Former US president Donald Trump could be planning to turn his massive support base into a multibillion-dollar profit spinner, according to a popular new theory.
According to Vanity Fair, a theory currently making its way around Wall St suggests Trump is preparing to reach out to his tens of millions of fans, and ask them to join him on a paid subscription platform.
"We're going to be stunned by how much money he makes and how he uses it," an unnamed Wall Street banker told the magazine.
The report claims Trump could "tap into a subset of his army of 74.2 million voters and ask its members to give him, say, US$100 a year" to access content that's been blocked from social media.
The new suggestion comes after Trump was blocked from Twitter and temporarily banned from Facebook following the violent storming of the US Capitol on January 6, which saw five people killed.
Following actions taken by those two social media juggernauts, a number of other social media platforms also moved to block or restrict Trump and his team from their sites, including Instagram, Twitch, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit and Shopify.
The claims of Trump's potential new business model also come amid reports the former president is currently grappling with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt after his personal net worth fell by US$600 million last year, to US$2.5 billion.
In the coming years, Trump owes some US$400 million on investments including Fifth Avenue's Trump Tower and the Doral golf resort in Florida.
He also owes US$170 million to Deutsche Bank for a hotel he owns near the White House.
A bombshell report by the Times last September also revealed the tax records Trump had long fought to keep hidden, claiming the self-described billionaire had been paying a tiny amount of income tax – reportedly just US$750 in 2016-17.
It claimed the 74-year-old has hundreds of millions of dollars in personal debts due within the next four years, that many of his resorts were losing millions of dollars a year – even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck – and that he had "burned through" much of his cash and easy-to-sell assets, while a decade-old IRS audit threatened to cost him more than US$100 million to resolve.
While in the past Trump could recoup losses by making bank from TV appearances, many commentators have claimed the mainstream media will likely no longer welcome him as a result of his chaotic final moments in the White House, which culminated in the deadly Washington riots.
TRUMP COULD MAKE US$2.5 BILLION A YEAR
Trump's personal financial troubles coupled with the controversial decision to dump him from social and mainstream media could make the theory that much more attractive to the father of five.
And if 25 million Trump supporters agreed to pay him US$100 a year for content, the former President would make a whopping US$2.5 billion per annum.
Obviously, that's a lot of subscribers. However, the report points out that if Trump were able to secure even three per cent of the number who voted for him in the November election, he'd made some US$200 million a year in cash.
That sum would be enough to pay off creditors chasing him for money he owes for Trump Tower and any outstanding legal bills.
Meanwhile, Trump gave his first update since he left office earlier today, establishing his new "Office of the Former President".
Now based in Palm Beach in Florida, Trump will be assisted by former aides who worked with him at the White House.
The update said the office "will be responsible for managing President Trump's correspondence, public statements, appearances, and official activities".
It came as an article of impeachment against Trump was formally presented to the US Senate.
The impeachment looks unlikely to succeed at a trial, as 17 Republicans would need to vote to convict the former president.