President Donald Trump rose 51 spots in Forbes’ annual ranking of billionaires, the magazine reported Tuesday, but it wasn’t because his net worth increased.
Trump’s ranking jumped to 715 from 766 in this year’s list, primarily due to the declining wealth of other billionaires, Forbes said. The president’s net worth stayed flat at $3.1 billion. The figure remains below his pre-presidential fortune of $4.5 billion in 2015.
As president, Trump continues to maintain his portfolio of hotels, golf courses and other real estate despite backlash from critics who argue that his private-sector dealings are a conflict of interest. Although the president turned over control of the Trump Organization to his sons Eric and Donald Jr. after he took office, he has not divested from his business empire.
Trump’s properties had mixed financial success in the last year. Forbes reported that his Trump Tower and 6 East 57th St. retail property in New York lost a combined $64 million in value over the past year. Meanwhile, his Miami, Florida, golf resort lost $26 million in value. Those losses were mitigated by a $160 million gain in Trump’s 30 percent stakes in two skyscrapers, 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York and 555 California St. in San Francisco.
Trump has invoked his status as a landlord when criticizing political opponents. In January, after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that he was considering running for president as an independent in 2020, Trump tweeted, “I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!”
Trump continues to refuse to publicly release his tax returns, which would reveal details about income from his business interests.
However, the campaign by Democrats to obtain the tax returns gained new life last week, after freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., questioned Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen about the documents. Following the Cohen hearing, the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing a formal request to the IRS for Trump’s tax returns, according to an NBC report.
The top three richest people in the world according to Forbes’ ranking are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($131 billion net worth), Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($96.5 billion) and investor Warren Buffett ($82.5 billion). Newly elected Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotels chain, beat out Trump this year as the richest elected official, with a net worth of $3.2 billion.