Trump to Simon: You're a 'dummy'

John Anderson

When Neal Simon received some personal fan mail from Robert “Old Navy Bob” Tripp of Arkport, he had a good chuckle.

After all, he gets quite a few letters after his Sunday column appears in print. Old Navy Bob is one he likes — even though they don’t see eye to eye, they are signed and make a point.

Then came Donald Trump.

After Simon wrote about one of his exchanges with Tripp in his Sunday column, Trump read it personally and responded.

In the past, Simon and Tripp have gone back and forth about Trump, and this time it got financial. Simon wrote: “Even though I am far from wealthy, I have never declared bankruptcy.”

On Tuesday, Trump printed out a version of the column from and underlined the bankruptcy mention. In all caps, he wrote: “Dummy, I never went bankrupt.” And signed his famous signature in black Sharpie.

The Evening Tribune confirmed it was in fact Trump and he did read the Evening Tribune online personally.

Simon said, “I really never would have brought him up in that column if the letter writer hadn’t mentioned Trump had more intelligence in one hair on his head than anything I had written. Donald Trump lost the last remainder of his credibility on election night. Getting the popular vote winner wrong ...”

Tripp, 86, is a 1944 Bolivar High School graduate and a World War II Navy veteran who fought in several wars. He loves writing in his retirement, as he spent 60 years as a manager at Loblaw’s in Hornell and as a sales rep with the Tobin Packing Company. He also is well-known for his Navy breakfasts the second Tuesday of each month at JC’s Cafe.

“I write just normal, sensible stuff, but when Neal Simon talked about Donald Trump and something about his hair, and he had declared bankruptcy, I had to write back,” said Tripp. “Donald Trump has done a lot of good and has hired an awful lot of people over the years.”

In a statement, Trump said he “has never personally filed for bankruptcy; however, there have been very few occasions in which one of (his) hundreds of businesses has -- which is a very common occurrence in the business world.”

He also thought Tripp’s words were “very comical.”

As for Simon’s words, one of Trump’s assistants said, “All we want is accuracy. Your statement is not factual.”

Simon’s column mentioned several things, including his daughter Leah’s basketball skills. He said Trump’s letter confirmed his suspicions of putting articles on the Internet.

“I always believed that what we write has a wider audience than we sometimes expect,” said Simon. “This was confirmation. I take my job very seriously, but sometimes I have fun on Sundays with my column. That was all tongue and cheek. Except for Leah’s rebounding. I was serious about that.”

As for Tripp?

“I still think I’m going to write Neal again,” he said.