|President-elect of the United States|
January 20, 2017
|Vice President||Mike Pence (elect)|
Donald John Trump|
June 14, 1946
New York City
|Political party||Republican (1987–99, 2009–11, 2012–present)|
|Residence||Trump Tower, New York City|
University of Pennsylvania
|Occupation||Chairman and President of The Trump Organization|
|Net worth||US$4.5 billion|
Trump was born and raised in the Queens borough of New York City and received a bachelor's degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. In 1971, he took control of his family's real estate and construction firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which was later renamed The Trump Organization. During his career, Trump has built, renovated or managed numerous office towers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. He also lent the use of his name to brand various other products. He owned the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants from 1996 to 2015, and has made cameo appearances in films and television series. From 2004 to 2015, Trump hosted and co-produced The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC. As of 2016, Forbes listed him as the 324th wealthiest person in the world (113th in the United States) with a net worth of $4.5 billion, which would make him the wealthiest president in US history.
Trump sought the Reform Party's presidential nomination in 2000, but withdrew before voting began. He later floated the idea of running as a Republican for the 2012 election, but ultimately decided against it. In June 2015, he announced his candidacy for the 2016 election. His platform includes renegotiating U.S.–China trade deals, opposing trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, pursuing energy independence using all energy sources while opposing climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, strongly enforcing immigration laws, building a wall along the Mexico–U.S. border, reforming veterans' affairs, replacing "Obamacare" with a more competitive system, abolishing Common Core education standards, investing in infrastructure, simplifying the tax code, and reducing taxes across the board.
Trump quickly emerged as the front-runner in the Republican primaries among 17 contenders. His final rivals suspended their campaigns in May 2016, and in July he was formally nominated at the Republican Convention. On November 8, Trump won the presidential election by earning a majority of the electoral college, although he received fewer popular votes nationwide than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. At age 70, he is the oldest President-elect in US history. Trump's campaign received unprecedented media coverage and international attention. Many of his statements in interviews, on social media and at campaign rallies have been controversial or false. Several rallies during the primaries were accompanied by protests, while more nationwide protests followed his election to the presidency.
Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Jamaica, Queens, a neighborhood in New York City, the fourth of five children. His siblings are Maryanne, Fred, Elizabeth, and Robert. Trump's older brother Fred Jr. died in 1981 from alcoholism, which Trump says led him to abstain from alcohol and cigarettes.
Trump is of German ancestry on his father's side and Scottish ancestry on his mother's side; his mother, and all four of his grandparents, were born in Europe. His father, Fred Trump (1905–1999), was born in Queens to parents from Kallstadt, Germany, and became one of the biggest real estate developers in New York City. His mother, Mary Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000), emigrated to New York from her birthplace of Tong, Lewis, Scotland. Fred and Mary met in New York and married in 1936, establishing their household in Queens.
His uncle, John G. Trump, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1936 to 1973, was involved in radar research for the Allies in the Second World War, and helped design X-ray machines that provided additional years of life to cancer patients; in 1943, the Federal Bureau of Investigation requested John Trump to examine Nikola Tesla's papers and equipment when Tesla died in his room at the New Yorker Hotel. Donald Trump's grandfather was Frederick Trump who amassed a fortune operating boom-town restaurants and boarding houses in the region of Seattle and Klondike, Canada.
The Trump family were originally Lutherans, but Trump's parents belonged to the Reformed Church in America. The family name was formerly spelled Drumpf, and later was changed to Trump during the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century. This was highlighted during an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Trump has said that he is proud of his German American heritage; he served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.
Trump's family had a two-story Tudor Revival home on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates, where he lived while attending The Kew-Forest School. He left the school at age 13 and was enrolled in the New York Military Academy (NYMA), in Cornwall, New York, where he finished eighth grade and high school. Trump was an energetic child; his parents hoped that the discipline at the military school would allow him to channel his energy in a positive manner. In 1983, Fred Trump told an interviewer that Donald "was a pretty rough fellow when he was small".
Trump participated in marching drills, wore a uniform, and during his senior year attained the rank of captain. He was transferred from a student command position after the alleged hazing of a new freshman in his barracks by one of Trump's subordinates; Trump describes the transfer as "a promotion". In 2015, he told a biographer that NYMA gave him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military".
Trump attended Fordham University in the Bronx for two years, beginning in August 1964. He then transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which offered one of the few real estate studies departments in United States academia at the time. While there, he worked at the family's company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, named for his paternal grandmother. He graduated from Penn in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
Trump was not drafted during the Vietnam War. While in college from 1964–68, he obtained four student deferments. In 1966, he was deemed fit for service based upon a military medical examination, and in 1968 was briefly classified as fit by a local draft board, but was given a 1-Y medical deferment in October 1968. In an interview for a 2015 biography, he attributed his medical deferment to heel spurs. In December 1969, he received a high number in the draft lottery, which would also have exempted him from service.
Prior to graduating from college, Trump began his real estate career at his father, Fred Trump's company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. During his undergraduate study, Fred and Donald Trump used a $500,000 investment to successfully reopen the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He was given control of the company in 1971 and, in one of his first acts, renamed it to The Trump Organization. He became the president of the organization in 1973. That year, he and his father drew wider attention when the Justice Department alleged that they were discriminating against blacks who wanted to rent apartments, rather than merely screening out people based on low income as the Trumps stated. An agreement was later signed in which the Trumps made no admission of wrongdoing, and under which qualified minority applicants would be presented by the Urban League.
Early Manhattan developments
Trump's first big deal in Manhattan was the remodeling of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in 1978 next to Grand Central Terminal from an older Commodore Hotel, which was largely funded by a $70 million construction loan jointly guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain.
In 1978, Trump finished negotiations to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 202-meter (663-foot) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, for which The New York Times attributed his "persistence" and "skills as a negotiator". The building was completed in 1983, and houses both the primary penthouse condominium residence of Donald Trump and the headquarters of The Trump Organization. Trump Tower was the setting of the NBC television show The Apprentice, including a fully functional television studio set.
Repairs on the Wollman Rink in Central Park, built in 1955, were started in 1980 by a general contractor unconnected to Trump, with an expected 2 1⁄2-year construction schedule, but were not completed by 1986. Trump took over the project, completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget, and then operated the rink for one year with all profits going to charity in exchange for the rink's concession rights.
Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in 1988. He paid $400 million for the property and once again tapped Ivana to manage its operation and renovation.
Palm Beach estate
Trump acquired the historical Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1985 for $5 million, plus $3 million for the home's furnishings. In addition to using the home as a winter retreat, Trump also turned it into a private club with membership fees of $150,000. At about the same time, he acquired a condominium complex in Palm Beach with Lee Iacocca that became Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches.
Atlantic City casinos
Harrah's at Trump Plaza opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1984. The hotel/casino was built by Trump with financing by Holiday Corp. and operated by the Harrah's gambling unit of Holiday Corp. The casino's poor results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp. Trump also acquired a partially completed building in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million. When completed in 1985, the hotel/casino became Trump Castle. Trump's wife, Ivana, managed the property.
Later in 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International. The casino was opened in April 1990, and was built at a total cost of $1.1 billion, which at the time made it the most expensive casino ever built. Financed with $675 million in junk bonds at a 14% interest rate, the project entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year. Banks and bondholders, facing potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars, opted to restructure the debt.
