US POLITICS

Just How Mega-Rich Is Trump’s New Cabinet? This Rich

The president-elect and his cabinet picks to-date have a combined net worth of roughly $11.5 billion. Imagine what you could purchase with that kind of cash

US POLITICS
Photo Illustration: Vocativ, Source Image: Getty
Dec 01, 2016 at 4:38 PM ET

Donald Trump, our self-proclaimed swamp-drainer-in-chief, is well on his way to stacking his administration with the very Washington insiders and elites that he claimed to shun when he played the role of a populist candidate. In fact, the proposed team of billionaires, Wall Street bankers, and rich politicians he has already assembled may soon constitute the wealthiest administration in modern American history.

Trump and his cabinet picks to-date have a combined net worth of roughly $11.5 billion, a review of published reports and financial disclosure records shows. And that’s not counting non-cabinet level picks, like soon-to-be Deputy Commerce Secretary Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs whose family is worth about $5 billion. (Rickett’s incoming boss, Wilbur Ross, another billionaire, is on our list.)

That stunning figure makes George W. Bush and his onetime cabinet of corporate cronies — whose combined net worth in 2001 was around $250 million in today’s dollars, according to the Washington Post — look like paupers. And with ultra-rich candidates, such as Mitt Romney (net worth: $250 million), rumored for other cabinet positions in the Trump administration, it is likely to mushroom even more.

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To be clear, estimating the net worth of the obscenely wealthy is an imprecise science. Trump, who still refuses to release his tax returns, serves as a case in point. He claims to be worth $10 billion in presidential campaign disclosure forms. Forbes, meanwhile, thinks that number is closer to $3.7 billion, a figure Vocativ finds more reliable — and some have put the estimate in the hundreds of millions.

Then there is Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner who is now the president-elect’s pick for Treasury secretary. He is worth at least $40 million, according to some reports, and considered a billionaire by others. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, he allegedly pocketed “hundreds of millions” of dollars in personal profits on series of lucrative business deals in the last few years alone. Based on Mnuchin’s reported income, property holdings, and profit generated from company sales, we assigned him a net worth of $200 million, though it is likely more.

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Soon all of this will no longer be a newsroom parlor game. Nominees for executive branch positions are required to disclose their personal finances during their hearings before the U.S. Senate. In the meantime, Vocativ has dreamed up a handful of ways to imagine what $11.5 billion can buy.