“I’m really rich.” With this phrase Donald Trump commended himself to Americans when he announced his candidacy for president at his Trump Tower in New York in June 2015. To emphasize this, he had stepped off a gold-plated escalator on his way to his speech. . How rich Trump really is, however, is a mystery. His company, the Trump Organization, largely keeps its financials under lock and key. Contrary to what’s normal for presidents, Trump doesn’t make his personal tax returns public. He himself boasted during his campaign in a capital letter statement that his fortune included “TEN BILLION DOLLARS”. But he gave enough reason to doubt his words.
Not least with a famous statement during a legal dispute in 2007. At the time he said: “My wealth fluctuates. It goes up and down, with the markets and with the points of view and with the feelings, even my own feelings “. However, Forbes magazine estimates Trump’s fortune at $ 2.5 billion. It would also be a good amount, but certainly less than what he himself would say. Just recently, during a television appearance, when asked about alleged debts of over $ 400 million, he said that this was only “a small percentage” of his wealth, a “peanut”.
US media revelations in recent weeks, however, shake Trump’s self-image. So he is in a difficult situation financially. The situation could worsen in the coming years, especially if he, as he is emerging, has to leave the White House. And without its current privileges, legal battles could become a formidable threat. History professor Timothy Snyder recently told The New Yorker: “It’s the president’s office that keeps him out of jail and the poor house.”
The New York Times caused a stir a few weeks ago when it released details of Trump’s secretly hidden tax returns. Not only was it unflattering that, according to the report, Trump only paid $ 750 in taxes in the year of his election and the year after. The newspaper also described his financial situation as worrying. As a result, the loans – later discussed on television – of over $ 400 million would be due within the next four years. Trump personally guaranteed it, a sign of doubt about his solvency. In the event of re-election, donors, including Deutsche Bank, may have to ask the awkward question of whether they are seizing the assets of a sitting president. If Trump were no longer in office, he would be less sensitive.
The report also mentions a dispute with the US tax authority, the IRS, which could result in a tax refund of over $ 100 million. As his most profitable project of the past two decades, his reality TV show “The Apprentice” is described, which has earned him more than $ 425 million. But he invested most of this money in things that turned out to be at a loss, such as golf courses. The newspaper’s conclusion: “Ultimately, Mr. Trump was more successful playing a business tycoon than being one in real life.”
Trump has made a name for himself as a real estate developer, with skyscrapers like the Trump Tower and casino hotels in the gaming city of Atlantic City. There are reasonable doubts about his business skills and he has repeatedly filed for bankruptcy at his casinos, yet he has managed to cultivate a reputation as a winner. This paved the way for the White House. He became an unusual president as he went on to own his company, passing operational management to his two eldest sons.