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Donald Trump

"The Donald" redirects here. For others, see Donald (disambiguation) and Donald Trump (disambiguation).

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Donald Trump
Trump in 2011
Born Donald John Trump
(1946-06-14) June 14, 1946 (age 69)
Queens, New York, US
Alma mater Fordham University(transferred out)
University of Pennsylvania
Occupation  • Chairman and president of The Trump Organization[1]
 • Chairman of Trump Plaza Associates, LLC[2]
 • Chairman of Trump Atlantic City Associates[2]
 • Host of The Apprentice
Years active 1968–present
Salary $60 million[2]
Net worth 11px US$4.1 billion (2015)[2]
Political party
Republican (Before 1999; 2009–2011; 2012-present)
Reform Party (1999–2001)[3]
Democratic (2001–2009)[4]
Independent (2011–2012)[5]
Religion Presbyterianism[6]
Spouse(s) Ivana Zelníčková (1977–1992)
Marla Maples (1993–1999)
Melania Knauss (2005–present)
Children Donald
Signature 150px
Official website

Donald John Trump Sr. (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor,[7] television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts.[1] Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner, and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have made him a well-known celebrity who was No. 17 on the 2011 Forbes Celebrity 100 list.[2]

Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a wealthy New York City real-estate developer.[8] He worked for his father's firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company.[9] He was given control of the company in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization.[10][11]

In 2010, Trump expressed an interest in becoming a candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election,[12][13] though in May 2011, he announced he would not run.[14][15] Trump was a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[16] In 2013, Trump spent over $1 million to research a possible run for President of the United States in 2016.[17][18]

Early life and education

Trump was born in Queens, New York, to Fred Trump and Mary Anne (MacLeod), who married in 1936. His mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland.[19] Donald was one of five children. Donald's oldest brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 43.[20] Trump's paternal grandparents were German immigrants.[21] His grandfather, Frederick Trump ( Friedrich Drumpf), emigrated to the United States in 1885 and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1892. Frederick married Elisabeth Christ (October 10, 1880 – June 6, 1966)[22] at Kallstadt, Kingdom of Bavaria, Germany, on August 26, 1902. They had three children.

Trump attended the Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, Queens, as did some of his siblings. At age 13 after he had some difficulties there, his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy (NYMA), hoping to direct his energy and assertiveness in a positive manner.[23] At NYMA, in rural New York, Trump earned academic honors, and played varsity football in 1962, varsity soccer in 1963, and varsity baseball from 1962 to 1964 (baseball captain 1964).

Trump attended Fordham University for two years before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania because Wharton had then one of the few real estate departments in American academia.[24] He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.[25]

Business career

Real estate developments

Trump began his career at his father's company,[26] Elizabeth Trump and Son,[27] which focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. One of Trump's first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. Trump became intimately involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years. In 1972 the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.[28]

In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan and became involved in larger building projects and utilized attractive architectural design to win public recognition.[8] He made plans to acquire and develop the old Penn Central for $60 million with no money down.[29] Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt[30] and created The Trump Organization.[31]

The New York City government had a plan to build the Javits Convention Center on property Trump held a right to buy option. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million[32] but the city rejected his offer and Trump received a broker's fee on the sale of the property instead. The Wollman Rink in Central Park, was started in 1980 with an expected 2½-year construction schedule but was nowhere near completion by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project, at no cost to the city, and completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the remaining budget.[33]

In 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.[34] This expansion, both personal and business, led to mounting debt.[35]

By 1989, poor business decisions left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy[35] and to the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal re-emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.[36]

The late 1990s saw a resurgence in his financial situation. In 2001, he completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.[37] Also, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. Trump owns commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle. Trump owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate.[38]

