'John Miller' had the worst week in Washington

By Chris Cillizza analysis

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Or is it 'John Miller'? Photo / AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Or is it 'John Miller'? Photo / AP

John Miller here. Damn glad to meet ya! Have you heard about that super handsome, way cool guy named Donald Trump? Man, he is the best!

We learned this week that "John Miller," an alleged spokesman for Trump back in the 1980s, was very, very close to the real estate mogul. So close in fact that he WAS the real estate mogul, making calls to reporters under an assumed name to boost Trump's status.

Write Marc Fisher and Will Hobson in the Washington Post:

"A recording obtained by the Washington Post captures what New York reporters and editors who covered Trump's early career experienced in the 1970s, '80s and '90s: calls from Trump's Manhattan office that resulted in conversations with "John Miller" or "John Barron" - public-relations men who sound precisely like Trump himself - who indeed are Trump, masquerading as an unusually helpful and boastful advocate for himself, according to the journalists and several of Trump's top aides."

Trump denied the "Miller" connection shortly after the story was posted. "You're telling me about it for the first time and it doesn't sound like my voice at all," Trump said on the "Today" show. "I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice and you can imagine that and this sounds like one of these scams, one of the many scams."

Which is weird. Because in a 1990 lawsuit - regarding his alleged use of undocumented workers from Poland to build Trump Tower - The Donald testified under oath that "I believe on occasion I used that name".

Trump was referring specifically to the nom de plume "John Barron" in that instance but it's been widely reported that he used Barron and "John Miller" interchangeably at the time.

The Post managed to reach Trump after the story posted and, after spending 45 minutes on the phone with him, asked if he was "John Miller." Here's what happened next:

"The phone went silent, then dead. When the reporters called back and reached Trump's secretary, she said, 'I heard you got disconnected. He can't take the call now. I don't know what happened.'"

Quick reminder: Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

The "John Miller" thing isn't likely to badly damage Trump among his voters - most of whom couldn't, frankly, care less. Trump has said and done far more controversial things than pretend to be his own spokesperson without his supporters even batting an eye.

But, part of what Trump needs to do is reassure the party regulars that he is the sort of guy who can be trusted as the GOP standard-bearer in November. Trump spent Friday in Washington doing just that - meeting Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders. Those meetings, by all accounts, went well.

Less than 24 hours later, however, the "John Miller" story dropped - re-stoking every doubt wavering Republican leaders had about Trump's trustworthiness.

John Miller, for even existing, means Donald Trump had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

- Washington Post

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