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How Trump could lose $15.5 million from impeachment

·3-min read
Here's what an impeachment would mean for Trump's finances. Images: Getty
Here's what an impeachment would mean for Trump's finances. Images: Getty

Outgoing US President Donald Trump stands to lose millions of dollars if the push for him to be impeached is successful.

Calls for the president to be forcibly removed from office have grown in volume since the violence in the US capital on Wednesday last week which left five people dead and dozens arrested.

More than 200 US politicians have co-sponsored new impeachment articles against Trump, with two Republican senators adding their names on Sunday local time. Democratic Representative Ted Lieu will introduce the impeachment articles on Monday.

If the majority of the House of Representatives votes to charge Trump for inciting insurrection, the matter will be elevated to the Senate.

Two-thirds of votes in the Senate are required for Trump to be impeached and convicted.

But if he’s impeached, the punishment is severe.

Millions gone

When a president leaves office, they’re usually entitled to benefits. However, under the 1958 Former Presidents Act, these benefits are wiped for any president removed from office by impeachment and who is subsequently convicted.

That includes a lifetime pension of approximately US$200,000 (AU$258,000) a year, travel expenses of up to US$1 million each fiscal year and Secret Service protection.

American taxpayers also pay for former presidents’ office staff, up to US$96,000 (AU$124,000) per worker, and for the office to be furnished.

If the 74-year-old Trump were to live for another 10 years, he would lose US$2 million (AU$2.6 million) in unpaid pension benefits alone.

Coupled with his foregone travel and security payments, that’s US$12 million (AU$15.5 million) lost over 10 years.

Inability to run in future

In some cases, the Senate has also voted to disqualify impeached people from holding public office in future, with no appeal.

With a presidential salary of US$400,000 (AU$517,000), access to a country home, personal planes and helicopters, that would be another heavy blow for Trump.

Presidents also receive a US$50,000 (AU$65,000) annual expense account and a US$19,000 (AU$25,000) entertainment account.

However, Trump made headlines in 2016 for donating his salary to various government agencies and accepting only US$1.

An inability to serve as President for another term would wind up costing Trump more than US$1.88 million (AU$2.43 million) over the four years.

Trump’s billions

Even without those perks, Trump will still be extremely wealthy.

With an estimated net worth of US$2.5 billion, Trump is America’s first billionaire president.

The former businessman and reality TV star continues to rake in a fortune through his real estate empire, which spans golf courses, wineries and several Manhattan hotels.

However, his company The Trump Organization faces a difficult few weeks after President-elect Joe Biden’s 20 January inauguration.

According to George Mason University finance professor Gerald Hanweck, banks won’t be leaping at a chance to lend to the controversial leader, or his damaged brand.

“I don’t know where commercial bankers are going to be willing to lend large sums to the Trump Organization,” he told MarketWatch.

Major global bank Deutsche Bank reportedly also plans to cut ties with the Trump Organization as it suffers “serious collateral damage” from the relationship. The German-based bank has US$340 million in loans to the Trump Organization.

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