Maryanne Trump Barry, Donald Trump's older sister, harshly criticized the president, characterizing him as cruel and a liar who could not be trusted, in a series of recordings secretly made by her niece, Mary L. Trump. The Washington Post was the first outlet to report on the recordings and published them online Saturday night. Several outlets later said they independently obtained the recordings in which Barry, 84, mocks her 74-year-old brother and strongly criticizes his tenure as president. "His goddamned tweet and the lying, oh, my God," she says in one of the recordings. "I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit."
Barry, a retired federal appellate judge, has never publicly spoken about any disagreements with her brother. But the audio makes clear she has plenty to say and isn't a fan of her brother or the way he runs things at the White House. "It's the phoniness of it all. It's the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel," she says in one of the recordings. At another point, Barry says "Donald is out for Donald, period." When her niece asks Barry what Trump had accomplished on his own, Barry says, "Well he has five bankruptcies," before adding: "You can't trust him."
Barry also harshly criticized the president's immigration policies, particularly the way his administration separated families at the border. She was still a federal judge when she heard her brother suggest on Fox News that maybe she would place Barry at the border. "All he wants to do is appeal to his base," Barry says. "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 criticized "what they're doing with kids at the border" and said it was clear Trump "hasn't read my immigration opinions" if he thought she would be an ally in his border policies. And that is par for the course, she said, because "he doesn't read."
In all, Mary Trump secretly recorded 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with Barry in 2018 and 2019. She provided the recordings to the Post in response to the paper's inquiry about her source in one of the most explosive elements in her recent tell-all book about her uncle, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. The Post asked Mary Trump how she knew that her uncle had paid a friend to take the SATs for him so he could transfer into the University of Pennsylvania. Barry made clear in her conversations academics were never her brother's forte, calling him "a brat" and claiming she "did his homework for him." She also says "he got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams." When Mary Trump sounds amazed at what she's hearing, Barry expands. "SATs or whatever," Barry says. "That's what I believe."
The White House released a comment from the president after the Post's story was posted online: "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!"
Mary Trump's spokesperson, Chris Bastardi, said she began taping conversations with Barry, after she concluded that several of her families had lied as part of a longstanding inheritance dispute. Mary Trump received much less inheritance than she expected and she claims she was tricked about the value of the family's estate. "Mary realized members of her family had lied in prior depositions. Anticipating litigation, she felt it prudent to tape conversations in order to protect herself," Bastardi said. "She never expected to learn much of what she heard, including the President's sister, Federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, state that Donald Trump had paid someone to take an SAT exam for him."