Donald Trump

This article is about the incumbent President of the United States. For other uses, see Donald Trump (disambiguation).
Donald Trump
Donald Trump official portrait.jpg
45th President of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence
Preceded by Barack Obama
Personal details
Born Donald John Trump
(1946-06-14) June 14, 1946 (age 70)
New York City
Political party Republican (1987–99, 2009–11, 2012–present)
Other political
Relations See Family of Donald Trump
Residence White House
Alma mater
Net worth $4.5 billion [1]
Signature Donald J Trump stylized autograph, in ink

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, television personality, politician, and the 45th President of the United States.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, Trump received an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. In 1971, he took charge of his family's real estate and construction firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which was later renamed The Trump Organization. During his business career, Trump built, renovated, and managed numerous office towers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. He has lent the use of his name in the branding of various products. He owned the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants from 1996 to 2015, and he hosted The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC, from 2004 to 2015. As of 2016, Forbes listed him as the 324th wealthiest person in the world and 113th richest in the United States, with a net worth of $4.5 billion.

Trump sought the Reform Party's presidential nomination in 2000, but withdrew before voting began. He considered running as a Republican for the 2012 election, but ultimately decided against it. In June 2015, he announced his candidacy for the 2016 election, and quickly emerged as the front-runner among 17 candidates in the Republican primaries. His final opponents suspended their campaigns in May 2016, and in July he was formally nominated at the Republican National Convention along with Mike Pence as his running mate. His campaign received unprecedented media coverage and international attention. Many of his statements in interviews, on social media, and at campaign rallies were controversial or false.

Trump won the general election on November 8, 2016, in a surprise victory against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He became the oldest and wealthiest person to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, and the fifth elected with less than a plurality of the national popular vote.

Trump's platform emphasizes renegotiating U.S.–China relations and free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strongly enforcing immigration laws, and building a new wall along the U.S.–Mexico border. His other positions include pursuing energy independence while opposing climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, modernizing and expediting services for veterans, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, abolishing Common Core education standards, investing in infrastructure, simplifying the tax code while reducing taxes for all economic classes, and imposing tariffs on imports by companies offshoring jobs. He advocates a largely non-interventionist approach to foreign policy while increasing military spending, " extreme vetting" of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries to preempt domestic Islamic terrorism, and aggressive military action against ISIS. His positions have been described by scholars and commentators as populist, protectionist, and nationalist.

Personal life

Early life

Further information: Trump family

Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York City. He was the fourth of five children born to Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (1905–1999) and Mary Anne Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000). [2] [3] His siblings are Maryanne, Fred Jr., 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. [4]


Trump is of paternal German ancestry and maternal Scottish ancestry. His mother and all his grandparents were born in Europe. His paternal grandparents were immigrants from Kallstadt, Germany, and his father, who became a New York City real estate developer, was born in the Bronx. [5] [6] His mother emigrated to New York (where she worked as a maid) from her birthplace of Tong, Lewis, Scotland. [7] Fred and Mary met in New York and married in 1936, raising their family in Queens. [7] [8]

His uncle, John G. Trump, a professor at MIT from 1936 to 1973, was involved in radar research for the Allies in the Second World War, and helped design X-ray machines that prolonged the lives of cancer patients; in 1943, the Federal Bureau of Investigation requested John Trump examine Nikola Tesla's papers and equipment when Tesla died in his room at the New Yorker Hotel. [9] 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. [10]

The Trump family were originally Lutherans, but Trump's parents belonged to the Reformed Church in America. [11] The family name, which was formerly spelled Drumpf, was changed to Trump during the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century. [12] Trump has said that he is proud of his German heritage; he served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City. [13]


A black-and-white photograph of Donald Trump as a teenager, smiling and wearing a dark uniform with various badges and a light-colored stripe crossing his right shoulder. This image was taken while Trump was in the New York Military Academy in 1964.
Trump at the New York Military Academy, spring 1964 [14] [15]

Trump's family had a two-story mock Tudor home on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates, where he lived while attending The Kew-Forest School. [16] [17] He left the school at age 13 and was enrolled in the New York Military Academy (NYMA), [18] 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". [19]

