Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday was just hours old when pundits began to question what might happen to his business empire after the billionaire real estate mogul takes office.
From the start of his campaign, Trump has pledged that he’d put aside his business activities completely if elected, telling CBS’s “Face The Nation” last October that he’s been “phasing out” his role since the beginning of his campaign:
“Look, I would cut all ties…. I wouldn’t care about it. My kids will run it. I wouldn’t want to expand very much. It wouldn’t matter to me. I have a chance at making America great again; that’s the whole focus.”
But it was another promise he made last year that really caught people’s ears — Trump swore that he would refuse his Presidential salary if elected.
During a speech in Rochester, New Hampshire, last October, the president-elect told the audience that he wouldn’t accept the $400,000 annual salary if elected:
“The first thing I’m going to do is tell you that if I’m elected president, I’m accepting no salary, OK? That’s not a big deal for me.”
Later that week, Trump held a Twitter Q&A where Americans could ask him questions by using the hashtag #AskTrump.
When one user asked if he’d be taking the Presidential salary, Trump replied:
“As far as the salary is concerned — I won’t take even one dollar. I am totally giving up my salary if I become president.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2015
A Forbes investigation in September concluded that Trump was worth around $3.7 billion, which means that despite being $800 million down from the previous year, he doesn’t really need the income.
If he does indeed make good on his promise, Trump would not be the first President to abstain from his salary.
John F. Kennedy was the wealthiest man ever sworn in as President of the United States. He had given his congressional salary to charity, and he maintained the practice once he got to the White House.
Herbert Hoover, whose net worth was estimated to be nearly $4 million in 1913, divided most of his presidential salary between various charities. He used the rest to supplement the incomes of his staff.