Did Donald Trump’s presidency really lose him US$700,000? He may still be a billionaire, but The Trump Organisation bled money during Covid-19 and now his net worth is down

Donald Trump’s business empire is ailing, having lost US$700 million in the four years he was president. Photo: @bloomberg/Twitter

Donald Trump’s net worth dropped from US$3 billion to US$2.3 billion over the course of his presidency, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Since – in theory at least – stepping away from The Trump Organisation, the impact of the pandemic, as well as two impeachments, have wreaked havoc on Trump’s estimated 500 businesses – even as his dozens of visits to his properties while in office helped him rake in millions from security details and more. 
Then-US president Donald Trump waves to the media outside the White House in Washington in January 2021. Photo: AFP

In January, public relations expert Eric Schiffer told us that Trump’s businesses might never recover from his presidency.

“Trump will exit the presidency with a brutal set of targets surrounding the heart of his brand, which will be a danger to his survival economically and that of his children, and likely will lead to excruciating pain of the type he has really never faced,” he said.

Trump will exit the presidency with a brutal set of targets surrounding the heart of his brand
Eric Schiffer, public relations expert

About 75 per cent of Trump’s income comes from commercial real estate, according to Bloomberg. The work-from-home boom has made the business more precarious than ever as companies look to reduce their office space. 

NYPD officers stand guard by their bicycles as demonstrators protest against then-president Donald Trump and government policies near Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, in November 2019. Photo: Reuters

The cities where Trump has most at stake – New York and San Francisco – have also been hit the hardest. The valuation of Trump’s commercial real estate business is down over 25 per cent from when he started his presidency, Bloomberg reports.

Trump’s line of resorts and hotels have also suffered from Covid-19 travel restrictions, their value falling over 40 per cent from 2015 to 2020, according to Bloomberg data.

One potential bright spot may be Lido City, a planned  resort development outside the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, complete with a studio that aims to be Asia’s answer to Hollywood and – what else? – a golf course.
The Seven Springs, a property owned by former president Donald Trump in Mount Kisco, New York. Photo: AP

The former president’s brand has also been negatively affected by his ties to the Capitol siege. Schiffer said even Trump’s most loyal supporters will not be able to help him recover.

His loyalists “were not in many ways his core buyers,” Schiffer explained, noting that “many are not of high income”.

Those with genuine wealth and power who Trump has attempted to influence include world leaders, though his zero-sum approach to diplomacy often muddied, if not broke, relationships, and his at times unusual personal gifts probably didn’t help.
Demonstrators gather in Freedom Plaza during the Million MAGA March in Washington on December 12, 2020. Photo: Bloomberg

Trump may be able to monetise his MAGA crowd in other ways, Schiffer said, such as creating a blog or newsletter or holding ticketed events, but these events won’t make up for the larger revenue lost through his hotels, restaurants and golf clubs.

Following the attack, the PGA of America decided against hosting its annual tournament at Trump’s New Jersey golf club. Other organisations have also severed ties with Trump since his second impeachment.

Trump’s book sales have plummeted since his presidency ended, with revenue from sales down 87 per cent in the past five years, Bloomberg reports.

Trump donated his US$400,000 salary as president, but still made a revenue of US$1.6 billion from 2016 to 2020. The net result though saw Trump fall 77 places in Forbes’ ranking of the 400 richest Americans over that time.

In 2020, Forbes estimated that Trump lost over US$1 billion during the pandemic, as his net worth dropped to US$2.1 billion, while the pandemic shook the commercial real estate market. By comparison, many of America’s billionaires did well out of their portfolios over the same period, especially those with sizeable holdings in tech.
Most presidents, including the likes of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush, see spikes in their net worth following their presidency. Public appearances, book and brand deals often allow former presidents to rake in millions, but Trump’s brand may have taken too great of a hit.

Trump might be one of the few presidents to continue to see his net worth fall following his presidency.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider

Donald Trump
  • Most former US presidents, including Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton, make bank after leaving the White House – but not Trump
  • He’s now worth US$2.3 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as brands like PGA of America have distanced themselves from him