Everybody basically just assumed that Donald Trump was actually a billionaire until this election season, when many prominent figures started doubting his dough. Both sides have weighed in on how much the Donald is really worth. Mark Cuban, a billionaire himself, gave a non-committal, non-caring “sure” when asked by Steven Colbert if he actually believed the real estate mogul is really a member of the three-comma club. John Oliver and other pundits are more skeptical, however.
It must be noted that Trump doesn’t take too kindly to people who doubt the amount of dough in his beautiful, fantastic bank account. About a decade ago — during a simpler time when he wasn’t running for president — Trump sued a reporter for allegedly under-reporting his net-worth. Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against Timothy O’Brien, currently a Bloomberg employee, for having the gall to describe him as a “multi-millionaire” instead of “billionaire.”
(By the way, in 2011, Trump lost that suit. Sad!)
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The common claim, both by his camp and by Forbes, is that he is worth about $4 billion. And it’s foolish not to acknowledge the fact that Trump is one of the richer candidates to seek the presidency. But that still doesn’t put him in the rank of the “good” billionaires — rich people who spend a significant amount of time and money on philanthropic causes or the advancement of humanity. Many of these billionaires prefer to stay mum on current political topics, but have become more vocal in the shadow of a possibly impending Trump presidency.
It’s no secret that billionaires of all colors donate to politicians and their campaigns all the time, but this list only includes billionaires who are less known for their work in politics and more for their status as visionaries; billionaires who are known to the public eye to play very active roles in politics, such as the Koch brothers, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, and Jeff Bezos, who recently purchased the Washington Post, are excluded.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft: “Donald hasn’t been known for his philanthropy. He’s been known for other things.” The ultimate philanthropic is recently more known for his work eradicating diseases in developing countries than for his involvement in Microsoft. Gates also started the Giving Pledge, in which he encourages the world’s wealthiest to donate their money to worthwhile causes. Bill Gates is around $82 billion richer than Trump.
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway: “How in the world can you stand up to a couple of parents who lost a son and talk about sacrificing because you were building a bunch of buildings?” referring to Trump’s counter-criticism of Khizr Kahn’s DNC speech. Warren, the Oracle of Omaha, rarely actively supports political candidates, but he has pledged his support for Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton and even appeared with the ex-First Lady on a rally in Nebraska, during which he challenged Trump to release his tax returns. Buffett has also been critical of Trump’s business decisions over the past decades. Buffett is around $57 dollars richer than Trump.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook: “As I look around and I travel around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and a global community. I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others. For blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade, and in some cases around the world even cutting access to the internet.” The golden boy of Silicon Valley did not hit Trump directly, but nevertheless rebuked the candidate’s ideas on immigration and building a wall. Zuckerberg is around $38 billion richer than Trump.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla: “I don’t really have strong feelings except that hopefully Trump doesn’t get the nomination of the Republican party.” Musk, who says he gets involved in politics “as little as possible,” expressed this sentiment in late 2015, when people began taking Trump seriously as a presidential candidate. Musk is around $8 billion richer than Trump.
Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN: “I’m feeling pretty qualified. After this year, I’m feeling really qualified.” It’s a joke she said right after declaring she’s not qualified to run for president — “I have no qualifications to run” — that hits Trump’s qualification, quipping that if Trump, who has no political experience whatsoever, can claim that he is capable of running the country, then so can she. Trump likes Winfrey, and in the past even envisioned a Trump-Winfrey ticket. But when Kimmel asked Oprah how she would respond to a Trump VP offer if one were to be given to her, she said she would reply, “Donald, I’m with her.” Oprah and Trump have about the same net worth.