May 1984 … Jonathan Greenberg … now a Washington Post journalist … received a call from an official of the Trump Organization. Nick Cardona de Veuer has those details.

The reporter in charge of interviewing people for Forbes 400 recently rediscovered tapes of him talking to John Barron, an executive of the Trump Organization in the 1980s.

And he said he was surprised not to to have understood the fact that Barron was actually Trump himself.

"When I recently rediscovered and heard, for the first time since that year, the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was surprised not to see through the stratagem: although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly more New York accent strong, it was clearly him, "wrote journalist Jonathan Greenberg in a column published on Washington Post .

According to Greenberg, Trump, like Barron, said he owned a large part of the family's business and should be called a billionaire.

Even then, Greenberg wrote: he thought that some of this was not true.

"But it took decades to unravel the elaborate farce that Trump had built to project an image as one of the richest people in America," he wrote. "Almost all the statements that support that claim were false."

He and his colleagues at Forbes believed that Trump was simply embellishing, not saying "blatant fabrications."

"We were so wrong," he wrote.

Greenberg argued that Trump has continued to do this, eventually driving to the highest office on earth.

"This was a model that Trump would use for the rest of his career, telling such a cosmic lie that people believed that something from the core had to be real," he said. "The tactic brought him a place he had not won on the Forbes list, and earned him future accolades, press coverage and offers, and ultimately paved the way to the presidency."

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