President Donald Trump was so concerned about landing on a magazine’s rich list he pretended to be someone else and even lied about his actual wealth, a reporter claims.
Since 1982, Forbes magazine has put out its annual list of the richest people in America.
Former Forbes reporter Jonathan Greenberg claims Trump was so ‘obsessed’ with his ranking on the list that he fabricated details about how rich he was and called him pretending to be Trump spokesman ‘John Barron’ in an attempt to get Greenberg to place Trump higher on the list.
Donald Trump lied about his wealth and pretended to be a Trump spokesman named John Barron in order to make the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America, a reporter claims
In a 1982 edition, Trump’s net worth was estimated to be $200million. Barron called reporter Jonathan Greenberg to say that Trump’s worth was a lot higher and he should be called a billionaire
Grenberg, who now works for the Washington Post, said in a column he recently learned he had been conned when he rediscovered tapes of his conversation with ‘Barron’, a name Trump testified in 1991 to using in phone calls with reporters.
‘I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holding at $200million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was,’ Greenberg wrote.
‘Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him’.
Barron told the reporter that Trump had taken ‘in excess of 90 per cent’ of his father, Fred’s company and most of the assets had been ‘consolidated to Trump’.
Barron tried to convince Greenberg that Trump’s net worth was way higher than the $200million the magazine estimated Trump’s worth as. According to Greenberg, Barron said Trump should be called a billionaire.
‘Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue,’ Greenberg wrote.
Barron claimed Trump had taken over ’90 per cent’ of his father’s business, making his worth higher than Forbes’ estimated $200million. Donald Trump is pictured on the left with his first wive, Ivana (center), and father Fred (right) in Atlantic City in 1988
Greenberg said he discovered Trump’s lie when he rediscovered tapes of their phone conversations. Trump is pictured above with Steve Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, in 1997
Even though Trump continued to make the Forbes 400 list, Greenberg said he had doubts Trump’s wealth was as high as the now-president was claiming.
The reporter said in retrospect, Trump’s actual wealth – roughly $5million the first time he made the list – should not have landed him on the Forbes ‘ ranking at all.
‘When I first contacted him for the inaugural issue, Trump pulled out all the stops to convince me that he was the wealthiest real estate developer in New York,’ Greenberg wrote.
He said Trump was ‘obsessed’ with getting on the list.
‘The project could offer a clear, supposedly authoritative declaration of his status as a player, and while many of the super-rich wanted to keep their names off the ranking, Trump was desperate to scale it,’ he said.
Greenberg said it took decades ‘to unwind the elaborate farce’ Trump had built ‘to protect an image as one of the richest people in America’.
Several other journalists have written about their experiences talking with Trump’s alter ego.
According to a 2016 story by the Washington Post, former People reporter Sue Carswell said she phoned Trump’s office trying to interview him about his divorce from Ivana and his budding romance with model Marla Maples.
She said a man named ‘John Miller’ called her back saying he was Trump’s publicist before going into shocking detail about why Trump dumped Maples for another model named Carla Bruni.
‘He really didn’t want to make a commitment,’ Miller told Carswell. ‘He’s coming out of a marriage, and he’s starting to do tremendously well financially’.
Carswell later found out John Miller was actually Trump, himself.