Nothing weird or creepy about this…

trump CREEPER phone

Did Donald Trump use a secret phone console to listen in on guest and employee calls at his Mar-A-Lago resort? Probably! Via Buzzfeed:

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers…

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate. Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently….

“He listened in,” said one source with deep knowledge of the working of the phones and Trump’s phone use. This person added that workers were told to be aware of it. For example, this source recalled a time when a staff member was on the phone with a club member. During the phone call, Trump called the staff member on another line to weigh in on the very issue that was being discussed. “There is no other way you could know what that conversation was about unless you were eavesdropping,” this source said.

A second source said he had direct knowledge that Trump “could pick up the phone in the bedroom and listen to any conversation that was going on.” This person said Trump used it “to eavesdrop.” This source said that some staff, who used a separate switchboard, knew when Trump was listening in on calls, because when he did, a light on that switchboard would come on…

The two former Mar-a-Lago officials who said there was no eavesdropping acknowledge that there was a switchboard in Trump’s room. One, who left Mar-a-Lago last year to pursue real estate, is John Velez, the former Mar-a-Lago director of security. “He had a switchboard,” Velez said, but “the switchboard is just for him to dial out.”

Velez called it “ridiculous” that Trump could listen in on phone calls. Instead, Velez said, Trump used the console just so that he would not have to use a dial pad or call the operator. “Trying to remember extensions to every suite is impossible,” he said.

Yeah…it makes a lot more sense to install a console with a line to every suite instead of issuing a phone directory.

[T]he tycoon’s former butler, Anthony Senecal…maintains that this was for simplicity’s sake. “A lot of his friends stayed at Mar-a-Lago and he didn’t want to go through the front desk.”

Senecal said he did not know whether the phone could be used by Trump to eavesdrop on calls. “As far as listening in I can’t believe he would ever do that. I don’t know that he ever did that. I can’t see him doing that.”

Yeah, the insane racist butler is totally credible. Damn, Trump is one creepy mofo.

98 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    Creepy mofo?

    Republican support bumps up 3%.

  2. 2
    Mike in NC says:

    Every day it just gets weirder and weirder with this insane clown. His ‘scampaign’ is doomed to fail but he’ll be sure it turns a profit.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    @Mike in NC:

    His ‘scampaign’ is doomed to fail but he’ll be sure it turns a profit.

    That is the truth

  4. 4
    bystander says:

    If this pioneer Is any indication, the convention in Cleveland should be a pip.

  5. 5
    hellslittlestangel says:

    I am so looking forward to November.

  6. 6
    Jeff says:

    Nixon would be so jealous.

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Thought this was going to be an illustration of Mika and Joe in their masks. (Thanks, baud!)

  8. 8
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @shomi: The economic effects of the UK leaving — if it actually does leave — will happen over the course of years. The drop and rise in the stock market is due to high-speed speculating trading taking advantage of the herd mentality of the average investor.

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:

    There is a not very good HBO movie from the 1980s called Head Office and I swear to fucking God that Trump is a clone of Eddie Albert’s character in that movie.

    At one point, they spend time at a board meeting with Albert personally deciding whose phone should be disconnected because they’re behind on their bill. His toadies explain that he feels like it “keeps him connected with the people.”

    I can totally hear Trump saying, “Dis-co-nnect!” in exactly the same tone Albert uses.

  10. 10
    raven says:

    @bystander: The dude “Although the handsome 20-something wore no clothes, he appeared to be a bit of a style maven, screaming out: “I love fashion, it’s taught me so much!”

  11. 11
    catclub says:

    Damn, Trump is one creepy mofo

    If that had been in an office, it might make sense, but in his bedroom, gets full creepy cred.

  12. 12
    catclub says:

    @shomi: I still have no idea whether Brexit will happen or not. It seems to me that invoking Article 50
    should be put off to never, but what do I know.

  13. 13
    Tom Levenson says:

    What a great blackmail tool. All the stuff one might hear at such a place. I wonder…

  14. 14
    Trollhattan says:

    It’s simpler than that: pre-vote pricing was predicated on it failing, because they, too, “believed” the polls. Oopsie! So the post-vote scramble was adjusting for their mistakes. Now it’s on to the next kerfuffle. Seven out of the next fourteen kerfuffles will in some way involve Trump!.

