self-promotion, who has presided over numerous costly business failures, who has done business with mob-related figures and been sued many times, who has been married three times, and who has even clashed with members of his own family about providing medical coverage for a seriously ill young relation.

Trump shouldn’t be underestimated. His populist message is resonating with a lot of Americans, he knows how to play the media, and his status as a political novice and outsider gives him a leg up. Ultimately, however, voters will have to decide whether he passes the smell test: Is he someone with the character and judgment to be President?

The “John Miller” tape plays to this question. Here is more of him apparently masquerading as his own spokesman:

Carswell: What is your position there?

“Miller”: Well, I’m sort of handling P.R. because he gets so much of it. And, frankly, I mean, I could tell you off the record. Until I get to know you, and talk a little bit off the record, I can tell you that he didn’t care if he got bad P.R. until he got his divorce finished.

So when he got a lot of bad financial stuff, he liked it because, you know, it was good, because he could get a divorce finished. And once his divorce is finished, if you noticed, since then he’s doing well financially and he’s doing well in every other way. . . . And people are saying, “How come all of a sudden he’s doing so well?” . . . So I’ve sort of been put in here to handle because I’ve never seen anybody get so many calls from the press.

Carswell: Where did you come from?

“Miller”: I basically worked for different firms. I worked for a couple of different firms, and I’m somebody that he knows and, I think, somebody that he trusts and likes. So I’m going to do this a little part time, and then, yeah, go on with my life, too.  (Liar-Liar-Pants-on-Fire!)

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