Donald Trump: Who really earns money from Truth Social

Despite being valued at billions on the stock market, Donald Trump's Twitter clone Truth Social is a real financial failure. However, that doesn't mean that those involved aren't lining their pockets.

It was a bang: When Truth Social's operating company, Trump Media, debuted on the stock market two weeks ago, the price really shot up – and in one fell swoop increased Donald Trump's fortune by almost five billion dollars. Only then did the company announce a simply catastrophic annual balance sheet. However, some of those involved still made a lot of money.

The numbers actually paint a clear picture: Truth Social only made $4.1 million in sales last year – with a loss of $58 million. In addition, the signs are clearly pointing downwards: over the last year, the number of users has halved. The trend continues to decline. The correction on the stock market came surprisingly quickly: the price fell by more than 20 percent within one day. But other numbers can also be read from the annual report: For example, who earned money from Truth Social in 2023 despite the poor figures.

Winner Donald Trump

The absolute winner is – of course – Donald Trump. As Trump Media's largest shareholder, he holds 57.3 percent of the company's shares, which is 78.7 million shares. According to current figures, that corresponds to almost exactly three billion dollars. And another share package is imminent: If the share price stays at $17.50 for 20 days, the former US president will be allocated another 36 million shares, which corresponds to another $1.4 billion. The chances of this happening are good: although the stock has collapsed after a rapid rise, with a current value of around $38 it still has a good buffer to the downside before the bonus is no longer applicable.

But Trump cannot spend these values: Trump has agreed to a six-month sales ban. The earliest he can monetize shares is September 25th. Theoretically he can have the board exempt him from the limitation, but at least officially he has not yet asked for it. The same restriction also applies to the management and the board of directors.

Stock gains and bonus payments

Because they also benefit greatly from the IPO. CEO Devin Nunes, a former Republican representative for California, received 115,000 shares, and board member Eric Swider received 153,000. Finance boss Phillip Juhan was credited with 490,000 shares, a good $18.5 million. COO Andrew Northwall received 20,000 shares. That still equates to just under $800,000.

On top of that, or for some members of the management and board instead, there are regular salaries and bonus payments. According to the documents, Nunes paid Trump Media a salary of $750,000 last year and this year it will be $1 million. There is also a bonus payment of $600,000. It is intended to “ensure the stability of the company”. For comparison: As recently as 2018, Nunes' total assets were estimated at $100,000.

His former employee Kash Pate, now also on the board of Truth Social, still gets paid $130,000, but no shares.

The management can also look forward to cash. In addition to the share package, CFO Juhan also received a salary of $337,500, which will increase by almost $30,000 to $365,000 this year. COO Northwall received this in 2023. On top of that, they both received a $600,000 consistency bonus.


Significantly more goes to the inventors of the network. Founders Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss together hold 7.5 million shares, or about $285 million. The situation with investors is a little more unclear: The largest investor, Arc Global Investments, told authorities that it should receive 13.3 million shares, while Trump Media speaks in a document of only 9.5 million shares.

The situation is similar with 19 lenders who have lent the company a total of almost $40 million. They have “ongoing disagreements” with one of them, the documents say. It's about “different interpretations of certain conditions”.

Expensive litigation

This leads to another group of profiteers: lawyers. Like Donald Trump himself, the company is at the center of several legal disputes. Trump Media is suing its former main investor Arc for “irrational and disturbing behavior” and accuses it of damaging its reputation. The countersuit accuses Trump of depriving Arc boss Patrick Orlando of shares in the company. The two founders, who Donald Trump met on his television show “The Apprentice,” also accuse the company of this in another lawsuit.

And last but not least, Trump Media is suing Litinsky, Moss and Orlando because they would harm the company and want to dispute his shares. The decision even disturbed the judge in charge: He was seriously irritated that Trump Media was filing this lawsuit – when the court was already hearing the case, he said in a hearing, according to the Washington Post.

The legal problems are a significant part of why Trump Media is not profitable. Last year alone, the company had to spend more than $20 million on fines to authorities and legal fees. Incidentally, the company does not want to comment on these publicly available figures. When confronted with this, a spokeswoman for Nunes responded, according to the Washington Post, that it was a “transparent smear article.”

Sources:Trump Media, Washington Post, CNBC