  15. 15

    @Elizabelle: Joe and Mika did give out a vibe of being a couple, just like Paula Broadwell did in her interview with Jon Stewart about Petraeus.

  16. 16
    hovercraft says:

    I still want to know how his primary opponents let this crazy, lying, creepy muthafucka get this far. Yes I know they all wanted to be the last man standing against him, but seriously how did this happen. There are enough slush funds out there that could have exposed him with no candidates finger prints. It could have been called Right to Rise superpack.
    Running sleazy campaigns is supposed to be the one thing republicans are good at, they sure as hell can’t govern worth a damn. They should all be focused on spreading lies about Hillary right now, instead they are having to spend their time defending a racist, misogynist, crazy pronouncement making asshole.
    The next four months of revelations is going to be mind numbing and entertaining.

  17. 17
    catclub says:

    @Tom Levenson: There might be fewer customers at the place now this is known. Sad!

  18. 18
    Trollhattan says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    Who knows, the Donald might have been monitoring much more than just audio.

  19. 19
    bystander says:

    Trump is also the villain in Gremlins 2, and 101 Park Avenue South stands in for Trump Tower.

    @raven: Now he’s styling a cast on his arm. I just hope he’s fully recovered by the time the convention rolls around. Of course assaulting the police may slow down his travel plans.

  20. 20
    redshirt says:

    @catclub: I think all the Trump Brands will be taking a dive once this insanity is done. Sad!

  21. 21

    [T]he tycoon’s former butler, Anthony Senecal…maintains that this was for simplicity’s sake.

    This is the same guy that just got to have a nice chat with the Secret Service for advocating that Obama be killed. I’m sure he’s telling the truth here, though.

  22. 22
    Keith P. says:

    With those tiny hands, you can feel safe in knowing he probably wasn’t jerking off while listening to the calls.

  23. 23
    smith says:

    @redshirt: There was a story a month or so back that said his hotels have already taken a big hit — bookings down about 60% in the past year.

  24. 24
    🌷 Martin says:

    There’s a parallel universe with a Donald Trump with a goatee who’s a totally normal, generous guy.

  25. 25
    Patrick Thompson says:

    @Keith P.:

    Tiny hands work just fine for a tiny schlong.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    LAO says:

    O/T: Syed of Serial, was granted a new trial today.

  28. 28

    @🌷 Martin: Points for Star Trek reference.

    Riverside, Iowa has a sign at the entrance proclaiming it to be the future birthplace of James Kirk.

  29. 29
    JPL says:

    TPM has a link to a radio podcast of Michael Symon, the Iron Chef, saying that Trump is not welcome in his restaurants in Cleveland. He met him a few times, and he creeps him out.

  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    Damn, Trump is one creepy mofo.

    Yeah, but Trump the odd and creepy businessman is a side issue. The important thing is that he is politically incompetent.

    I suppose, those, that this stuff hints at Nixon levels of paranoia should Trump somehow magically win in November. There is much to suggest that he is emotionally, psychologically, temperamentally unsuited to be president, but this kind of thing does not always set off alarms for potential voters.

    And his strongest supporters don’t see the yoooge chip on the Donald’s shoulder; they only see how he overcompensates by being “tough” and “plain speaking” and all the other stuff that goes along with the Trump bluster. And as increasingly petty sounding digs at Trump’s doings keep coming up, Trump digs in deeper and fights back harder and his supporters dig in with him.

  31. 31
    catclub says:


    Pocahontas is not a new insult with Trump.

    The author knows a lot about Trump because he wrote a book on him.

  32. 32
    GregB says:

    Let’s Make America Fap Again.

  33. 33
    bemused says:


    That photo just makes me gag.

  34. 34
    ThresherK says:

    How old is that photo of Canard A L’Orange in the screengrab?

  35. 35
    hovercraft says:

    If someone wrote a script with Drump as the main character, it would be sent back as being too over the top. It’s like the man watched the Austin Powers movies and assumed they were tutorials on how to live. He’s like a cross between Austin with the women and Dr. Evil with his quest for world domination and incompetence.
    Does he not know how to behave like a normal human being. Like clings to like, racists unite.

