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Donald Trump

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Donald Trump
Donald August 19 (cropped).jpg
Trump in August 2015
Born Donald John Trump
(1946-06-14) June 14, 1946 (age 69)
Queens, New York City
Residence
Nationality American
Education
Alma mater
Occupation
Years active 1968–present
Salary Increase US$ 250 million[1]
Net worth Increase US$ 4.5 billion (Forbes October 2015)[2]
Political party Republican (2012–present; 2009–11; 1987–99)[3]
Previous party affiliations:
Independent (2011–12)[3]
Democratic (2001–09;[3] until 1987[4])
Reform (1999–2001)[3]
Religion Protestant (Presbyterian)
Spouse(s)
Children with Zelníčková:
Donald Trump, Jr.
Ivanka Trump
Eric Trump
with Maples:
Tiffany Trump
with Knauss:
Barron Trump
Parent(s)
Relatives 4 siblings; including Maryanne
John Trump (uncle)
Frederick Trump (grandfather)
Elizabeth Christ (grandmother)
Website www.donaldjtrump.com
Signature
Donald Trump Signature.svg

Donald John Trump, Sr. (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor,[5] socialite, author, and television personality. He is a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's career, branding efforts, lifestyle, and outspoken manner have helped make him a celebrity, a status amplified by the success of his NBC reality show, The Apprentice.

A native of New York City, he is the son of Fred Trump. He was strongly influenced by his father in choosing a career in real estate development.[6] Trump worked for his father's firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and joined the company in 1968 upon graduation.[7] In 1971, he was given control of the company, and renamed it "The Trump Organization". He is a major figure in real estate and a celebrity for his prominent media exposures.[8][9][10][11]

On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for president in the 2016 election, seeking the nomination of the Republican Party. His campaign has consistently drawn intense media coverage.[12] Since July 2015 he has consistently been the front-runner in public opinion polls for the Republican Party nomination,[13][14][15] and frequently touts his high poll numbers.[16][17]

Trump has ran for President of the United States on two occasions. In 2000, he ran an exploratory campaign and won two Reform Party primaries. In June 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for president in the 2016 election, and his campaign for the Republican Party drew more media coverage than all of his Republican rivals combined; in addition, free media coverage and campaign self-financing allowed him to eschew the super PAC model. Trump has consistently been the front-runner in public opinion polls for the Republican Party nomination, running on a populist platform that appeals to the concerns of working-class voters who feel displaced by job losses and changes to America's ethnic and religious demographics. Trump's politically incorrect, anti-illegal immigration politics, which also concentrated on terrorism and national security concerns, brought him support among working-class voters, as well as widespread opposition from Hispanics/Latinos, Muslims, business leaders, Democrats, and other Republicans.

Early life

Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in the New York City borough of Queens.[18][19][20][21] He is the fourth of five children to Mary Anne (née MacLeod; 1912–2000), a homemaker and philanthropist[22] and Fred Trump (1905–1999), who worked as a real estate developer. His mother was born at Tong on the Scottish island of Lewis.[23] In 1930, aged 18, she visited the United States and met Fred Trump. They were married in 1936 and settled in Jamaica Estates, Queens, and Fred Trump eventually became one of the city's biggest real estate developers.[22][24] Trump has one brother, Robert (born 1948), and two sisters: Maryanne (born 1937) and Elizabeth (born 1942). Maryanne is a United States federal judge on senior status for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[25] Another brother, Fred Jr. (1938–1981), died of complications from alcoholism.[26]

Trump's paternal grandparents, Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump, were emigrants who moved to the United States from Germany in 1885.[27] Frederick worked as a successful Klondike Gold Rush restaurateur.[28][29][30] His family surname was originally Drumpf, but this was changed to Trump in the 17th century.[31] In Trump's 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, he incorrectly states that Frederick Trump was of Swedish origin,[32][33] an assertion that Fred Trump had made for many years.[34] Trump later acknowledged his German ancestry and served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.[24]

The family had a two-story mock Tudor Revival home on Wareham Place in Jamaica Estates[35] where Trump lived while attending The Kew-Forest School. At Kew-Forest, Fred Trump served as a member of the Board of Trustees. In 1983, Fred told an interviewer that Donald "was a pretty rough fellow when he was small", prompting him to enroll Donald in the New York Military Academy (NYMA). Trump finished eighth grade and high school at NYMA.[36] During his senior year, Trump participated in marching drills and wore a uniform, attaining the highest rank of cadet first captain.[37] In 2015, he told a biographer that NYMA gave him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military".[38]

