WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said leading the United States is costing him a fortune, but it’s “worth every penny.”
Trump said Thursday morning during an interview on Fox News that while some critics have accused him of using the presidency to add to his wealth, “I’ll bet you I’ve lost billions of dollars” since taking office.
The president made the comment after “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade asked him if winning the 2016 election had been worth the trials and travails he has endured, including seeing his associates cut deals with the Department of Justice, the pressure his family has been put under and that “50 percent of the country doesn’t like you.”
“Do you ever say to yourself, ‘Why do I need this?'” Kilmeade asked.
“I said to one of my friends, a very wealthy friend, I said, ‘You know, I’ll bet you it cost me $2 or 3 billion and it’s worth every penny of it,'” Trump said. “I don’t need the money and it’s worth every penny because I’m doing so much for the country.”
Forbes estimates that as of September, Trump is worth about $3.1 billion. In March, the publication said Trump had likely lost about $400 million in net worth since taking office.
“Yes, it’s nasty. It’s vicious. It’s incredible. The false reporting is so incredible. Honestly, I’m doing a great job. That’s why I have these crowds,” he said. “It really is worth it, because look, I’ve done a great job. If I didn’t do a great job, I would have said, ‘Wow, that was a mistake.'”
Among the issues that have plagued Trump’s presidency has been ongoing leaks to the news media and a perceived lack of loyalty among many within the administration.
One of the most blatant examples was an anonymous letter published in the New York Times purportedly from a senior White House official claiming to be part of a secret resistance within the administration working to protect the country from Trump’s worst instincts.
Trump said “a lot of the leaks are not leaks, they’re made up by the newspaper,” and that the “media is very dishonest” (though he excluded his interviewers from that).
He theorized “there is a chance, I say it’s a big chance, but there is a very good chance” that the anonymous letter “was written by the Times.” He said if the letter was not a hoax written by the Times, it would be a “low level” member of the administration.
“So you’re not looking for anonymous anymore?” asked host Steve Doocy.
“How do you do that?” Trump replied. “I would like to find out who it is.”
Still, after accusing reporters of routinely making up sources and quotes, the president conceded that his former economic adviser Gary Cohn and former White House staff secretary Rob Porter could have been two of the sources for Bob Woodward’s recent book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
“I was very good to both of them,” Trump said. “It could have been, a lot of people have said that.”
On Cohn, Trump said, “I could tell stories about him like you wouldn’t believe,” but did not elaborate beyond that. He noted Cohn “never thought” it was possible to successfully renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.