Maryanne Trump Barry, 83, said her brother 'doesn't read', and slammed him as 'cruel' over his immigration policies which saw thousands of children separated from their families and held in detention centres. The conversations with Ms Trump Barry, which were secretly recorded by her now estranged niece Mary Trump, appear to reveal a deep lack of trust in the President from within his own family, and are a potentially damaging blow ahead of the US Presidential elections on November 3.
In the recordings, obtained by the Washington Post and reported by the Daily Mail, Ms Trump Barry says her brother paid a friend to take exams for him to get him into college. That claim had previously been made by Mary Trump, who until now had not revealed the source of the allegation. Ms Trump Barry also says she used to do her brother's homework for him, and when asked about his achievements, cites "five bankruptcies".
According to the Mail, she made the shocking claims during 15 hours of phone conversations with her niece during 2018 and 2019, which Mary Trump secretly recorded. The release of the secretly recorded conversations comes a day after Trump held a funeral service at the White House for his brother Robert. Mrs Trump Barry appeared to be absent from the service. None of Trump's siblings have publicly criticised their brother or his policies during his time as president.
However, during Ms Trump Barry's time as a federal judge, her approach to immigration issues appeared to be at odds with the president's hard-line policies. In one case, she criticised a judge over their treatment of an asylum applicant. And in the secretly recorded audio, she says of Trump to her niece: "All he wants to do is appeal to his base. 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."
She goes on to talk about his "lying" and criticises his frequent use of Twitter, blasts the treatment of children at the border with Mexico, and appears to have a dig at the President's intelligence by talking about his academic performance in his younger days. Mary Trump had previously claimed in her memoir 'Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man', that her uncle had paid someone to take his SATs for him.
She had previously refused to reveal the source of her claim, merely saying it was "somebody who would have absolutely no reason to make it up". But the audio reveals that her aunt made the claim to her during a conversation recorded on November 1, 2018. "I did his homework for him... I 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 because he had somebody take the exams," says Ms Trump Barry.
Trump's sister goes on to name the friend as Joe Shapiro. Former tennis star Pam Shriver, the widow of Trump's friend Joe Shapiro, has denied the allegations, saying her husband did not know the future president until they attended business school together. When Mary Trump asks her aunt during the recordings what Trump achieved on his own merit, Mrs Trump Barry cited "five bankruptcies" and adds "you can't trust him".
The recordings also feature Mrs Trump Barry criticising her brother for talking about his own achievements at their father's funeral in 1999, rather than speaking about their dad Fred Trump Snr.She is also heard talking about how Trump expressed surprise at her love of reading, and at the fact she didn't watch Fox News.