“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”
Barry, 83, was aghast at how her 74-year-old brother operated as president. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”
Lamenting “what they’re doing with kids at the border,” she guessed her brother “hasn’t read my immigration opinions” in court cases. In one case, she berated a judge for failing to treat an asylum applicant respectfully.
“What has he read?” Mary Trump asked her aunt.
“No. He doesn’t read,” Barry responded.
In the weeks since Mary Trump’s tell-all book about her uncle has been released, she’s been questioned about the source of some of the information, such as her allegation that Trump paid a friend to take his SATs to enable him to transfer into the University of Pennsylvania. Nowhere in the book does she say that she recorded conversations with her aunt.
In response to a question from The Washington Post about how she knew the president paid someone to take the SATs, Mary Trump revealed that she had surreptitiously taped 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with Barry in 2018 and 2019. She provided The Post with previously unreleased transcripts and audio excerpts, which include exchanges that are not in her book.
Barry has never spoken publicly about disagreements with the president, and her extraordinarily candid comments in the recordings mark the most critical comments known to have been made about him by one of his siblings. No one else in the family except Mary Trump has publicly rebuked the president.
The transcripts reveal the depths of discord between the president and his sister, illuminating a rift that began when she asked her brother for a favor in the 1980s, which Trump has frequently used to try to take credit for her success.
At one point Barry said to her niece, “It’s the phoniness of it all. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.”
Mary Trump, 55, told The Post recently that her uncle is unfit to be president and she plans to do “everything in my power” to elect Joe Biden. Her father, Fred Trump Jr., died of an alcohol-related illness when she was 16 in 1981. In her book, she says Donald Trump and his father mistreated her father.
The Post sought comment about the tapes from Barry and White House officials on Friday and Saturday and did not receive a response. After this story posted online Saturday night, the White House issued this statement from the president that said in full: “Every day it’s something else, who cares. I miss my brother, and I’ll continue to work hard for the American people. Not everyone agrees, but the results are obvious. Our country will soon be stronger than ever before!”
‘He was a brat’
The allegation that the president paid someone to take his SATs, which was one of the most publicized allegations in Mary Trump’s book “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” stems from a conversation that Barry had with her niece on Nov. 1, 2018.
Barry told how she tried to help her brother get into college. “He was a brat,” Barry said, explaining that “I did his homework for him” and “I drove him around New York City to try to get him into college.”
Then Barry dropped what Mary considered a bombshell: “He went to Fordham for one year [actually two years] and then he got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams.”
“No way!” Mary responded. “He had somebody take his entrance exams?”
“SATs or whatever. . . . That’s what I believe,” Barry said. “I even remember the name.” That person was Joe Shapiro, Barry said.
Donald Trump was friends with a person at Penn named Joe Shapiro, who is deceased. Shapiro’s widow and sister told The Post last month that he never took a test for anybody, including Trump. Mary Trump has said it was a different Joe Shapiro, but that person has not surfaced.
During a Post Live interview last month, Mary Trump was asked whether the source of her information was Barry. “I prefer not to say who it is,” she responded. “It’s somebody who would have absolutely no reason to make it up.”
Chris Bastardi, a spokesman for Mary Trump, said that she began taping conversations in 2018 with Barry after concluding that her relatives had lied about the value of the family estate two decades earlier during a legal battle over her inheritance, in which she received far less than she expected.
Under New York law, it is legal to tape a conversation with the consent of one party, which in this case was Mary Trump.
The inheritance dispute was settled privately in 2001, but Mary Trump has said…