Donald Trump’s newfound “fortune” falls to pieces

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March 25 was one of those days when it’s tempting to be a defeatist. Not only did Bloomberg add Donald Trump to its list of the world’s 500 richest people (the “Bloomberg Billionaires Index”), but it did so with fanfare.

A separate Bloomberg article trumpeting this development bore the headline, “Trump’s Net Worth Hits $6.5 Billion, Making Him One of World’s 500 Richest People,” then credited this to how the “Trump Media merger adds billions of dollars to paper fortune.” Then came the buoyant lead: “Donald Trump’s business empire was supposed to be in peril like never before on Monday. Instead, it turned into the single-greatest day on record for the former president’s wealth.”

We’re all old enough to remember the countless times when Trump was supposedly poised to avoid liability, expand his wealth, or otherwise magically bend the universe to embrace his narcissistic malevolence. While Trump has unfortunately had his share of wins—which have wreaked havoc from an individual to a global level—so many seeming triumphs have turned out to be duds, often the product of some smoke-and-mirrors setup or other Trump-engineered, hyperbolic weirdness.

On April 10, a little more than two weeks after Bloomberg’s announcement, new headlines arrived to douse the ugly flame of MAGA optimism. “Trump Bumped Out of Popular Billionaire Ranking” (Newsweek), “Donald Trump booted from prestigious list of billionaires after Truth Social parent’s swan dive” (Fortune), and more speak to the transitory nature of Trump’s net worth spike.

Since Trump Media merged with Digital World Acquisition Corp. and began trading under the toxic ticker “DJT” in late March, shares of this so-called “meme stock” have plummeted over 50% from its peak. Trump owns about 60% of Trump Media, which means his stake dropped to below $3 billion after rising to around $6 billion on paper, according to a report from USA Today. Short of obtaining board approval, Trump cannot dump any of his DJT shares until September.

This isn’t the first time Trump has been booted off a rich folks’ list. In October, Trump vanished from the Forbes 400 list for the second time in three years. As I wrote then, Forbes cited the failing Truth Social venture as the “biggest reason” for the drop in Trump’s net worth. When it comes to Trump, a win isn’t necessarily what it may seem at first. This is all a reminder that as Election Day draws ever closer, we can’t afford to be defeatists.

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