Trump attended Fordham University for two years. He entered the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, as Wharton then offered one of the few real estate studies departments in U.S. academia.[39] While there, he worked at his father's company, Elizabeth Trump & Son.[40] Trump graduated from Wharton in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in economics.[41][42]

Trump was eligible for the draft lottery during the Vietnam War.[43] "I actually got lucky because I had a very high draft number." he told WNYW in 2011.[44] Selective Service records retrieved by The Smoking Gun website from the National Archives show that, although Trump did eventually receive a high selective service lottery number in 1969, he was not drafted earlier because of four student deferments (2-S) while attending college, and after receiving a medical deferment (1-Y, later converted to 4-F) obtained in 1968 after his college graduation, prior to the lottery being initiated.[45] Trump was deemed fit for service after a military medical examination in 1966 and was briefly classified as 1-A by a local draft board shortly before his 1968 medical disqualification.[46] Trump attributed his medical deferment to "heel spurs" in both feet, according to a 2015 biographer,[38] but told an Iowa campaign audience he suffered from a spur in one foot, although he could not remember which one.[46]

Business career

When Trump graduated from college, he was worth about US$200,000 (equivalent to $1,021,000 in 2016).[47] He began his career at his father's real estate company,[48] Elizabeth Trump and Son,[49] which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. During his undergraduate study, one of Trump's first projects was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962.[50] Fred and Donald Trump became involved in the project and, with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1,200-unit complex's occupancy rate from 34% to 100%. Trump oversaw the company's 14,000 apartments across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.[51] In 1972, the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.[52][53]

In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan, where he became involved in larger construction projects, and used attractive architectural design to win public recognition.[6] Trump initially came to public attention in 1973 when he was accused by the Justice Department of violations of the Fair Housing Act in the operation of 39 buildings. Trump in turn accused the Justice Department of targeting his company because it was a large one, and in order to force it to rent to welfare recipients. Trump settled the charges in 1975, saying he was satisfied that the agreement did not "compel the Trump organization to accept persons on welfare as tenants unless as qualified as any other tenant."[54]

Trump had an option to buy and made plans to develop Penn Central Transportation Company property that was in bankruptcy. This included the 60th Street rail yard on the Hudson River—later developed as Riverside South—as well as the land around Grand Central Terminal, for which he paid $60 million with no money down.[55] Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central into the Grand Hyatt[56] and created The Trump Organization.[57]

Trump promoted Penn Central's 30th Street rail yard as a site for New York City's planned Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million,[58] but, while the city chose his site, it rejected his offer and Trump received a broker's fee on the sale of the property instead. Repairs on the Wollman Rink in Central Park, built in 1955, were started in 1980 with an expected 2 12-year construction schedule, but were not completed by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project without the city needing to pay anything, and completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget.[59]

In 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International,[60] which led to mounting debt,[61] and by 1989, Trump was unable to meet loan payments. Although he secured additional loans and postponed interest payments, increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy by 1991.[61] Banks and bondholders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars but opted to restructure the debt. The Taj Mahal 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.[62] He also sold his financially challenged Trump Shuttle airline and his 282-foot megayacht, the Trump Princess.[63] The late 1990s saw a resurgence in Trump's financial situation. The will of Trump's father, who died in 1999, divided an estate estimated at $250–300 million equally among his four surviving children.[34]

In 2001, Donald Trump completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.[64] 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.[65]

Trump has licensed his name and image for the development of many real estate projects. At least two Trump-branded real estate projects have gone into foreclosure.[66] The Turkish owner of Trump Towers Istanbul, who pays Trump for the use of his name, was reported in December 2015 to be exploring legal means to dissociate the property after the candidate's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.[67]

In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4 billion.[68] In June 2015, Business Insider published a June 30, 2014, financial statement supplied by Trump. The statement reflects his net worth as $8.7 billion. Of that amount, $3.3 billion is represented by "Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments", described by Business Insider as "basically [implying] that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion."[69]

Business ventures and investments

Real estate

Trump Tower

Trump Tower, at 725 Fifth Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan

Trump Tower—a 58-story, mixed-use skyscraper at 725 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City—was developed by Trump and the Equitable Life Assurance Company, and was designed by architect Der Scutt of Swanke Hayden Connell.[70] It is today solely owned by Trump.

Trump Tower occupies the former site of the architecturally significant Bonwit Teller flagship store, demolished in 1980.[71][72] Trump courted controversy for destroying valuable Art Deco bas-relief sculptures on its facade, promised to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[71][72] and for a contractor's use of some 200 undocumented Polish immigrant workers in the rushed demolition process, who were paid (if at all) just $4 and $5 per hour for work in 12-hour shifts.[73][74] Trump testified in 1990 he rarely visited the site and was unaware of the illegal workers, some of whom lived at the site and who were known as the "Polish Brigade". A long-running labor lawsuit was settled in 1999, with its record sealed.[73][74]

Golf

A view of the Turnberry Hotel, located in Ayrshire, Scotland

The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the U.S. and around the world.[75] On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Trump had purchased Doonbeg Golf Club in the Republic of Ireland. It was confirmed that the club would be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland.[76] In 2006, Trump bought the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, creating a highly contentious golf resort, against the wishes of local residents, on an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[77][78] You've Been Trumped is a 2011 independent documentary by British filmmaker Anthony Baxter which chronicles the golf resort's construction and the subsequent struggles between the locals and Donald Trump.[79] Despite Trump's promises of 6,000 jobs, by his own admission, a decade later, the Scotland golf course only materialized 200 jobs.[80]

In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota.[81][82] In June 2015, Trump's appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm (Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm) within sight of the golf links was denied.[83]

In December 2015 Trump's attempt to prevent the windfarm being built within sight of his golf course was dismissed by five justices at the UK Supreme Court. Commenting on the decision, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond branded Trump "three times a loser." A spokesman for the Trump Organization responded to Salmond's comment by saying: "Does anyone care what this man thinks? He's a has-been and totally irrelevant. The fact that he doesn't even know what's going on in his own constituency says it all ... He should go back to doing what he does best: unveiling pompous portraits of himself that pander to his already over-inflated ego."[84]

Branding and licensing

The Trump Organization owns, operates, develops and invests in real estate around the world such as Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois

Trump has marketed his name on a large number of products and services achieving mixed success doing so. Many of his external entrepreneurial and investment ventures include Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump International Realty (a residential and commercial real estate brokerage firm), The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (a for profit business education company, formerly called the Trump University),[6] Trump Restaurants (Located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump[7] (an online travel search engine[85][86][87]), Select By Trump (a line of coffee drinks),[88] Trump Drinks (an energy drink for the Israeli and Palestinian markets)[89][90][91][92] Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men's accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), SUCCESS by Donald Trump (a second fragrance launched by the Trump Organization and the Five Star Fragrance Company released in March 2012), Trump Ice bottled water, the former Trump Magazine,[93] Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump Home (home furnishings),[94] Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump: The Game (1989 board game with a 2005 re-release version tied to The Apprentice),[86] Donald Trump's Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka,[94][95][96] Trump Steakhouse[85][97] and Trump Steaks.[86] In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex.[98][99] Trump also endorsed ACN Inc. a multi-level marketing telecommunications company. He has spoken at ACN International Training Events at which he has praised the company's founders, business model and video phone.[100] He earned a total $1.35 million for three speeches given for the company amounting to $450,000 per speech.[89][101][102][103][104][105][106]

In 2011, Forbes' 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.[107] Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects.[108] For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name.[108] 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). In June 2015, Forbes pegged the Trump brand at USD$125 million[109] as retailers like Macy's Inc. and Serta Mattresses began dropping Trump branded products, with Macy's saying they are "disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico."[110][111]

Net worth

In April 2011, amidst speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the U.S. 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".[112] (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.[113]

Estimates of Trump's net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: in 2015, Forbes pegged it as $4 billion,[68] while the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (which scrutinized Trump's FEC filings) estimated a net worth of $2.9 billion.[114] On June 16, 2015, just prior to announcing his candidacy for president of the United States, Trump released to the media a one-page prepared financial disclosure statement "from a big accounting firm—one of the most respected"[115] stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000.[116] "I'm really rich", Trump said.[115] Forbes called the nearly $9 billion figure a "100%" exaggeration.[117] In July 2015, the Federal election regulators released new details of Trump's wealth and financial holdings when he became a Republican presidential candidate, reporting that his assets are worth above $1.4 billion, which includes at least $70 million in stocks, and a debt of at least $265 million.[118][119]

