Those of us traumatized by the constant horrors of the Trump administration until its blessed termination on January 20th must be forgiven our penchant for thoroughly enjoying the schadenfreude that we experience guilt-free when watching Donald Trump suffer any consequences whatsoever due to the venality and idiocy of his actions.
A new report from Forbes magazine today will likely be greeted with much amusement by people like us as the news of Trump’s post-presidential woes sweeps over us like a cleansing shower.
For all of the former president’s much-vaunted financial acumen — an attribute that is largely a fiction generated by the public relations effort mounted by NBC when Trump hosted the various incarnations of The Apprentice — it appears as if the supposed wizard of the business world has plummeted in Forbes‘ rankings of the wealthiest people in the world.
“From the time he entered the White House in January 2017 to his departure a few months ago, Donald Trump’s fortune fell by nearly a third, from $3.5 billion to $2.4 billion. The S&P 500, meanwhile, increased 70%,” the magazine notes.
Perhaps it’s sinful to gloat at the misfortunes of others, but to those outraged at the damage Trump inflicted on America, it is simply a meager payback for the pain and anxiety that he caused.
Trump’s MAGA-hatted supporters may point to the fact that the orange menace was too busy playing president to pay attention to his own net worth and, besides, he had handed the daily operations of his business empire to his sons Don Jr. and Eric, so any diminishment of his fortune should properly be blamed on their business ineptitude.
However, Forbes reveals a simple fact that proves that it was Trump’s own early miscalculation in choosing to temporarily hand over his business to his sons rather than divest himself of his assets before assuming the presidency that was the source of his current relative penury.
“By refusing to divest his portfolio upon taking office, Trump bogged down his presidency with ethics issues for years, while also missing a chance to cash in on a market boom he helped propel,” Forbes points out.
“If he had sold everything on Day 1, paid the maximum capital-gains taxes on the sales, then put the proceeds into a conflict-free fund tracking the S&P 500, Trump would have ended his presidency an estimated $1.6 billion richer than he is today,” the magazine concludes.
Instead, Donnie finds himself with a net worth estimated at $2.4 billion and a ranking as the 1,299th richest billionaire in the world, down 298 places from his finish in 1,001st place last year.
Trump can take some solace in the fact that — thanks to President Biden’s takeover of America’s vaccination efforts — our nation’s economy has begun to recover from the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and his net worth has actually increased from the early days of the pandemic when stock and property valuations temporarily plummeted.
Still, at a time when other billionaires like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and others saw their fortunes multiplying exponentially, Trump has seen his holdings wither.
It’s almost enough to make one think that karma is real and that justice is possible.
The only true way that justice will be served, however, is with the indictment, conviction, and imprisonment of Donald Trump and his accomplices for their multiple crimes.
In the meantime, we can take whatever small pleasure that we can in the news of his economic misfortune and the debunking of his business expertise.
Original reporting by Dan Alexander at Forbes.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.