Trump has several other projects under way, including the Trump International Hotel and Tower – Honolulu. According to Trump, buyers paid non-refundable deposits, committing to purchase every unit on the first day they were made available. Construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower – Chicago is proceeding, although 30 percent of the units remain unsold. The Trump International Hotel and Tower – Toronto has had a series of delays and a height reduction. The Trump Tower – Tampa has been controversial because the initial sales were so successful that all deposits were returned in order to charge a higher price. Three years after construction of this development began, construction has delayed and lawsuits have been filed. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one Trump construction project was put on hold in favor of another (Trump International Hotel and Tower – Fort Lauderdale). Meanwhile, Trump Towers – Atlanta is being developed in a housing market having the nation's second-highest inventory of unsold homes.[39]

In its October 7, 2007 Forbes 400 issue, "Acreage Aces", Forbes valued Trump's wealth at $3.0 billion.[40] Since 2011, his net worth has been estimated from $2.9 billion to $7 billion.[2][41]

Legal affairs


Trump manages business financing as far as possible without placing himself at risk of personal bankruptcy.[42] Four of his businesses have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[42][43] According to a 2011 report by Forbes, these were due to over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City: Trump’s Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009)[44][45] 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,"[46] He indicated that other "great entrepreneurs" do the same.[44] Robert Reich took a critical view of his bankruptcy proceedings opining that "people with lots of money can easily avoid the consequences of bad bets" and are protected by limited liability in contrast to laid-off workers who "are stuck with the mess."[47]

Trump’s first corporate bankruptcy was in 1991 when Trump Taj Mahal was unable to pay its obligations.[46] Forbes indicated that his first bankruptcy was the only one where his personal wealth was involved. Time, however, maintains that also in the later 2004 bankruptcy $72 million personal money was involved.[48]

On November 2, 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 protection plan. Under the plan, Trump agreed to give up a 49 percent stake in the luxury hotel to Citibank and five other lenders.[49] In return Trump would receive more favorable terms on the remaining $550+ million owed to the lenders, and retain his position as chief executive, though he would not be paid and would not have a role in day-to-day operations.[50] Trump's name became a punchline for comedians, "associated with the worst of 1980s extravagance, egomania, and greed."[49]

In the subsequent restructuring of these two events Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt by 1994[51] and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he was forced to relinquish the Trump Princess yacht and the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. Chase Manhattan Bank, which lent Trump the money to buy the West Side yards, his biggest Manhattan parcel, forced the sale of the tract to Asian developers. According to former members of the Trump Organization, Trump did not retain any ownership of the site's real estate – the owners merely promised to give him about 30 percent of the profits once the site was completely developed or sold. Until that time, the owners of The West Side Yards gave him modest construction and management fees to oversee the development, and allowed him to put his name on the buildings that eventually rose on the yards because his well-known moniker allowed them to charge a premium for their condos.[52] In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. Wall Street drove its stock above $35 in 1996, but by 1998 it had fallen into single digits as the company remained profitless.

The third corporate bankruptcy was on October 21, 2004, when Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt.[53] The plan called for Trump's individual ownership to be reduced from 56 percent to 27 percent, with bondholders receiving stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. Trump Hotels was forced to seek voluntary bankruptcy protection to stay afloat. After the company applied for Chapter 11 Protection in November 2004, Trump relinquished his CEO position but retained a role as Chairman of the Board. In May 2005[54] the company re-emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.[55]

The last corporate bankruptcy occurred in 2009. On February 13, Trump announced that he would resign from the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts and four days later the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[56] At that time Trump Entertainment Resorts had three properties in Atlantic City: Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and Trump Marina (sold in 2011). In early August 2014 Donald Trump filed a lawsuit requesting his name be removed from the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Taj Mahal facilities since he no longer runs or controls the company.[57] Trump Entertainment Resorts filed again for bankruptcy in 2014.[58]

Other legal affairs

Trump is frequently involved in lawsuits and the presentation here is incomplete.

