The Donald gets duped: Harvard Lampoon tricks Trump with phony endorsement -- and he's not happy about it

Satirical newspaper fools Trump, whose campaign lashes out against "fraudsters and liars"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 4, 2015 1:56PM (EDT)

Donald Trump                      (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)
Donald Trump (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

The Donald's been duped.

In what's been called a "a prank of presidential proportions," the staff at Harvard University's humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoontargeted Donald Trump for their latest prank in a longstanding rivalry with the University's daily student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.

Trump, the real-estate mogul turned Republican presidential frontrunner, inadvertently became the center of the rivalry when an article, titled “Crimson Endorses Trump for President” and signed “The Crimson Staff,” appeared on a phony site purporting to be the Crimson's last month.

The phony endorsement came with an accompanying photo of Trump surrounded by students signaling a thumbs up all around. Trump was apparently duped into posing for the picture with the staff of the Lampoon while he was seated on the famed Crimson president's chair, stolen from the newspaper's headquarters earlier this summer. The photo appears to have been taken at Trump Tower in New York.

Trump_Harvard Lampoon

“The creative methods and avenues through which Trump has created jobs would likely make (former Crimson editor-in-chief) Franklin D. Roosevelt ’03 smile,” the endorsement read.

The phony endorsement called Trump “the most formidable and competitive candidate on the Republican side.” Hilariously, the fake Crimson endorsement touted  Trump's record of job creation as the host of the "Celebrity Apprentice," praising him as “a celebrity above all" who had the ability to help other "inactive or troubled" celebrities regain their fame.

According to, a representative of Trump’s campaign contacted the real Crimson president, Steven S. Lee, after receiving a copy of the phony endorsement. Needless to say, Trump was not amused. A campaign spokesperson blasted the students as "fraudsters and liars," before attempting t0 blowoff the embarrassing fiasco as "a waste of only a few minutes."

Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokesperson, said in a statement that "Mr. Trump attended the great Wharton School of Finance, a school that has more important things to do.”

The president's chair has been returned to its rightful owners and the real Crimson staff has not yet endorsed a candidate in the 2016 presidential race. Trump's ego remains intact, if not a bit blemished.

Yesterday, fellow Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker fell victim to student pranksters when he unwittingly agreed to pose before a giant check made out to him in the amount of $900 million from the Koch brothers.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Campaign 2016 Elections Donald Trump Endorsements Harvard Crimson Harvard Lampoon