The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and more time to pay off the debt. He also sold his financially challenged Trump Shuttle airline and his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess. The property was repurchased in 1996 and consolidated into Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, which filed for bankruptcy in 2004 with $1.8 billion in debt, filing again for bankruptcy five years later with $50 million in assets and $500 million in debt. The restructuring ultimately left Trump with 10% ownership in the Trump Taj Mahal and other Trump casino properties. Trump served as chairman of the organization, which was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts, from mid-1995 until early 2009, and served as CEO from mid-2000 to mid-2005.
Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but hotel and casino businesses of his have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws – they’re very good for me" as a tool for trimming debt.
The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). Trump said, "I've used the laws of this country to pare debt ... We'll have the company. We'll throw it into a chapter. We'll negotiate with the banks. We'll make a fantastic deal. You know, it's like on The Apprentice. It's not personal. It's just business."
An analysis of Trump's business career by The Economist in 2016, concludes that his "... performance [from 1985 to 2016] has been mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York", noting both his successes and bankruptcies. A subsequent analysis by The Washington Post, whose reporters were denied press credentials by the Trump presidential campaign, concluded that "Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success."
Trump acquired an old, vacant office building on Wall Street in Manhattan in 1996. After a complete renovation, it became the seventy-story Trump Building at 40 Wall Street. After his father died in 1999, Trump and his siblings received equal portions of his father's estate valued at $250–300 million.
In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters. Trump also began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. He continued to own commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle which he acquired in 1996, and also continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.
Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico in Manhattan in 2002. It was re-opened with 35 stories of luxury condominiums in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue.
Most recently, The Trump Organization has expanded its footprint beyond the United States, with the co-development and management of hotel towers in Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, New York City, Washington D.C., Panama City, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto and Vancouver.
Trump has licensed his name and image for the development of a number of real estate projects including two in Florida that have gone into foreclosure. The Turkish owner of Trump Towers Istanbul, who pays Trump for the use of his name, was reported in December 2015 to be exploring legal means to dissociate the property after the candidate's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump also licensed his name to son-in-law Jared Kushner's fifty-story Trump Bay Street, a Jersey City luxury development that has raised $50 million of its $200 million capitalization largely from wealthy Chinese nationals who, after making an initial down payment of $500,000 in concert with the government's expedited EB-5 visa program, can usually obtain United States permanent residency for themselves and their families after two years. Trump is a partner with Kushner Properties only in name licensing and not in the building's financing.
The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world. The number of golf courses that Trump owns or manages is about 18, according to Golfweek. Trump's personal financial disclosure with the Federal Elections Commission stated that his golf and resort revenue for the year 2015 was roughly $382 million.
In 2006, Trump bought the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, creating a golf resort against the wishes of some local residents on an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A 2011 independent documentary, You've Been Trumped, by British filmmaker Anthony Baxter, chronicled the golf resort's construction and the subsequent struggles between the locals and Donald Trump. Despite Trump's promises of 6,000 jobs, in 2016, by his own admission, the golf course has created only 200 jobs. In June 2015, Trump made an appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm being built within sight of the golf course, which was dismissed by five justices at the UK Supreme Court in December 2015.
In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota. After extensive renovations and a remodeling of the course by golf architect Martin Ebert, Turnberry was re-opened on June 24, 2016.
In 1983, Trump's New Jersey Generals became a charter member of the new United States Football League (USFL). The USFL played its first three seasons during the spring and summer, but Trump convinced the majority of the owners of other USFL teams to move the USFL 1986 schedule to the fall, directly opposite the National Football League (NFL), arguing that it would eventually force a merger with the NFL, which would supposedly increase their investment significantly.
After the 1985 season, the Generals merged with the Houston Gamblers, but had continuing financial troubles. The USFL, which was down to just seven active franchises from a high of 18, was soon forced to fold, despite winning an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.
Trump remained involved with other sports after the Generals folded, operating golf courses in several countries. He also hosted several boxing matches in Atlantic City at the Trump Plaza, including Mike Tyson's 1988 fight against Michael Spinks, and at one time, acted as a financial advisor to Tyson.
In 1989 and 1990, Trump lent his name to the Tour de Trump cycling stage race, which was an attempt to create an American equivalent of European races such as the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia. The inaugural race was controversial, and Trump withdrew his sponsorship after the second Tour de Trump in 1990, because his other business ventures were experiencing financial woes. The race continued for several more years as the Tour DuPont.
Trump attempted to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills in 2014 but was unsuccessful. During his 2016 presidential run, he was critical of the NFL's updated concussion rules, complaining on the campaign trail that the game has been made "soft" and "weak", saying a concussion is just "a ding on the head." He accused referees of throwing penalty flags needlessly just to be seen on television "so their wives see them at home."
From 1996 until 2015, Trump owned part or all of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants. The Miss Universe pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills. Trump was dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled his pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002.
In 2006, Miss USA winner Tara Conner tested positive for cocaine, but Trump let her keep the crown, for the sake of giving her a second chance. That decision by Trump was criticized by Rosie O'Donnell, which led to a feud in which Trump and O'Donnell exchanged public criticisms. In 2012, Trump won a $5 million arbitration award against a contestant who said the show was rigged.
In 2015, NBC and Univision both ended their business relationships with the Miss Universe Organization after Trump's controversial 2015 presidential campaign remarks about Mexican illegal immigrants. Trump subsequently filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, alleging a breach of contract and defamation.
On September 11, 2015, Trump announced that he had become the sole owner of the Miss Universe Organization by purchasing NBC's stake and that he had "settled" his lawsuits against the network, though it was unclear whether Trump had yet filed lawsuits against NBC. He sold his own interests in the pageant shortly afterwards to WME/IMG. The $500 million lawsuit against Univision was settled in February 2016, but terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Trump Model Management
In 1999, Trump founded a modeling company, Trump Model Management, which operates in the SoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. Together with another Trump company, Trump Management Group LLC, Trump Model Management has brought nearly 250 foreign fashion models into the United States to work in the fashion industry since 2000. In 2014, president of Trump Model Management Corrine Nicolas, other managers, and the company were sued by one of the agency's former models, Alexia Palmer, alleging racketeering, breach of contract, mail fraud, and violating immigrant wage laws. The case was dismissed from U.S. federal court in March 2016.
Trump University LLC was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until at least 2010. After multiple lawsuits, it is now defunct. It was founded by Donald Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny. The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation, charging between $1,500 and $35,000 per course. In 2005 the operation was notified by New York State authorities that its use of the word "university" violated state law. After a second such notification in 2010, the name of the operation was changed to the "Trump Entrepreneurial Institute". Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.
In 2013 the state of New York filed a $40 million civil suit claiming that Trump University made false claims and defrauded consumers. In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Donald Trump personally as well as his companies. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized judge Gonzalo P. Curiel who oversaw those two cases, alleging bias because of his Mexican heritage. On June 7, 2016, Trump clarified that his concerns about Curiel's impartiality were not based upon ethnicity alone, but also upon rulings in the case.
The Low v. Trump case was set for trial in San Diego beginning November 28, 2016. Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases. In the settlement, Trump did not admit to any wrongdoing but agreed to pay a total of $25 million.
Jason Forge, "the attorney for the plantiffs said the agreement was reached an hour before a hearing for Curiel to weigh Trump's latest request to delay the trial until after the Jan. 20 inauguration. The plantiff's attorney said he 'definitely detected a change of tone and change of approach' from Trump's camp after the election".
