Family and personal life
Early life and education
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital, Queens, New York City. He is the son of Frederick Christ Trump, a real estate developer, and Mary Anne MacLeod.
Trump grew up in Jamaica Estates, Queens, and attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, he was enrolled in the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, after his parents discovered that he had made frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission.
In 1964, Trump enrolled at Fordham University. After two years, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While at Wharton, he worked at the family business, Elizabeth Trump & Son. He graduated in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
While in college from 1964 to 1968, Trump obtained four student deferments from serving in the military. In 1966, he was deemed fit for service based upon a medical examination and in July 1968, after graduating from college, was briefly classified as eligible to serve by a local draft board. In October 1968, he was given a medical deferment which he later attributed to spurs in both heels, and classified as 1-Y, "unqualified for duty except in the case of a national emergency." In the December 1969 draft lottery, Trump's birthday, June 14, received a high number which would have given him a low probability to be called to military service even without the 1-Y. In 1972, he was reclassified as 4-F, disqualifying him for service.
Ancestry and parents
Trump's ancestors originated from the German village of Kallstadt in the Palatinate on his father's side, and from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland on his mother's side. All of his grandparents and his mother were born in Europe.
Trump's paternal grandfather, Frederick Trump, first immigrated to the United States in 1885 at the age of 16 and became a citizen in 1892. He amassed a fortune operating boomtown restaurants and boarding houses in the Seattle area and the Klondike region of Canada during its gold rush. On a visit to Kallstadt, he met Elisabeth Christ and married her in 1902. The couple permanently settled in New York in 1905. Frederick died from influenza during the 1918 pandemic.
Trump's father Fred was born in 1905 in the Bronx. Fred started working with his mother in real estate when he was 15, shortly after his father's death. Their company, "E. Trump & Son",[c] founded in 1923, was primarily active in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Fred eventually built and sold thousands of houses, barracks, and apartments. In 1971, Donald Trump was made president of the company, which was later renamed the Trump Organization.
In spite of his German ancestry, "Fred Trump sought to pass himself off as Swedish amid anti-German sentiment sparked by World War II." Donald Trump propagated this story in The Art of the Deal.
Trump's mother Mary Anne MacLeod was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. At age 18 in 1930, she immigrated to New York, where she worked as a maid. Fred and Mary were married in 1936 and raised their family in Queens.
Wives, siblings, and descendants
Trump grew up with three elder siblings—Maryanne, Fred Jr., and Elizabeth—as well as a younger brother named Robert. Maryanne is an inactive Federal Appeals Court judge on the Third Circuit.
Trump has five children by three marriages, as well as nine grandchildren. His first two marriages ended in widely publicized divorces.
In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, in a ceremony performed by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. They had three children: Donald Jr. (born 1977), Ivanka (born 1981), and Eric (born 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump's affair with actress Marla Maples.
In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump's daughter, who was named Tiffany in honor of high-end retailer Tiffany & Company. Maples and Trump were married two months later in December 1993. They divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.
In 2005, Trump married his third wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. In 2006, Melania became a United States citizen and gave birth to a son, Barron. Melania became First Lady when Trump became president in January 2017.
Upon his inauguration as president, Trump delegated the management of his real estate business to his two adult sons, Eric and Don Jr. His daughter Ivanka resigned from the Trump Organization and moved to Washington, D.C., with her husband Jared Kushner. She serves as an assistant to the president, and he is a Senior Advisor in the White House.
Trump is a Presbyterian. His ancestors were Lutheran on his paternal grandfather's side in Germany and Presbyterian on his mother's side in Scotland. His parents married in a Manhattan Presbyterian church in 1936. As a child, he attended the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, where he had his confirmation. In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, part of the Reformed Church. The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to Trump's family and mentored him until Peale's death in 1993. Trump has cited Peale and his works during interviews when asked about the role of religion in his personal life. In August 2015 Trump told reporters, "I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church," adding that he attends many different churches because he travels a lot. The Marble Collegiate Church then issued a statement noting that Trump and his family have a "longstanding history" with the church, but that he "is not an active member".
