Trump on being president: ‘It’s probably costing me from $3 billion to $5 billion’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that being president will personally cost him billions of dollars, due in part to the lawyers he has had to hire to defend him in various lawsuits.

“This thing is costing me a fortune, being president,” Trump said during a speech at the Shell Petrochemical plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.

“Somebody said ‘Oh, he rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500,’” Trump said, in reference to reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and members of his delegation booked multiple nights in a Trump hotel.

“What about the $5 billion that I’ll lose?” Trump asked, noting his high cost of lawyers “cause everyday they sue me for something.”

“It’s probably costing me from $3 to $5 billion for the privilege of being — and I couldn’t care less—I don’t care. You know if you’re wealthy, it doesn’t matter. I just want to do a great job,” Trump added.

These figures are virtually impossible to check; the president has not released his tax returns publicly, and has been found in the past to exaggerate his own wealth.

Trump also took aim at President Barack Obama. “I got sued on a thing called ’emoluments,’” Trump said. “Now nobody looks at Obama getting $60 million for a book. That’s okay, even though nobody in history ever got that much money for a book…But with me, it’s everything.”

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama signed a joint book deal for $65 million in 2017, after Obama had left office. The emoluments clause applies to federal officeholders, not private citizens.

Speaking to a room full of factory workers in a state that he narrowly carried in 2016, Trump joked about how easy re-election would be if he “got a fair press.”

“Can you imagine if I got a fair press? I mean we’re leading without it,” Trump said. “The election would be over. Have they ever called of an election before? Just said ‘Look, let’s go, go on, four more years.”

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