Wealth of Donald Trump
The net worth of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is approximately $3.5 billion according to Forbes as of 5 March 2019[update], whereas Bloomberg estimated his wealth at $2.8 billion. Various organizations have estimated and investigated Trump's wealth. Trump has often stated higher values for his wealth than organizations estimating it.
Trust funds[edit | edit source]
Trump is the beneficiary of several trust funds set up by his father and paternal grandmother beginning in 1949 when he was 3 years old. In 1976, Fred Trump set up trust funds of $1 million ($4.2 million in 2016 dollars) for each of his five children and three grandchildren. Donald Trump received annual payments from his trust fund, for example, $90,000 in 1980 and $214,605 in 1981. By 1993, when Trump took two loans totaling $30 million from his siblings, their anticipated shares of Fred's estate amounted to $35 million each. Upon Fred Trump's death in 1999, his will divided $20 million after taxes among his surviving children.
Source of wealth[edit | edit source]
In a sworn deposition, Trump testified that he once borrowed $1 million from his father, calling it "a very small amount of money", but could not recall when he did so. Trump has since told campaign audiences he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father, which he paid back with interest: "it has not been easy for me", Trump told one New Hampshire crowd. Trump has often repeated this claim. In October 2018, The New York Times published an exposé drawing on more than 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Fred Trump's businesses, and interviews with former advisers and employees. The Times concluded that Donald Trump "was a millionaire by age 8", and that he had received at least $413 million (adjusted for inflation) from his father's business empire over his lifetime. According to the Times, Trump borrowed at least $60 million from his father, and largely failed to reimburse him.
The paper also described a number of purportedly fraudulent tax schemes, for example when Fred Trump sold shares in Trump Palace condos to his son well below their purchase price, thus masking what could be considered a hidden donation, and benefiting from a tax write-off. A lawyer for Trump said the "allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory". A spokesman for the New York State tax department said the agency was "vigorously pursuing all appropriate areas of investigation". New York City officials also indicated they are examining the matter.
Net worth[edit | edit source]
Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 as having a share of his family's estimated $200 million net worth. Former Forbes reporter Jonathan Greenberg stated in 2018 that during the 1980s Trump had deceived him about his actual net worth and his share of the family assets in order to appear on the list. According to Greenberg, "it took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had enacted to project an image as one of the richest people in America. Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn't just poorer than he said he was. Over time, I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later."
After several years on the Forbes List, Trump's financial losses in the 1980s caused him to be dropped from 1990 to 1995, and reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings' trusts in 1993; in 2005, The New York Times referred to Trump's "verbal billions" in a skeptical article about Trump's self-reported wealth. At the time, three individuals with direct knowledge of Trump's finances told reporter Timothy L. O'Brien that Trump's actual net worth was between $150 and $250 million, though Trump then publicly claimed a net worth of $5 to $6 billion. Claiming libel, Trump sued the reporter (and his book publisher) for $5 billion, lost the case, and then lost again on appeal; Trump refused to turn over his unredacted tax returns despite his assertion they supported his case.
In April 2011, amid speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the United States presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to him stating that, if Trump should decide to run for President, he would file "financial disclosure statements that [would] show his net worth [was] in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt." Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his "professionally prepared" 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book, which claimed a $7 billion net worth.
On June 16, 2015, just prior to announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Trump released a one-page financial statement "from a big accounting firm—one of the most respected"—stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000. "I'm really rich", Trump said. Forbes believed his claim of $9 billion was "a whopper," figuring it was actually $4.1 billion. In June 2015, Business Insider published Trump's June 2014 financial statement, noting that $3.3 billion of that total is represented by "Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments", described by Business Insider as "basically [implying] that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion." Forbes reduced its estimate of Trump's net worth by $125 million following Trump's controversial 2015 remarks about Mexican illegal immigrants, which ended Trump's business contracts with NBCUniversal, Univision, Macy's, Serta, PVH Corporation, and Perfumania.
In 2016, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.7 billion, and Bloomberg $3 billion. During the three years since Trump announced his presidential run in 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth declined 31% and his ranking fell 138 spots. Discrepancies in estimates of various organizations is due in part to the uncertainty of appraised property values, as well as Trump's own assessment of the value of his personal brand.
In its 2018 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion (766th in the world, 248th in the U.S.). Bloomberg Billionaires Index listed Trump's net worth as $2.48 billion on May 31, 2018, and Wealth-X listed it as at least $3.8 billion on July 16, 2018.
FEC filings and debt[edit | edit source]
In July 2015, federal election regulators released new details of Trump's self-reported wealth and financial holdings when he became a Republican presidential candidate, reporting that his assets are worth above $1.4 billion, which includes at least $70 million in stocks, and a debt of at least $265 million. According to Bloomberg, for the purposes of Trump's FEC filings Trump "only reported revenue for [his] golf properties in his campaign filings even though the disclosure form asks for income", noting independent filings showing all three of his major European golf properties were unprofitable.
Mortgages on Trump's major properties—including Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street, and the Trump National Doral golf course—each fall into the "above $50 million" range, the highest reportable category on FEC filings, with Trump paying interest rates ranging from 4% to 7.125%. Mortgages on those three properties were separately reported as $100 million, $160 million, and $125 million in 2013. Trump is a leaseholder, not owner, of the land beneath 40 Wall Street. Other outstanding Trump mortgages and debts are pegged to current market interest rates. A 2012 report from Trump's accounting firm estimated $451.7 million in debt and other collateral obligations. Filings in 2015 disclosed debt of $504 million, according to Fortune magazine. Bloomberg documented debt of at least $605 million in 2016. Trump's outstanding debt was at least $650 million in August 2016, in addition to an outstanding loan of $950 million to the Bank of China and Deutsche Bank (among other creditors) on 1290 Avenue of the Americas, in which Trump is a minority owner.
