Reporter: Trump lied to me for spot on Forbes 400

A former reporter for Forbes magazine claims that President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE lied to him decades ago about his net worth to snatch a coveted spot on the Forbes 400 Richest list.

Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that Trump was "telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that some kernel of it had to be real."

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"The tactic landed him a place on the Forbes list he hadn’t earned — and led to future accolades, press coverage and deals. It eventually paved a path toward the presidency," he added.

Greenblatt alleges that in 1984 Trump called him pretending to be "John Barron," which the Post has reported is a pseudonym that Trump has long used with reporters and others.

"No one could imagine the unimaginable, no one could imagine that someone would do something like this, call as their own PR person," Greenblatt told CNN on Friday. He also wrote that he believes Trump's intent to deceive released him from a "good-faith pledge" to keep the conversations off-the-record. 

Greenblatt alleges that Trump wildly overstated his wealth to him during conversations about the Forbes 400 list, which Greenblatt says the president has been obsessed with since its 1981 creation.

Trump's net worth on the Forbes 400 list in 1984 was recorded at $400 million, with his father Fred Trump listed at $200 million. Greenblatt said he now believes those numbers were inaccurate, and said that Trump and his fixers followed up every subsequent year of the list to persuade the magazine with "misinformation" that Trump was richer than they thought.

Greenblatt said the Trump Organization and the White House did not respond to requests for comment on his article.