Ah, the exploits of John Barron, the late 20th-century rep of the Trump Organization and Donald Trump himself.
Most know by now that Donald Trump would call media outlets and journalists pretending to be a friend and representative for Trump and his business. Trump, as himself, or his alter ego, would extol his own prowess and perceived brilliance to the media.
The latest journalist to come out and talk about how Trump hoodwinked the media for decades is investigative journalist, Jonathan Greenberg, who recently rediscovered old recordings of phone call interviews with “John Barron” and interviews with Trump himself.
Greenberg says Trump told such outrageous lies that despite Greenberg and his colleagues looking into his finances as best they could at the time, Trump talked his way on to the illustrious Forbes 400 list when he did not belong there.
“…his confident deceptions were so big that they had an unexpected effect: Instead of believing that they were outright fabrications, my Forbes colleagues and I saw them simply as vain embellishments on the truth. We were so wrong.”
Greenberg goes into detail about how Trump overstated his assets and says he later found out just how little Donald Trump had to his name years later. Particularly, how Trump ended up insolvent when he claimed to have so much in assets.
“It would be decades before I learned that Forbes had been conned: In the early 1980s, Trump had zero equity in his father’s company. According to Fred’s will (portions of which appeared in a lawsuit), the father retained legal ownership of his residential empire until his death in 1999, at which point he left it to be divided between his four surviving children and some of his grandchildren. That explains why, after Trump went bankrupt in the early 1990s, he borrowed $30 million from his siblings, secured by an estimated $35 million share of his future inheritance, according to three sources in Tim O’Brien’s 2005 biography, “TrumpNation.” He could have used his own assets as collateral if he’d had any worth that amount, but he didn’t.”
In the early 1980’s when the ground was being laid for Trump’s over-inflated wealth, Greenberg points to calls and visits from Trump’s personal lawyer, Roy Cohn, who tried to put pressure on Greenberg and Forbes to keep Trump on the list as well as move him higher on the list.
“Trump knew I had doubts about his assertions, so he had his lawyer, Roy Cohn, call me. Cohn spent most of his time threatening lawsuits, schmoozing with mobster clients and badgering reporters with off-the-record utterances that made his clients look good and their enemies look bad.”
Greenberg, who comes off as fairly perturbed about Trump’s machinations and lies to him and others, makes a salient point about the fact that Trump’s swindling of the media and Forbes over his financial worth was used as a springboard to Donald Trump being seen as a major player in real estate development to television, and ultimately, to the White House.
“…his confident deceptions were so big that they had an unexpected effect: Instead of believing that they were outright fabrications, my Forbes colleagues and I saw them simply as vain embellishments on the truth. We were so wrong.
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. 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.”
Unfortunately, Trump’s lies seemed to work for him and the entire world is dealing with the consequences.