Donald Trump posed as his own spokesman

A quarter-century-old telephone recording shows Trump posing as “John Miller”

Aaron Camp
May 14, 2016 · 2 min read

NOTE: Portions of the first paragraph following this author’s note have been edited to remove a hypothesis of mine that was found to appear to be incorrect and add a reference to a 1990 lawsuit involving Trump.

The Washington Post recently obtained a quarter-century-old audio recording of a telephone interview of real estate mogul Donald Trump, now the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee, by Sue Carswell, who was, at the time, a reporter for People magazine. However, Trump didn’t claim to be himself in the telephone interview. Instead, Trump catfished Carswell by falsely claiming to be “John Miller”, a public relations official for Trump. Trump used an altered voice in the interview. It appears that “John Miller” was a fake name and identity that Trump began using after a previous fake identity, “John Barron”, was outed by Trump himself in a 1990 lawsuit.

A transcript of Trump catfishing Carswell is available here. Trump is listed by his alter ego “John Miller” in the transcript.

What Trump did to Carswell is known as catfishing, a tactic, usually done online, but, in this instance, was done via telephone, of using a fake identity in electronic communication of some kind for deceptive and/or other nefarious purposes. Susanna Birch, an Australian birth doula, described a common form of catfishing here, although Trump was catfishing Carswell to conceal his identity while talking about his real-life romantic life; a more common form of catfishing involves feigned romantic interests toward a person, which was not the case in regards to the Trump/Carswell scenario.

There’s only one way for Donald Trump to prove that John Miller is not a Trump alter ego, and that would be for him to prove that John Miller is or was an actual public relations official on Trump’s payroll in 1991.

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