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Donald Trump’s Ethics Issues Cost Him Forbes 400 Spot

Donald Trump’s Ethics Issues Cost Him Forbes 400 Spot

Donald Trump is obsessed with his status as a wealthy man. He’s even been accused of falsifying his worth in order to maintain that status. Now, he’s lost it — and Forbes says he’d still be on their list if he’d followed ethics recommendations at the beginning of his presidency.

[Photo by DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images]

Forbes broke the news Tuesday morning: Trump is still, on paper, a wealthy man, but not wealthy enough to make their list of the 400 richest people in America. In fact, last year, he was at the 339th position on the list, but lost money during the pandemic, because his money is predominantly in big city real estate — while other billionaires, with money in tech and other assets got richer.

In fact, Forbes asserts that if the former president had done as he was advised before moving into the White House, and divested his real estate investments, he might have also seen a pandemic boom.

“If Trump is looking for someone to blame, he can start with himself. Five years ago, he had a golden opportunity to diversify his fortune. Fresh off the 2016 election, federal ethics officials were pushing Trump to divest his real estate assets. That would have allowed him to reinvest the proceeds into broad-based index funds and assume office free of conflicts of interest.”

Trump’s fall off the Forbes list will likely displease him, since he reportedly lied about his wealth to make the list in the first place. The Washington Post reported in 2018 on how Trump, in 1984, used an alias — John Barron — to convince a reporter for the Forbes 400 that he held more property than was actually in his name at the time. That reporter, Jonathan Greenberg, says the magazine had Trump’s net worth valued at $200k, while he insisted he was a billionaire. It wasn’t the first time he’d been on the list when he shouldn’t have, either, according to Greenberg.

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“Over time, I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, has said that his ex-boss routinely misrepresented the value of his holdings, in both directions — up when applying for loans, down when filing taxes. The Trump Organization is currently facing charges for a tax dodge, and it’s widely expected that there will be further indictments in the case.

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