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Trump in 1993. Photo: Newshub via AP

Trump has been playing the media like a fiddle for more than 30 years. I was reminded of that fact this week while reading Harry Hurt's 1993 book, "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump."

Hurt recounts how Trump used the New York tabloids to counter a string of high-profile reports that his real net worth was far below what he claimed and that — far from riding a wave of success — his financial empire was crumbling under mounting debts.

This passage is as revealing as it is amusing:

Donald responds with a desperate disinformation campaign... [He] orders his public relations network to plant rumors in the tabloid press that he is sitting on a multibillion-dollar treasure trove of cash. New York Post columnist Cindy Adams is the first — but by no means the last — to take the bait.

"Everyone's heard tales about how poor D.T. is leveraged out, how even his Taj is up for grabs because he needs money. Bullbleep," Adams writes in her column of May 22 [1990]. Alluding to [a] Forbes cover story without mentioning it by name, she declares that Donald is hardly down to his last half billion dollars. "How these august respectable financial journals overlooked certain hidden pockets in Donald's wallet, I haven't the foggiest... This guy is sitting on 4 billion. Cash. Billion with a 'b.'"

Postscript, per Hurt: "There is, of course, a good reason why rumors of Donald's $4 billion cash hoard have not made the front pages of the financial journals. The rumors are not true. There is also a good reason why Donald feels it is so important to spread such rumors. He needs people to believe that they are true in order to stave off a run on his empire."

Go deeper

Delivery industry sees biggest monthly job losses in more than 20 years

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic's biggest job winner is losing steam.

Driving the news: People who deliver packages to businesses and homes — classified as "couriers and messengers" by the Labor Department — saw the industry's biggest monthly job losses in more than 20 years in April.

FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-old adolescents, the agency announced on Monday.

Why it matters: The emergency authorization marks a critical milestone in the push to get more Americans vaccinated and fully reopen schools for in-person learning this fall.

GOP to vote on ousting Liz Cheney this Wednesday

Photo: Tom Williams/Pool via Getty Images

House Republicans will vote on recalling Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as conference chair this Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced in a letter Monday, Punchbowl News reported.

Why it matters: Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, has faced increasing backlash from McCarthy and her Republican colleagues as she continues to criticize former President Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud.