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Donald John Trump Sr. (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. 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.
Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, setting the standards of excellence in his business endeavors, and now, for the United States of America. A graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, President Trump has always dreamed big and pushed the boundaries of what is possible his entire career, devoting his life to building business, jobs and the American Dream. This was brought to life by a movement he inspired in the people of America when he announced his candidacy for President of the United States in June 2015.
This movement would ultimately lead to one of the most unique Presidential campaigns in history. Ever the leader, Trump followed no rule book and took his message, “Make America Great Again” directly to the people. Campaigning in historically democratic states and counties across the country, Trump was elected President in November 2016 in the largest electoral college landslide for a Republican in 28 years.
“We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will Make America Great Again!” – President Donald J. Trump.
Who is Donald Trump?
Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York. He was an energetic, assertive child. Trump was raised Presbyterian by his mother, and he identifies as a mainline Protestant. In the 1950s, the Trumps’ wealth increased with the postwar real estate boom. Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a wealthy New York City real-estate developer. 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. He was given control of the company in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization.
At age 13, Trump’s parents sent him to the New York Military Academy, hoping the discipline of the school would channel his energy in a positive manner. He did well at the academy, both socially and academically, rising to become a star athlete and student leader by the time he graduated in 1964.
Trump entered Fordham University in 1964. He transferred to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania two years later and graduated in 1968 with a degree in economics. During his years at college, Trump worked at his father’s real estate business during the summer. He also secured education deferments for the draft for the Vietnam War and ultimately a 1-Y medical deferment after he graduated.
Donald John Trump, a gifted self-publicist (no doubt a comment he would savour), Donald Trump is a rich, colourful property developer and casino owner based in New York who has seen as many newspaper column inches devoted to his private life as to his business interests.
While he has a long record of appearing in the gossip columns, he had no record of political activity. But with his personal fortune of an estimated $1.6bn, he could have run a formidable campaign and has reputedly considered putting up to $100m behind a campaign.
Many of his buildings bear the name Trump, including the anticipated Trump World Tower, soon to go up in New York, controversially next to the United Nations headquarters. He is also rumoured to looking at investing in London property. Trump had said he would put his business interests aside during a presidential campaign but his critics say that his candidacy is simply a case of the master publicist doing what he is best at – promoting himself.
Trump would also have had to consider that his two former wives will reveal any skeletons in the cupboard if he chooses to run. One of the women, Marla Maples, had threatened to tell all.
Democrat and Republican
Trump, registered as a Republican, switched parties several times in the past three decades. In 1987, Trump registered as a Republican; two years later, in 1989, he registered as an Independent. In 2000, Trump ran for president for the first time on the Reform platform. In 2001, he registered as a Democrat. By 2009, Trump had switched back to the Republican party, although he registered as an Independent in 2011 to allow for a potential run in the following year’s presidential election. He finally returned to the Republican party to endorse Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run and has remained a Republican since.
Before opting for Ross Perot’s Reform Party, Trump was known as a Republican with socially liberal but economically conservative views. He backs abortion rights – a stark contrast to his Reform Party opponent Pat Buchanan – tax cuts and universal health care. He supports free trade – but only with the US getting tough with countries that refuse to open their markets.
“Japan for many years has ripped off the United States, big league,” he once said. “England has been a terrific partner.
“France has been a terrible partner, a terrible team player.”
While he had said he broadly favoured tax cuts, he also proposed a surtax on every person and trust valued over $10m, the proceeds of which would go to paying the national debt. He had said that would mean he would have to stump up some $700m but economists say his figures didn’t add up. Donald Trump made clear his distaste for the personal campaigning that he would have had to do had he won the Reform Party nomination.
“I’m not a big fan of the handshake. I think it’s barbaric, shaking hands, you catch colds, you catch the flu, you catch this, you catch all sorts of things,” he told US TV channel NBC.
In 1987, Trump published the book The Art of the Deal, co-authored with Tony Schwartz. In the book, Trump describes how he successfully makes business deals.
“I DON’T do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form,” Trump wrote.
The book made the New York Times best-seller list, although the number of copies sold has been debated; sales have been estimated at between 1 to 4 million copies to-date. Schwartz later became an outspoken critic of the book and of Trump, saying he felt remorseful for helping make the president “more appealing than he is.”
Donald Trump and His Wealth
Over the years, Trump’s net worth have been a subject of public debate. Because Trump has not publicly released his tax returns, it’s not possible to definitively determine his wealth in the past or today. However Trump valued his businesses at at least $1.37 billion on his 2017 federal financial disclosure form, published by the Office of Government Ethics. Trump’s 2018 disclosure form put his revenue for the year at a minimum of $434 million from all sources.
In 1990, Trump asserted his own net worth in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. At the time, the real estate market was in decline, reducing the value of and income from Trump’s empire. The Trump Organization required a massive infusion of loans to keep it from collapsing, a situation which raised questions as to whether the corporation could survive bankruptcy. Some observers saw Trump’s decline as symbolic of many of the business, economic and social excesses that had arisen in the 1980s.
A May 2019 investigation by The New York Times of 10 years of Trump’s tax information found that between 1985 and 1994, his businesses lost money every year. The newspaper calculated that Trump’s businesses suffered $1.17 billion in losses over the decade. Trump later defended himself on Twitter, calling the Times’s report “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!” He tweeted that he reported “losses for tax purposes,” and that doing so was a “sport” among real estate developers.
Trump’s Tax Returns
Trump’s net worth was questioned over the course of his 2016 presidential run, and he courted controversy after repeatedly refusing to release his tax returns while they were being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. He did not release his tax returns during the election, and he has not to date. It was the first time a major party candidate had not released such information to the public before a presidential election since Richard Nixon in 1972.
After Democrats regained control of the House with the 2018 elections, Trump again faced calls to release his tax returns. In April 2019, Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, requested six years’ worth of the president’s personal and business tax returns from the IRS. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin rejected the request, as well as Neal’s follow-up subpoena for the documents.
In May the New York State Assembly passed legislation that authorized tax officials to release the president’s state returns to the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.” With New York City serving as the home base for the Trump Organization, it was believed that the state returns would contain much of the same information as the president’s federal returns.
In September 2019, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenaed the accounting firm Mazars USA for Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns dating back to 2011, prompting a challenge from the president’s lawyers. A Manhattan federal district judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit in October, though the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed to temporarily delay enforcement of the subpoena while considering arguments in the case. A few days later, that same appeals court rejected Trump’s bid to block another subpoena issued to Mazars USA, this one from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
In December 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over whether the president could block the disclosure of his financial information to congressional committees and the Manhattan district attorney.
Donald Trump Lawsuits and Investigations
Fair Housing Act Discrimination Trial
In 1973, the federal government filed a complaint against Trump, his father and their company alleging that they had discriminated against tenants and potential tenants based on their race, a violation of the Fair Housing Act, which is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
After a lengthy legal battle, the case was settled in 1975. As part of the agreement, the Trump company had to train employees about the Fair Housing Act and inform the community about its fair housing practices.
Trump wrote about the resolution of the case in his 1987 memoir Art of the Deal: “In the end, the government couldn’t prove its case, and we ended up taking a minor settlement without admitting any guilt.”
In 2005, Trump launched his for-profit Trump University, offering classes in real estate and acquiring and managing wealth. The venture had been under scrutiny almost since its inception and at the time of his 2015 presidential bid, it remained the subject of multiple lawsuits.
In the cases, claimants accused Trump of fraud, false advertising and breach of contract. Controversy about the suits made headlines when Trump suggested that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be impartial in overseeing two class action cases because of his Mexican heritage.
On November 18, 2016, Trump, who had previously vowed to take the matter to trial, settled three of the lawsuits for $25 million without admission of liability. In a statement from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, he called the settlement, “a stunning reversal by Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.”
Donald J. Trump Foundation
Later, in a separate incident related to Trump University, it was reported that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi decided not to join the existing New York fraud lawsuit. This came just days after she had received a sizable campaign donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was founded in 1988 as a private charity organization designed to make donations to nonprofit groups. In November 2016, it was reported that Bondi’s name was on Trump’s list as a possible U.S. Attorney General contender.
As a result of the improper donation to Bondi’s campaign, Trump was required to pay the IRS a penalty and his foundation came under scrutiny about the use of its funds for non-charitable activities. According to tax records, The Trump Foundation itself was found to have received no charitable gifts from Trump since 2008, and that all donations since that time had come from outside contributors.
In fall 2019, after Trump admitted to misusing money raised by his foundation to promote his presidential campaign and settle debts, he was ordered to pay $2 million in damages.
Donald Trump on Wednesday 18 December 2019, became the third U.S. president to be impeached as the House of Representatives formally charged him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a historic step that will inflame partisan tensions across a deeply divided America. The Democratic-led House’s passage of two articles of impeachment on a mostly party-line vote sets the stage for a trial next month in the Republican-controlled Senate – friendlier terrain for Trump – on whether to convict and remove him from office.
No president in the 243-year history of the United States has been removed from office by impeachment. That would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to join Democrats in voting against Trump – and none have indicated they will.
The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, has predicted there is “no chance” his chamber will remove Trump when it holds its trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the vote she would wait to name the House managers, or prosecutors, until she knew more about the procedures for the Senate trial. She did not specify when she would send the articles to the Senate.
“So far, we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Nancy Pelosi told reporters.
Donald Trump, 73, is accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, as well as a discredited theory that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to meddle in the 2016 election.
Democrats said Trump held back $391 million in security aid intended to combat Russia-backed separatists and a coveted White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as leverage to coerce Kiev into interfering in the 2020 election by smearing Biden.
The second article accused Trump of obstruction of Congress by directing administration officials and agencies not to comply with lawful House subpoenas for testimony and documents related to impeachment.
Trump, who is seeking another four-year term in the November 2020 presidential election, has denied wrongdoing and called the impeachment inquiry launched by Pelosi in September a “witch hunt.”
At a raucous rally for his re-election in Battle Creek, Michigan, as the House voted, Trump said the impeachment would be a “mark of shame” for Democrats and Pelosi, and cost them in the 2020 election.
“This lawless, partisan impeachment is a political suicide march for the Democrat Party,” Trump said. “They’re the ones who should be impeached, every one of them.”
During a daylong debate before the vote, Pelosi read the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance and said: “We are here to defend democracy for the people.”
Donald Trump Family
Trump is currently married to former Slovenian model Melania Trump (née Knauss), who is more than 23 years his junior. In January 2005, the couple married in a highly-publicized and lavish wedding. Among the many celebrity guests at the wedding were Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.
In 1977, Trump married his first wife Ivana Trump, (née Zelnickova Winklmayr), a New York fashion model who had been an alternate on the 1972 Czech Olympic Ski Team. She was named vice president in charge of design in the Trump Organization and played a major role in supervising the renovation of the Commodore and the Plaza Hotel.
The couple had three children together: Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka and Eric. They went through a highly publicized divorce that was finalized in 1992.
In 1993 Trump married his second wife, Marla Maples, an actress with whom he had been involved for some time and already had a daughter, Tiffany.
Trump would ultimately file for a highly publicized divorce from Maples in 1997, which became final in June 1999. A prenuptial agreement allotted $2 million to Maples.
Donald Trump has five children. He and his first wife, Ivana Trump, had three children together: Donald Trump Jr., born in 1977; Ivanka Trump, born in 1981, and Eric Trump, born in 1984. Trump and his second wife, Marla Maples, had daughter Tiffany Trump in 1993. And current wife Melania Trump gave birth to Trump’s youngest child, Barron William Trump, in March 2006.
Trump’s sons — Donald Jr. and Eric— work as executive vice presidents for The Trump Organization. They took over the family business while their father serves as president.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka was also an executive vice president of The Trump Organization. She left the business and her own fashion label to join her father’s administration and become an unpaid assistant to the president. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is also a senior adviser to President Trump.