Trump said in a July 2015 press release, one month after announcing his presidential run, that his "net worth is in excess of ten billion dollars".[119][120] However, Trump has said in the past that "my net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings—even my own feelings".[121] Trump has also acknowledged that past exaggerated estimates of his wealth have been "good for financing".[122] Forbes has said that although Trump "shares a lot of information with us that helps us get to the figures we publish", he "consistently pushes for a higher net worth—especially when it comes to the value of his personal brand."[117] Forbes reduced its estimate of Trump's net worth by $125 million following Trump's controversial 2015 remarks about Mexican illegal immigrants, which ended Trump's business contracts with NBCUniversal, Univision, Macy's, Serta, PVH Corporation, and Perfumania.[123] An internal Young & Rubicam study of Trump's brand favorability among high-income consumers showed "plummeting" ratings at the end of 2015, suggesting Trump's various businesses could face market and financing challenges in the future.[124]

Investments

A small portion of Trump's fortune are held in assets outside his holdings in the Trump Organization, most of which are concentrated in the financial market. 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.[5] In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.[125] Trump also has US$9 million invested in hedge funds.[126] He earned US$6.7 million from selling shares in Bank of America and an additional US$3.9 million from selling Facebook in 2014.[109]

Sports

In 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals for the inaugural season of the United States Football League (USFL). 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.[127]

The USFL planned to play its 1986 schedule in the fall, directly opposite the National Football League (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.[128]

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 at one time acted as a financial advisor for Mike Tyson,[129] hosting Tyson's fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.[130]

Beauty pageants

Further information: Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA

From 1996 until 2015, when he sold his interests to WME/IMG,[131] Trump owned part or all of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants. Among the most recognized beauty pageants in the world, the Miss Universe pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills.[citation needed]

In 2015, NBC and Univision both ended their business relationships with the Miss Universe Organization after Trump's presidential campaign kickoff speech on June 16, in which he stated:

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems. [Applause] Thank you. It's true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people".[132]

Trump subsequently filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, alleging a breach of contract and defamation. Cable network Reelz then acquired the rights to exclusively telecast the Miss USA pageant.[133][134] Trump told People magazine in July 2015 that the lawsuit against Univision was "part of the [presidential] campaign".[135] On September 11, 2015, Trump announced that he purchased NBC's stake in the Miss Universe Organization, making him the sole owner, and had "settled" his lawsuits against the network,[135] though it was not immediately clear whether Trump had filed lawsuits against NBC or merely threatened to do so.[136] He sold his own interests in the pageant shortly afterwards.[131]

Entertainment media

In the media, Trump is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated personality and 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[137]), and as a character (The Little Rascals). He has been the subject of comedians, Flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Trump also had his own daily talk radio program called Trumped!.[138][139][140][141][142] He also had a cameo in an episode of the television series Sex and the City.[143] Trump is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000 every year.[144][145]

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.[146] 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.[147]

On August 5, 2015, a documentary about Trump in the 1980s and 1990s appeared online, called "What's the Deal?"[148]

The Apprentice

Trump posing with guest personality Dennis Rodman, during Rodman's 2009 participation on Celebrity 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. Contestants were successively "fired" and eliminated from the game. In 2004, Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase "You're fired."[8][9][10]

For the first year of the show, Trump earned $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show's initial success, he was paid a reported $3 million per episode, making him one of the highest paid TV personalities.[citation needed] In July 2015, Trump reported in his personal financial disclosure statement with the Federal Election Commission that NBCUniversal had paid him $213,606,575 for his 14 seasons of hosting the show.[109][149] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).[150]

Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump was hired as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which 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.

On February 16, 2015, NBC announced that they would be renewing The Apprentice for a 15th season.[151] Eleven days later, Trump stated that he was "not ready" to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run.[152] Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production.[153] On June 29, after widespread negative reaction stemming from Trump's campaign announcement speech, NBC released a statement saying, "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump", apparently ending Trump's role in The Apprentice.[154]

World Wrestling Entertainment

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.[155] 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.[156]

He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called "The Battle of the Billionaires".[155] 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.[155] The stipulation of the match was hair versus hair, which meant that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost.[155] Lashley won the match, and he and Trump shaved McMahon bald.[155]