In March 1990, after an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott said that Trump's Taj Mahal project would initially "break records" but would fail before the end of that year, Trump threatened to sue the firm unless the analyst recanted or was fired. The analyst refused to retract the statements, and was fired by his firm.[59] Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy for the first time in November 1990.[60] A defamation lawsuit by the analyst against Trump for $2 million was settled out of court.[61] The analyst's statements regarding the Taj Mahal's prospects were later called "stunningly accurate."[62]

In January 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., alleging that it had committed several "misleading statements in the company's third-quarter 1999 earnings release." The matter was settled with the defendant neither admitting nor denying the charge.[63]

During the 2008 financial crisis Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was unable to sell sufficient units. Lender Deutsche Bank refused to let Trump lower the prices on the units to spur sales. Arguing that the financial crisis and resulting drop in the real estate market is due to circumstances beyond his control, Trump invoked a clause in the contract to not pay the loan.[64] Trump then initiated a suit asserting that his image had been damaged. Both parties agreed to drop their suits, and sale of the units went on.[65]

In 2015 Trump initiated a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County claiming that officials pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to the Palm Beach International Airport in a "deliberate and malicious" act over his Mar-A-Lago estate.[66] The air traffic is allegedly damaging the construction of the building and disrupting its ambience. Trump had previously sued twice over airport noise.[66]

Business ventures and investments

Trump branding and licensing

Beyond his traditional ventures in the real estate, hospitality, and entertainment industries and having carved out a niche for the Trump brand within these industries, Trump has since then moved on to establish the Trump name and brand in a multitude of other industries and products. Trump has succeeded in marketing the Trump name on a large number of products, including Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (a 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 website),[67] Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men's accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), Trump magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 Board Game), Donald Trump's Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex.[68]

In 2011, Forbes's financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputes this valuation, saying that his brand is worth about $3 billion.[69] Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects.[70] For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name.[70] 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. According to Forbes there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven "condo hotels" (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments).

Net worth

Estimates of Trump's net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: In 2013, Forbes put it at $3.2 billion.[71] As early as 2005, however, New York Times writer Timothy L. O'Brien questioned the accuracy of the Forbes figure: He quoted a Forbes editor stating that the magazine "work[ed] hard to ensure the accuracy of its data but that it also [relied] on information provided by those whom it surveys" and that Trump would "constantly [call] about himself and [say] we're not only low, but low by a multiple." While the magazine put Trump's 2004 net worth at $2.6 billion, O'Brien's 2005 article references three unnamed business associates of Trump who "thought his net worth was somewhere between $150 million and $250 million."[52]

After the publication of the article, Trump unsuccessfully filed a libel lawsuit against O'Brien; it was dismissed in 2009.[72][73] In the lawsuit it was revealed that, in 2005, Deutsche Bank valued Trump's net worth at $788 million, to which Trump objected.[70][72][73]

In April 2011, amidst speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the US presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to him stating that, if Trump should decide to run for president, he would file "financial disclosure statements that [would] show his net worth [was] in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt."[74] (Presidential candidates are required to disclose their finances after announcing their intentions to run.) Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his professionally prepared 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book stating a $7 billion net worth.[41]

Other ventures

Other investments include a 17.2 percent stake in Parker Adnan, Inc. (formerly AdnanCo Group), a Bermuda-based financial services holdings company. In late 2003, Trump, along with his siblings, sold their late father's real estate empire to a group of investors that included Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and LamboNuni Bank reportedly for $600 million. Donald Trump's 13 share was $200 million, which he later used to finance Trump Casino & Resorts.

