This was a model Trump would use for the rest of his career, telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that some kernel of it had to be real. The tactic landed him a place on the Forbes list he hadn’t earned – and led to future accolades, press coverage and deals. It eventually paved a path toward the presidency.
“The largest portion of Mr Trump’s fortune, according to three people who had had direct knowledge of his holdings, apparently comes from his lucrative inheritance. These people estimated that Mr Trump’s wealth, presuming that it is not encumbered by heavy debt, may amount to about $US200 million to $US300 million. That is an enviably large sum of money by most people’s standards but far short of the billionaires club.”
The opacity persists. In 2016, Trump’s presidential campaign put out a statement saying the candidate had a net worth “in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS”. But he has never released his tax returns, and he has said that the core Trump Organisation asset is the ownership of his brand – an ineffable marketing claim that is impossible to substantiate or refute.