Donald Trump admitted Wednesday that he used aliases for business deals but denied that a recently-surfaced audio recording of him pretending to be his own publicist was really his own voice.
“You know, over the years I’ve used aliases. And when I’m in real estate and especially when I was out in Brooklyn with my father and I’d want to buy something,” Trump said on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“I would never want to use my name because you had to pay more money for the land. If you tried to buy land, you used different names,” he said.
Asked which names he used, Trump said he liked the name “Barron,” which he named his now 10-year-old son.
“I made a very good deal using that name,” Trump said, without offering specifics about the deal. “I used an alias in terms of setting up a meeting with Mr. Donald Trump, and it was, and many people in the real estate business do that. You use aliases, and you have to do it. Otherwise they find out it’s you, and they charge you more money and nobody wants to pay more money.”
Earlier this month, Trump denied that a newly surfaced audio recording of a man sounding like Trump and posing to be his own spokesman was indeed him.
“It didn’t sound like me, though, really,” Trump said to Kimmel. “You think that sounded like me?”
“Yeah,” Kimmel said to laughter, though the comedian praised it as a “brilliant” and “funny” tactic.
“I will say this: To me, that didn’t sound like my voice,” Trump said.
Kimmel is also hosting Bernie Sanders this week, and he read out loud a question from the Democratic presidential candidate for Trump. The candidate wanted to know if he would debate Sanders and if he was prepared to talk about “major issues.”
“Yes, I am,” Trump fired back. “How much is he going to pay me?”
Trump went on to say that a Trump-Sanders debate “would have such high ratings” that the two could raise a lot of money for a “worthy charity.”
Even if a network put up the money to host the two candidates and give the profits to a charity, Trump said, “I would love to do that.”
Bernie Sanders said he was willing to do the debate on Twitter.
“Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary,” he wrote.
Michael Briggs, a Sanders spokesman, said that Kimmel allowed the Sanders campaign to submit a question to Trump to be asked during the taping – so they asked about a potential debate.
The Sanders campaign jokingly, but half seriously, wants to debate Trump now that Clinton has declined to debate. They think it’ll be (as Trump also said) the highest rating ever on whatever network that would run it.
Briggs says that he expects that Trump will be allowed to do the same thing when Sanders tapes Kimmel Thursday night.
With Trump’s attempts to revive ‘90’s-era Clinton scandals – and debunked conspiracy theories – dominating headlines this week, Kimmel brought up Trump quotes from 2008 and 2012 in which the billionaire said nice things about Hillary Clinton.
Trump, as he’s often done before, said that as a businessman it was smart to “speak well of everybody.”
“So when they ask me about Hillary, ‘She’s wonderful, her husband, everybody is wonderful,’ and that’s the way it is,” Trump said, recalling how he would answer questions in the media.
“So you were full of shit when you said this?” Kimmel said to big laughs and applause from the audience.
Kimmel playfully introduced Trump as a “tangerine-tinted Godzilla” and “fire-breathing billionaire who incinerated all who opposed him to become his party’s presumptive nominee” before he walked on set, where he got an enthusiastic reception from the crowd.
The two talked about a range of other topics, including a fundraiser in Southern California that Trump headlined Wednesday night.
Trump said some of the attendees at the fundraiser included “liberal” people, and he argued that he can do well in California this November. While previous Republican candidates haven’t wanted to “waste” their time in the state, he said, Trump pledged to “make a heavy play” for the state with the most Electoral College votes, which hasn’t voted Republican since 1988.
Also in the interview, Trump did not give his personal opinion on the transgender bathroom controversy, repeating over again that it’s something states should decide. Last month, Trump went against many in his own party when he said on NBC that there have been very few problems with people who “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”
But Trump didn’t go as far on Wednesday, saying only that it’s something that states should decide and refused to give his personal opinion again. He didn’t say how he would vote if it were an issue on a ballot, saying only states should decide.
“I think the states will do hopefully the right thing,” he said.
Asked what the “right thing” was, Trump said: “I don’t know, yet. I mean I don’t know.”
On a lighter note, Kimmel asked Trump how he comes up with his nicknames for his opponents, like “Crooked Hillary Clinton” and “Lyin’ Ted Cruz.” Trump said he comes up with them himself.
Asked if he’ll come up with a name for Bill Clinton, whom Trump has repeatedly dogged in recent weeks, Trump expressed no interest in creating a moniker for the former president.
“I don’t want to do anything like that,” he said.
Kimmel offered his own suggestion for Trump’s search for a running mate, pitching the idea of hosting a “Celebrity Apprentice” where people compete to be his vice presidential pick.
“That’s a good idea,” Trump joked.
It was one of a few moments when Kimmel had fun roasting Trump. Before the candidate came out on set, Kimmel opened up his monologue saying the presumptive GOP nominee is within the 28 delegates needed to officially clinch the nomination.
“He’s so close he can smell it like a discontinued Trump steak sizzling on the grill,” Kimmel said.
CNN’s Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.