  36. 36
    singfoom says:

    So, I think this ends up as a plus in a large demographic on the Republican side. The pant shitting “Oh my god ISIS is coming for us” people WANT someone listening to all the phone conversations to make sure nobody does anything bad.

    Sure, this is icky on the personal level, but Drumpf is the embodiment of Big Brother and Big Brother won’t hurt you, he’s here to protect you from the “others”.

    But yeah, he’s a fucking creepshow. Are there any state or federal laws against eavesdropping like that?

  37. 37
    hovercraft says:

    I wouldn’t bet money against that, he’s creepy enough to do that.

  38. 38
    srv says:

    Obama’s nsa eavesdrops on everyone and y’all are worried about some boss monitoring his employees performance.

  39. 39
    redshirt says:

    I was riding the bus the other week and they were playing “The Little Rascals” (1994) for some reason and there at the end, hey, it’s Donald Trump. Weird!

  40. 40
    🌷 Martin says:

    Try not to think about the implications of the Bush Doctrine married to a guy who worries about WOLVERINE! scenarios of Mexican passenger planes staging an invasion.

  41. 41

    @singfoom: Not quite: they want someone listening in on all the other people’s phone conversations.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    Idiot on my Facebook is claiming that Bernie should win California because he won more counties. Problem is, those are the counties with the least number of people in them, and we don’t award elections based on square mileage.

  43. 43
    Aleta says:

    There are 3 people I’ve worked with who could qualify for the description “sociopath,” and they were mistrustful, even paranoid toward their workers and family. They seemed to assume that other people are as dishonest and manipulative, with the same tendency to plot and steal, as they. Maybe it comes from inability to understand other people’s emotions and motivations.

  44. 44
    singfoom says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Yes they’re comfortable with the idea of other people’s conversations being listened to.

    But in addition to that, I’ve gotten the “Let them listen, I don’t have anything to hide” many a time when I’ve talked about the NSA phone programs with coworkers/relatives… so I think a subset are comfortable with both. YMMV

  45. 45
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Keith P.:

    He’s got a tiny dick too though, so there’s that … Now I’m going to go find a bucket to barf in.

  46. 46
    Roger Moore says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    There’s a parallel universe with a Donald Trump with a goatee who’s a totally normal, generous guy.

    I don’t think it’s a goatee; it’s the absence of that awful thing on the top of our Trump’s head.

  47. 47
    singfoom says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, I wouldn’t give Facebook posts much merit in the larger picture or outside the FB universe itself. That’s a really stupid chain of logic that that person used, but man Facebook is a sewer when it comes to politics.

  48. 48
    Skerry says:

    A plane flew over a Trump event today. He told the crowd, “That could be a Mexican plane up there—they’re getting ready to attack.”

  49. 49
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Patrick Thompson:

    Beat (heh) me to it.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:


    Are there any state or federal laws against eavesdropping like that?

    Good question. But the implication that Trump potentially listens in on guests’ calls is a PR nightmare, even if people there use their personal phones for confidential communications.

  51. 51
    jonas says:

    So Trump had some homebrew switchboard installed in his bedroom at Mar-a-Lago in order to circumvent the regular system? Massive investigations and rampant conspiratorial speculations are obviously in order!

  52. 52
    Trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne: Checked the CA SoS and the Bern had closed the gap to 8% from 12, so he did better than I’d expected. Now if those FB Geniuses know where those missing 400k Bernie votes are hidden then they can parlay for a gentlepersons’ tie and split the delegates, after which Hillary can go on and collect the nomination.

  53. 53
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:


    They kept waiting for him to implode… It didn’t happen.

    Will we make the same mistake?

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:


    Luckily, I’m down to only one BernieOrBuster, and all she does right now is like other people’s posts. But that’s idiocy right up there with the people who show maps of the big swath of red in the West and South and demand to know why Obama won. Um, because Wyoming gets electoral votes based on population and not square miles? Yeesh!

  55. 55
    Tripod says:

    How else are you going to blackmail someone into the VP slot?

    Chris, don’t think the Don has forgotten about that dead hooker….

  56. 56
    PST says:

    Perhaps Gay Talese could write about this for the New Yorker. It’s that creepy.