Trump said he was "not sure" whether he ever asked God for forgiveness, stating "If I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture." He said he tries to take Holy Communion as often as possible because it makes him "feel cleansed". While campaigning, Trump referred to The Art of the Deal as his second favorite book after the Bible, saying, "Nothing beats the Bible." 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."
Trump has associations with a number of Christian spiritual leaders, including Florida pastor Paula White, who has been called his "closest spiritual confidant." In 2015, he released a list of religious advisers, including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed, Michele Bachmann, Robert Jeffress, and others.
Trump does not drink alcohol, a reaction to his elder brother's chronic alcoholism and early death. He also said that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed drugs, including marijuana. In December 2015, Trump's personal physician, Harold Bornstein, released a superlative-laden letter of health praising Trump for "extraordinary physical strength and stamina". Bornstein later said that Trump himself had dictated the contents. A followup medical report showed Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid functions to be in normal ranges, and that he takes a statin. In January 2018, Trump was examined by White House physician Ronny Jackson, who stated that he was in excellent health and that his cardiac assessment revealed no medical issues, although his weight and cholesterol level were higher than recommended. Several outside cardiologists commented that Trump's weight, lifestyle, and LDL cholesterol level ought to have raised serious concerns about his cardiac health.
Trump is the beneficiary of several trust funds set up by his father and paternal grandmother beginning in 1949. In 1976, Fred Trump set up trust funds of $1 million ($4.3 million in 2017 dollars) for each of his five children and three grandchildren. Donald Trump received annual payments from his trust fund, for example, $90,000 in 1980 and $214,605 in 1981. By 1993, when Trump took two loans totaling $30 million from his siblings, their anticipated shares of Fred's estate amounted to $35 million each. Upon Fred Trump's death in 1999, his will divided $20 million after taxes among his surviving children.
Trump has often said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father, and that he had to pay it back with interest. In October 2018, The New York Times published an exposé drawing on more than 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Fred Trump's businesses, and interviews with former advisers and employees. The Times concluded that Donald Trump "was a millionaire by age 8", and that he had received at least $413 million (adjusted for inflation) from his father's business empire over his lifetime.
According to the Times, Trump borrowed at least $60 million from his father, and largely failed to reimburse him. The paper also described a number of purportedly fraudulent tax schemes, for example when Fred Trump sold shares in Trump Palace condos to his son well below their purchase price, thus masking what could be considered a hidden donation, and benefiting from a tax write-off. A lawyer for Trump said the "allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory". A spokesman for the New York State tax department said the agency was "vigorously pursuing all appropriate areas of investigation". New York City officials also indicated they are examining the matter.
Trump appeared on the initial Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune shared with his father. Former Forbes reporter Jonathan Greenberg stated in 2018 that during the 1980s Trump had deceived him about his actual net worth and his share of the family assets in order to appear on the list. Trump made the Forbes World's Billionaires list for the first time in 1989, but he was dropped from the Forbes 400 from 1990 to 1995 following business losses. In 2005, Deutsche Bank loan documents pegged Trump's net worth at $788 million, while Forbes quoted $2.6 billion and journalist Tim O'Brien gave a range of $150 million to $250 million. In its 2018 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion[a] (766th in the world, 248th in the U.S.) making him one of the richest politicians in American history. During the three years since Trump announced his presidential run in 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth declined 31% and his ranking fell 138 spots.
When he filed mandatory financial disclosure forms with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in July 2015, Trump claimed a net worth of about $10 billion; however FEC figures cannot corroborate this estimate because they only show each of his largest buildings as being worth "over $50 million", yielding total assets worth more than $1.4 billion and debt over $265 million. Trump reported a yearly income of $362 million for 2014 and $611 million from January 2015 to May 2016.
A 2016 analysis of Trump's business career in The Economist concluded that his performance since 1985 had been "mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York." A subsequent analysis in The Washington Post similarly noted that Trump's estimated net worth of $100 million in 1978 would have increased to $6 billion by 2016 if he had invested it in a typical retirement fund, and concluded that "Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success."
Trump stated in a 2007 deposition, "My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings."