White House attacks Trump's sister, niece over leaked audio tapes

Colin Campbell
·Managing Editor
·3 min read

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sharply criticized President Trump's sister and niece on Sunday, a day after the Washington Post published leaked audio recordings of conversations of the two Trump relatives insulting the president.

“I can tell you that I’ve never met the judge,” Meadows said of Trump’s sister, retired federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. “I was at [Robert Trump’s] funeral the other day. I was hoping to meet her there. She didn’t show up for her brother’s funeral.”

Of Trump’s niece, Meadows said: “This is politics as usual by a niece that was written out of a will, that would apparently just [have] an ax to grind because she wants Joe Biden to be president.”

Meadows made the comments during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” where he was asked about the recordings, which the Post said it obtained from Trump’s niece Mary Trump. The recordings were reportedly made in 2018 and 2019, when Barry was still a federal judge.

ABC's "This week" playing the leaked audio tape for White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday. (Screenshot: ABC)
ABC's "This Week" played the leaked audio tape for White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday. (Screenshot: ABC)

“I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories, the lack of preparation, the lying, the holy s***!” Barry said in the recordings, in which she also called the president “cruel” and a “man with no principles.”

The leaked audio is striking, as Barry has leveled almost no public criticisms against her brother. Mary Trump, on the other hand, has denounced her uncle and recently published a critical book: “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, is the daughter of President Trump's brother Fred Trump Jr., who died in 1981 at the age of 42. The president’s other brother, Robert Trump, died earlier this month at the age of 71. The funeral, which Meadows referred to during his ABC interview, was held at the White House on Friday. In a separate “Fox News Sunday” interview, Meadows again noted that Barry had missed the funeral.

Family funerals were always a fraught affair in the Trump family, as Mary Trump recounts in her bestselling memoir. When her father died, the family patriarch, Fred Trump Sr., refused to follow the wishes of Mary, her brother and her mother, and scatter his ashes near Montauk, N.Y., where he loved to fish and boat; instead he was buried in the family mausoleum in Queens.

At Fred’s own funeral, attended by more than 800 people including then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who gave a eulogy, the speeches were mostly about “my grandfather’s material success, his ‘killer instinct,’ and his talent for saving a buck. Donald was the only one to deviate from the script. In a cringe-inducing turn, his eulogy devolved into a paean to his own greatness. It was so embarrassing that Maryanne later told her son not to allow any of her siblings to speak at her funeral.”

President Trump has previously fired back at Mary Trump’s book, declaring in a July tweet that she was “a seldom-seen niece who knows little about me” and saying his own parents “couldn't stand her!”

He’s had kinder public words for his sister. In a 2016 interview, he called Barry a "very, very well-respected judge.”

Additional contributions by Jerry Adler.

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