Trump at one time acted as a financial advisor for Mike Tyson,[75] hosting Tyson's fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.[76] He later bought the Eastern Shuttle routes.[77]

In April 2011, it was reported that Trump was in the process of negotiating a deal with New York City to reopen the historic Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park.[78] The negotiation was unsuccessful.[citation needed]

New Jersey Generals

Main article: New Jersey Generals

In 1983 Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals for the inaugural season of the United States Football League (USFL). Trump tried to lure legendary coach Don Shula from the Miami Dolphins. Legend has it that Shula asked for a condominium in Trump Tower as part of his deal and Trump balked at the prospect. Once Shula declined, the Generals hired former New York Jets head coach Walt Michaels. Prior to the inaugural season Trump sold the franchise to Oklahoma oil magnate J. Walter Duncan. Prior to the 1984 season, Duncan sold the team back to Trump.[79]

The USFL planned to play its 1986 schedule in the fall, directly opposite the NFL, thanks mostly to Trump's strong advocacy of direct competition with the older, established league. Two years earlier, Trump sold most of his fellow owners on a move to the fall by arguing that it would eventually force a merger with the NFL—in which the owners of any USFL teams included in a merger would see their investment more than double.

The Generals merged with the Houston Gamblers during the extended offseason, adding such stars as quarterback Jim Kelly and wide receiver Ricky Sanders. Michaels was fired, replaced with former Gamblers coach Jack Pardee, who planned to bring the Gamblers' high-powered run and shoot offense with him. However, the USFL's "Dream Team" never took the field. The 1986 season was cancelled after the USFL won a minimal verdict in an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL; the league folded soon afterward.

Trump Tower

Trump Tower is a 58-story mixed-use skyscraper at 725 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of East 56th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was developed by Trump and the Equitable Life Assurance Company. It is now just developed/owned by Donald Trump, and designed by Der Scutt of Swanke, Hayden Connell.[citation needed]

Stock market investments

In 2011, Trump made a rare foray into the stock market after being disappointed with the depressed American real estate market and facing poor returns on bank deposits. He stated that he wasn't a stock market person, but he also stated that prime real estate at good prices is hard to get. Among the stocks Trump purchased, he stated he bought stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.[7] In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.[80]

Scottish golf course

In 2006, Trump bought the Menie estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland announcing that he intended to create the best golf course in the world[81][82] on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).[83] The project includes plans for a hotel, holiday homes, housing and two golf courses. It led to controversy, with opposition voiced by environmentalists, and planning permission was initially refused by Aberdeenshire Council. In 2008 the local authority was overruled by the Scottish government,[84][85] First Minister Alex Salmond citing economic benefits Trump had promised as justifying the unusual step of permitting development on an SSSI.[86] These supposed benefits were disputed by the London School of Economics.[87]

In 2009, Aberdeenshire Council received a request on behalf of Trump International Golf Links Scotland to approve compulsory purchase orders on a number of local homes.[88][89] A protest group campaigned actively, using mass land purchase as a tactic.[90] In late January 2011 Trump International stated that it had "no interest" in pursuing compulsory purchase orders[91] and that it had never applied for them.[92][93]

An award-winning 2011 documentary film, You've Been Trumped,[94][95] by Anthony Baxter, follows the development's progress. It shows Trump speaking locally about his ambitions for the project, insulting a local farmer, who he claims lives in "a slum", and being awarded an honorary degree by The Robert Gordon University, in spite of a professor at that university returning his own honorary degree in protest.[96][97] It also queries the supposed economic benefits and examines the ecological impact and the effect on local residents.[87][98] When it was announced that the documentary was to be given its UK television première on BBC Two on October 21, 2012,[99] Trump's lawyers contacted the BBC to demand that the film should not be shown, claiming it was defamatory and misleading. The screening went ahead, the BBC defending the decision and stating that Trump had refused the opportunity to take part in the film.[100]

Trump has objected to plans for an offshore windfarm (Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm) to be built within sight of the golf links. In 2011, he wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond expressing his view that the planned structures were ugly. He denied that he was concerned only with the view from the golf links, saying, "It is not only for my project, it is more to preserve Scotland's beautiful coastline and natural heritage."[101] In 2012, Trump announced that if the windfarm were built he would abandon his plans for the hotel and housing at the golf links.[102] Trump's advertisement comparing wind farms to terrorism was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.[103]

