Remember that episode of Hannah Montana when Hannah Montana told Jake Ryan that he should date Miley? Except Jake Ryan had no idea that Hannah Montana actually WAS Miley, so he was just hearing good things about Miley from Miley herself? Yeah, that same thing happened in real life. Except it happened with our President, so it’s about a million times more serious.
According to Jonathan Greenberg, who used to write for Forbes, a man named John Barron used to call the Forbes office to try to convince Greenberg that Trump was rich enough to be named on the Forbes 400 list.
The plot twist? John Barron was Trump’s alter ego. Hannah Montana-style. (Oh, and he was also lying; Trump was NOT rich enough to be on that list. But we’ll get to that later.)
Let’s start from the beginning. A couple years ago, before Trump had even been elected president, The Washington Post told, “the amazing story of Trump’s old spokesman, John Barron — who was actually Donald Trump himself.”
Basically, they explained that back in the 1980s, when reporters called the Trump Organization for an interview, they were told that Trump was too busy. Instead, they would be connected with John Barron, Trump’s spokesman. For almost a full decade, reporters frequently quoted John Barron in their work. In actuality, John Barron did not exist. Everything he said was actually just Donald Trump with a slightly heavier New York accent.
The jig was up in 1990, when, during a lawsuit, he testified under oath, “I believe on occasion I used that name.”
Now back to the lying part. In 1984, Jonathan Greenberg was reporting for the Forbes 400, which is Forbes’ annual ranking of America’s richest people. The year before, Forbes had valued Trump at $200 million, which was only one-fifth of what he claimed to own.
This year, Trump’s spokesman, AKA John Barron, AKA Donald Trump, called Greenberg to convince him that Trump was much richer than Forbes was valuing him.
Greenberg still has the tapes of his phone conversation with “Barron”, and you can listen to them yourself in Greenberg’s Washington Post article. In it, “Barron” claims that Trump owns “in excess of 90 percent” of his family’s business, and should be valued at over a billion dollars.
Eventually, Greenberg and the rest of the team at Forbes realized how much Trump had been lying. Apparently, in their first list in 1982, they had valued Trump at $100 million, but he was actually only worth $5 million.
According to CNN, “Trump’s name appeared on the Forbes 400 list off and on for several years and has been on it since 1996. During the campaign, he claimed to have a personal fortune of $10 billion, but Forbes most recently listed his wealth at $3.1 billion.”
This whole story is pretty wild, but we’re just glad Forbes did their own reporting instead of taking Barron’s word for it!