A former Forbes reporter said that before becoming the president, Donald Trump lied to him to make it to the Forbes 400 list. Trump acted as the CEO of an organization on the phone, said Jonathan Greenberg, the ex-Forbes reporter. Greenberg further told that “Trump acted as he wanted to deceive me on the phone call. The way he deceived me was very impressive.” While giving an interview to CNN, Greenberg said that he maintained his personality as the CEO of the organization while he kept talking about his assets.
What actually happened
Greenberg revealed the story in Washington Post. He further told that Trump called him when he was compiling the list of the US’s 400 richest people back in 80’s. Trump acted as John Barron, the acting CEO of Trump’s company. He also revealed that, at that time, the total net value of Trump was actually about $5 million. And in the list compiled by Greenberg, Trump’s net worth was $100 million.
Greenberg also provided the recorded audio to an interview on CNN. ‘He should not have been there on that list’, said Jonathan. In that phone call, Trump who acted as John Barren, said that he owned all the assets of his father Fred. Greenberg also said that a phone call was received from John Barren as Forbes listed his net value to $200 million in the previous edition. Trump called Greenberg and said that most of the assets belonged to his father Mr. Fred Trump, but now he is down, and he wanted to talk to Greenberg personally to “make things easier to understand.”
Why were the tapes made public
Greenberg also said that he decided to broadcast the off-the-record conversation with Trump as he sensed his intent to deceive. After interviewing Greenberg, CNN reporters visited the White House to get a response from the Trump administration but the White House officials didn’t comment on this post. A similar audio call was made by a man back in 2016 during the election campaign.
A report published by CNN in 2016 stated that Donald Trump used to make such calls quite often in the early 80’s and 90’s. But Trump denied all these speculations while giving an interview in an NBC show.
Greenberg also told that now when he listened to all those tapes he realized that he didn’t get the tactics of the calling person. He said that compiling the Forbes list for the richest persons in America from the last 3 years marked him as a source of fame. At that time, he first thought that Trump was lying to him but also had a feeling that he might be telling the truth. For years, he kept feeling proud that the net value published in the Forbes list was based on solid research.
But it took him years to figure out that Trump had fooled him to present himself as one of the richest people in the United States. Greenberg also said that Trump was poorer than he said he was and he shouldn’t have made even the first 3 Forbes lists. The first Forbes list of the richest person in America was published in 1982 and in that list, Trump had a net value of $100 million but at that time his net worth was not more than $5 million.
Why is this relevant now?
Greenberg said he was an enthusiastic 25-year-old reporter at the time and when he thought to reveal the reality of Trump in front of the people of the United States, he couldn’t do so as the claims made by Trump were so deceptive that he and his Forbes colleagues believed those embellishments.
This is how the Trump model works, said Greenberg. He lies with such a perfection that everyone feels compelled to believe him. This tactic of Trump had landed him on the runway of success. And after making the Forbes list, he received a lot of fame which eventually paved the path for his presidency.
“The task of compiling the list of richest people was assigned to me in 1981 and I was asked to travel around the United States, meeting the wealthy and then construct the list,” says Greenberg. He also said that when he first met with Trump, he pulled out all the strings to convince him that he was one of the richest estate developers in the state of New York.