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WASHINGTON – The presidency appears to have cost Donald Trump more than $1 billion in wealth.
Trump tumbled nearly 300 spots on Forbes' billionaire rankings during his presidency, the magazine reported this week, with his estimated wealth falling from $3.5 billion to $2.4 billion during his four-year term.
That's still good enough for 1,299th place on the magazine's new billionaire list, down from 1,001st last year.
The list is topped by a frequent political target of Trump: Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, whose wealth is tagged at $177 billion.
The magazine blamed Trump's decision to refuse to divest when he took office in January 2017.
Dan Alexander, a senior editor at Forbes who has tracked Trump's business career, wrote that the ex-president “bogged down his presidency with ethics issues for years, while also missing a chance to cash in on a market boom he helped propel.”
“If he had sold everything on Day 1, paid the maximum capital-gains taxes on the sales, then put the proceeds into a conflict-free fund tracking the S&P 500,” Alexander wrote, “Trump would have ended his presidency an estimated $1.6 billion richer than he is today.”
Instead, the values of many Trump properties fell throughout his term as president, Forbes reported.
In the meantime, government watchdog groups said Trump's business holdings created myriad conflicts of interest throughout his presidency, particularly hotels and resorts that housed Secret Service and other government officials during presidential visits.
Trump's financial activities throughout his business career are also the subject of an ongoing investigation by prosecutors in New York.