On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Trump had purchased Doonbeg Golf Club in the Republic of Ireland. He announced the purchase of the course on the day that his objection to the windfarm being built off the coast of his Scottish golf course was dismissed, a decision Trump said he would appeal. It was also confirmed that Doonbeg Golf Club would be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland.[104] In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota.[105][106]

Beauty pageants

The Miss Universe Organization has been owned by Donald Trump since 1996 and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) became a joint partner in 2003. The organization produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants. In December 2006, talk show host Rosie O'Donnell criticized Trump's lenience toward Miss USA, Tara Conner, who had violated pageant behavioral guidelines. This sparked a tabloid war between the two celebrities, which lasted for several weeks.[107][108][109][110]

Buffalo Bills

Main article: Buffalo Bills

Following the death of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. in March 2014, Trump expressed public interest in purchasing the team. When speaking to the media, Trump has made it clear that should he purchase the team, the Bills would remain in Buffalo.[111] Trump was one of at least three bidders for the team to submit nonbinding bids on the team in July 2014 and expected his bid to be lower than others.[112] However, some National Football League team owners may vote to reject his bid because of their lingering resentment over his involvement with the United States Football League during the 1980s, including the USFL's antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in 1986.[113] In the end, Trump was indeed outbid; the team was sold to Kim and Terrence Pegula in September 2014. Trump later claimed, "Pegula overpaid for the Buffalo Bills because of me!"[114]

Entertainment media

He was a great character, but he was full of crap 90 percent of the time.

—Susan Mulcahy, editor of Page Six during the early 1980s
File:Trump and Rodman 2009.jpg
Trump with Dennis Rodman during the latter's participation on The Apprentice.

[115] In the media, Donald Trump is a two-time Emmy Award–nominated personality, has made appearances as a caricatured version of himself in television series and films (e.g. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Days of Our Lives, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.[116]), and as a character (The Little Rascals). He has been the subject of comedians, Flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Trump also has his own daily talk radio program called Trumped!.[117][118][119][120]

In March 2011, Trump was the subject of a Comedy Central Roast. The special was hosted by Seth MacFarlane, and roasters included Larry King, Snoop Dogg, and Anthony Jeselnik among regular roast participants. Trump's daughter Ivanka was seen in the audience. In April 2011, Trump attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner, featuring comedian Seth Meyers. President Obama used the occasion to present several prepared jokes mocking Trump.[121]

The Apprentice

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. The other contestants were successively "fired" and eliminated from the game. In 2004, Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase "You're fired."[1][2][3]

For the first year of the show, Trump was paid $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show's initial success, he is currently[when?] paid a reported $3 million per episode, making him one of the highest paid TV personalities.[citation needed] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).

Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump also put together The Celebrity Apprentice, where well-known stars 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.

World Wrestling Entertainment

File:WrestleMania 23 event poster.jpg
Trump's involvement in WrestleMania 23 was one of the most promoted features of the card.

Trump is a known World Wrestling Entertainment fan and 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.[122] Trump's Trump 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"). Trump was interviewed by Jesse Ventura ringside at WrestleMania XX.[123]

He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called "The Battle of the Billionaires".[122] Trump 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.[122] The stipulation of the match was hair versus hair, which means that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost.[122] Lashley won the match, and he and Trump shaved McMahon bald.[122]

On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had "sold" the show to Trump.[122] 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.[122] McMahon "bought back" Raw the following week for twice the price.[122] His entrance theme "Money, Money" was written by Jim Johnston.

Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 at Madison Square Garden due to his contributions to the promotion. He made his fifth WrestleMania appearance the next night.[124]

Political activity

File:Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on February 27, 2015.

