Economy

Donald Trump Will Leave Office as America's Richest President

It remains to be seen if Donald Trump will leave office when Joe Biden is sworn in as U.S. president on January 20 or will be forced out by successful impeachment proceedings. Either way, it is hard to overestimate how much recent events have ruined whatever reputation he had left. Although legal and financial claims against him may well strip him of much of his wealth after he leaves office, he is almost certainly the richest man who has served as president.

In the early days of American democracy, being a wealthy, white, male landowner was a prerequisite to having a voice in how the country was run. So it should come as no surprise that many of America’s leaders have been quite wealthy. On the whole, many would argue, that has not entirely changed

Winning a bid for the presidency requires a significant amount of hard work and good luck, but it is also often helpful to have another key resource: wealth. Money and connections play a role in politics, and coming from a wealthy family can be the determining factor in whether someone’s presidential aspirations are realized. The United States has seen a number of wealthy political dynasties, including the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Adamses.

Trump became the richest ever U.S. president upon taking office in 2017. Like many other wealthy presidents, Trump had significant advantages in becoming rich. In 1971, he took over his father’s real estate company, the Trump Organization.

There has been a great deal of debate about Trump’s net worth, although few argue it is not in the billions. Among the arguments about the sum has been one between Trump and Forbes, which keeps an annual list of the richest Americans.

24/7 Wall St. has estimated the peak net worth of every president based on all relevant sources of wealth, including incomes, properties, spouses and inheritance, and adjusted it to inflation.

Trump’s real estate holding put his peak net worth (inflation adjusted) at $3.2 billion. Some analysis of this number has pushed it down because of debt owed because of the purchase of many holdings.

Before he entered politics, Trump was a prominent figure in New York City’s real estate scene. He took over his father’s business and grew it into an empire. Though many of his other businesses have failed, these vast property holdings make him by far the wealthiest president of all time.

In addition to a number of New York City buildings, Trump owns over a dozen golf clubs and many resorts. Trump broke precedent when he declined to release his tax returns as a candidate, and later as president, so it is difficult to know his exact worth.

Check here for the methodology.

Check here for America’s 12 richest presidents.