On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had "sold" the show to Trump.[155] 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.[155] McMahon "bought back" Raw the following week for twice the price.[155] His entrance theme "Money, Money" was written by Jim Johnston.[citation needed]

Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013, at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion. He made his fifth WrestleMania appearance the next night.[157]

Politics

Trump has described his political leanings and positions in various, sometimes contradictory ways over time.[158][159][160][161] Politico has described his positions as "eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory."[161] He has listed his party affiliation as Republican, Independence Party, Democrat, and "decline to state."[161][162] He has also run as a Reform Party candidate.[162] Specifically, he has changed his positions on taxing the wealthy, abortion rights and health care.[161]

Political affiliations

A 2011 report by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that over the previous two decades of U.S. elections, Donald Trump made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates, with the top 10 recipients of his political contributions being six Democrats and four Republicans.[163] After 2011, his campaign contributions were more favorable to Republicans over Democrats.[164]

Trump was an early supporter of Republican Ronald Reagan for U.S. president,[165] and in February 2012 endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.[166] When asked in 2015 which recent president was best, Trump picked Democrat Bill Clinton over Republicans George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.[167][168] The Clintons' foundation has received between $100,000 and $250,000 from Trump,[169] and they attended Trump's 2005 wedding reception.[170] Trump wrote in 2008 that Hillary Clinton would be a "great president or vice-president".[171]

Trump's party affiliation has changed over the years. Until 1987, he was a Democrat,[4] then he was a Republican from 1987–99.[3] He then switched to the Reform Party from 1999–2001.[3] From 2001–09 he was a Democrat again,[3] and switched to the Republican Party again from 2009–11.[3] An independent from 2011–12, he returned to the Republican Party where he has remained from 2012–present.[3]

Presidential leanings, 1988–2012

Trump floated the idea of running for president in 1988, 2004, and 2012, and for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter those races.[172][173] He was considered as a potential running mate for George H. W. Bush on the Republican Party's 1988 presidential ticket but lost out to future Vice President Dan Quayle. There is dispute over whether Trump or the Bush camp made the initial pitch.[174] In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000.[175][176] A July 1999 poll matching him against likely Republican nominee George W. Bush and likely Democratic nominee Al Gore showed Trump with seven percent support.[177] Though he dropped out of the race due to party infighting, Trump still won the party's California and Michigan primaries.[178][179][180][181]

Trump later said that his national profile changed: "What happened was I did The Apprentice and it became a tremendous success. Who would have thought this was going to happen?" he told interviewer Larry King in 2005. "There's sort of nothing like having the big hot show on television", Trump said.[182]

As Trump publicly speculated about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders, one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.[183] 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.[184] 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 while he was still actively considering a run.[185][186] His moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.[187][188][189] On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president.[187] Public Policy Polling described the events of May 2011 as "one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of presidential politics".[190]

Between presidential announcements, 2011–15

In December 2011, Donald Trump was named among the top six of the ten most admired men and women living, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll.[191]

Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland

In April 2011, Trump questioned President Barack Obama's proof of citizenship,[192] alleging that "his grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya, and she was there and witnessed the birth."[193] (Trump's claim derived from a discredited transcript of a telephone interview with Obama's grandmother, produced by a Pennsylvania pastor opposed to Obama's election.[194]) Trump also questioned whether Obama had good enough grades to warrant entry to Harvard Law School.[195] Trump said to have sent a team of private investigators to Hawaii, Obama's documented birthplace,[194] and told The Today Show "they cannot believe what they're finding."[196] On April 25, 2011, Trump called for Obama to end the citizenship issue by releasing the long form of his birth certificate.[197][198] Two days later, Obama 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.[199] Trump expressed pride at his role in the certificate's release in a press conference follow-up, saying he hoped it "checks out" and "we have to see, is it real?"[200] When asked in July 2015 whether Obama was born in the U.S., Trump said: "I really don't know. I mean, I don't know why he wouldn't release his records."[201][202]

In December 2008, Trump emerged as an early supporter of the 2009 government-backed rescue plan for the U.S. auto industry, which by 2012 was supported by 56% of Americans (63% support in Michigan), according to a Pew Research Center poll.[203][204] Statements of Trump's hinting that vaccination would cause autism were subject to criticism in various media by the scientific community.[205][206] He has also been criticized for climate change-denying statements, because they are discordant with the opinion of the scientific community.[207]