  57. 57
    Trollhattan says:

    Homebrew, schmomebrew, all it would take would be a second PBX console, something easily added when installing the hotel system.

  58. 58
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:


    I’m weak… I wouldn’t say no to her.

  59. 59
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Skerry: Seriously?

  60. 60
    Juju says:

    @shomi: the stock market is filled with a bunch of pants wetting screaming ninnies.

  61. 61
    JPL says:

    @Skerry: I guess he also said that we don’t need NATO and later on said NATO will be used to defeat ISIS.

  62. 62
    bemused says:


    Omg, that’s not a joke. He’s completely off his rocker and anyone who votes for him is just as insane.

  63. 63
    Calouste says:

    @Mnemosyne: We could have a “Who said this? Berniebro vs RWNJ” quiz, and it would be hard.

  64. 64
    Pogonip says:

    I’m not as sure this will scare off Trump voters as all of you seem to be. Most of the people I know work on computers, or in large chains of one sort or another, and are thus used to being constantly monitored. Not to say we LIKE it, but one more eavesdropper may not be that a big a deal to many people.

    That said, even if he gets 100% of the vote, Trump will not be allowed to become president, so if you’re having fun with this ropic, by all means continue to do so.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s yet another reason why I suspect the most vocal BernieOrBusters are actually Ron Paul fans fleeing the collapse of the Republican Party. They keep using the same arguments the Paulistas did.

  66. 66


    even if he gets 100% of the vote, Trump will not be allowed to become president

    They said that about the GOP nomination too.

  67. 67
    Emma says:

    @Pogonip: Are you saying the Republican leadership is considering assassination?

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:


    The Bay Area seems to have rallied around Bernie in slightly higher numbers than expected, but that still couldn’t overcome Hillary’s So Cal advantage. And since we still have more people in our half of the state …

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:


    Idiot on my Facebook is claiming that Bernie should win California because he won more counties.

    So Alpine County, where Bernie won 137-113, should count the same as LA County, where Hillary won 774,931-632,799. Sounds like some highly motivated reasoning to me.

    ETA: It looks factually incorrect, too. According to the latest numbers from the Secretary of State, Hillary won 33 of 58 counties.

  70. 70
    Tripod says:


    The only subset that Clinton hasn’t picked up are white male millennials wandering off to Gary Johnson land.

  71. 71
    Brachiator says:


    That said, even if he gets 100% of the vote, Trump will not be allowed to become president,

    Really? And you know this, how?

  72. 72
    Fair Economist says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    They kept waiting for him to implode… It didn’t happen.

    Will we make the same mistake?

    Nope, Clinton, Obama, Biden, and Warren are already on it, along with with a lot of others. TPM’s been on a roll too.

  73. 73
    singfoom says:

    @Pogonip: Gotta love the normalization of surveillance in all parts of our lives. It’s one thing to be monitored on your network by a network admin when you’re inside a firewall that has intellectual property behind it.

    Security is just doing their job to prevent penetration / malware intrusion. That’s just part of being a worker in the digital age.

    Listening in on other people’s personal phone calls (and the implication from the story is that he could have listened to NON-employee calls as well) isn’t a standard thing and most people would be against it, but I think you’re right, this won’t scare off any Trump supporters.

    Because that surveillance apparatus could NEVER be used against them, just the bad guys, right? Right?

    This is why I exploded at my relatives when they did that stupid “Elf on the Shelf” thing with their kids.

  74. 74
    hovercraft says:

    Yes but the counties he won have more informed more passionate progressives who count more.

  75. 75
    JPL says:

    @LAO: So what do you think?

  76. 76
    Skerry says:

    @Betty Cracker: seriously. And he was in New Hampshire at the time.

  77. 77
    hovercraft says:

    Those 400 k only stayed home because the Clinton campaign collude with the AP to call the race early so that they wouldn’t vote.

  78. 78
    redshirt says:

    @Roger Moore: Got to be honest: I’m shocked that many people voted for Bernie at that stage in the campaign.

  79. 79
    kwAwk says:

    Something you might want to think about. Yes, this whole switchboard thing sounds weird but Trump is a very wealthy person, billionaire or not. Him spending $10,000 to $20,000 if that much to have a switchboard installed for his use is in relationship to his wealth about the same as an average person spending $5 for an app for their phone to manage contact info.

