Recording Surfaces of Trump Conning His Way onto the ‘Forbes 400’ List in 1984

Hard evidence of an early-career con job by Donald Trump was released today in a story published online behind the Washington Post’s paywall. Here’s coverage from CNBC:

President Donald Trump lied his way onto the Forbes list of richest Americans and used a fake persona to do so, according to a former writer for the magazine.

In a piece for The Washington Post, Jonathan Greenberg recounts the difficult task of tallying up the future commander-in-chief’s wealth as he built his New York-area real estate empire.

Trump’s persistence in trying to convince journalists how rich he is has been well documented over the years, but Greenberg’s piece takes it a step further. He asserts that Trump used a fake voice and pseudonym of “John Barron” to convince the magazine that he should be on the Forbes 400 list.

Greenberg said “Barron” called him in May 1984 to persuade him to push up his estimate of Trump’s wealth. The caller had a thicker New York accent and some different “cadences,” but Greenberg is certain he was speaking to the future president. The calls were off the record, but Greenberg believes exposing them now is important.

In addition to Trump, several of his confidants also called the magazine to convince it that he belonged on the list.

“This was a model Trump would use for the rest of his career, telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that some kernel of it had to be real. The tactic landed him a place on the Forbes list he hadn’t earned — and led to future accolades, press coverage and deals. It eventually paved a path toward the presidency,” Greenberg wrote.

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