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Donald Trump’s cabinet of billionaires could be worth more than 100 countries’ GDPs

Donald Trump speaks in the Mar-a-Lago golf clubs palatial ballroom
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Trump speaks in the ballroom of his palatial Mar-a-Lago golf club
By Max de Haldevang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

If Donald Trump’s prospective US presidential cabinet was to combine its reported riches, they would beat the 2015 GDP of 100 countries. Making up an estimated $35 billion in total, the 23 people working for a man who promises to defend working people could be worth about as much as the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a population of 77.2 million.

The figures, calculated by Politico, are pretty speculative and rely on Trump’s own claims about his wealth. But if we take his word that he’s worth over $10 billion (his refusal to release his tax returns means we may never know the actual figure) and combine that with the $5.1 billion that the family of education secretary appointee Betsy DeVos boasts, the duo’s total wealth is already ahead of 79 countries’ GDPs—starting with Mozambique, a country of 28 million people.

Add the $14.9 billion of oil baron Harold Hamm, a Trump advisor and rumored energy-secretary pick, plus potential commerce secretary and “king of bankruptcy” Wilbur Ross, who is worth $2.9 billion, and you’re sitting at the same table as oil-rich Bahrain’s $32.2 billion. When you factor in the comparatively paltry bank balances of leading contenders for secretary of state, Mitt Romney ($230 million when estimated in 2012) and Rudy Giuliani (believed to be in the tens of millions), it starts looking like an oligarchy.

As New Yorker politics writer Ryan Lizza points out, Trump’s picks make president Eisenhower’s sardonically named “nine millionaires and a plumber cabinet” look tame.

The surgeon? Ben Carson, a multimillionaire.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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