Donald Trump ‘lied’ about how wealthy he was and even pretended to be someone else just to get on a prestigious rich list.
The revelation has been made by a former Forbes journalist, Jonathan Greenberg.
The American reporter claims the now US president phoned him in 1984 and pretended to be ‘John Barron’ – a spokesman for Trump.
‘Barron’s’ aim was to get Trump placed higher up the annual Forbes rich list.
Greenberg has kept the tapes and now published them for the first time in the Washington Post.
He told Greenberg that Trump was worth far more than $200m Forbes had estimated previously and had become a billionaire after his father, Fred, had handed over most of his assets to his son.
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‘Most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump. You have down Fred Trump [as half owner] . . . but I think you can really use Donald Trump now,’ said Mr ‘Barron’.
It has been claimed that Trump used the pseudonym John Barron first in 1980 in an interview with the New York Times.
Barron was the name Trump would eventually give his son who was born in 2006.
Greenberg said it was only later, and by re-listening to the tapes, that he realised he was actually talking to Mr Trump.
‘I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse,’ he wrote.
‘Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him.’
His claim that he was considerably richer than Forbes claimed, backfired on Trump as further investigation by the magazine found that the property mogul-turned-president was actually far less wealthy than e claimed.
In 1982, the magazine said he was worth $100 million, but Trump was apparently only worth $5 million at the time.