Donald Trump’s new tech company has raised $1 billion from investors, according to a press release from the former president and a report from CNBC. But there’s no way of independently checking whether Trump, a man known for lying about literally everything, has actually been able to secure such a huge sum in a relatively short amount of time.
“$1 billion sends an important message to Big Tech that censorship and political discrimination must end,” Trump said in a press release.
“America is ready for TRUTH Social, a platform that will not discriminate on the basis of political ideology. As our balance sheet expands, TMTG will be in a stronger position to fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump continued.
Trump first announced back in October that he had started a company called Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), which planned to launch a social media platform called Truth Social by the first quarter of 2022. TMTG also plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
The SPAC deal would allow TMTG to merge with a shell company called Digital World Acquisition Corp., which exists to shield Trump’s tech company from the normal kinds of financial disclosures needed for a traditional IPO.
After the announcement about Truth Social, Trump promised to have a beta-version of the social media platform up and running by November. But if you take a look at the calendar, you’ll notice it’s December 6. And there’s no evidence that a beta-version of the website has even launched yet.
Wall Street has largely been steering clear of Trump, according to CNBC, but it’s entirely possible that the former president has raised the money through wealthy private individuals. There’s no shortage of fascists among the ultra-rich, obviously.
Reuters reported early last week that Trump’s new company had been trying to raise money “by selling shares to hedge funds and family offices at several times the valuation it commanded in a deal with a blank-check acquisition firm in October,” citing two people supposedly “familiar with the matter.”
But Reuters notes that Democratic foes of Trump could rake him over the coals if recent statements in Washington are any indication:
Some hedge funds that backed the launch of Digital World, including Saba Capital Management and Lighthouse Investment Partners, have said they sold their shares to distance themselves from the Trump deal.
The deal also faces regulatory risk. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure. The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action.
Trump lied about countless things as president, but he lied even more while in private life as a businessman who was constantly shuffling numbers to make himself look rich. In fact, it’s likely no single American lost more money in the 1980s and 90s than Trump, according to the New York Times. It was all a shell game, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe Trump’s latest venture will exist on any more stable a financial footing.
As Spy magazine noted in 1991, “A mobster who knew Trump socially said of him once, ‘He’d lie to you about what time of day it is — just for the practice.’” Think of Trump’s latest social media venture as practice—practice that could make him a pretty penny.