Since the 1990 U.S. elections, Donald Trump has made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates. These have included Republicans John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and George W. Bush[125] and Democrats Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, Anthony Weiner, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Charles Rangel.[125][126][127]

In the 2000 election, Trump expressed a desire to run as a third-party candidate for the United States presidency, considering a bid for the nomination of the Reform Party as a business conservative, socially moderate candidate.[128][129][130][131]

On September 17, 2008, Trump endorsed John McCain for the U.S. Presidency on Larry King Live.[132]

In 2010, Trump said he again considered himself a potential candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election.[133][134] A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.[135] 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.[136] 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 of the United States while he was still actively considering a run.[137][138]

His moves were reported by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.[139][140] Time ran the headline "Donald Trump Begins Not Running For President"[14] and The Huffington Post was similarly skeptical of whether he would run.[141]

On April 23, 2011, the New York-based TV station NY1 reported that Trump had not voted in primary elections in New York City for a span of 21 years,[142] beginning after the city's mayoral primary in 1989, an accusation he has denied. A city election board spokeswoman, however, confirmed the story.[143]

Trump brought attention to conspiracy theories questioning Obama's citizenship status in media appearances and received heavy criticism from political opponents for this.[144][145] In an NBC-TV interview broadcast April 7, 2011, Trump said he was "not satisfied that Obama had proven his citizenship."[146]

In an April 2011 NBC interview, Trump disclosed that he had sent researchers to Hawaii to investigate the matter of Obama's citizenship status, commenting "they cannot believe what they're finding,"[147] though no revelation or information was ever subsequently published. On Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN, April 25, 2011, Trump said he wanted Obama to end the issue by releasing the long-form of his birth certificate.[148][149] Obama eventually made a formal statement in efforts by the White House to put the matter to rest with the release of the long-form of Obama's birth certificate on April 27, 2011.[150] Trump expressed pride at his role in the release of the long-form certificate in a press conference follow-up, but did not, however, say whether he would be releasing his own tax returns, despite suggesting that he would make those public when Obama produced his long-form birth certificate.[151]

On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president.[14]

Public Policy Polling described the events of May 2011 as "one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of presidential politics".[152]

Following President Obama's re-election, Trump sent messages on his Twitter account saying that the election was a "sham and a travesty" and that the electoral college was "a disaster" and called for "a revolution".[153] Trump deleted the last comment when it became clear that Obama had won the electoral college[154][155] and also the popular vote.[156]

In January 2013, Trump endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the 2013 Israeli elections, stating that "A strong prime minister is a strong Israel."[157] An ardent Zionist,[158] with having taken a more active role in Israeli politics as of 2012, Trump posted his endorsement via a YouTube video where, in the video from his office in Manhattan, Trump says he is "a big fan of Israel". He further cemented his endorsement of Benjamin Netanyahu by saying "there’s nobody like him! He’s a winner; he’s highly respected; he’s highly thought of by all."[159]

Trump was a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[16] In 2013, Trump spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States in 2016.[17] In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run of governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump said that while New York had problems and taxes were too high, running for governor was not of great interest to him.[160]

Trump has spoken before at least one group that had Tea Party supporters in the audience.[161][162][163]

Personal life

Trump is popularly known as The Donald, a nickname perpetuated by the media after his first wife Ivana Trump, a native of the Czech Republic, referred to him as such in an interview.[164]

Trump's mother, Mary Anne, was born in 1912 at Tong, Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland, United Kingdom. In 1930, aged 18, on a holiday in New York, she met Fred Trump and stayed in New York. Born in Queens, New York,[165] Trump has four siblings: two brothers, Fred, Jr. (who is deceased) and Robert S. Trump; and two sisters, Maryanne and Elizabeth. His older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a federal appeals court judge.

In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelníčková and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and Eric (born January 6, 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples and together they had one child, Tiffany (born October 13, 1993). They divorced on June 8, 1999. In a February 2008 interview on ABC's news program Nightline, Trump commented on his ex-wives by saying, "I just know it's very hard for them (Ivana and Marla) to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it."

