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George Papadopoulos Says He's Not 'That' George Papadopoulos

George Papadopoulos is a personal finance adviser — not a Trump foreign policy adviser who admitted to trying to form an alliance with Russian interests.
Courtesy of George Papadopoulos
George Papadopoulos is a personal finance adviser — not a Trump foreign policy adviser who admitted to trying to form an alliance with Russian interests.

They both work in financial circles and have a Greek heritage. Other than that, there is little similarity between George Papadopoulos, a certified public accountant from Michigan, and the "other," more famous George Papadopoulos, the one who cut a plea deal after lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians as a Trump campaign official.

"For the nth time, I am NOT Trump's foreign policy adviser!" CPA George Papadopoulos said on Twitter on Monday. "I have NO association with the Trump camp! NONE!"

The response to that tweet that was liked the most — and which hints at the tone of Papadopoulos' Twitter stream — reads, "That's what we'd expect you to say."

It was just one interaction on a day in which Papadopoulos tried to tame a tweetstorm. His name shot to sudden prominence after news emerged on Monday that the Trump aide Papadopoulos had met with people murkily identified as "the Professor" and "Putin's niece" in London. That Papadopoulos was working as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign and was hoping to form ties with Russia and collect "dirt" on Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos the CPA, who lives and works in Novi, Mich., quickly moved to dispel any confusion.

"Greece is six hours ahead," he said in an email. "I had just finished eating the lunch my mother cooked for me and decided to quickly check online to see how Monday was shaping up. Well, the deluge of tweets, media requests, emails and messages has not stopped."

As of Tuesday morning, Papadopoulos' tweet about not having ties to Trump had been liked 31,000 times.

"Initially, I had some vitriol thrown at me," he says, "by people who did not take the time to check for a minute that I may not be the indicted George Papadopoulos. But thankfully, I got on it early on and I sent out my denial tweet which went viral. After that, there have been mostly supportive tweets to me."

Noting that he now has 3,000 more Twitter followers, he added, "I hope they stick around."

In response to Papadopoulos' tweet, Peter Papas wrote, "George Papadopoulos is to Greeks what John Smith is to the English. leave this George alone!"

Retweeting that message, Papadopoulos wrote, "True, true!" He said he had met three men in one day with the name. At one point, he wrote, "I am back now from our village where there are MANY George Papadopoulos men! News hit here but the name is so common it is not a big deal."

Papadopoulos, who works in wealth management, gives personal finance advice and contributes to The Wall Street Journal, has shown his sense of humor in dealing with the possible confusion. Many of his messages included a recurring theme: "I am NOT that George Papadopoulos."

"All Mondays suck in general but this one is off the scales," he wrote, adding a smiling emoji.

Papadopoulos said he is visiting family in Greece and will return in a few weeks.

"I am in Greece visiting my mother so today it has been kind of surreal to keep up with," he wrote on Monday. One day later, he added, "Surreal may be an understatement! Exhausting too! I am trying to roll with it."

"Not looking forward to being welcomed by the TSA!" he wrote Tuesday morning, referring to his planned return trip.

And on a serious note, Papadopoulos said, "For the record, Communists killed my grandfather in the Greek civil war. Down with the commies!"

In addition to CPA Papadopoulos, other Georges are available. There was the George Papadapolis played by Alex Karras on the TV show Webster, for instance. And not long ago, Greece was ruled by Georgios Papadopoulos, who led a coup and a military dictatorship in the late 1960s and early '70s.

The problems that arose for Papadopoulos are similar to those that have hit others in recent years, as for better or worse, people try to connect a social media account to a name in the news.

For instance, journalist Richard Spencer — who writes from the Middle East for The Times of Londonhas had to clarify that he is not the American white nationalist of the same name. And President Trump recently chose the wrong Lee Greenwood to congratulate on having a birthday and a "beautiful song."

Perhaps with that episode in mind, Papadopoulos tweeted today, "Eagerly awaiting Trump to confuse me with his indicted George Papadopoulos and tweet me his support ..."

In another tweet, he coined a maxim, "Buy low sell high = Never lie to FBI."

We're not hearing much from the other, in-legal-hot-water Papadopoulos. His lawyers said Monday, "It is in the best interest of our client, George Papadopoulos, that we refrain from commenting on George's case."

When we asked financial plannner Papadopoulos about his plans, he said, "I hope it dies out soon because going viral is exhausting. ... We shall see how this goes. Frankly, I hope the indicted George just goes away for a while."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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