The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation established in 1988 for the initial purpose of giving away proceeds from the book Trump: The Art of the Deal by Trump and Tony Schwartz. The foundation's funds mostly come from donors other than Trump, who has not given personally to the charity since 2008. The top donors to the foundation from 2004 to 2014 were Vince and Linda McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007.
The foundation's tax returns show that it has given to health care and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups. In 2009, for example, the foundation gave $926,750 to about 40 groups, with the biggest donations going to the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation ($100,000), the New York–Presbyterian Hospital ($125,000), the Police Athletic League ($156,000), and the Clinton Foundation ($100,000).
Starting in 2016 The Washington Post began reporting on how the foundation raised and granted money. The Post uncovered several potential legal and ethical violations, such as alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion. The New York State Attorney General is investigating the foundation "to make sure it is complying with the laws governing charities in New York." A Trump spokesman called the investigation a "partisan hit job." On October 3, 2016, the New York Attorney General's office notified the Trump Foundation that it was allegedly in violation of New York laws regarding charities, and ordered it to immediately cease its fundraising activities in New York.
Branding and licensing
Trump has marketed his name on a large number of building projects as well as commercial products and services, achieving mixed success doing so for himself, his partners, and investors in the projects. In 2011, Forbes' financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion.
Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects. For that reason, Trump does not own some buildings that display his name. According to Forbes, this portion of Trump's empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation, with 33 licensing projects under development including seven Trump International Hotel and Tower "condo hotels".
Income and taxes
Pursuant to the FEC regulations, Trump published a 92-page financial disclosure form listing all his assets, liabilities, income sources and hundreds of business positions. According to a July 2015 campaign press release, Trump's income for the year 2014 was $362 million. However, Trump has repeatedly declined to publicly release any of his full tax returns, citing a pending IRS audit.
In October 2016, it was revealed that Trump had claimed a loss of $916 million on his 1995 tax returns. As net operating losses from one year can be applied to offset income from future years, this loss allowed him to reduce or eliminate his taxable income during the eighteen-year carry forward period. Trump acknowledged using the deduction but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied.
The New York Times found that some accountants considered Trump's tax deduction methods in the early 1990s "legally dubious." Independent tax experts stated that "Whatever loophole existed was not ‘exploited’ here, but stretched beyond any recognition" and that it involved "sleight of hand", further speculating that Trump's casino bankruptcies were probably related to Trump's 1995 reported loss.
In their 2016 annual billionaires' rankings, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $4.5 billion, and Bloomberg at $3 billion, making him one of the richest politicians in American history. Trump himself stated that his net worth was over $10 billion, with the discrepancy essentially stemming from the uncertain value of appraised property and of his personal brand. As of 2016, Forbes ranked him the 113th wealthiest person in the U.S and the 324th wealthiest in the world.
On June 16, 2015, when announcing his candidacy, Trump released a one-page financial summary stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000. "I'm really rich", he said. Forbes believed his suggestion of $9 billion was "a whopper", figuring it was actually $4.1 billion. The summary statement includes $3.3 billion worth of "real estate licensing deals, brand and branded developments", putting a figure on Trump's estimate of his own brand value. The July 2015 FEC disclosure reports assets worth above $1.4 billion and debts above $265 million. According to Bloomberg, Trump "only reported revenue for [his] golf properties in his campaign filings even though the disclosure form asks for income", whereas independent filings showed his European golf properties to be unprofitable.
Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 as having an estimated $200 million fortune, including a share of his father's estimated $200 million net worth. Trump didn't make the list from 1990 to 1995 following losses which reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings' trusts in 1993. Trump has since told campaign audiences he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father, which he paid back with interest.
After Trump made controversial remarks about illegal immigrants in 2015, he lost business contracts with NBCUniversal, Univision, Macy's, Serta, PVH Corporation, and Perfumania, which Forbes estimated negatively impacted his net worth by $125 million. The value of the Trump brand may have fallen further during his presidential campaign, as some consumers boycotted Trump-branded products and services to protest his candidacy. Bookings and foot traffic at Trump-branded properties fell off sharply in 2016, and the release of the Access Hollywood tape recordings in October 2016 exacerbated this. However, his subjective brand value rebounded sharply after he won the election.
Entertainment and media
Trump has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award and has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series. He has also played an oil tycoon in The Little Rascals. Trump is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000. He has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Trump also had his own daily talk radio program called Trumped!
In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show The Apprentice, in which a group of competitors battled for a high-level management job in one of Trump's commercial enterprises. Contestants were successively "fired" and eliminated from the game. In 2004, Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase "You're fired."
For the first year of the show, Trump earned $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show's initial success, he was paid $1 million per episode. In a July 2015 press release, Trump's campaign manager said that NBCUniversal had paid him $213,606,575 for his 14 seasons hosting the show, although the network did not verify the statement. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television on The Apprentice. In October 2016, the star was targeted by vandals.
Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump was hired as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities compete to win money for their charities. While Trump and Burnett co-produced the show, Trump stayed in the forefront, deciding winners and "firing" losers. International versions of The Apprentice franchise were co-produced by Burnett and Trump.
On February 16, 2015, NBC announced that they would be renewing The Apprentice for a 15th season. On February 27, Trump stated that he was "not ready" to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run. Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production. On June 29, after widespread negative reaction stemming from Trump's campaign announcement speech, NBC released a statement saying, "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."
Trump is a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) fan, and a friend of WWE owner Vince McMahon. He has hosted two WrestleMania events in the Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several of the shows. Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City was host to the 1991 WBF Championship (which was owned by WWE, known at the time as the "World Wrestling Federation"). He also appeared in WrestleMania VII. He was interviewed by Jesse Ventura ringside at WrestleMania XX.
Trump appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called "The Battle of the Billionaires." He was in the corner of Bobby Lashley, while Vince McMahon was in the corner of Lashley's opponent Umaga with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee. The deal was that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost. Lashley won the match, and so McMahon got the haircut.
On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had "sold" the show to Trump. Appearing on screen, Trump declared he would be at the following commercial-free episode in person and would give a full refund to the people who purchased tickets to the arena for that night's show. McMahon "bought back" Raw the following week for twice the price.
Involvement in politics, 1988–2015
Trump considered the idea of running for president in 1988, 2004, and 2012, and for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter those races. He was considered as a potential running mate for George H. W. Bush on the Republican Party's 1988 presidential ticket but lost out to future Vice President Dan Quayle. There is dispute over whether Trump or the Bush camp made the initial pitch.
In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000. A July 1999 poll matching him against likely Republican nominee George W. Bush and likely Democratic nominee Al Gore showed Trump with seven percent support. Trump eventually dropped out of the race due to party infighting, but still won the party's California and Michigan primaries after doing so.
In February 2009, Trump appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, and spoke about the automotive industry crisis of 2008–10. He said that "instead of asking for money", General Motors "should go into bankruptcy and work that stuff out in a deal".
As Trump publicly speculated about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders, one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. A Newsweek poll conducted in February 2011 showed Trump within a few points of Barack Obama, with many voters undecided in the November 2012 general election for president of the United States. A poll released in April 2011 by Public Policy Polling showed Trump having a nine-point lead in a potential contest for the Republican nomination for president while he was still actively considering a run. His moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.