On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss, a native of Slovenia. Trump and Knauss 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.[166] Melania gave birth to a boy named Barron William Trump, Trump's fifth child, on March 20, 2006.[167][168]

Trump has seven grandchildren: five from his son Donald Jr. (Kai Madison,[169] Donald John III,[170] Tristan Milos,[171] Spencer Frederick and Chloe Sophia) and two from his daughter Ivanka (Arabella Rose and Joseph Frederick[172][173]).

Trump has stated in interviews that he is a Presbyterian. In April 2011 on Human Events, he said that he is "a Presbyterian within the Protestant group".[6] In an April 2011 interview, on the 700 Club, Trump said, "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."[174][175] A 2010 article in The Daily Telegraph stated that Trump was Catholic.[176] A February 2011 Politics Daily article described Trump as "apparently a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, which is a Presbyterian denomination".[177] Andrew Cusack in 2008 stated that Donald Trump is a member of New York City's Marble Collegiate Church. Explaining that church's organizational relationships, Cusack says "the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church is actually a denomination within a denomination" and that the Collegiate Churches are "now part of the Reformed Church of America".[178] Marble Collegiate Church also states that it is denominationally affiliated with the Reformed Church in America,[179] with the RCA website stating that the RCA has a local church "presbyterian form of government".[180] Trump does not drink alcohol.[181]

Other controversies

Allegations of racism

In 1973, the Justice Department sued Trump Management Corporation for alleged racial discrimination, at which time Trump was the company's president.[182] The federal government filed the lawsuit against his New York City real estate company for discriminating against potential black renters.[183]

After the rape of a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989, Trump took out full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the African-American teenage suspects—who were all later exonerated. One of the defendant's lawyers, Colin Moore, compared Trump's stance to the racist attitudes expressed in the 1930s during the infamous Scottsboro Boys case.[182]

A 1991 book, Trumped!!, by John R. O'Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, says that Trump once said in reference to a black accountant at Trump Plaza: "laziness is a trait in blacks". He also told O'Donnell: "Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day."[182][184] In response, Trump called O'Donnell a disgruntled employee but he didn't deny allegations made in the book during an interview with Playboy magazine in 1999.[182]

In April 2011, Trump said that Obama didn't get good enough grades to warrant entry to Harvard Law School, CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer called it absurd. "That's just code for saying he got into law school because he's black. This is an ugly strain of racism that's running through this whole thing. We can hope that kind of comes to an end too, but we'll have to see", Schieffer said.[185]

In mid-April 2011, when asked during a radio interview whether or not he is supported by African-Americans, Trump replied "I have a great relationship with the blacks. I've always had a great relationship with the blacks." Walter Fields, former head of NAACP New Jersey, described Trump's comments as "highly offensive".[182]

On April 27, 2011, David Letterman, while interviewing Dr. Phil McGraw in his Late Show said "It's all fun, it's all a circus, it's all a rodeo, until it starts to smack of racism. And then it's no longer fun" about Trump questioning Obama's entry into Harvard.[186] Referring to Trump, Letterman added "if he comes back on this show, and I'm not sure we want him back under those circumstances, but he ought to be prepared to apologize just for that kind of behavior."[187] Trump's questioning regarding Obama's place of birth has provoked additional charges of racism, with a number of public figures including Bill Maher,[188][189] Jesse Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg accusing him of employing crude and unfair stereotypes.[182]

On June 5, 2013, Trump tweeted: "According to Bill O'Reilly, 80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks-if you add Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%, 1% white". Trump also tweeted: "Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed".[190][191] Media critic Eric Deggans dismissed Trump's views. Deggans wrote in a Tampa Bay Times column, "There is no doubt that violent crime is a serious problem in communities of color, but connecting it to race in such a blunt and unfair fashion seems more about blaming certain kinds of people than solving the problem. As always, it remains puzzling that NBC continues to offer a platform to someone so willing to pass along prejudice disguised as political speech."[190]

