President Trump on Tuesday disputed that he’s profiting off the presidency, arguing instead that lawsuits alleging he’s violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution amount to “presidential harassment” and have cost him “a fortune.”
“I got sued on a thing called emoluments. Emoluments. You ever hear of the word? Nobody ever heard of it before,” Trump said in a speech to a Shell petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania.
“And what it is is presidential harassment, because this thing is costing me a fortune, and I love it,” Trump added. “I love it because I’m making the lives of other people much, much better.”
Trump mocks those who have accused him of using the presidency to boost himself
"This thing is costing me a fortune being president. What about the $5B I'll lose?"
"I don’t care. You know, if you’re wealthy it doesn’t matter, I just want to do a great job."
— America's Voice News (@AVoiceNews) August 14, 2019
“This thing is costing me a fortune, being president,” Trump said.
“Somebody said ‘Oh, he rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500,’” Trump said, in reference to reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and members of his delegation booked multiple nights in a Trump hotel.
“What about the $5 billion that I’ll lose?” Trump asked, noting his high cost of lawyers “cause every day they sue me for something.”
“It’s probably costing me from $3 to $5 billion for the privilege of being — and I couldn’t care less—I don’t care. You know if you’re wealthy, it doesn’t matter. I just want to do a great job,” Trump added.
Forbes magazine pushed back on Trump’s claim that he lost $5 billion dollars being president, calling the claim “absurd.”
Trump is not losing $3 billion to $5 billion. His income isn’t anywhere near $3 billion. And his net worth has not dropped by $3 billion since he went into politics—let alone $5 billion, which is more than he’s ever been worth. Forbes pegged Trump’s fortune at $4.5 billion in 2015. Today we estimate it to be $3.1 billion, a drop of $1.4 billion.
But only a sliver of that has to do with politics. Much of the decline is due to deeper reporting, which revealed, for example, that Trump had been lying about the size of his penthouse. Another big chunk is due to market forces. Trump owns commercial space at a time when e-commerce is decimating brick-and-mortar retail, shaving more than $100 million off his fortune. The presidency, we found, accounts for only about $200 million of the $1.4 billion drop in Trump’s net worth.