Trump reported a yearly income of $362 million for 2014 and $611 million from January 2015 to May 2016. Trump and his family reported more than $500 million of income in mid-2018 financial disclosure forms.
A July 2015 campaign press release, issued one month after Trump announced his presidential run, said that the FEC filing "was not designed for a man of Mr. Trump's massive wealth" and that his "net worth is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS [sic]".
Trump on his own net worth[edit | edit source]
Trump has often given much higher values for his wealth than organizations estimating it. Trump has testified that "my net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings—even my own feelings." On the same day, Trump's own stated estimates of his net worth have varied by as much as $3.3 billion. Trump has also acknowledged that past exaggerated estimates of his wealth have been "good for financing". Forbes has said that although Trump "shares a lot of information with us that helps us get to the figures we publish," he "consistently pushes for a higher net worth—especially when it comes to the value of his personal brand."
Investment performance[edit | edit source]
A 2016 analysis of Trump's business career in The Economist concluded that his performance since 1985 had been "mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York." A subsequent analysis in The Washington Post similarly noted that Trump's estimated net worth of $100 million in 1978 would have increased to $6 billion by 2016 if he had invested it in a typical retirement fund, and concluded that "Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success."
House subpoenas and Court ruling[edit | edit source]
On May 10, 2019, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the IRS for the returns and seven days later the subpoenas were defied. Neal then decided to bring the matter to court. On May 20, 2019, President Trump lost a lawsuit to keep his financial records secret. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of Washington, who issued the ruling against Trump, also denied the President a stay of the ruling pending any future appeal.
New York tax law[edit | edit source]
In May 2019, both houses of the New York State Legislature, which is based in Trump's native and business home of New York, approved a bill which allows the state's Tax Commissioner to release any state tax return requested by the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation for any "specific and legitimate legislative purpose."
Perception of wealth[edit | edit source]
According to a 2019 study in the journal Political Behavior, telling voters that Trump inherited money from his father at the beginning but then grew a major empire in which Donald Trump has increased his net worth. This convinced many voters that Trump is a keen business man and the right choice for Presidency. 
See also[edit | edit source]
- Tax March
- Tax returns of Donald Trump
- Timeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2019)
- Veracity of statements by Donald Trump
References[edit | edit source]
- "The World's Billionaires – No. 715 Donald Trump". Forbes. 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
- Melby, Caleb (June 1, 2018). "Trump’s Net Worth Slides to $2.8 Billion, Lowest Since Campaign". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
- Kessler, Glenn (March 3, 2016). "Trump's false claim he built his empire with a 'small loan' from his father". The Washington Post.
- O'Brien, Timothy L. (October 23, 2005). "What's He Really Worth?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- Rozhon, Tracy (June 26, 1999). "Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- Horowitz, Jason (January 2, 2016). "For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother's Suffering". The New York Times.
Then came the unveiling of Fred Sr.'s will, which Donald had helped draft. It divided the bulk of the inheritance, at least $20 million, among his children and their descendants, 'other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.'
- Massie, Christopher (November 5, 2015). "Trump In Deposition: $1 Million I Borrowed From Dad's Estate A "Small Amount"". Buzzfeed. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
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- Udland, Myles (June 16, 2015). "Donald Trump's self-described net worth is $8.7 billion – here's the breakdown". Business Insider.
- Carlyle, Erin (July 15, 2015). "As Trump Files FEC Disclosure, He Raises Claimed Net Worth To $10 Billion; Forbes Disagrees". Forbes. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- Melby, Caleb (July 19, 2016). "Trump Is Richer in Property and Deeper in Debt in New Valuation". Bloomberg Politics.
In the year that Donald Trump was transformed ... into the presumptive Republican nominee, the value of his golf courses and his namesake Manhattan tower soared... His net worth rose to $3 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index...
- "Trump has fallen 138 spots on Forbes' wealthiest-Americans list, his net worth down over $1 billion, since he announced his presidential bid in 2015". Business Insider. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- Cassidy, John (May 17, 2016). "Just How Rich Is Donald Trump?". The New Yorker.
[He] has stated that he is worth more than ten billion dollars....Forbes concluded [in 2015] that Trump was worth about $4.5 billion, while Bloomberg estimated $2.9 billion. The Forbes figure was high enough to put Trump in a tie at No. 324 on the magazine's global ranking of billionaires...The gap between Forbes's $4.5 billion figure and Bloomberg's $2.9 billion figure is largely attributable to differences in how the two publications appraised individual properties.
- "Bloomberg Billionaires Index – Donald Trump". Bloomberg News. May 31, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
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- Tully, Shawn (March 2, 2016). "Why Donald Trump's Tax Returns May Prove He's Not That Rich". Fortune. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
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- "From the Tower to the White House". The Economist. February 20, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
Mr Trump's performance has been mediocre compared with the stockmarket and property in New York.
- Swanson, Ana (February 29, 2016). "The myth and the reality of Donald Trump's business empire". The Washington Post.
- Fandos, Nicholas (May 10, 2019). "House Ways and Means Chairman Subpoenas Trump Tax Records". NYTimes.com.
- Rubin, Richard (May 17, 2019). "Mnuchin Defies Subpoena for President Trump's Tax Returns" – via www.wsj.com.
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- McDonald, Jared; Karol, David; Mason, Lilliana (January 9, 2019). "“An Inherited Money Dude from Queens County”: How Unseen Candidate Characteristics Affect Voter Perceptions". Political Behavior. ISSN 1573-6687. doi:10.1007/s11109-019-09527-y.