On April 24, 2013, Trump sent a tweet about Jon Stewart of The Daily Show: "I promise you that I'm much smarter than Jonathan Leibowitz – I mean Jon Stewart @TheDailyShow. Who, by the way, is totally overrated."[192] Andy Lassner, producer of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, tweeted in response: "I knew you were more than just a racist. Proud of you for showing your anti-semitic stripes too."[193]

Fraud allegations and certain other litigation

On August 24, 2013, a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleged that Trump defrauded more than 5,000 people of $40 million, handed over for what was supposed to be the opportunity to learn Trump's real estate investment magic at his for-profit training program, Trump University.[194] Beginning in 2005, Trump University offered a program that began with a free introductory 90-minute presentation promising to teach Donald Trump's secrets that helped build his real estate empire. This was, according to the suit, no more than a lengthy promotion for a three-day, $1,500 seminar. The three-day program, in turn, was used to plug "elite" courses that cost anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000.[194] In October 2013, Trump's lawyers asked the court to extend the deadline for Trump to respond to the lawsuit until mid-December. The court rejected that request, but it gave Trump's lawyers until November 1, 2013, to file their response.[195] On January 30, 2014, Judge Cynthia Kern trimmed some of the Attorney General's charges while authorizing the case to go forward.[196] Trump has since tried to distance himself from the institution, now called Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. In a separate class action case in mid-February 2014, a San Diego federal judge allowed claimants in California, Florida, and New York to proceed with a similar case.[197]

In October 2014 a New York judge found Trump personally liable for operating the for-profit investment school, Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, formerly known as Trump University, in violation of state education laws.[198]

In late October 2014, model Alexia Palmer filed a civil suit against Trump Model Management for promising a $75,000 annual salary but paying only $3,380.75 for three years' work. Palmer claims to be owed more than $200,000. Palmer charged that Trump Model Management, charged, in addition to a management fee, "obscure expenses" from postage to limousine rides that consumed the remainder of her compensation. Trump attorney Alan Garten claims the lawsuit is "bogus and completely frivolous."[199][200]

Anti-vaccination stance

Trump has claimed that vaccines may be linked to autism.[201][202][203] His remarks were described as "shameful" by Richard Besser, ABC News's Chief Health and Medical editor:

"The autism-vaccine link has been disproven. Spreading shots out over a long period of time will not reduce the number of children who develop autism but it will leave more children vulnerable to infectious diseases for a longer period of time than necessary. That can kill children."[201]

Awards and honors

File:Donald Trump star Hollywood Walk of Fame.JPG
Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Trump has authored many books including:

  • Trump: The Art of the Deal (1987)
  • Trump: Surviving at the Top (1990)
  • Trump: The Art of Survival (1991)
  • Trump: The Art of the Comeback (1997)
  • Trump: How to Get Rich (2004)
  • The Way to the Top: The Best Business Advice I Ever Received (2004)
  • Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life (2004)
  • Trump: The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received (2005)
  • Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men – One Message (2006), co-written with Robert Kiyosaki.
  • Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life (2007), co-written with Bill Zanker. (ISBN 978-0-06-154783-6)
  • The America We Deserve (2000) (with Dave Shiflett, ISBN 1-58063-131-2)
  • Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received: 100 Top Experts Share Their Strategies (2007)
  • Trump 101: The Way to Success (2007)
  • Trump Never Give Up: How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into Success (2008)
  • Think Like A Champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life (2009)
  • Trump Tower (2011) (a novel with Jeffrey Robinson, ISBN 978-1-59315-643-5)
  • Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich-And Why Most Don't (2011), co-written with Robert Kiyosaki. (ISBN 1-61268-095-X)
  • Time to Get Tough: Making America No. 1 Again. Regnery Publishing. December 5, 2011. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-59698-773-9. 

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Further reading

External links

Business positions
New title Chief Executive Officer of Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts
Succeeded by
Robert Griffin