Trump played a leading role in longstanding "birther" conspiracy theories. Beginning in March 2011, Trump publicly questioned Barack Obama's citizenship and eligibility to serve as President. Although Obama had released his birth certificate in 2008, Trump said that it was missing and demanded to see it. Trump said that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to research the question, but he did not follow up with any findings. He also repeated a debunked allegation that Obama's grandmother said she had witnessed his birth in Kenya. When the White House later released Obama's long-form birth certificate, Trump took credit for obtaining the document, saying "I hope it checks out." His official biography mentions his purported role in forcing Obama's hand, and he has defended his pursuit of the issue when prompted. In 2013 he said, "I don't think I went overboard. Actually, I think it made me very popular." When asked in 2015 whether Obama was born in the United States, Trump said he did not want to discuss it further. Earlier, Trump had also called for Obama to release his student records, questioning whether his grades warranted entry into an Ivy League school. In September 2016, Trump publicly acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S., and falsely stated that rumors to the contrary had been started by Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign.
In February 2011, Trump made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). His appearance at CPAC was organized by GOProud, an LGBT conservative organization, in conjunction with GOPround supporter Roger Stone, who was close with Trump. GOPround pushed for a write-in campaign for Donald Trump at CPAC's presidential straw poll. Christopher R. Barron, co-founder of GOProud who would later not only endorse Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, but also launch LGBT for Trump, said he "would love to see Mr. Trump run for president." The 2011 CPAC speech Trump gave is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.
In the 2012 Republican primaries, Trump generally had polled at or below 17 percent among the crowded field of possible candidates. On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president in the 2012 election, while also saying he would have won.
In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). During the lightly attended early-morning speech, Trump said that President Obama gets "unprecedented media protection", spoke against illegal immigration, and advised against harming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Also in 2013, he spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States. In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014, against Andrew Cuomo; Trump said in response that while New York had problems and taxes were too high, running for governor was not of great interest to him. A February 2014 Quinnipiac poll had shown Trump losing to the popular Cuomo by 37 points in a hypothetical election. He also made statements denying climate change that were discordant with the opinion of the scientific community. In February 2015, Trump said he told NBC that he was not prepared to sign on for another season of The Apprentice at that time, as he mulled his political future.
Trump's party affiliation has changed over the years. Although his party affiliation prior to 1987 is unclear, Trump was an early supporter of Republican Ronald Reagan for United States President in the late 1970s. By 1987, he identified as a Republican. During the 1992 Presidential Election, there was speculation that Trump would be President George H. W. Bush's running mate and replace then-Vice-President Dan Quayle. Bush felt the proposal was “strange and unbelievable”, and ultimately Quayle was kept on the ticket.
In 1999, Trump switched to the Reform Party for three years and ran a presidential exploratory campaign for its nomination. After his run, Trump left the party in 2001 due to the involvement of David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani within the party.
From 2001 to 2008 he was a Democrat, but in 2008 he endorsed Republican John McCain for President. In 2009, he officially changed his party registration to Republican. In December 2011, Trump became an Independent for five months before returning to the Republican Party, where he has pledged to stay.
Trump has made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates, with the top ten recipients of his political contributions being six Democrats and four Republicans. After 2011, his campaign contributions were more favorable to Republicans than to Democrats. In February 2012, Trump endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for President. When asked in 2015 which recent President he prefers, Trump picked Democrat Bill Clinton over the Republican Bushes.
According to a New York state report, Trump circumvented corporate and personal campaign donation limits in the 1980s—although no laws were broken—by donating money to candidates from 18 different business subsidiaries, rather than donating primarily in his own name. Trump told investigators he did so on the advice of his lawyers. He also said the contributions were not to curry favor with business-friendly candidates, but simply to satisfy requests from friends.
Presidential campaign, 2016
On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Trump Tower in New York City. In the speech, Trump drew attention to domestic issues such as illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism, which all remained large themes during the campaign. He also announced his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
Trump ran as a self-described conservative, particularly in social and religious matters. His campaign emphasized American patriotism, with a disdain for notions such as political correctness and media bias. In part due to his fame, Trump's run for president received an unprecedented amount of media attention.
Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan were hesitant to support him early on. They doubted his chances of winning the general election and feared he could harm the image of the Republican Party.
The alt-right movement coalesced around Trump's candidacy, due in part to its opposition to multiculturalism and immigration. Trump was accused of pandering to white nationalists. In August he appointed as his campaign CEO Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, described by Bannon as "the platform for the alt-right".
Some rallies during the primary season were accompanied by protests or violence, including attacks on protesters inside the rallies, and clashes between protesters and Trump supporters outside the venues.
Fact checking organizations have denounced Trump for making a record number of false statements compared to other candidates. At least four major publications – Politico, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times – pointed out lies or falsehoods in his campaign statements. Trump's penchant for exaggerating may have roots in the world of New York real estate where he made his fortune, and where hyperbole is a way of life; Trump calls it "truthful hyperbole". Lucas Graves, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication, says that Trump often speaks in a suggestive way that makes it unclear what exactly he meant, so that fact-checkers "have to be really careful when you pick claims to check."
Trump has stated that the media has intentionally misinterpreted his words. The New York Times reported in August 2016 that journalistic standards normally prevent mainstream, non-opinion journalists from becoming oppositional against a particular candidate, but opined that the Trump campaign was "not normal".
Trump entered a large field of candidates against 16 other Republicans campaigning for the nomination, the largest presidential field in American history. Trump participated in eleven of the twelve Republican debates, skipping only the seventh debate on January 28 (that was the last debate before primary voting began on February 1). The debates received historically high viewership, increasing the visibility of Trump's campaign.
By early 2016, the race had mostly centered on Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. On Super Tuesday, Trump won the plurality of the vote and remained the front-runner throughout the primaries. By March 2016, Trump became poised to win the Republican nomination. After a landslide win in Indiana on May 3, 2016, which prompted the remaining candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their presidential campaigns, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. With nearly 14 million votes, Trump broke the all-time record for winning the most primary votes in the history of the Republican Party. He also set the record for the largest number of votes against the front runner.
General election campaign
After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump's focus shifted to the general election, urging remaining primary voters to "save [their] vote for the general election." Trump began targeting Hillary Clinton, who became the presumptive Democratic nominee on June 6, 2016, and continued to campaign across the country. One month before the Republican National Convention, Secret Service agents thwarted an assassination attempt on Trump by a 20-year-old British man illegally residing in the U.S. during one of his rallies in Las Vegas.
Clinton had established a significant lead in national polls over Trump throughout most of 2016. In early July, Clinton's lead narrowed in national polling averages following the FBI's conclusion of its investigation into her ongoing email controversy. FBI Director James Comey concluded Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified government material.
One study argues that it was in fact Trump's grandiosity that attracted voters. A test was carried out by blind raters in which Trump scored highest on grandiosity ratings, use of first person pronouns, greater pitch dynamics and informal communication.
On July 15, 2016, Trump announced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Trump and Pence were officially nominated by the Republican Party on July 19, 2016, at the Republican National Convention. The list of convention speakers and attendees included former presidential nominee Bob Dole but the other prior nominees did not attend, though John McCain endorsed Trump prior to the convention.
Two days later, Trump officially accepted the nomination in a 76-minute speech inspired by Richard Nixon's 1968 acceptance speech. The historically long speech was watched by nearly 35 million people and received mixed reviews, with net negative viewer reactions according to CNN and Gallup polls.
In late July, Trump came close to Clinton in national polls following a 3 to 4 percentage point convention bounce, in line with the average bounce in conventions since 2004, although it was toward the small side by historical standards. Following Clinton's 7 percent convention bounce, she extended her lead significantly in national polls at the start of August.
Trump has declined to publicly release any of his full tax returns, which led to speculation about whether he was hiding something. Trump said that his tax returns are being audited and his lawyers advise against release. High-income individuals are audited more frequently than the average taxpayer, but it is unusual for an individual to be audited for several consecutive years. Trump has told the news media that his tax rate was "none of your business", but added, "I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible". Every candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976 released their taxes before the election. Although no law prohibits release of tax returns during an audit, tax attorneys differ about whether such a release is wise legal strategy.
On September 26, 2016, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Lester Holt, an anchor with NBC News, was the moderator. This was the most watched presidential debate in United States history. The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Much of the narrative of that debate was dominated by a leaked tape of Trump making lewd comments (see below), and counter-accusations by Trump of sexual misconduct by Bill Clinton. Trump had invited four women who had accused Clinton of impropriety to a press conference prior to the debate. The final presidential debate was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on October 19. Trump's refusal to say whether he would accept the result of the election drew particular press attention.
Sexual misconduct allegations
Two days before the second presidential debate, a 2005 recording surfaced, made on a studio bus while preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood. On the tape, Trump is heard bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women with the show's then-cohost Billy Bush. "I just start kissing them", he says, "I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything ... grab them by the pussy." He also speaks of his efforts to seduce a married woman, saying he "moved on her very heavily."
Trump's language was described by the media as "vulgar", "sexist", and descriptive of sexual assault. The incident prompted him to make his first public apology during the campaign, and caused outrage across the political spectrum, with many Republicans withdrawing their endorsements of his candidacy and some urging him to quit the race. Subsequently, at least 15 women came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct including unwanted kissing and groping, resulting in widespread media coverage.
Election to the Presidency
On November 8, 2016, Trump won the presidency with 306 electoral votes to 232 received by Clinton. It is likely that Trump will receive fewer votes then Clinton, and if so, he will be the fifth person to become president despite losing the popular vote. The nationwide difference is estimated to be higher than two million votes.
Trump's victory was considered a big political upset, as nearly all national polls at the time showed Hillary Clinton with a modest lead over Trump, and state polls showed her with a modest lead to win the electoral college. The errors in some state polls were later attributed to pollsters overestimating Clinton's support among well-educated and nonwhite voters, while underestimating Trump's support among white working-class voters. Trump's victory marked the first time that Republicans would control the White House and both chambers of Congress since the period 2003–2007.
In the early hours of November 9, 2016, Trump received a phone call in which Clinton conceded the presidency to him. Trump then delivered his victory speech before hundreds of supporters in the Hilton Hotel in New York City. The speech was in stark contrast with his previous rhetoric, with Trump promising to heal the division caused by the election, thanking Clinton for her service to the country, and promising to be a president to all Americans.
Trump's victory sparked protests across the United States. Groups gathered in public to protest some of his policies and inflammatory comments he made during the campaign. They pointed to the fact that Clinton won the popular vote. Trump initially said on Twitter that the protests consisted of "professional protesters, incited by the media", but he later stated that he loves their passion for the country.
On November 10, President-elect Trump had a first meeting with President Obama to discuss plans for a peaceful transition of power. The meeting was notably cordial, with The New York Times stating: "It was an extraordinary show of cordiality and respect between two men who have been political enemies and are stylistic opposites."
Trump's transition team was led by Chris Christie until November 11, 2016, when Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over. Since then, Trump has nominated RNC chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff, businessman and media executive Steve Bannon as Counselor to the President, Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor, education reform activist Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Representative Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, financier Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce, and Marine Corps General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense.
On November 22, Trump outlined his plan for his first 100 days in office, which includes the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and asking the Department of Defense to develop a plan to protect the United States from cyber-attack.
Trump has described his political leanings and positions in various ways over time. Politico has described his positions as "eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory". He has listed several different party affiliations over the years and has also run as a Reform Party candidate. The positions that he has revised or reversed include stances on progressive taxation, abortion, and government involvement in health care.
Trump's political positions are widely described by the media as "populist". Trump has described his political positions in various and often contradictory ways over time. Trump stated, "I have evolved on many issues. There are some issues that are very much the same, I've been constant on many issues. But I have evolved on certain issues." PolitiFact.com wrote that it is difficult to determine Trump's stance on issues, given his frequent changes in position and "his penchant for using confusing, vague and even contradictory language". PolitiFact.com counted at least 17 times when Trump said something and then denied having said it.
Trump describes himself as pro-life and generally opposes abortion with some exceptions: rape, incest, and circumstances endangering the health of the mother. The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political advocacy group, praised Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees as "exceptionally strong", while NARAL Pro-Choice America called the candidates on the list "a woman's worst nightmare". Trump has stated that he supports "traditional marriage". He opposes the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and believes the decision should be left to individual states. Trump had stated that if he were elected, he would "strongly consider" appointing Supreme Court justices that would overturn the ruling. Trump supports a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment and says he is opposed to gun control in general, although his views have shifted over time. He supports fixing the federal background check system so that criminal and mental health records are always put into the system. Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana. Trump favors capital punishment.
Trump's campaign tax plan calls for reducing the corporate tax rate to 15%, concurrent with the elimination of various business loopholes and deductions. Personal income taxes would also be reduced; the top rate would be reduced from 39.6% to 25%, a large "zero bracket" would be created, and the alternative minimum tax would be eliminated, as would the estate tax (which currently applies to individual estates over $5.45 million or $10.9 million per married couple). Under Trump's economic plan, families with head-of-household filing status making between $20,000 and $200,000, including many single parents, would pay more in taxes than under current tax law, due to Trump's elimination of some deductions and exemptions. Several reports assess that the economy would be "diminished" by heavy job losses and recession under Trump's economic policies, with a large number of economists, including 19 of 32 living Nobel laureates, warning against his economic policies. Two analyses find that Trump's economic plan will have mixed results; one analysis finds that Trump's plan would create short-term economic gains but major long-term economic losses in terms of jobs, and another analysis finds that the plan will create 2.2 million jobs, a major increase in capital stock and some wage growth, but by increasing federal debt by between $2.6 trillion and $3.9 trillion.
Trump's comments about the minimum wage have been inconsistent: he has said that a low minimum wage is good; that the minimum wage should not be raised; that the minimum wage should be raised; that he would like an increase, but the states should do the increasing; that he is against any federal minimum wage floor; and that he is in favor of a $10 federal minimum wage, but "let the states make the deal".
Trump identifies as a "free trader", but says that trade must be "reasonably fair", and has described supporters of international trade deals that are good for other countries but not good for the United States as "blood suckers". He has often been referred to as "protectionist". He says NAFTA has been the "worst trade deal in history", and would as president either renegotiate or break the NAFTA agreement. He opposes the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump proposes to raise tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States by 45%, and has raised the idea of placing 35% tariffs on Mexican exports to the United States. Trump has called the World Trade Organization (WTO) a "disaster", and favors renegotiating or leaving the WTO unless it allows his proposed tariff increases.
Trump favors repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") with a different free-market plan that would allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, enable individuals to deduct health insurance premiums, expand health savings accounts, and give more control of Medicaid to the states. He has voiced support for a single-payer healthcare system in the past, but distanced himself from the idea during his 2016 campaign. In October 2016 he falsely said that he had said the ACA was a "disaster" since before it was passed by Congress. He said in June 2009 that he loved the idea, but questioned whether the country could afford it. Trump favors getting rid of backlogs and waitlists that are the focus of the Veterans Health Administration scandal, and believes that Veterans Affairs facilities need to be upgraded.
Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools. He opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative for primary and secondary schools, and has called Common Core "a disaster" that must be ended. He has stated he would abolish all or part of the Department of Education.
Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, repeatedly saying that global warming is a "hoax". Trump has called the EPA a "disgrace" and has promised to cut its budget, and Bob Walker, a senior campaign adviser, has announced plans to eliminate funding for NASA's Earth Science program. Trump has pledged to eliminate the Clean Power Plan and withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for reductions in carbon emissions in more than 170 countries, saying that it treats the United States unfairly and gives favorable treatment to countries like China. However, after winning the presidency, Trump said he has an "open mind" towards the Paris agreement, while continuing to deny that man-made global warming is fact.
Trump has appointed Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute advocacy group, as head of the future EPA transition team. Ebell has no scientific qualifications, and is well-known for denying that Earth is warming or that humans are responsible.
Trump has been described as non-interventionist and nationalist. Trump has repeatedly stated that he supports "America First" foreign policy, though he is not linked to the historical isolationist America First Party (1944) or the defunct paleoconservative America First Party (2002). He supports increasing United States military defense spending, but favors decreasing United States spending on NATO and in the Pacific region. He says America should look inward, stop "nation building", and re-orient its resources toward domestic needs. He questions whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members, and suggests that he might leave NATO unless changes are made to the alliance. Trump has called for Japan to pay for the costs of American troops stationed there and that it might need to develop nuclear weapons in order to protect itself from North Korea.
In order to confront ISIS, Trump in 2015 called for seizing the oil in ISIS occupied areas, using U.S. air power and ground troops. In 2016, Trump advocated sending 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops to the region, a position he retracted. He has since argued that regional allies of the U.S., such as Saudi Arabia should provide troops in the fight. He also believes that oil fields in ISIS-controlled areas should be bombed. He supports the use of waterboarding, a form of torture, and has said he would "bring back a hell of a lot worse". Trump has also said he will dismantle the international nuclear agreement with Iran as president. Regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Trump has stated the importance of being a neutral party during potential negotiations, while also having stated that he is "a big fan of Israel." He supports Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.
During his 2016 Presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said that he opposed the Iraq War even before it was launched, although his public position had been unclear at the time. In 2002, when asked whether he supported invading Iraq, Trump responded, "Yeah, I guess so" and added "I wish the first time it was done correctly" in reference to the Gulf War of 1990–1991. Shortly before the 2003 invasion, he said: "Well, [Bush's] either got to do something—or not do something, perhaps. […] And perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations." Trump publicly referred to the war as a "mess" within a week after it began, and by 2004 he said he was opposed to it. Since 2004, he has repeatedly criticized the war, especially during the primary debates with Jeb Bush.
Trump has at times during his presidential campaign stated that the Afghanistan War was a mistake, and at other times stated that it was necessary. He supports keeping a limited number of United States troops there. Trump was a strong supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya at the time. He has since then reversed his position several times, saying finally in June 2016 that he would have supported "surgical" bombing against Gaddafi.
Trump would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting sanctions on Russia. He added that Russia could help the United States in fighting ISIS militants. In the same interview, Trump sarcastically stated that he hoped Russia would unearth Hillary Clinton's missing emails from her time as Secretary of State.
During a 'Thank You' rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, Trump announced a new approach to foreign policy, vowing to destroy ISIS, but also stating that the US will stop 'looking to topple foreign regimes and overthrow governments'.
Trump's immigration policies have been among his most highly discussed policies during the campaign. Some of his proposals have come under scrutiny by several experts on immigration who question the effectiveness and affordability of his plans. Trump vows to build a substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants, a wall which Trump promises Mexico will pay for. Trump would also create a "deportation force" to deport around 11 million people illegally residing in the U.S., stating "Day 1 of my presidency, [illegal immigrants] are getting out and getting out fast." Trump opposes birthright citizenship.
In late August 2016, Trump hinted he might soften his position calling for the deportation of all undocumented immigrants. On August 31, 2016, he made a visit to Mexico and met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, saying he wanted to build relations with the country. However, in a major speech later that night, Trump laid out a 10-point plan reaffirming his hardline positions, including building a wall along the Mexican border to be paid for by Mexico, potentially deporting "anyone who has entered the United States illegally", denying legal status to such people unless they leave the country and apply for re-entry, and creating a deportation task force. He said the focus of the task force would be criminals, those who have overstayed their visas, and other "security threats".
One of Trump's most controversial proposals was his original proposal in 2015 for a "total and complete" temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States. Trump later changed his position in 2016 by stating that the temporary ban would apply only to people originating from countries with a "proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies", or countries "compromised by terrorism". Trump characterized this as an expansion, not rollback, of his original proposal.
According to political writer Steve Benen, unlike past political leaders, Trump has not kept fringe theories and their supporters at arm's length. Political writer Jack Shafer says that Trump may be a "fairly conventional American populist when it comes to his policy views", but he has a revolutionary ability to attract free media attention, sometimes by making outrageous comments.
For many years, beginning in at least 2011, Trump publicly questioned President Obama's citizenship status; in 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump stated that Obama was born in the U.S. In the past, he has also alluded to the conspiracy theory that President Obama is secretly a Muslim.
Trump has discussed the unfounded notion that vaccine doses cause autism if administered too quickly in succession, and the conspiracy theory that former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia might not have died of natural causes but was murdered. He repeated a National Enquirer allegation that Rafael Cruz, father of Ted Cruz, may have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Trump has five children by three marriages, and has eight grandchildren. His first two marriages ended in divorces that were publicized in the tabloid media.
Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, on April 7, 1977, at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan in a ceremony performed by one of America's most famous ministers, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. They had three children: son Donald Jr. (born December 31, 1977), daughter Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and son Eric (born January 6, 1984). Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric now serve as executive vice presidents of The Trump Organization. Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988.
Trump has been nicknamed "The Donald" since Ivana referred to him as such in a 1989 Spy magazine cover story. By early 1990, Trump's troubled marriage to Ivana and affair with actress Marla Maples had been reported in the tabloid press. Ivana Trump was granted an uncontested divorce in 1990, on the grounds that Trump's treatment of her, such as his affair with Maples, had been "cruel and inhuman". In 1992, he successfully sued Ivana for violating a gag clause in their divorce agreement by disclosing facts about him in her book. In 2015, Ivana said that she and Donald "are the best of friends".
Maples gave birth to their daughter Tiffany, named after Tiffany & Company (Trump's purchase of the air rights above the store in the 1980s allowed him to build Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue), on October 13, 1993. They married two months later on December 20, 1993. The couple formally separated in May 1997, with their divorce finalized in June 1999. Tiffany was raised by her mother in Calabasas, California, where she lived until her graduation from Viewpoint School.
In 1998, Trump began a relationship with Slovene model Melania Knauss, who became his third wife. They were engaged in April 2004 and were married on January 22, 2005, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. In 2006, Melania became a naturalized United States citizen. On March 20, 2006, she gave birth to their son, whom they named Barron Trump. Having heard the language since his birth, Barron is fluent in Slovene. In a February 2009 interview on ABC's news program Nightline, Trump commented that his love for his business had made it difficult for his first two wives to compete with his affection for work.
