You’re not supposed to get wealthy as a politician.
No one knows that better than President Donald J. Trump.
Just within the last 12 months Trump’s net worth has declined by more than what most Americans could ever dream of possessing — $600 million, as estimated by Forbes.
On top of that Trump lost another estimated $600 million from 2016 through 2017, meaning that he lost $1.2 billion since taking office.
Yet at $2.5 billion in net wort he’s still on Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza gleefully wrote about the president’s financial woes in an "analysis" Wednesday.
"Trump's need — and it is a need — to be very, very rich — is widely regarded as one of the main reasons he has continued to be unwilling to release any of his previous tax returns, the first president in the post-Watergate era to enjoy that ignominious distinction," Cillizza wrote.
"The speculation is that Trump knows that the returns would show him as considerably less rich than he has bragged about for years and, in so doing, reduce his appeal to voters who are drawn to his over-the-top money and attitude."
Cillizza neglected to mention that it’s not just wealth Trump is losing while in office.
He also donates his presidential salary each quarter to a worthy recipient — generally a federal agency for a particular cause, such as combatting the coronavirus pandemic.
So that would indicate that Trump’s not in it for any personal gain. Then why is he?
Oprah Winfrey’s1988 interview with Trump provides a hint.
He indicated he was sickened by the lack of free-trade between the United States and its trading partners.
"We let Japan come in and dump everything right into our markets," he said, adding that it’s a one-way street.
"If you ever go to Japan now and try to sell something, forget about it, Oprah.
Just forget about it. It’s almost impossible," he said passionately.
Oprah observed that Trump was engaging in what she called "political talk," prompting her to ask if he’d consider a presidential run. Trump said he didn’t "have the inclination to do it," although he wouldn’t dismiss the possibility.
"But I do get tired of seeing what’s happening with this country, and if it got so bad, I probably wouldn’t want to rule it out totally because I really am tired of seeing what’s happening with this country, how we’re really making other people live like kings, and we’re not," he said.
Trump also gave himself good odds of success in the event he ran.
"If I did decide to do it, I think I’d be inclined, I would say that I would have a hell of a chance of winning," he said.
Plans to impeach Trump began from the moment he was elected, and one of the first theories advanced was the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
Article I Section 9 Paragraph 8 prohibits any federal officeholder from accepting anything of value from a foreign government.
Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 7 is a domestic emoluments clause, prohibiting the president from receiving any "Emolument" from the federal government or the states beyond "a Compensation" for his "Services" as the nation's chief executive.
In contrast to the Trumps, whose financial statements are bleeding red ink, the Obamas are worth 30 times more today than when entering the White House, according to Business Insider.
As of August 2019 they’re worth at least $40 million, per a GoBankingRates estimate.
That’s a fraction of the Clintons’ holdings. They’ve acquired an estimated net worth of $120 million, $45 million of which is in Hillary Clinton’s name alone.
Although that may be small potatoes as compared to the Trumps, both the Obamas and the Clintons nonetheless managed to turn their political career into a cash cow without being accused, whereas the Trumps are accused of it without actually profiting.
Possibly with the emolument provisions in mind, former President Harry S. Truman, a Democrat, reportedly once said, "you can't get rich in politics unless you're a crook."
Trump seems to be the only one of the three taking Truman’s adage to heart.
Then again, he had another reason for running, according to his 1988 Oprah interview.
He wasn’t in it for fame or fortune — he’d already achieved those.
Trump was tired of seeing the United States get the short end in trade deals and getting sucked into endless foreign wars.
But the biggest difference is that the Obamas’ and Clintons’ success, however acquired, is personal to them.
Trump’s success, on the other hand, happens to be America’s success — something we can all bask in and enjoy.
Boy did Chris Cillizza have the president pegged wrong.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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