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 later described the transfer as "a promotion". [20] In 2015, he told a biographer that NYMA gave him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military". [21]

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. [22] [23] While there, he worked at the family's company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, named for his paternal grandmother. [24] He graduated from Penn in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. [23] [25] [26]

Trump was not drafted during the Vietnam War. [27] While in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student deferments. [28] 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. [29] In an interview for a 2015 biography, he attributed his medical deferment to heel spurs. [21] In 1969, he received a high number in the draft lottery, which would also have likely exempted him from service. [29] [30] [31]


At a 2016 campaign event, from left: son-in-law Jared, daughter Ivanka, Trump, wife Melania, daughter-in-law Lara, and son Eric

Trump has five children by three marriages, and has eight grandchildren. [32] [33] His first two marriages ended in widely publicized divorces. [34]

Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, on April 7, 1977, at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan [35] in a ceremony performed by one of America's most famous ministers, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. [36] 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. [37] Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. [38]

Trump has been nicknamed "The Donald" since Ivana referred to him as such in a 1989 Spy magazine cover story. [39] [40] By early 1990, the tabloid press was commenting on trouble in Trump's marriage and reporting his affair with actress Marla Maples. [41] [42] [43] 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". [44] [45] In 1992, he successfully sued Ivana for violating a gag clause in their divorce agreement by disclosing facts about him in her book. [46] [47] [48] In 2015, Ivana said that she and Donald "are the best of friends". [49]

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. [50] They married two months later on December 20, 1993. [51] The couple formally separated in May 1997, [52] with their divorce finalized in June 1999. [53] [54] Maples raised Tiffany as a single mother in Calabasas, California, where they lived until Tiffany's graduation from Viewpoint School. [55] In a February 2009 interview, Trump commented that his commitment to his business had made it difficult for his first two wives to compete with his affection for work. [56]

The President and First Lady at the Liberty Ball on Inauguration Day

In 1998, Trump began a relationship with Slovene model Melania Knauss, who became his third wife. [57] [58] They were engaged in April 2004 [59] 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. [60] [61] [62] In 2006, Melania became a naturalized United States citizen, [58] and gave birth to their son Barron on March 20, 2006. [63] [64] Barron is fluent in Slovene. [65]

Trump's brother, Fred Jr., predeceased their father Fred. Shortly after the latter died in 1999, the wife of Fred Jr.'s son Fred III gave birth to William, who had serious medical problems. Robert Trump offered to pay the medical bills through Fred Sr.'s company (Fred Sr. had provided free medical coverage to his family through his company for decades). [66] Fred III and his sister Mary then filed a legal objection to their grandfather's will, alleging that their father's siblings had used "undue influence" on a dementia-stricken Fred Sr. to get Fred III and his sister Mary a reduced share. Trump attributed the reduced share to his father's dislike of Fred III's mother, and stopped the aid for William. The aid was resumed by court order pending outcome of the lawsuit, which was then settled. [67] [68]

Religious views

Trump identifies as Presbyterian. [69] As a child, he began going to church at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens. [70] He attended Sunday school and had his confirmation at that church. [70] Trump said in 2015 that he attends Reformed Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, where he married his first wife Ivana in 1977, although the church says he's not an "active member". [70] He is also loosely affiliated with Lakeside Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, near his Mar-a-Lago estate. [71] Trump said that although he participates in Holy Communion, he has not asked God for forgiveness for his sins, stating: "I think if I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture." [72]

In December 2016, Trump visited Bethesda-by-the-Sea, an Episcopal church, for Christmas services. [73]

Trump refers to his ghostwritten book The Art of the Deal as "my second favorite book of all time, after the Bible. Nothing beats the Bible". [74] [75] In a speech to Liberty University, he referred to Second Corinthians as "Two Corinthians", eliciting chuckles from the audience. [76] Despite this, The New York Times reported that Evangelical Christians nationwide thought "that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure". [77]

Outside of his church affiliations, Trump has relationships with a number of Christian spiritual leaders, including Florida pastor Paula White, who has been described as his "closest spiritual confidant." [78] In 2015, he asked for and received a blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson [79] and, in 2016, released a list of his religious advisers, including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed and others. [80]