Trump's brother, Fred Jr., predeceased their father Fred. Shortly after the latter died in 1999, the wife of Fred Jr.'s son gave birth to a son with serious medical problems. Trump and his family offered to pay the medical bills through Fred Sr.'s company (Fred Sr. freely provided medical coverage to his family through his company for decades). Fred III then sued the family for allegedly having used "undue influence" on a dementia-stricken Fred Sr. to get Fred III and his sister Mary a reduced share from their grandfather's will, but Trump attributed the reduced share to his father's dislike of Fred III's mother, and Trump stopped the aid for Fred III's son. The aid was resumed by court order pending outcome of the lawsuit, which was then settled.
Trump is a Presbyterian. He has said that he began going to church at the First Presbyterian Church in the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens as a child. Trump attended Sunday school and had his confirmation at that church. In an April 2011 interview on The 700 Club, he commented: "I'm a Protestant, I'm a Presbyterian. And you know I've had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion." Trump told a 2015 South Carolina campaign audience he attends Marble Collegiate Church, where he married his first wife Ivana in 1977. Marble has said that, though Trump has a longstanding history with the church, he is not an active member of Marble. Trump is also loosely affiliated with Lakeside Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, which is nearby his Palm Beach estate. Trump has said that although he participates in Holy Communion, he has not asked God for forgiveness for his sins. He stated, "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture."
Trump calls his own book The Art of the Deal (1987) "my second favorite book of all time", and has told campaign audiences: "Do you know what my first is? The Bible! Nothing beats the Bible." Declining to name his favorite Bible verse, Trump said "I don't like giving that out to people that you hardly know." However, his religious knowledge was questioned after a speech he gave to Liberty University, in which he referred to Second Corinthians as "Two Corinthians", eliciting chuckles from some in the audience.
Trump maintains relationships with several prominent national Evangelical Protestant and other Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins and Ralph E. Reed Jr. During his 2016 presidential campaign, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson. At an Algemeiner Journal awards ceremony honoring him with the Algemeiner Liberty Award, he was asked about having Jewish grandchildren. In reference to daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner, Trump said: "Not only do I have Jewish grandchildren, I have a Jewish daughter; and I am very honored by that ... it wasn't in the plan but I am very glad it happened."
Controversy involving the Pope
In February 2016, while on his way home following a visit to Mexico, Pope Francis said the following when asked about Trump:
A person who thinks only about building walls—wherever they may be—and not building bridges, is not Christian ... I'd just say that this man [Trump] is not Christian if he said it this way ... We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.
Trump responded that it was "disgraceful" for the Pope to question his faith, suggesting that the Mexican government was "using the Pope as a pawn" for political purposes, "because they want to continue to rip off the United States." Trump added that "if and when" Islamic State attacks the Vatican, the Pope would have "wished and prayed" Trump were President because under his leadership such an attack would not happen.
The following day, Director of the Holy See Press Office Federico Lombardi insisted that the Pope was not launching an attack on Trump nor trying to sway voters by declaring that someone who advocates building walls is not Christian. After the clarification by Lombardi, Trump downplayed his differences with the Pope, saying "I don't think this is a fight."
A medical report by his doctor, Harold Borstein M.D., showed that Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid function were in normal range. Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or marijuana, or consumed other drugs. He does not drink alcohol.
Appearances in popular culture
Even before Trump's very highly publicized presidential campaign began in 2015, he had appeared many times in popular culture.
Trump played himself as the Plaza Hotel owner in a cameo appearance in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). He also appeared as a guest in many films and series such as: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Job, Suddenly Susan, Sex and the City, The Drew Carey Show, Two Weeks Notice, Spin City, The Nanny, The Associate, The Little Rascals, Zoolander and Eddie.
You've Been Trumped (2011), a documentary film by Anthony Baxter, follows Trump's efforts to develop a Scottish golf resort. When it was announced that the documentary was to premiere on BBC Two television in the UK, on October 21, 2012, Trump's lawyers contacted the BBC to demand that the film should not be shown, saying that it was defamatory and misleading. The screening went ahead, with the BBC defending the decision and stating that Trump had refused the opportunity to take part in the film. He appeared with Rudy Giuliani in his documentary Giuliani Time.
Since the 1980s, Donald Trump's wealth and lifestyle have been a fixture of hip hop lyrics, his name being quoted by more than 50 artists.
In 2011, rapper Mac Miller released his "Donald Trump" song about rising to Trump-level riches, which became a Billboard hit. The billionaire subsequently requested royalties for using his name, starting a feud with Miller.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel featured Trump's two Dr. Seuss-like books, Winners Aren't Losers and its sequel Winners Still Aren't Losers, when Trump was the guest star. On both occasions, Kimmel read the books out loud to Trump and had Trump read the last word.
Describing the March 2000 The Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future" as "a warning to America", writer Dan Greaney said in March 2016: "What we needed was for Lisa to have problems beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that's why we had Trump be president before her. That just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was consistent with the vision of America going insane".
Since 1988, Trump and members of his family have been parodied on Saturday Night Live, and he hosted the show twice, in April 2004 and November 2015. The 2004 Saturday Night Live episode that combined host Donald Trump with musical guest Toots and the Maytals (the artist who introduced the term “reggae” in song) became reference material for the 2015 SNL writers to create a sketch in which the real Donald Trump has Toots Hibbert (played by Kenan Thompson) mention his interest in becoming Vice-President.
Trump's iconic comb over hair style has been mentioned frequently by the media. In 2004, the Chicago Tribune wrote that Trump is "known for his gaudy casinos and unusual mane of copper hair." During a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, he said, "I get a lot of credit for comb-overs. But it's not really a comb-over. It's sort of a little bit forward and back. I've combed it the same way for years. Same thing, every time." In various late-night talk shows and interviews, Trump's hair has humorously been suggested to be a wig, so he has let the interviewers touch his hair to verify its authenticity.
In a June 2015 speech for his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said he would change his hair style if he were elected.
An analysis by USA Today, published in June 2016, found that over the previous three decades, Trump and his businesses had been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. federal courts and state courts, an unprecedented number for a U.S. presidential candidate. Of the 3,500 suits, mostly in the casino industry, Trump or one of his companies was the plaintiff in 1,900; defendant in 1,450; and third party, filer of bankruptcy, or other in 150. Trump was named in at least 169 suits in federal court. Although litigation over contract disputes and other matters is common in the real estate industry, USA Today found that Trump had been involved in more legal disputes than Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., Donald Bren, Stephen M. Ross, Sam Zell, and Larry Silverstein combined. In about 500 cases, judges dismissed plaintiffs' claims against Trump. In hundreds more, cases ended with the available public record unclear about the resolution. Where there was a clear resolution, he has won 451 times, and lost 38.
In 1985, Trump was sued for allegedly trying to force out tenants to enable demolition. The matter was settled and the demolition canceled. In 1988, Trump paid $750,000 to settle the civil penalties in an antitrust lawsuit stemming from stock purchases.
