On January 20th, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. At that moment, he also became by far the richest president the nation has ever had — and will likely have for some time.
The wealthiest president before Trump was the very first. George Washington’s Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, consisted of five separate farms on 8,000 acres of prime farmland. As president, Washington earned significantly more than his successors–his salary was 2% of the total U.S. budget in 1789. However, even with his salary, Washington does not even come close to Trump’s net worth, which is estimated at anywhere between $2.9 billion to $10 billion.
Based on our estimates of estates and incomes, 24/7 Wall st. reviewed the 10 richest American presidents.
Since Trump has not made his tax returns public, his net worth is difficult to assess. Conflicting statements from the real estate tycoon himself further complicate the accuracy of any estimate. Estimates have ranged from less than $3 billion to over $8 billion. In his financial disclosure documents submitted while running for office, Trump himself claimed a net worth of $10 billion.
While other presidents, even those who were multi-millionaires, have sought to keep their wealth in the background, Trump’s affluence is very much a part of his identity. Throughout his campaign, Trump has touted his net worth as proof of his skill as a dealmaker and a shrewd businessman.
As president, Trump is expected to have entirely divested himself of his assets so as to avoid a conflict of interest. Much to the chagrin of many political ethicists, however, Trump maintained ownership of his empire, but ceded temporary control of those businesses to his eldest sons while he is in office. This caused some backlash and complications in the days leading up to the inauguration and through the first few weeks of his presidency.
In 2010, 24/7 Wall St. published The Net worth of Every American President, from George Washington to Barack Obama. We have updated our figures each year to reflect the earnings of the still-living presidents. Through this analysis, we identified the 10 presidents with the highest net worth. In this year’s updated list, the only living president who is counted among the 10 wealthiest, besides Trump, is Bill Clinton. If elected, Hillary Clinton would also have been counted among the wealthiest presidents.
The net worth of America’s presidents is often tied to the economic conditions of their time. It is not surprising therefore to find that the first few presidents were owners of large plantations, farmlands, and slaves. They generally made money from crops and commodity speculation. This left them also highly vulnerable to poor crop yields and the risk of losing most or all of their properties because of a few bad years.
Herbert Hoover made millions of dollars as the owner of mining companies. Many more presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Kennedy, and both George W. and George H.W. Bush inherited wealth their families generated during the industrial revolution and the gilded era.
This is 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the richest U.S. presidents.