Referring to his daughter Ivanka's conversion to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner, Trump said in 2015: "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." [81]


A 2016 medical report by his doctor, Harold Bornstein M.D., showed that Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid function were in normal ranges. [82] [83] Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed other drugs, including marijuana. [84] He also does not drink alcohol, a decision stemming from his brother's early death, caused by alcoholism. [4] [85] [86] [87]


The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation [88] 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. [89] [90] The foundation's funds have mostly come from donors other than Trump, [91] who has not given personally to the charity since 2008. [91] In 2016, investigations by The Washington Post uncovered several potential legal and ethical violations conducted by the charity, including alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion. [92] After beginning an investigation into the foundation, the New York State 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. [93] [94] [95] A Trump spokesman called the investigation a "partisan hit job". [93]

The foundation's tax returns show that it has given to health care and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups. [96] 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). [97] [98] From 2004 to 2014, the top donors to the foundation were Vince and Linda McMahon of WWE, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007. [91] After winning the presidency, Trump announced his intention to give Linda McMahon a cabinet-level position in his administration, as Administrator of the Small Business Administration. [99] In response to mounting complaints, Trump's team announced in late December 2016 that the Trump Foundation would be dissolved to remove "even the appearance of any conflict with [his] role as President”. [100]

Legal affairs

Further information: Legal affairs of Donald Trump

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. [101] 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. [101] Trump was named in at least 169 suits in federal court. [102] Although litigation over contract disputes and other matters is common in the real estate industry, [103] 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. Hundreds of cases have ended with the available public record unclear about the resolution, [101] but where there was a clear resolution, he has won 451 times and lost 38. [104]


In 1985, Trump was sued by both the State of New York and the City of New York for allegedly trying to force out tenants to enable demolition. [105] The matter was settled and the demolition canceled. [106] In 1988, Trump paid $750,000 to settle the civil penalties in an antitrust lawsuit stemming from stock purchases. [107]


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. [108] After a helicopter crashed, killing three executives of his New Jersey hotel casino business, Trump sued the manufacturers. [109] That case was dismissed. [110] Trump Plaza was fined $200,000 by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission 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. [111] 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. [112]

In 1993, Trump sued his business partner Jay Pritzker for allegedly collecting excessive fees, and the matter was settled. [113] [114] [115] 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. [116] [117] [118]

In 1997, 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. [119] [120] [121]


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. [122] [123] 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. [124]

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. [125] [126] [127] Following litigation with Leona Helmsley that started in the 1990s regarding control of the Empire State Building, [128] [129] Trump in 2002 sold his share in that building to rivals of Helmsley's. [130] [131]

In 2004 Trump sued former business partner Richard Fields for allegedly saying he still consulted for Trump. Fields counter-sued, [132] [133] [134] [135] and the lawsuit was dismissed. [136]

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. [137]

When the California city of Rancho Palos Verdes thwarted luxury home development on a landslide-prone area owned by Trump, he sued, [138] and the city agreed to permit extensions for 20 more proposed luxury homes. [139] [140]

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, [141] after which the firm halved the fees, and the court ruled that the links were allowable. [142]

In 2009, Trump was sued by investors in the canceled Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico; [143] Trump said he had merely been a spokesperson, [143] [144] and he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. [145]

In 2004, the Trump Organization licensed the Trump brand to a hotel and condo project in Fort Lauderdale scheduled to open in 2007, [146] 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, [146] after which the project defaulted, investors sued, [147] and Trump was caught in the ongoing lawsuits because he had participated in advertising. [146] [148]

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, [149] and the bank agreed in August 2010 to extend the loan term by five years. [150]


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. [151]

In July 2015, Trump sued the former Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, after she alleged that the Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged. [152] A federal judge upheld the settlement, obliging her to pay Trump $5 million. [152] [153] [154]

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. [155] 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. [156] [157] [158] [159]

Trump sued the town of Ossining, New York, over the property tax valuation on his golf course there, [160] [161] after separately being sued for modifying a drainage system that allegedly damaged a library, public pool, and park facilities. [161]

Summer Zervos, who is one of the women stating that Trump groped her, is suing him for defamation. [162]

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