Donald Trump takes great pride in his wealth.
“I’m tremendously affluent,” he stated during his presidential campaign announcement speech in 2015.
That remains true! However, according to Forbes magazine’s newly announced rankings, Trump is no longer one of America’s 400 wealthiest people. Trump has not made the Forbes 400 for the first time in more than two decades.
Trump, who has a net worth of $2.5 billion, fell only $400 million short of making the list. According to Forbes, his net worth is the same as last year, but it is a dramatic decrease from where he was at the outset of his administration. According to Forbes, Trump was worth $3.7 billion in 2016. This fell to $3.1 billion in 2017 and remained there in 2018 and 2019.
Who is to blame for Trump’s removal from the list? According to Forbes, Trump should examine himself in the mirror. Dan Alexander of the magazine wrote:
“If Trump is looking for someone to blame, he can start with himself. Five years ago, he had a golden opportunity to diversify his fortune. Fresh off the 2016 election, federal ethics officials were pushing Trump to divest his real estate assets. That would have allowed him to reinvest the proceeds into broad-based index funds and assume office free of conflicts of interest … Trump decided to hang onto his assets.”
Falling off the Forbes list will be devastating for Trump, who values these kinds of scores and rankings as public validation of his many accomplishments.
This quote from Jonathan Greenberg, a former Forbes reporter, shows how much Trump cares:
“In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was.
“The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself.”
In fact, Trump’s wealth — and the promise that he could make every American rich — was at the center of his 2016 pitch. In the same speech in which he proclaimed that he was “really rich,” Trump said this while waving a document around:
“I have assets — big accounting firm, one of the most highly respected — 9 billion 240 million dollars. So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it’ll be well over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of — net worth, not assets, not — a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses, the greatest assets — Trump Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Bank of America building in San Francisco, 40 Wall Street, sometimes referred to as the Trump building right opposite the New York — many other places all over the world. So the total is $8,737,540,00.”
Trump’s net worth, as verified by Forbes, has always been significantly less than what he has publicly declared – though no one denies that he is wealthy.
The question of how wealthy Trump is is more than just a theoretical one. According to The New York Times, which obtained two decades of Trump’s tax records, the billionaire has significant bills owing in the next few years. (Trump broke with precedent by not releasing any of his tax returns during his presidential campaign or while in government.)
“He appears to have paid off none of the principal of the Trump Tower mortgage, and the full $100 million comes due in 2022. And if he loses his dispute with the I.R.S. over the 2010 refund, he could owe the government more than $100 million (including interest on the original amount)… He appears to be responsible for loans totaling $421 million, most of which is coming due within four years.”
Trump’s financial status could be the deciding factor in his decision to run for president again in 2024. If his funds are in jeopardy, he may not be able to mount a second attempt. Or perhaps he would do so in order to remain relevant – and appealing to potential clients and enterprises.
In any case, the story of Trump’s wealth – and how much he owes (and to whom) – isn’t going away anytime soon.