In a series of recordings, Donald Trump's older sister Maryanne has called the US president a "phony" and someone who can't be trusted. The White House dismissed the recordings as unimportant.
In recordings obtained by the Washington Post newspaper, Donald Trump's sister Maryanne Trump Barry made scathing remarks about the president, at one point saying "he has no principles."
"All he wants to do is appeal to his base," Barry said. "He has no principles. None."
Barry, 83, was secretly recorded by her niece, Mary Trump, who recently released a book denouncing the president, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." Mary said Saturday she made the recordings in 2018 and 2019.
The recordings emerged just a day after Robert Trump, brother to Donald and Maryanne, was memorialized in a service at the White House.
The president dismissed his sister's claims in a statement. "Every day it's something else, who cares? I miss my brother, and I'll continue to work hard for the American people," Trump said. "Not everyone agrees, but the results are obvious. Our country will soon be stronger than ever before."
The president's younger brother Robert, who died last week, went to court to try to block Mary's publication, but to no avail.
It is the first time a family member, apart from Mary Trump, has been critical of the president, who seeks re-election in November.
Mary had been under pressure to prove her claims about the president since the release of her book. Some 950,000 copies of the memoirs were sold the day of its release, with the White House calling it a "book of falsehoods."
On Saturday, Mary revealed that she had secretly taped 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with her aunt.
"Mary realized members of her family had lied in prior depositions,'' said Chris Bastardi, a spokesman for Mary Trump. He added: "Anticipating litigation, she felt it prudent to tape conversations in order to protect herself."
The recordings revealed tensions between the president and his sister. At one point Barry says to her niece: "It's the phoniness of it all. It's the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel."
In one recording, Barry says she had heard a 2018 interview in which President Trump suggested that he would put her on the border to oversee cases of immigrant children separated from their parents.
"His base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this," Barry says.
She can also be heard saying that she guesses that her brother has never read her opinions on immigration cases.
"What has he read?'' Mary asks her aunt. Barry responds: "No. He doesn't read."
At another point she says: "His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God." She adds: "I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit."
In her book, Mary claimed that the US president paid someone to take a college entrance exam for him.
"He got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams," Barry said, adding she even remembered the man's name.
shs/rc (AP, AFP)