Journalist Jonathan Greenberg writes for the Washington Post on Friday about how President Trump made his way into the Forbes 400 list in the 1980s by inflating his wealth and using a false name as his own Spokesperson Used
Trump's fraud was perhaps just an amusing piece in which the only victim was another rich person who was deprived of her rightful place on the list, but Greenberg catches the meaning in this key passage:
That was a model Trump would use for the rest of his career, telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that a core of it had to be real. The tactics earned him a place he did not deserve on the Forbes list – and led to future awards, press coverage and deals. It eventually paved the way for the presidency.
Trump is not in the White House just because he's on the Forbes 400 list. But Greenberg's valid point is that Trump's shameless – and sometimes dishonest – style of self-promotion helped him build the image of personified success, which later turned him into a profitable campaign for "Make America Great Again."
Trump hired the pseudonym If I talk to Greenberg, John Barron, he is one he has used several times. He sometimes wrote the name "Baron" or John Miller, but Trump's goal, whatever the spelling or last name, was to boast about himself without praising himself.
During the presidential campaign in 2016, The Post published a 1991 interview record that "Miller", who was actually Trump, gave People Magazine. On the tape, "Miller" claimed that Trump "performs very well financially" and that "actresses only call to see if they can go out with him and things."
Also during the campaign a former editor of the New York Post's Page Six gossip sections wrote a confession to Politico Magazine: "I helped make the myth of Donald Trump," wrote Susan Mulcahy. "And I'm very, very sorry for that."
"If you worked for a New York newspaper in the 1980s, you had to write about Trump," she continued. "As editor of the New York Post for the New York Post and later as a columnist for New York Newsday, I had to take up a lot of space, ideally with lush stories about the rich and powerful, and more than committing Trump."
A May 1984 New York Daily News column by Mike Lupica illustrates the extent to which Trump is "more than committed". Referring to Trump, then 37, as "Boy Builder," Lupica describes Trump's stubborn pursuit of media coverage:
I bought the papers at my quaint little newsstand when suddenly the Boy Builder took off from the cover of Gentleman's Quarterly jumped on the shelf, tapped me on the shoulder, his juicy grin grinned and said, "Understood." The headline in GQ: "Donald Trump gets what he wants." I thought about running. I gave up. I bought the magazine.
The young builder and I went back to my apartment for a coffee. He gets what he wants.
If it's not GQ, then it's Sports Illustrated that made a big jerk over Trump a few months ago that contained everything but baby pictures. If it's not SI, it's the New York Times Magazine (I like to look at the pictures). Trump was waiting for me not too long ago; I grabbed the Sunday papers on my doorstep and before I knew it, Trump crawled eggs for us. I read an NFL draft in the New York News. The first quote is from Trump. He was also in the newspaper on Monday.
Lupica's column ran the same month as Trump's "John Barron" had one of his telephone conversations with Greenberg. Trump, who acted personally or under a false name, tirelessly pressed into the press, and then reaped the benefits three decades later.