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Truth Social surged in its debut on the NASDAQ today

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Donald Trump's social media company, Truth Social, surged in its debut on the Nasdaq today. The former president made a windfall of more than $4 billion in the day's trading, at least on paper - still not bad for a company that has made no money to date. NPR's Rafael Nam has been watching the stock's wild ride. Hey, there.

RAFAEL NAM, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

KELLY: How wild a ride was it today?

NAM: Gosh, it was a wild day. I mean, it was crazy from the minute it started trading. It was so crazy that, early in the morning, the exchange even had to halt trading - just briefly, yes, but that's how hectic things were. And it surged so much that the company was even worth over 9 billion at one point. So bottom line - there was definitely a lot of excitement. And at the end of the day, former President Trump ended with a stock holding that's worth, like you said, over $4 billion.

KELLY: OK. But I'm trying to square that with the other thing I said, which is that this company has not made any money so far. Is his stake actually worth that much?

NAM: That's right. Let's go through some facts. This is a company that's losing money. It lost nearly $50 million during most of last year. It only had over 3 million in sales, and it still really hasn't attracted a lot of users. It has nowhere near the traffic we saw at X or Facebook. But what this company does have is Donald Trump, and that's value added, as he likes to point out.

You have to keep in mind a lot of the current shareholders are big Trump supporters. And scrolling through social media today, they were really cheering him to do well. And a lot of them were even posting a screenshot of how much money they had made today. So not only are they supporting Trump, they're kind of making good money out of it.

KELLY: OK, but is this actually sustainable to keep the share price this high?

NAM: Well, who knows. It depends a lot on what his supporters do because, like I was saying, this stock is all about President Trump. And they could keep pushing the stock higher and higher. A lot will depend, though, on how Trump does in the presidential election and in his legal cases.

KELLY: Yeah. Well, let's stay with his legal cases 'cause that's been another big question - is how he's going to pay his legal bills. Is this more than 4 billion - on paper, at least - some money that he can tap into?

NAM: So that's the big question. Pretty soon, he has to post a bond of under $200 million in his civil fraud case. Now, under his current agreement, he is prevented from selling his shares for another six months. But he may be able to tap into the money earlier because let's look at the board - the board of Trump Media. It includes Donald Trump Jr., his son. There are several former Trump administration officials on the board, so he may be able to work out a side deal. But for now, he is much wealthier than yesterday. Bloomberg Billionaires Index said that, for the first time ever, Trump had become one of the 500 wealthiest people in the world.

KELLY: NPR's Rafael Nam, thank you.

NAM: Thank you, Mary Louise. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Rafael Nam
Rafael Nam is NPR's senior business editor.