  80. 80

    @raven: I am no fan, believe me.

  81. 81
    smith says:

    The article makes it clear that Trump listened in when a guest was one of the parties to the conversation. Isn’t that a situation in which the company should warn the customer that “these calls may be monitored for quality assurance purposes,” as we’ve all heard any time we call customer service? I assume that’s a legal requirement, or they wouldn’t all be doing it so consistently. If no warning was given to the customers, would wiretapping laws apply? Or is that only if the conversation is recorded? I assume some enterprising former customer will think to take it to court and relieve Mr. Trump of some of his purported $10 billion.

  82. 82
    redshirt says:

    @singfoom: “Elf on a shelf” thing????

  83. 83
    hovercraft says:

    I just saw that, get this man medication STAT.

  84. 84
    Mike in NC says:

    “Come stay at beautiful Mar-A-Lago, where there are microphones and surveillance cameras in every room, including the ladies locker room next to the tennis courts!”

  85. 85
    singfoom says:

    @redshirt: A toy you buy for your kids and its watching them. To keep them good for Christmas. Like i said normalizing being ok with constant surveillance. Google it

  86. 86


    He sees you when you’re sleeping
    He knows when you’re awake
    He knows if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good for goodness’ sake!

    This isn’t exactly new to the holiday…

  87. 87
    Don W says:

    Friendly neighborhood phone guy here….

    First of all, with most phone systems you don’t need a special console to perform a Silent Barge In on calls. The console was very probably used for speed dials….it’s not uncommon for me to install larger phones like that in executive offices for the very reason stated.

    Silent Barge In, however, could very well have been implemented. Federal Wiretapping Laws say that at least one party needs to be aware that the call could be monitored…some state laws are more restrictive (here in PA, all parties need to be informed). This is true for listening in as well as recording. If he was only monitoring business extensions, and the employees were informed that it could occur, and state law isn’t more restrictive….then he’s in the clear (though creepy). If, however, he was listening in on room-to-room or room-to-outside calls…..well, THAT is a whole different animal….and a very illegal one at that.

    All hard to prove and pure supposition without testimony from whoever managed the phones.

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:


    Listening in on other people’s personal phone calls (and the implication from the story is that he could have listened to NON-employee calls as well) isn’t a standard thing and most people would be against it, but I think you’re right, this won’t scare off any Trump supporters.

    To a large degree, Trump supporters don’t much care how he runs his business, and they are not entirely wrong here. Trump haters revel in anything that de-legitimizes him, and they are not entirely correct here. But it is a lot of fun.

  89. 89
    Trollhattan says:

    Heh, hilarious.

  90. 90
    redshirt says:

    @singfoom: Meh. Technology advances. Also, that’s what Santa and the threat of Santa has been about the whole time.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:


    Heh. I’ve seen people who turn that around and put the Elf into weird or compromising positions for their kids to find. That way, it’s more of a “Toy Story”-like situation of the Elf living his own life when unobserved than The Claus Organization Is Watching You!

  92. 92
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @singfoom: “Are there any state or federal laws against eavesdropping like that?”

    Absolutely. It’s a felony in Florida unless ALL parties to the conversation consent. Interstate calls could trigger federal laws.

    Now, perhaps Trump says “my employee was on the call, and they consented”, but if the GUEST did not consent: crime.

  93. 93
    Pogonip says:

    @Emma: Why would they do that when they can just rig the voting machines?

  94. 94
    Pogonip says:

    @Brachiator: because our moral and intellectual betters like the status quo, and Trump is a wild card.

  95. 95 says:

    I am wondering what Trey Gowdy would be doing if this was Hillary doing this. We wouldn’t stop hearing about Eavesdropaghazi till kingdom come and Ricky Scott would rushing down with Pam Biondi to charge Hillary with something.

  96. 96
    Elmo says:

    @Roger Moore: Wow. Alpine County had like 70% turnout then.

  97. 97
    Klown says:

    Buzzfeed had four anonymous sources so you know it must be true.

  98. 98
    Truegster says:

    @Keith P.: I disagree, as does Deadpool

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