Journalist Claims Trump Used Fake Persona To Lie About His Wealth

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In a 1984 interview, President Donald Trump pretended to be a spokesman named "John Barron" and artificially inflated his own figures to exaggerate his wealth.

President Donald Trump.

New revelations from a career journalist are shedding light onto just how dishonest President Donald Trump is when it comes to talking himself up — and for how long he’s been playing deceptive tricks in order to do so.

Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg was poring over old tape recordings involving Trump and his business from the 1980s when he stumbled on one particularly jarring interview he had with an individual named “John Barron” in 1984. Greenberg recalled that interview in a recent “Perspectives” column in The Washington Post.

If the name “John Barron” sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s been no secret for awhile now that Barron is actually Trump — the businessman, who is now president, used the same name (over the phone and with a phony accent) with the press in many instances during that period of time, pretending to be a spokesperson for himself.

Greenberg rediscovered the tapes recently and noted that Trump (as Barron) had attempted to say he was more wealthy than he actually was. Greenberg, at the time, was writing for the Forbes 400, a ranking of the richest individuals in the United States, and Barron had called to alert the journalist that the previous year’s rankings were wrong.

Notably, Forbes had reported that Trump was worth an estimated $200 million in 1983. “Only one-fifth” of what “Barron” said Trump was worth, Greenberg wrote. In other words, Barron — again, in real life, Trump himself — was saying that Trump was worth over $1 billion.

Trump (as Barron) told Greenberg that the mistake had to do with how much his wealth was shared with his father, Fred Trump.

“You have down Fred Trump [as half owner],” Trump told Greenberg, according to the tape recorded interview, “but I think you can really use Donald Trump now” as nearly full owner of the family company, “Barron” said.

Beyond the deceptive lengths to which Trump went in order to disguise himself, there’s also the question of what his actual worth really was. The truth reveals quite a difference between Trump’s statements and reality.

Forbes itself was wrong about his worth: In its first-ever Forbes 400 list, which came out two years before the exchange detailed above, Forbes reported that Trump was worth about $100 million. In actuality, it was closer to around $5 million.

Greenberg reflected in his piece in the Post over how this would become Trump’s modus operandi in the future.

“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,” Greenberg wrote. “The tactic landed him a place he hadn’t earned on the Forbes list — and led to future accolades, press coverage, and deals. It eventually paved a path toward the presidency.”

While Trump is using social media to bash individuals who are critical of his presidency (for example, recently labeling former FBI Director James Comey as an “untruthful slime ball”), the past reveals that Trump is a devious liar. He’s used tricks to pretend to be other individuals to lend feigned credence to his bogus claims of wealth.

What other tactics has the president used, or is prepared to use, in order to stave off an investigation that’s inching closer to his doorstep day-by-day? The American people cannot trust this president — and stories like Greenberg’s serve to demonstrate why.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters, Jim Bourg

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