Now we know why Trump has been attacking Amazon so fiercely in the press recently.
An article published in Fortune Magazine last fall stated that Donald Trump’s net worth dropped by more than $600 million last year, from $3.6 billion to $3.1 billion. What was unusual is that the article specifically attributed $400 million of the decline to Trump’s arch-nemesis, Amazon.
According to the article, “Trump’s real estate holdings, specifically those in New York City, have taken a big hit in the past year, as retail values are struggling in response to Amazon’s e-commerce gains.”
Just today Trump went off the rails tweeting crazy accusations about Amazon that all intelligent people know are untrue. (This of course excludes most of Trump’s base of supporters.)
Fortune cited the Forbes 400 List of wealthiest Americans and an article run by Forbes called “The Definitive Net Worth of Donald Trump” which was updated in February 2018 and confirmed they estimate Trump’s net worth at $3.1 billion. According to Forbes, Trump dropped from 156th on the “Forbes 400” list down to 248th.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, took the number two spot on the Forbes list for the second straight year, with an $81.5 billion net worth. This helps explain why Trump is acting more irrationally and attacking Bezos and Amazon.
“A dip in New York City’s real estate market that has hit retail particularly hard. “Values of several Manhattan properties, particularly those on or near Fifth Avenue, have dropped, shaving nearly $400 million off Trump’s fortune,” the magazine said.
The Fortune article contains this passage which explains the connection between Amazon and Trump’s net worth:
“Appearing on CNN, Forbes assistant managing editor Kerry Dolan leveled blame for Trump’s real estate losses on e-commerce’s domination over retail, mentioning Amazon.” Dolan said that “retailers are suffering—even on the high end. It would appear that Amazon’s strategy of e-commerce over brick and mortar retail is winning, and that is having an effect on real estate values,” she added.”
There have been many reports that Trump is over-leveraged and many of his hotel and resort properties have declining revenues. Not only that, but many of his real estate licensing deals are falling apart as the Trump name becomes toxic.
One article in January discussed these problems in detail, asking “Is This The Beginning of the End of Trump’s Real Estate Empire?”
If retail occupancy keeps going down due to the “retail apocalypse” and if his hotel and licensing revenues keep going down, Trump may get overwhelmed with his debt payments, because everybody knows his “empire” was built on borrowed money. This heavy leveraging has caused him to file bankruptcy many times in the past, and it could happen again.
If it does happen, there is no doubt who he will blame: Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.