Donald Trump’s richest backers have collectively lost an estimated $11.6bn (£8.4bn) as the US stock market has tumbled in recent weeks.
The US president had previously touted surging stock market values as confirmation that his pro-business policies were working, but he has gone quiet on the matter as company valuations have plunged.
Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson’s fortune sank by the most of any Trump donor, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Between 26 January, when the S&P 500 share index hit its peak, and the market close on Monday this week, Mr Adelson’s wealth fell by $2bn to $37bn, largely thanks to a drop in the share price of Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino operator.
The 84-year-old billionaire played a pivotal role in Mr Trump’s election victory, showering Republican Party groups with tens of millions of dollars in the run-up to the vote, the New York Times reported.
Other major contributors to Mr Trump’s campaign who saw their fortunes plummet in sync with the stock market include oil magnate Harold Hamm, who lost $1.8bn, and Bernie Marcus, co-founder of US retailer Home Depot, who lost $1bn, according to Bloomberg’s calculations.
However, such big losses have done little to hurt Mr Trump’s billionaire donors over the longer term. The 24 people among the world’s richest 500 wealthiest individuals who also gave money to Mr Trump’s campaign had a combined fortune of $218bn as of 12 February, according to the Bloomberg ranking. An increase of $27bn since the 2016 election.
Mr Hamm, who owns rights to drill a large chunk of the Bakken shale oil fields in North Dakota, has benefited from the president’s friendly policies towards fossil fuel extraction. Retailers like Mr Marcus’ Home Depot have been among the biggest beneficiaries of Mr Trump’s massive corporate tax cut.
Mr Trump has repeatedly boasted about the performance of US stock markets. On 5 January he tweeted: “Dow goes from 18,589 on November 9, 2016, to 25,075 today, for a new all-time….Record fastest 1000 point move in history… Six trillion dollars in value created”.
But he appeared to change tack after share prices crashed into correction territory last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a measure of 30 leading shares, registered two days of 1,000-point falls, prompting Mr Trump and his surrogates to focus on other indicators such as jobs and infrastructure spending.
On Sunday he tweeted: “4.2 million hard working Americans have already received a large Bonus and/or Pay Increase because of our recently Passed Tax Cut & Jobs Bill….and it will only get better! We are far ahead of schedule.”