Donald Trump’s net worth has been in question since the former real estate mogul decided to run for president in 2015. In the past, Trump has repeatedly claimed that he is a billionaire, but the exact measurement of his wealth has changed in various interviews.
There are many who have expressed doubt Trump’s net worth is anywhere near the billions as he claims. One of the most vocal proponents of this doubt is David Cay Johnston, New York Times journalist and bestselling author of The Making of Donald Trump.
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During an interview with Business Insider, Johnston said that Trump’s net-worth claims are more fiction than fact.
“The reality is that Donald Trump just makes it up and you don’t have to take my word for it,” Johnston said. “He’s testified to that effect.”
As Business Insider noted, Johnston has been researching Donald Trump for almost thirty years. In 1990, he broke a story that Donald Trump was not a billionaire.
Trump did not respond well to the story, Johnston said in the interview. However, later Trump was forced to reveal his personal net worth in a government proceeding. Statements prepared by Trump’s bankers showed that his net worth was actually $-295 million.
Johnston maintained that today Donald Trump is a wealthy man, but there is “no evidence that he is a billionaire.”
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According to Johnston, Donald Trump’s net worth claims are not factual because of the way Trump calculates his wealth.
“Most of us will say “I own this much in house and stock market investments.. and I owe this much to the bank” Johnston said. But that’s not the way that Donald Trump calculates his net worth.
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Trump calculated his net worth based on his emotion, Johnston added. How do we know this? Trump has said so.
As a 2011 article in New York Magazine noted, in 2007 Trump said that he determines his net worth based on how he is feeling that day, during a deposition.
The deposition was linked to a lawsuit Trump had filed against Timothy O’Brien, also a journalist for the New York Times. O’Brien wrote an article stating that Trump’s net worth was actually between $150,000 to $250,000. Trump responded by suing him.
To be fair, Trump also added that his net worth fluctuates based on market performance, but he does include his “feelings” in there too.
Here is the exchange that happened during the deposition between the attorney questioning him and Trump, as quoted by New York Magazine.
Trump: My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try.
Ceresney: Let me just understand that a little. You said your net worth goes up and down based upon your own feelings?
Trump: Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day …
When contacted for comment last year on the question of his net worth, the Trump campaign maintained that Trump is a member of the billionaire club. “Mr. Trump’s net worth is at least $10 billion,” the statement read, according to Business Insider.
Do you think that Donald Trump’s net worth was ever higher than $1 billion? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Pete Marovich – Pool/Getty Images]