In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[208] The speech was not well attended.[209] He spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States.[210] In October 2013, New York Republicans had circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for 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.[211] In February 2015, Trump opted not to renew his television contract for The Apprentice, generating speculation that he might run for president in 2016.[212]

Presidential campaign, 2016

Trump at a presidential campaign rally, September 3, 2015

Trump formally announced his candidacy for the presidency in the 2016 election on June 16, 2015.[213][214][215] His announcement came at a campaign rally at Trump Tower in New York City.[214][215][216]In the speech, Trump also pledged he would fund Social Security, renegotiate U.S. trade agreements, oppose federal Common Core education standards, and complete the United States-Mexico border fence and make Mexico pay for it.[213][217][218] Trump said he would self fund his presidential campaign, and would not need to use money from donors and lobbyists.[217] Trump has consistently had high poll numbers during his candidacy.[219][14] A survey conducted by The Economist/YouGov released July 9, 2015, was the first major nationwide poll to show Trump as the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner.[220] A Suffolk/USA Today poll released on July 14, 2015, showed Trump with 17% support among Republican voters, with Jeb Bush at 14%.[221] A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken on July 16–19, showed Trump had 24% Republican support, over Scott Walker at 13%.[222] A CNN/ORC poll showed Trump in the lead at 18% support among Republican voters, over Jeb Bush at 15%,[223][224] and a CBS News poll from August 4 showed Trump with 24% support, Bush second at 13%, and Walker third at 10%.[225] Trump's populist[226] and nativist politics[227] brought him support among working-class voters and voters without college educations[228] amid heavy and frequent controversies in the news media.[229] Trump's most polarizing and widely reported statements have been on issues of immigration and border security, with Trump proposing deportation of all illegal immigrants, a wall on the Mexican border, and a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.,[230] while making inflammatory remarks pertaining to illegal immigrants that travel over the Mexican border to the U.S.[231][232][233]

Trump has gained widespread support for the idea that he and his supporters call "telling it like it is,"[234] with a significant disdain for political correctness.[235] He is running counter to the Republican establishment, which widely opposes his candidacy and worries that him winning could hand the election to the Democratic nominee.[236] However, Trump's candidacy has largely succeeded, partly because of widespread media coverage.[237][238]

He has frequently made bold and controversial statements on issues that appeal to disenfranchised working-class voters with negative opinions of immigrants.[239][240][241][242] Political opponents have described Trump as divisive,[243][244] unserious,[245] and a "bully,".[246]

Attendees at a Trump rally in Nashua, New Hampshire in December 2015. One man with campaign slogan sign "Make America Great Again"

Trump has made a number of high-profile personal attacks on journalists,[247] politicians,[248] and competing candidates.[249] He often launches rapid, multiple-tweet Twitter rants against people he disagrees with.[250][251][252] A comprehensive "encyclopedia" of Trump's tweeted "insults" was published in the New York Times.[253]

Eschewing the super PAC model popular among competing candidates, Trump has urged that the ability to self-finance his campaign—backed by considerable personal wealth (due to him being a billionaire)—is proof that he "can't be bought."[254] However, as of October 15 donations outpaced self-financing.[255] Trump spends much less than competing candidates, relying on free media coverage instead of paid television advertisements.[256]

Trump's immigration policy calls for deportation of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., and the erection of a substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border.[257][258] Felipe Calderón, former Mexican president said, "We are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall! And it's going to be completely useless," The Pew Research Center has reported that more Mexicans are leaving the United States than entering.[259]

Trump has called for aggressive bombing of the Mideast terrorist group ISIS, and has supported surveillance of mosques in the U.S.[260]

Trump has employed strong rhetoric on religion. He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, citing links between Muslims and terrorism. He has also raised questions about the general religious beliefs of other candidates, including Ben Carson and Ted Cruz.[261]

Other issues he highlights include taking care of military veterans,[262] making the military "strong,"[263] and getting trade agreements more favorable to American workers.[264]

Political positions

Trump at an early campaign event in New Hampshire on August 19, 2015

Trump has described his political leanings and positions in various, sometimes contradictory ways over time.[158][159][160][161] The following are his positions as of 2016, as evidenced in his public speeches, debate appearances, policy briefs, and campaign website descriptions.

