The Trump Files: When Donald Couldn’t Tell the Difference Between Gorbachev and an Impersonator (Video)

Duped by a fake Soviet?

Ivylise Simones

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Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

When then-Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited New York City in 1988, Donald Trump saw an opportunity for an up-close-and-personal encounter with the top Russian. Unfortunately, he got the wrong Gorbachev.

After descending from his office in Trump Tower upon hearing that Gorbachev was outside, Trump shook hands with a man who appeared to be Gorbachev—but wasn’t. Impersonator Ronald Knapp, who had won a Gorbachev look-alike contest, had the pleasure of meeting Trump, who notoriously loathes handshakes.

Trump denied that he fell for the stunt. “He looked fabulous and he sounded fabulous, but I knew it couldn’t be right,” Trump said, according to the Milwaukee Journal. “For one thing, I looked into the back of his limo and saw four very attractive women…I knew that his society had not come that far yet in terms of capitalist decadence.”

But a man accompanying Knapp, Gordon Elliott, assured the New York Times that Trump had been played. “There was absolutely no question that he bought it,” Elliott said. Knapp subsequently wrote a book about his time as a Gorbachev impersonator. The title? The Guy Who Got Trump.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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