Will John Miller and Joey Pepperoni Take Down Trump? Political Analysts and Late-Night Comics Weigh in on Trump’s Publicist Stunt

You may have heard that Back to the Future villain Biff Tannen was based on Donald Trump – but did you know that the billionaire businessman was also the “real-life inspiration” for Marvel superhero Iron Man?

So said Trump’s “publicist,” Joey Pepperoni, anyway, in Saturday’s SNL spoof poking fun of the presumptive GOP nominee for masquerading as his own spokesperson in 1991 to boast about himself to then-PEOPLE reporter Sue Carswell.

Stephen Colbert got in on the Trump bashing, too, hopping on a call with “Barron McJohnington” (a play on John Miller and John Barron, the two names Trump reportedly used when posing as his own publicist) on Friday’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“I don’t like the lies you’re telling about Donald Trump, who’s my incredibly successful boss and definitely a different guy than me,” McJohnington told Colbert before claiming Trump used to have sex with Jessica Rabbit.

And John Oliver couldn’t resist getting a dig in either, extending an open invitation for “John Miller” to stop by the show and enjoy some of his favorite things: “overcooked steaks, low-grade pornographic magazines and a hand mirror.”

As Oliver pointed out, Trump’s publicist stunt shouldn’t have made headlines in 2016. The mogul confessed to posing as John Miller to Carswell in 1991.

The real story, Oliver said, is that present-day Trump lied about it.

“He said that he was sorry that he made the call, that was a joke that went awry,” Carswell told ABC7 on Saturday, adding, “It shows he’s a liar right now. And that distresses me.”

She’s not the only one.

Late-night spoofs aside, some political commentators say Trump’s publicist charade – and his failure to come clean about it last week – is cause for concern.

The New Yorker‘s John Cassidy says it speaks to questions about whether Trump has the “character and judgement” to be president.

Salon‘s Amanda Marcotte argues the stunt is “the scandal we’ve all been waiting for, one that confirms he is the monster you thought.”

And The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson writes that Trump’s “opponents in the primaries were right to call him a con artist, a narcissist and a pathological liar. Just ask ‘John Miller.’ ”

But according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, “a story of 30 years ago and whether Donald Trump impersonated someone or not, that he denies, is really not the most important thing for us to talk about.”

And senior Republican strategist Kevin Sheridan told the Today show Saturday that Trump’s phony phone call is unlikely to hurt his campaign.

“He didn’t need to lie about it he could have just admitted it … most people already knew,” said Sheridan.

But, he added, “It doesn’t seem to matter to his voters.”

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