Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trump Used His Aliases For Much More — And Worse — Than Gossip

David Cay Johnston

Donald Trump told a real whopper this week — and we’ve got fresh proof right here.
What we can show is that when Donald Trump made deceptive phone calls over decades — posing as a Trump Organization vice president named “John Miller” or “John Barron” — he was not always puffing up his reputation as a philandering ladies’ man. In his fictional identities, Trump could also be quite threatening, as revealed in the brief clip below from Trump: What’s The Deal?a documentary film that he successfully suppressed for 25 years with threats of litigation.

The story erupted Thursday when The Washington Post put online a recording of Trump posing as “John Miller,” in a 1991 interview with People magazine reporter Sue Carswell. The fictitious “Miller” described himself as a newly hired Trump Organization publicist for the company boss.

Carswell was reporting a story about Trump’s pending divorce from his first wife, Ivana, and whether he planned to marry his longtime mistress, Marla Maples. Their relationship was really hot news at the time, at least in the tabloid newspapers and the tabloid television shows that Trump follows closely whenever they mention him, his self-proclaimed sexual desirability, and the notion that the world’s most gorgeous women cannot resist him.
Even though “John Miller” told Carswell that he was brand new on the job he gave lengthy, detailed and nuanced observations on Trump’s emotional state, various women in his life and whether he was ready to commit to another marriage. “Miller” must have been a really fast study. No publicist I have known in the past 49 years would dare to mention such intimate details about a brand new boss, much less so with the bold authority displayed by “John Miller.”

The morning after the Post story was posted online Trump called the NBC Today show to deny posing as “Miller.” He insisted – emphatically, repeatedly and unequivocally –that his voice was not on the recording. He even offered a conspiracy theory, suggesting it was one of many Trump impersonators trying to harm his reputation.

Asked by host Savannah Guthrie about news reports galore in the early 1990s that Trump routinely planted stories with journalists who received calls from “John Miller” or “John Barron,” Trump replied:
“No, and it was not me on the phone – it was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.” It was him, of course.
But “John Barron” didn’t just puff Trump’s sexual boasting in the press. “Barron” was also menacing, as revealed in the following film clip about his abuse of Polish immigrant construction workers – and the attorney who tried to help them.

Trump: What’s The Deal recounts a wide variety of Trump lies, exaggerations, and manipulations, but the misconduct of greatest interest to voters may be his threatening litigation in a scheme to deny payment to about 200 illegal Polish immigrants tearing down the old Bonwit Teller building on Fifth Avenue (an act of architectural vandalism). Many of the men lacked hardhats or face masks, used sledge hammers rather than power tools, had to pull out live electric wires with their bare hands, in a building laced with asbestos — all in blatant violation of worker safety laws.
A lawyer trying to get the workers paid the meager $4 to $6 per hour that Trump owed them received a bullying telephone call from one “John Barron,” as recounted in the film:
Narrator: Chapter Six. [Voiceover various images of Trump Tower and Trump]
 Threaten the lawyer that the Polish illegals hired after your cheap contractor defaults on paying them. Make sure that the threats are untraceable, in case the guy isn’t scared off.
 Interview On Camera: John Szabo (lawyer for Polish workers):
 “Mr. Barron had told me in the one telephone conversation that I had with him, ‎that Donald Trump was upset because I was ruining his credit, reputation by filing the mechanics liens [legal action intended to enforce payment]. And Mr. Trump was thinking of filing a personal lawsuit against me for $100 million for defaming his, uh…reputation.”
 Narrator: It turned out that Mr. Barron was Donald Trump’s favorite alias.
 When this was revealed Trump said, “What of it? Ernest Hemingway used a pen name, didn’t he?”
You can now view the entire 80-minute documentary, which is a superb examination of Trump’s mendacity and manipulation of journalists and politicians. It’s available for $9.99 on iTunes. If any movie chain had the backbone to show the film each seat would cost at least that much. But for the price of one theater ticket and a few beers, you can have a party, inviting Trump fans and detractors to watch the film and discuss what it reveals.
As for how we know that Trump lied to Savannah Guthrie, that’s beyond dispute. He admitted under oath in the federal lawsuit on behalf of the Polish workers that he had used the name John Barron, which resulted in a spate of news stories. In the aftermath Trump continued his deception, but using the name “John Miller.”
Later he admitted that “Miller” was a phony name, too. He confessed the truth to People Magazine, two weeks after its initial story by Sue Carswell made fun of him for trying to pass himself off as “John Miller.”

Following a lengthy trial in federal court, the real Donald Trump was found to have engaged in a conspiracy to cheat the Polish workers. The judge who decided the case found Trump liable for pay and fringe benefits and also found that his testimony — that he was unaware of what was going on during the demolition phase on Trump Tower — was not credible. Not only was he photographed at the site, but his temporary office across Fifth Avenue had a picture window view so he could observe the whole process of tearing down Bonwit’s and putting up his eponymous tower.

Ultimately the case was settled with a sealed agreement that neither side could discuss. But the record shows that what Trump denied was not just a juvenile prank, but part of a complex and lenghty stealth campaign by Trump to sell and protect himself in ways he was unwilling to do honestly.
Whether it’s the story planted on the cover of the New York Post with Marla Maples supposedly saying sex with Trump was the best ever (a quote she later denied ever uttering), his claims of multi-billionaire net worth when he could not pay his bills, or any other tall tale that puffed up the Trump name — or his ongoing efforts to suppress any fact that might tarnish his image — we now possess an important insight into the Trump mentality.

The man who wants us to give him the nuclear launch codes behaves like a child when he is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, crumbs all over his face. He denies the undeniable. And like a four year-old toddler, he thinks Americans are so gullible that they will believe him.
When Trump shifts his story and says he forgot, as he probably will, remember this: Last fall, he bragged that he has “the world’s greatest memory.”

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