Real-estate magnate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign appears to be costing him even more than he anticipated.
The billionaire Republican and television personality is losing business relationships left and right after he used harsh rhetoric to describe Mexican immigrants.
Macy’s canceled its Trump clothing line. NBC said Trump will no longer be allowed to host “The Apprentice.” Univision, NBC, and a host of celebrities dropped Trump’s Miss Universe Organisation beauty pageants, including the upcoming “Miss USA” show. Even a mattress company announced that it would halt its Trump-branded products. And the businessman’s critics are amping up pressure on his other endeavours.
It’s impossible to precisely determine how much money these hits have cost Trump — especially because there’s a lot of disagreement about how much his brand is worth.
When he announced his campaign last month, Trump published a document that pegged his net worth at roughly $US9 billion, with more than one-third of that coming from “real estate licensing deals, brand, and branded developments.” Forbes disagreed at the time, valuing his personal brand at $US125 million and Trump-branded hotels’ management fees at $US128 million.
However, there are some estimates at how much Trump has lost since his controversial campaign launch, when he blasted Mexico for supposedly sending “rapists” and drug runners to the US.
Notably, The Wrap published a story Wednesday estimating that Trump has already lost “somewhere around $US50.5 million.” Business Insider couldn’t independently verify the number, but we’ve reached out to Trump representatives to see if they disagree and will update this post if we hear back.
Here’s how The Wrap arrived at its total:
Macy’s — $US3.2 million
“Trump’s royalties from his licensed Macy’s menswear line came in at $US3.2 million between 2005 and 2007. It is reasonable to presume that those figures have held steady.”
Miss Universe pageants — $US14.8 million
“Trump himself places a $US14.8 million value on the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants, which he co-owns in a joint venture with NBCUniversal. Those will be far less valuable without a network TV home.”
(The independent US cable network REELZ announced Thursday that it will host “Miss USA.”)
‘Celebrity Apprentice’ — $US32.5 million
“In 2011, it was reported that he makes $US65 million per year on ‘Apprentice.’ At the time, NBC said his real compensation isn’t even in sniffing range of that number. … [G]iven NBC’s heavy balk at the $US65 million figure, let’s cut that number in half and put Trump’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ fee at approximately $US32.5 million.”
If that number is accurate, $US50 million would just be a tiny fraction of Trump’s massive personal fortune. However, it could effectively double the cost of his presidential campaign, which he is self-funding.
Past self-financed presidential campaigns, which have largely been unsuccessful, exacted a bit under $US50 million from the candidates.
According to The New York Times, Republican businessman Steve Forbes spent $US69 million in the 1996 and 2000 presidential races. The same report said Ross Perot’s two third-party White House campaigns cost the Texas businessman $US71 million. And The Washington Post reported that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) spent $US45 million on his failed 2008 bid.
For his part, Trump has repeatedly insisted that his remarks about Mexican immigrants shouldn’t be especially controversial. He noted Wednesday that President Barack Obama reportedly referred to “gangbangers” crossing the border, for example, and he frequently says pressure is only being applied to his business ventures because his political agenda promises to shake up the status quo.
In a Wednesday night Fox News interview, Trump also said his candidacy is proving true the argument that it’s challenging for successful businessmen to run for president.
“I’ve always said that if you’re a very successful person … it’s very hard to run for political office, especially the office of president, OK? I’m proving that,” he said. “Because Macy’s chokes and NBC is weak and they choke. And I understand that.”
He added, “Fortunately it doesn’t have any impact on me because it’s not big stuff, monetarily. But I will tell you something: People, they’re just not able to handle the pressure.”
Asked who he expects to cut ties with him next, Trump rhetorically shrugged.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Whoever it is, it is.”
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