I don’t want my president to get rich off the office.
Presidents, for the most part, get rich after they leave office. They can give speeches at $200,000 a pop. They are world-famous and invited to board memberships and business deals all the time. That comes with rewards.
However, in Russia, for instance, Putin is reputed to be the richest man in the country. How did that happen? He was an intelligence officer, he came from a middle-class family. Putin’s mother was a factory worker and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy. Your guess is as good as mine.
History is riddled with leaders of countries who became very rich. Muammar Gaddafi was a colonel in his country’s military, yet he ended up a billionaire.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, is worth $1 billion. Go figure.
Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, is one of Morocco’s leading businessmen, worth about $2.5 billion.
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia, is worth $18 billion. All his cash comes from oil. He has a horrible human rights record. Yet, we support his regime and we are tight with his country.
The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is worth $20 billion. Do you even know where Brunei is? It’s a tiny country on an island east of Singapore. The sultan is one of the wealthiest men in the world. He reputedly has the world’s largest private residence with 1,800 rooms, and flies his own 747, just like the American president.
The richest world leader, with $30 billion, is Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand. Have you ever heard of him? Can you pronounce his name? Well, here he is with Barack Obama:
Now let’s think about adding to this exclusive club Donald J. Trump, maker of real or imaginary billions even before he is in office. While he’s not likely to put American tax dollars directly into his pocket, I wonder what would happen when we send American tax dollars and military favors to these illustrious world leaders?
Might they be buying hotels and gold courses? Or real estate in New York.