On Wednesday, Republican front-runner Donald Trump announced in a press release that he was too rich for the Federal Election Commission forms but he filed them anyway.
“This report was not designed for a man of Mr. Trump’s massive wealth,” the release began, lest you had forgotten that Trump is, in his own words, “really rich.”
“For instance,” the release helpfully explained, “they have boxes once a certain number is reached that simply state $50 million or more. Many of these boxes have been checked. As an example, if a building owned by Mr. Trump is worth $1.5 billion, the box checked is ‘$50,000,000 or more.”
Prior to his campaign, pundit wisdom surrounding Trump was that he would never really run for office because if he did, it would mean admitting he wasn’t as rich as he said he was. That was why, it was believed, he’d chickened out of formally announcing for close to 20 years.
But, according to the press release, the pundits were wrong.
The financial disclosure is not yet available from the FEC, but Trump claims his net worth “is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.” (Caps his, of course).
He also claims that in 2014 he made “$362 million (which does to include dividends, interest, capital gains, rents and royalties).”
Trump’s compulsory declarations of wealth are his defining characteristic.
During his June 16 announcement, he made sure to clarify “I’m really rich.”
In total, he uttered the words “rich,” “money” and “net worth” 30 times in 45 minutes. He also claimed his exact net worth was $8,737,540,000.
Trump, whose corporations have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over 10 times, is highly sensitive to accusations that he is not as wealthy as he claims.
In 2006, when Trump claimed to be worth $2.7 billion, he sued Timothy L. O’Brien, author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, and its publisher, Warner Books, for saying Trump was worth $150 million to $250 million. The suit was dismissed.
In 2011, when MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell mocked Trump by suggesting he was worth less than $1 billion, Trump responded on Twitter by threatening a lawsuit and claiming to be worth “substantially more than 7 billion dollars” with “very low debt, great assets.”
In an interview with The Daily Beast about the downfall of Atlantic City in 2014, Trump declared, without prompting, “I made a lot of money in Atlantic City” over half a dozen times—five of which made their way into print. At one point, he said, “I hope you can say in your article that Mr. Trump sold out a long time ago and did well. I made a lot of money.”
Having defied expectations, the tone of Trump’s release was jovial.
“First people said I would never run, and I did,” he said in a statement. “Then, they said, I would never file my statement of candidacy with the FEC, and I did. Next they said I would never file my personal financial disclosure forms. I filed them early despite the fact that I am allowed two 45 day extensions. Now I have surged in the polls and am fighting to Make America Great Again. I look forward to the challenge of winning the presidency and doing a fantastic job for our country. I will make the United States rich and strong and respected again, but also a country with a ‘big heart’ toward the care of our people.”
Very, very rich.