Did Donald Trump pose as a made-up spokesman for himself for decades?
That's the takeaway of a recent investigation by the Washington Post, which obtained phone recordings of a supposed spokesman for the real estate billionaire and presumptive Republican presidential nominee — who was actually Trump "masquerading as an unusually helpful and boastful advocate for himself, according to the journalists and several of Trump's top aides."
According to the Post, Trump used the guises "John Miller" and "John Barron" when calling members of the media in the 1970s through the 1990s. Reporters found the calls to be annoying, disturbing or part of some strange inside joke; during conversations with the press, "Miller" and "Barron" would often discuss Trump's personal life and romantic endeavors.
While Trump's use of the assumed identities has long been rumored, the Post article seems to have brought the issue to a head. In the hours following the piece's publication, Trump told USA Today the recordings sounded like a "scam." Later, in a phone interview with the Post, the front-runner simply hung up when reporters tried to ask him directly about the matter.
"It was not me on the phone. And it doesn't sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that. It was not me on the phone," Trump told USA Today. "Let's go on to more current subjects."
However, forensic audio expert Thomas Owen told CNN Politics he had a "fair degree of scientific certainty" the recordings were of Trump, not another man with a similar voice.
"This was so farcical, that he pretended to be his own publicist," People reporter Sue Carswell told the Post. "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."
h/t Washington Post