Who is Donald Trump?
Donald John Trump was the 45th President of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Before his presidential stint, he was a successful business magnate and television personality. The son of a wealthy real estate developer, Trump attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before taking charge of his family’s business. An astute businessman and charismatic leader, he built and renovated numerous hotels, casinos, and office towers during his business career, taking his net worth into billions. He also owned several beauty pageants and ventured into reality television as well. Expanding the horizons of his ambitions, he entered national politics in the early 2000s and set his eyes on the presidential office. As a politician, his career was marred by allegations of sexual misconduct and he also earned much criticism for his extravagant lifestyle and controversial comments on immigrants from Islamic nations. Despite the controversies surrounding him, Trump ran for the 2016 presidential election as a Republican and defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a surprise victory. His presidential term was marked by several controversial decisions and he was impeached in the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. However, the Senate acquitted him of both the charges. He lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born in New York City, to a builder and real estate developer Frederick Trump and his wife Mary McLeod. He was one of the five children.
He had his initial schooling in the Kew Forest School, Forest hills, New York. At the age of 13, his parents sent him to New York Military Academy (NYMA) in Upstate New York where he performed well, both socially and academically; emerging as a star athlete and student leader by the time he graduated in 1964.
He was at Fordham University for two years before joining the Wharton School of Finance at the University Of Pennsylvania, from where he graduated in economics in 1968.
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He joined his father’s company, ‘Elizabeth Trump and Son’, while still in college. The company focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. He became deeply involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200 unit apartment complex in Cincinnati with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years.
In 1971, he moved to Studio apartment in Manhattan, New York and became involved with larger building projects. In the following year, he finalized first multi-million dollar real estate transaction with the sale of Swifton village in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1985, he bought Mar-a-lago estate in Palm beach, Florida and renovated the Barbizon hotel and 100 Central Park South.
In 1988, he bought the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
In 1989, he bought a fleet of Boeing 727 airplanes to form Trump air shuttle service. Unfortunately a helicopter crash killed three Trump casino executives which lead to big issue.
By 1989, poor business decisions left him unable to meet loan payments but he somehow financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 million Taj Mahal, with high-interest junk bonds. The increasing debt soon brought him to business bankruptcy.
In 1990, he regained his previous stable financial position and fame and opened the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. Soon he gained approval for Riverside south development of West Side rail yards.
In 1996, he got the ownership of Miss Universe Organization which produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Tean USA pageants.
In 2003, he became joint partner with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) where he became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show, ‘The Apprentice’ which became a huge success. Following its success, he co-produced a show, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ along with British TV producer Mark Burnett.
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On October 21, 2004, Trump Hotels and Casino & Resorts declared a restructuring of its debt which led to a reduction in his individual ownership from 56 percent to 27 percent. The company applied for Chapter 11 Protection in November and soon the company re-emerged from bankruptcy as ‘Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings’.
He marketed the Trump name on large number of products, including ‘Trump Financial’, ‘Trump Sales and Leasing’, ‘Trump Entrepreneur initiative’, ‘Trump Restaurants’, ‘Go TRUMP’, ‘Donald J. Trump signature collection’, etc. Moreover, he also received $1.5 million for every one-hour presentation he did for ‘The Learning Annex’. He also has a business simulation game called ‘Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon’.
Trump also harbored political aspirations. In the 2000 elections he expressed his wish to run as a third-party candidate for the US presidency. In 2004 and 2008, he speculated about running for president in the Republican Party and in between in 2006, he considered running for governor of New York as a representative of the party. He again registered as a Republican in 2009 after having registered with the Democratic Party in 2001 and campaigned for it.
In 2010-2012, his involvement in politics intensified when he publicly announced his consideration of candidature for presidency again. However, his association with the ‘Birther issue’, a group that firmly believed Barack Obama was not born in the US, disparaged his political reputation. But he continued to be against Obama on various political issues.
In January 2013, he endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli elections. He was also a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Presidential Campaign 2016
Trump announced his candidacy for president as a Republican in June 2015. As a flamboyant personality with a successful business career and media presence, he quickly emerged as the front-runner for his party's nomination and was formally nominated for president at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
His campaigning focused on domestic issues such as illegal immigration, crime, Islamic terrorism, offshoring of American jobs, and the U.S. national debt, and his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again” resonated with the American citizens.
While many of his campaigning tactics received criticism, they also ensured that he got unprecedented media coverage. He was accused of lying and embellishing facts during his election speeches and received a lot of negative backlash with major publications like ‘Politico’, ‘The Washington Post’, ‘The New York Times’, and the ‘Los Angeles Times’ terming his statements as downright falsehoods.
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As a presidential nominee, he adopted a populist political stance and supported a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment. His tax plan calling for reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% and replacing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") with a different free-market plan earned him support from several quarters.
