Fact Check: Did Johnson & Johnson Owner Attend Trump Rally in Pennsylvania?

Former President Donald Trump's tricky relationship with facts has often manifested in promoting and, on occasion, exaggerating his record and achievements as U.S. leader.

In a recent statement, Trump suggested he has the support of the head of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

At a rally in May 2022 he claimed the owner of Johnson & Johnson was there among his friends.

Dr. Oz and Trump
Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz drew boos from the crowd as former President Donald Trump introduced him during a rally in support of his campaign at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds on May 6 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The Claim

On May 6, 2022, Trump spoke at a rally in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in part to show his support for Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the GOP's candidates for Senate in the state's upcoming primary.

During the rally Trump complimented a number of his close allies in attendance, including "Woody Johnson, a great gentleman, do you ever hear of Johnson & Johnson? He owns the place. I tell you what, this guy's got cash like nobody's got cash."

The Facts

Robert Wood Johnson IV, or Woody Johnson, is a scion of the Johnson & Johnson dynasty. He has a close relationship with Trump, having served as the U.S. ambassador to the UK from August 2017 to January 2021.

Johnson is described in Michael Wolff's chronicle of the Trump White House, "Fire and Fury", as heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, estimated to be worth $6.3 billion.

However, the former ambassador does not run Johnson & Johnson nor is he a majority shareholder of the company.

This press release from Johnson & Johnson shows its leadership from 1886 to 2017, not once featuring Mr. Johnson. Its actual Chief Executive Officer, Joaquin Duato, became CEO in January 2022, following a 33-year career at the pharmaceutical giant. The company's most recent financial report does not list Johnson among its majority shareholders either.

While a Bloomberg profile calculated Johnson's J&J US equity to be worth around $276 million, this is a fraction of his estimated $5.63 billion net worth. The majority of his wealth is attached to his ownership of the New York Jets American football team which he reportedly purchased in 2000 for $635 million.

So although, as Trump suggests, Johnson probably does have "cash like nobody's got cash," the former president was wrong to name him as head of the pharmaceutical giant.

Newsweek has reached out to Donald Trump's representatives and Johnson & Johnson for comment.

Woody Johnson and Donald Trump
Then-US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania seen at a dinner at Winfield House for Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson (L) and his wife Suzanne Ircha (R) on June 4, 2019 in London, England. In a rally in Pennsylvania on May 9, 2022, the former U.S. president misleadingly claimed that Johnson was the owner of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical company. Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Ruling

Fact Check - False


Robert Wood Johnson IV does not own Johnson & Johnson. He is a scion of the Johnson dynasty but is not CEO or majority shareholder of the pharmaceutical giant. He is most well-known as the CEO of the New York Jets football team.


False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false.
Read more about our ratings.

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts