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Trump's sister says "you can't trust him" in secretly recorded audio

Trump's sister disparages him in secret tapes
Trump's sister disparages him in secretly-taped recordings 00:46

In secretly recorded audio, Maryanne Trump Barry, the eldest sister of President Trump, criticized her brother for his lack of principles, his lying and said, "you can't trust him." The audio, first reported by the Washington Post and obtained in part by CBS News was recorded between 2018 and 2019 by Mr. Trump's niece, Mary Trump, who recently published a tell-all book about the president.

In one recording, which has not been independently verified by CBS News, Barry criticizes Mr. Trump's immigration policies and his "lack of preparation" and "lying." Barry also recalls learning that Mr. Trump suggested sending her to the U.S.-Mexico border to support his administration's policies.

In the recording, she decries "what they're doing with kids at the border," and recalls telling a relative, "Well, I guess he hasn't read my immigration opinions." When asked by Mary what Mr. Trump has read, Barry replies, "No. He doesn't read."

In a number of recordings, Barry is heard complaining about Mr. Trump's character. "Donald is out for Donald, period," she said in one exchange. "All he wants to do is appeal to his base," Barry said in another recording. "He has no principles. None. None."

US property tycoon Donald Trump (L) is p
President Donald Trump is pictured with his sister Maryanne Trump Barry in 2008. AFP

"I mean, he goes to a September 11 memorial and he sees a crowd and he fist pumps," she complains in yet another recording. In that same recording, Barry is heard complaining about Mr. Trump's Twitter account.

"I said, 'get rid of Twitter. Stop this,'" she recalled saying to the president.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, responded to the tapes on "Fox News Sunday," saying: "Another day, another political attack. What I find interesting is any family member that would secretly tape 15 hours of a conversation with somebody obviously to promote an agenda — she's been very vocal in her support for Joe Biden." 

In a statement released by the White House, Mr. Trump addressed the tapes and referenced the recent death of his brother Robert: "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."

In another recording, Barry is heard discussing her nomination to federal court by President Ronald Reagan. She gets heated recalling Mr. Trump suggesting he was the reason she was nominated for the position, prompting Mary to ask what Mr. Trump had ever accomplished on his own.

"I don't know," Barry responded.

"Nothing," Mary said.

"Well he has five bankruptcies," Barry replied.

"Good point. He did accomplish those all by himself," Mary said.

"Yes, he did. Yes, he did," Barry said. "You can't trust him."

Mr. Trump has never personally declared bankruptcy, but several of his businesses have filed for corporate bankruptcy.

Barry discusses her nomination by Reagan several times. She notes that Mr. Trump would often bring up how he called his attorney Roy Cohn, who was close with President Reagan, to help with her nomination to the federal court. Barry says she would have been nominated even without Mr. Trump's intervention. In one recording, Barry says she once told Mr. Trump that if he ever brought it up again, "I will wipe you out."

The Washington Post reports that, while discussing the situation with Cohn and her nomination, Barry stated, "It's the phoniness of it all. It's the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel."

Chris Bastardi, a spokesperson for Mary Trump, told CBS News in a statement the recordings were made because, "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," the statement 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."

The claim that Mr. Trump paid somebody else to take the SAT exam for him is found in Mary Trump's recently published book, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," though it's not an assertion she attributed to Barry in the text. The book was published by Simon & Schuster, a ViacomCBS subsidiary.

Barry is heard discussing this in two separate recordings, although it is unclear if she had firsthand knowledge.

Barry said Mr. Trump was "a brat" and claimed she did his homework for him and "drove him around New York City to try to get him into college."

"He went to Fordham for one year, and then he got into University of Pennsylvania," Barry said. "I guess he had somebody take the exams ... SATs or whatever. ... That's what I believe."

Barry has not publicly criticized Mr. Trump. In one recording, however, she notes that at one point in their relationship, Mr. Trump "didn't talk to me for two years."

Stephen Sanchez contributed reporting.

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