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Trump brand 'has become toxic' for some people, Forbes editor says

Adam Shapiro

Forbes magazine’s latest list of the 400 wealthiest Americans ranks President Donald Trump at No. 275 with a $3.1 billion fortune. Forbes Associate Editor Chase Peterson-Withorn said Trump’s net worth is down $400 million since he took office.

“He had said a few weeks ago that he was losing $3 billion to $5 billion,” Withorn told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “$5 billion is more money than he's ever been worth. He's not losing that much money.”

Trump’s son Eric is running the Trump Organization while his dad is in office. The younger Trump, appeared at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit and said, “The second my father looked like he was going to win, we went and we turned off every single deal that we were doing overseas that wasn’t already, like, inked.”

“Not exactly,” said Withorn. “Like a lot of things with the Trumps, it’s you know there’s some truth to it but generally no.”

Withorn said the Trumps are not closing big new deals overseas but are still profiting from licensing agreements in places like Dubai and Turkey while selling property in places like the Dominican Republic.

“They sell things to foreign buyers through LLCs and things like that. So you know, that’s a foreign deal,” Withorn said.

Trump’s real estate holdings

Forbes recently published an article on Trump’s definitive net worth. It calculated almost half of the president’s fortune is tied up in New York City real estate, estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.

Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

Trump’s real estate holdings outside New York City, including the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago and the Trump National Hotel in Washington D.C., are valued at $660 million, while clubs and golf courses, including Mar-a-Lago in Florida and Trump Turnberry in Scotland, are valued at $590 million.

But Withorn said, “The Trump brand, from a business standpoint, has become toxic to a level that people just generally just want to stay away right now.”

The president’s most recent financial disclosure reveals Trump’s businesses in 2018 generated $434 million in revenue from all sources but that was down from the $452 million reported in 2017.

“The place where the brand has really gotten hit the hardest is really not the biggest business of the president’s but it’s really the branding of mattresses and ties and shirts,” Withorn said.

“That was worth maybe $15 million or $20 million to the president. It is worth basically nothing today,” according to Withorn.

But don’t dismiss Trump’s ability to make a deal when he leaves office. Withorn said reporters from Forbes have spoken with Trump’s old partners about deals that fell through in the early days of his campaign to become president.

“Those partners straight up told us, you know, we’re ready and so excited to do a deal with him. The second he gets out of office, the second he’s ready, you know great,” according to Withorn.

Adam Shapiro is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance On the Move.

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