In 1991, a business analyst predicted that the Trump Taj Mahal would soon fail, and he then lost his job; the analyst sued Trump for allegedly having an unlawful role in the firing, and that matter was settled confidentially out of court. After a helicopter crashed, killing three executives of his New Jersey hotel casino business, Trump sued the manufacturers, and that case was dismissed. Trump Plaza was fined $200,000 for moving African-American and female employees away from a racist and sexist gambler to accommodate him, but Trump was not evidently investigated, nor held personally liable, and said he would not even recognize that gambler. In 1991, Trump's father, Fred Trump, made an unlawful loan to Trump's Castle to help it make a mortgage payment, and the casino was required to pay a $30,000 fine, but his son was not penalized.
In 1993, Trump sued his business partner Jay Pritzker for allegedly collecting excessive fees, and the matter was settled. Boarding house owner Vera Coking sued for damage during construction of an adjacent casino, and later dropped the suit against Trump while settling with his contractor; she also prevailed against Trump and other developers in an eminent domain case.
In 1997, Donald Trump and rival Atlantic City casino owner Stephen Wynn engaged in an extended legal conflict during the planning phase of new casinos Wynn had proposed to build, and the cases were settled.
In 2000, Trump was charged with lobbying for government rejection of proposed casinos that would compete with his casinos, and he paid $250,000 to settle resulting fines. The charges related to a proposed Native American-run casino in the Catskills, New York, which would have competed with three of Trump's casinos in Atlantic City.
When the Securities and Exchange Commission charged one of his companies with poor financial reporting, Trump's attorney said the culprit had been dismissed, and that Trump had personally been unaware of the matter. Following litigation with Leona Helmsley that started in the 1990s regarding control of the Empire State Building, Trump in 2002 sold his share in that building to rivals of Helmsley's.
The town of Palm Beach, Florida, fined Trump for building an 80-foot (24-meter) pole for the American flag at his Mar-a-Lago property. Trump then sued, and a settlement required him to donate $100,000 to veterans' charities, while the town agreed to let him enroll out-of-towners in his social club and permitted a 10-foot shorter flagpole elsewhere on his lawn.
When the California city of Rancho Palos Verdes thwarted luxury home development on a landslide-prone area owned by Trump, he sued, and the city agreed to permit extensions for 20 more proposed luxury homes.
Trump sued a law firm he had used, Morrison Cohen, for using his name, for providing news links at its website, and for charging excessive fees, after which the firm halved the fees, and the court ruled that the links were allowable.
In 2009, Trump was sued by investors in the canceled Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico; Trump said he had merely been a spokesperson, and he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.
In 2004, the Trump Organization licensed the Trump brand to a hotel and condo project in Fort Lauderdale scheduled to open in 2007, but delays in construction and the bursting of the U.S. real estate bubble led Trump to withdraw his name from the deal in 2009, after which the project defaulted, investors sued, and Trump was caught in the ongoing lawsuits because he had participated in advertising.
Trump personally guaranteed $40 million to secure a $640 million loan for Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. When Deutsche Bank tried to collect it, Trump sued the bank for harming the project and his reputation, and the bank then agreed to extend the loan term by five years.
In 2015, Trump's claim that the Scottish Government improperly approved a wind-farm project near his golf course and planned hotel was rejected by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, following a lengthy legal battle.
In July 2015, Trump sued the former Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, after she alleged that the Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged. A federal judge upheld the settlement, obliging her to pay Trump $5 million.
Trump sued Palm Beach County, alleging that the county had pressured the FAA to direct air traffic over Trump's Mar-a-Lago club and estate. He also sued chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés; the latter said there was no merit in Trump's allegation that the chef backed out of a deal at the Old Post Office Pavilion.
Trump sued the town of Ossining, New York, over the property tax valuation on his golf course there, after separately being sued for modifying a drainage system that allegedly damaged a library, public pool, and park facilities.
Awards and accolades
- The Jewish National Fund's Tree of Life Award for outstanding contributions to Israel–United States relations. (1983)
- The Ellis Island Medal of Honor in celebration of "patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity." (1986)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his role in Ghosts Can't Do It (1990)
- Gaming Hall of Fame (1995)
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2007)
- Muhammad Ali Entrepreneur Award (2007)
- Trump was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration by Robert Gordon University. The degree was revoked on December 9, 2015, because Trump had made statements that the university deemed "wholly incompatible" with its "ethos and values." (2010)
- NY Ride of Fame (2010)
- Honorary doctorate of business, Liberty University (2012)
- WWE Hall of Fame (2013)
- The Algemeiner Liberty Award for contributions to Israel–United States relations. (2015)
- New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame (2015)
- Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation Commandant's Leadership Award (2015)
- Key to the City of Doral, Florida (2015)
- TIME 100, annual list of the most influential people by TIME magazine. (2016)
- His external entrepreneurial and investment ventures include Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump International Realty (a residential and commercial real estate brokerage firm), The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (a for profit business education company, formerly called the Trump University), Trump Restaurants (located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump (an online travel search engine), Select By Trump (a line of coffee drinks), Trump Drinks (an energy drink for the Israeli and Palestinian markets) Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men's accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), SUCCESS by Donald Trump (a second fragrance launched by The Trump Organization and the Five Star Fragrance Company released in March 2012), Trump Ice bottled water, the former Trump Magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump Home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump: The Game (1989 board game with a 2005 re-release version tied to The Apprentice), Donald Trump's Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Mortgage, Trump Network (a multi-level vitamin, cosmetic, and urinalysis marketing company), Trump Vodka, Trump Steakhouse and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly received $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he did for The Learning Annex. Trump also endorsed ACN Inc., a multi-level marketing telecommunications company. He has spoken at ACN International Training Events at which he praised the company's founders, business model and video phone. He earned a total $1.35 million for three speeches given for the company, amounting to $450,000 per speech.
- The Marble Collegiate Church is a part of the Reformed Church in America, which is Mainline Reformed and not necessarily Presbyterian. Though Trump is not a member of this particular denomination, the congregation welcomes everybody. He was confirmed at the First Presbyterian Church, which belongs to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Since he travels a lot, Trump has attended various Reformed churches, regardless of their denomination.
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A New Hampshire Republican activist named Mike Dunbar dreamed up the idea of a Donald Trump presidency [in] early summer of 1987... Dunbar launched a ‘Draft Trump’ campaign... Stories about a possible Trump presidency ran in newspapers across the country... (Trump was registered as a Democrat at the time...)
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Nor do the documents categorically suggest it was deferments and not a high draft number that ultimately allowed him to avoid the draft.
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Because of his medical exemption, his lottery number would have been irrelevant, said Richard Flahavan, a spokesman for the Selective Service System, who has worked for the agency for three decades... Still, Mr. Trump, in the interviews, said he believed he could have been subject to another physical exam to check on his bone spurs, had his draft number been called. 'I would have had to go eventually because that was a minor medical...' But the publicly available draft records of Mr. Trump include the letters 'DISQ' next to his exam date, with no notation indicating that he would be re-examined.
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He called his company Elizabeth Trump & Son ...
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Trump Management... was also to allow the league to present qualified applicants for every fifth vacancy... Trump himself said he was satisfied that the agreement did not 'compel the Trump Organization to accept persons on welfare as tenants unless as qualified as any other tenant.'
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Civil rights groups in the city viewed the Trump company as just one example of a nationwide problem of housing discrimination. But targeting the Trumps provided a chance to have an impact, said Eleanor Holmes Norton, who was then chairwoman of the city's human rights commission. 'They were big names.'
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I do not intend to comment on this matter any further
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