Trump: I've used 'aliases' in business to save money

Donald Trump fixates on Elizabeth Warren as Obama criticizes his proposals
Donald Trump fixates on Elizabeth Warren as Obama criticizes his proposals

LOS ANGELES — Donald Trump said Wednesday he's used "aliases" — including the name of his son Barron — throughout his career in real estate because "otherwise, they find out it's you, and they charge you more money."

"Over the years, I've used aliases," especially when doing real estate deals, Trump acknowledged in an interview that aired Wednesday night on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

"I would never want to use my name, because you had to pay more money for the land," he said. "If you try to buy land, you use different names."

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Trump said he'd "made a very good deal" using Barron's name, and he said he'd use an alias "in terms of setting up a meeting with Mr. Donald Trump."

It was an unusual admission from Trump, who made millions on often-risky real estate deals throughout the 1980s and '90s. He downplayed the tactic, telling Kimmel: "Many people in the real estate business do that."

But in the same interview, Trump insisted that the voice heard in a recording of a 1991 telephone interview with a People magazine reporter and of a man claiming to be Trump spokesman "John Miller" — who sounded remarkably like Trump himself — wasn't him.

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"Didn't sound like me, though. Really," he said after Kimmel praised him for what he said was a "very funny thing to do."

"You think that sounded like me? I don't," Trump said.

Trump has come under fire from Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton's campaign, for comments he made in the 2000s expressing "excitement" for the pending housing market crash because of the profits he stood to make.

Clinton has sought to frame Trump as a con man out only for himself in business and in his White House bid, and his acknowledgment on Kimmel's show could be used to bolster those attacks.

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Trump also said it was just business when he'd praised Clinton in the past, telling Kimmel that, as a businessman, "I speak well of everybody."

"Everybody's wonderful," he repeated, adding that he contributes money to "everybody."

On a more serious note, Trump declined to say what he thought was "the right thing" to do in the debate over allowing transgender people to use their chosen restrooms.

"The party generally believes that whatever you're born, that's what you use," he said. "Me, I say let the states decide."

Trump wouldn't respond when Kimmel pressed him on his personal opinion, but he said it differs from prevailing Republican thinking.

Asked again, Trump replied: "Honestly, I don't know."

Trump also dived into politics, predicting that he'd secure the delegates he needs to lock down the Republican nomination this week and seeming to express some remorse over how the bitter primary fight played out.

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"I didn't want to steamroll anybody, frankly," he said. But he joked that if any of Kimmel's children ran against him, "I would try" to beat them.

Trump said he "had no idea that [the primaries] would go this quickly," saying many pundits predicted that the Republican fight would continue long past the Democratic primaries. But it's been the reverse, as Clinton and her main primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, duke it out in an increasingly bitter battle.

Trump said he enjoys watching the Democratic contest, but "it's getting nasty — I had no idea it was going to be so nasty."

Trump suggested he thought he'd have a tougher fight ahead on his hands if Clinton wins the nomination, despite polls indicating that Sanders leads Trump, while Clinton has dropped to a tie.

"I actually think Bernie would be easier to beat," Trump said.