In his bid to build a staff of “the greatest people, the most incredible people,” the new president has selected chiefly members of “the 1%” elite.
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In fact, President Donald Trump’s cabinet net worth amounts to roughly $9.5 billion for all 17 people combined, according to a PolitiFact report released on Dec. 30.
That’s roughly equivalent to 58 Taylor Swifts, Time noted on Dec. 14.
That’s 30 times greater than the total worth of former President George W. Bush’s cabinet, according to NBC News on Dec. 7.
It’s also more than the net worth of the 43 million “‘least wealthy’ American households combined… and over one-third of the 126 million households total in the U.S.,” Quartz claimed on Dec. 15.
Now, there is some debate about the actual net worth of Trump’s cabinet – but PolitiFact’s $9.5 billion figure is in the middle…
The Boston Globe, NBC News, and CBS News put their Trump cabinet net worth estimates in the $13 billion to $14 billion range. On the low end of the estimates is $6 billion, from Bloomberg.
Regardless, from the numbers we’ve seen, it looks like all of the people – yes, all of them – appointed to work in Trump’s cabinet are each extremely rich.
Here’s a look at five of the wealthiest members – a few reach billionaire status, a couple are art enthusiasts, one seems to be collecting yacht club memberships…
Trump’s Cabinet Net Worth: 5 of the Richest, Putting Roughly $4.6 Billion in the White House
For Secretary of Labor: Andrew Puzder
Net Worth: $45 million (at least, according to Forbes on Dec. 22, 2016).
Andrew Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the company that runs Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Exact sums about Puzder’s net worth are widely debated among media sources because his financial disclosures are private…
However, there are some things we do know about Puzder’s wealth…
In 2009, Graphiq, a technology company that creates data-based infographics, pegged Puzder’s income at $7 million and his reported accumulated compensation at $30 million. Then, in 2011, the Pacific Coast Business Times reported that Puzder pulled in $10 million that year. And in 2012, he made $4.85 million, according to his now-deleted profile at Forbes.
As secretary of the Department of Labor, Puzder will be in charge of protecting workers and enforcing workplace laws regarding wage theft. Critics of his appointment allude to his stance on workplace protection laws as proof he’s not fit for the job.
You see, Puzder believes current workplace laws – like those mandating 30-minute breaks – stifle and chase away businesses looking to grow, reported The OC Register in 2014. He is also a staunch promoter of workplace automation.
Interesting Wealth Tidbit: In 2015, Puzder promoted arguably controversial ads for Carl’s Jr. featuring scantily clad women. “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American,” Puzder said in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine that year.
For Secretary of the Treasury: Steven Mnuchin
Net Worth: At least $166 million, but estimates put it as high as $500 million.
A Jan. 11 Fortune analysis of the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) banker and Hollywood financier’s public filings revealed his net worth could be as high as $500 million. The exact amount is murky because federal financial disclosure forms allow cabinet nominees to declare the value of their assets in ranges rather than fixed-dollar amounts. There was one issue with Mnuchin’s most recent filings earlier this year, however.
And he had an excuse at the ready for this fiscal discrepancy…
He said the accidental omission about his real estate holdings was a clerical error made by one of his attorneys.
Interesting Wealth Tidbit: The former banker has a valuable art collection from which he won’t be divesting, Fortune reported. It includes a 1978 Willem de Kooning oil painting — “Untitled III” — valued at approximately $25 million.
For Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
Net Worth: $325 million, including $240 million in Exxon stock and a multimillion-dollar Texas horse ranch.
Rex Tillerson is the former CEO and chairman of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM). He was one of the highest-paid CEOs in the world before Trump chose him for the cabinet role, according to The New York Times.
The financial disclosure report Tillerson sent to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in early January shows that he owns over $15 million in Texas real estate, noted Forbes on Jan. 12. The financial media outlet likewise reported that Tillerson has investments in 15 other countries, of which it specifically listed the following 13: France, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, the UK, China, Canada, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Spain – and, of course, Russia, with whom Tillerson has deep ties thanks to his position at Exxon.
(Editor’s Note: Read about Tillerson’s specific connections in the former USSR, including how much money these associations are worth, right here…)
Interesting Wealth Tidbit: Tillerson is invested in more businesses in Japan than any other country outside of the United States. His most valuable Japanese investment is a chunk of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. worth more than $50,000, which, honestly, doesn’t seem like much, does it?
For Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos
Net Worth: $1.25 billion, with family wealth adding up to $3.85 billion more.
While DeVos has ties to several for-profit education companies, including Social Finance, which started out as a student-loan refinancing company, she has no actual professional experience in education or education administration. This has caused a rift within Congress in regards to DeVos’ appointment confirmation – so much that it’s since been delayed twice (set to resume on Jan. 31) in order for Senate Democrats to further “scrutinize her potential conflicts of interests and preparedness to lead the Education Department,” reported The Washington Post on Jan. 23.
DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, who was the 2006 GOP nominee for Michigan governor. Dick’s father, Richard, is the co-founder of Amway and considered the 88th richest man in the United States in 2015 by Forbes.
Interesting Wealth Tidbit: DeVos is currently a member of three yacht clubs, three golf clubs, and one “premier private business and social club.”
For Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross Jr.
Net Worth: Around $2.5 billion.
Ross is a longtime banker who founded his own firm, W.L. Ross Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: NXEO), and accumulated his wealth through bankruptcy investments — buying financially distressed companies in order to rebuild them. Not surprisingly, perhaps, this is how he gained the nickname “The King of Bankruptcy” for himself.
Ross’ wealth isn’t all that uncommon for a commerce secretary nominee. According to The Washington Post on Nov. 30, 2016, Penny Pritzker, the current commerce secretary, also has a net worth of $2.5 billion.
What is of particular public interest regarding Ross, however, is the amount of financial dealings from which he will have to divest in order to assume his cabinet position. W.L. Ross, which merged with chemical maker Nexeo Solutions last year, owns stakes in over 70 different companies – each of which could be affected by Commerce Department decisions. Some of those businesses include…
- Chemical maker Nexeo Solutions
- International Coal Group (ICG)
- Liquefied gas carrier Navigator Holdings Ltd.
- Financial bank Sun Bancorp
- Financial bank Cascade Bancorp
Interesting Wealth Tidbit: Ross also owns a large art collection that features 25 paintings by René Magritte. It is valued at $50 million.
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