Presidential candidate Donald Trump was tricked into believing he was endorsed by the staff of the Harvard Crimson. Reuters

As if conquering the polls and the press weren’t enough, last month Donald Trump could brag of his first presidential endorsement. Not just any endorsement, either, but the illustrious campus newspaper at Harvard University.

The current GOP front-runner went so far as to host a photo-op at Trump Tower in New York alongside what he thought was the adoring staff of the paper, the Harvard Crimson. In mid-July, the resulting editorial, bearing the Crimson’s name, surfaced online and declared Trump’s strong qualifications for president. (His longtime run on “Celebrity Apprentice” qualified as job creation by its sheer influence on the culture, it said.)

“Trump understands Americans’ needs better than the rest of the GOP field,” the editorial blared.

But Trump had been punk’d: News broke on Monday from the actual staff of the Crimson, revealing that the endorsement was an elaborate hoax put on by their longtime rivals at the campus humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon.

Trump Prank
A screenshot of a fake editorial at the Harvard Crimson. The Harvard Crimson

“Masquerading as the Crimson, some pranksters apparently informed Trump campaign officials that they planned to pen an editorial endorsing the business magnate-turned-Republican primary front-runner on behalf of the paper,” the Crimson reported on Monday.

The jig was up when Trump’s campaign later reached out to the actual staff of the Crimson after the Lampoon pranksters sent Team Trump a copy of the hoax editorial before it went online.

Campaign officials were caught off guard when the Crimson informed them that, not only would they not be endorsing Trump, but that they had never visited his offices for a photo-op in the first place.

“They recognized the situation once we had chatted, and it seemed like they were going to take care of it, whatever that means,” Crimson president Steven S. Lee said.

For Trump, the episode was just another excuse to bring up his Wharton School credentials.

“The students who perpetrated this are fraudsters and liars, but frankly it was a waste of only a few minutes,” a Trump representative told The Hill.

"Mr. Trump attended the great Wharton School of Finance, a school that has more important things to do,” Team Trump added.