Trump’s campaign was, however, fraught with controversies. There were several accusations of sexual misconduct against him and he was criticized by the media for using vulgar and sexist language. A 2005 recording of him bragging about how he forcibly kissed and groped women caused a major dent to his popularity. He soon issued a public apology in a bid to salvage his reputation.
Despite his detractors and all the negative publicity surrounding him, he managed to emerge victorious in the general election on November 8, 2016 in which he defeated Hillary Clinton to become the President of the United States.
Donald Trump assumed office as the 45th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2017.
Donald Trump's Presidential Term
Donald Trump’s presidency was marked by several controversial decisions. He repealed the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and gave approval to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
During his term, economy did well and he cut the corporate tax rates and lowered personal income tax rates.
His handling of COVID-19 pandemic was abysmal and resulted in the death of a large number of Americans.
In December 2019, Donald Trump was impeached by House of Representatives, after it was found that he solicited Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. However, he was acquitted of the charge by the Senate.
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2020 U.S. Presidential Election
Donald Trump lost his bid for re-election when he lost to Democrat candidate Joe Biden in a bitterly fought election.
In 1974, he obtained the option to buy two rail yards in New York City and after few years with the help of 40-year tax abatement from the government, he bought and turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and also created the ‘Trump organization’.
In 1980, he undertook the project of constructing the Wollman Rink in Central Park and completed it in six months using $750,000 of the remaining $3 million budget. In the same year, he renovated the Trump tower in New York City and Atlantic City casino business which led to huge debt.
In 2001, he completed the Trump world tower, which was a 72-storey residential tower across the UN headquarters. He also began construction on Trump plaza along the Hudson River.
In 2006, he bought the Menie estate in Balmadie, Aberdeen shire, Scotland to create the best golf course in the world on a site of special scientific interest (SSS) but it was met with criticism from environmentalists and by local landowners. But the battle became more difficult this year when the Scottish government approved the construction of a wind farm nearby.
He has hosted many wrestle mania events in Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several of the shows. On June 15, 2009 he bought the WWE RAW show from WWE owner Vince McMohan.
He wrote many books which became famous worldwide for their entrepreneurial guidance. It includes, ‘Trump: The Art of the Deal’, ‘Think big: Make it happen in Business and Life’, ‘Think like a champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life’, ‘Trump 101: The Way to Success’, ‘Trump: How to Get Rich’, ‘Trump: Surviving at the Top’, etc.
Awards & Achievements
In 2005, he again got nominated for Primetime Emmy for ‘The Apprentice’ under the aforesaid category.
In 2007, he earned the Star on Walk of Fame for his contribution to Television.
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In 2013, he was inducted in to the celebrity wing of the WWE hall of fame at Madison Square Garden due to his contributions to the promotion of several WWE shows.
Family & Personal Life
In 1977, he married Ivana Zelnickova and had three children from her - Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. The couple called off their marriage in 1992 when Ivana discovered his extra-marital love affair with an American actress Marla Maples.
In 1993, he married Marla Maples and they had one child, Tiffany, two months before their marriage. In 1997, he filed for a highly publicized divorce with Maples, which was finalized in June 1999. According to the divorce settlement Maples received $2 million.
On January 22, 2005, he married Melania Knauss at Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church, on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, after proposing to her the previous year. They have a son together named Barron William Trump.
In 2011, he claimed in an interview to be a Presbyterian within the Protestant group after gaining the membership of New York City’s ‘Marble Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church’.
Top 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Donald Trump
Donald Trump is a teetotaler and has never smoked cigarettes or done drugs.
He is a germophobe and hates shaking hands. When faced with the inevitable situation of shaking hands, he has an interesting technique of avoiding it; he vigorously pulls the other person close into his body.
At one time, he acted as a financial advisor to Mike Tyson and hosted Tyson’s fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.
Donald Trump is confidence personified. In fact, at times his over-the-top confidence borders on braggadocio. In 2004, he was quoted in The Daily News saying, “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me—consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
Though Trump has been a very successful businessman, in hindsight, he has wasted some brilliant business opportunities. In 1988, he had the opportunity to buy the Patriots, a professional American football team, but he turned down the offer because he didn't think it was a good investment. The team is now worth more than $2 billion.
He is the only presidential candidate to have his own board game, titled Trump: The Game.
Trump has the dubious distinction of winning the Razzie Award for worst supporting actor for the film 'Ghosts Can't Do It', in 1990. He played himself in the movie.
He is a golfer and a member of the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, and plays regularly at the other courses he owns and operates.
He was an active member of the “birther” movement that questioned President Obama’s birthplace.
A consistent vocal critic of Barack Obama, Trump offered Obama to play golf anytime on any of the golf courses that he owns with one rider - if Obama ended his term early.