Trump describes himself as pro-life[265] and would ban late-term abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or health.[265] He is in favor of cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood.[266]

Trump supports the Second Amendment, is opposed to gun control in general,[265][267] and has a New York concealed carry permit.[268] He supports fixing the federal background check system so that criminal and mental health records are always put into the system.[267]

Regarding healthcare, Trump favors replacing the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as "Obamacare") with a free-market plan and competition to lower costs, although he has also stated support for a single-payer system in the past.[269] Trump favors getting rid of backlogs and waitlists which are the focus of the Veterans Health Administration scandal. In a statement, he said he believes that Veterans Affairs facilities need to be upgraded with recent technology, hire more veterans to treat other veterans, increase support of female veterans, and create satellite clinics within hospitals in rural areas.[270]

Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana,[271] while being supportive of states' rights.[271]

On the issue of immigration, Trump has emphasized U.S. border security. During his first town hall campaign meeting in Derry, New Hampshire Trump claimed that if he won the election, "Day 1 of my presidency, illegal immigrants are getting out and getting out fast."[257] Trump opposes birthright citizenship, arguing that it is not or should not be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[272][273]

Trump has called global warming "a total hoax".[274] He has also stated that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," although he later clarified that this was a joke.[275] He has said that "the EPA is an impediment to both growth and jobs". Trump supports increased fracking and has criticized sustainable wind power alternatives, stating that "windmills are destroying every country they touch" while producing "unreliable and terrible" energy.[276]

Trump has stated that he supports traditional marriage.[274] Of the June 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, he said: "I would have preferred states, you know, making the decision and I let that be known. But they made the decision. [...] So, at a certain point you have to be realistic about it."[265][277]

Regarding the minimum wage, Trump believes it should not be raised because increasing it would hurt America's economic competitiveness.[278]

Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools.[279] He opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative for primary and secondary schools,[265][280] and has called Common Core "a disaster" that must be ended.[281]

Proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

Trump has received widespread notoriety for proposing a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States (approximately 100,000 Muslim immigrants are admitted to the U.S. each year)[282] until better security precautions are implemented.[283][284][285][286] In response to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, Trump released a statement on "Preventing Muslim Immigration" and called for "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on."[287] Trump cited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's World War II use of the Alien and Sedition Acts to issue presidential proclamations for rounding up, holding, and deporting Japanese, German, and Italian alien immigrants, then argued that Roosevelt was highly respected and had highways named after him.[288][289][290][291] Trump stated that he did not agree with Roosevelt's internment of Japanese Americans, and clarified that the proposal would not apply to Muslims who were U.S. citizens or to Muslims who were serving in the US military.[292][293] He later clarified that Muslims who were U.S. citizens or serving in the U.S. military would be let back into the United States.[294] The measure proposed by Trump would be temporary,[284] until better screening methods are devised,[285] although the proposal has also been phrased in more controversial ways.[286] This proposal gained considerable support among Republican voters, with 59% supporting such a ban in an ABC News/Washington Post survey. Support for such a proposal comes to approximately 36% among the population as a whole.[295]

However, a large and diverse array of public figures have condemned the comments. The proposal drew wide criticism from sources both within the U.S. and abroad – including unusual sources such as foreign leaders who are seldom involved in United States presidential campaigns, and leaders of Trump's own party holding positions that are rarely at odds during the party's presidential primaries.[296][297] Critics included British Prime Minister David Cameron,[296] French Prime Minister Manuel Valls[298] and Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion,[299] as well as the chairman of the Republican Party Reince Priebus, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.[297][300] A petition to block Trump from entry into the United Kingdom has gained over 540,000 signatures, a record for the UK Government website.[301] Members of Trump's own party argued that a proposal banning members of a major world religion violated the party's conservative values, the Constitution's First Amendment (which grants freedom of religion), and the country's immigrant heritage. Critics pointed out that the proposal would result in the exclusion of many of the most important allies in the country's war on terror, from interpreters helping the CIA to Jordan's King Abdullah, and that it would bolster ISIL by furthering its narrative that the U.S. is pitted against the Muslim faith. The U.S. Pentagon issued a statement that "anything that bolsters ISIL's narrative and pits the United States against the Muslim faith is certainly not only contrary to our values but contrary to our national security."[302] The Washington Post reported that, "Donald Trump [was] featured in new jihadist recruitment video."[303]

In January 2013, Trump had been a popular figure in Israel,[304][305] who has himself owned land in Israel.[306] Trump released a video endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli elections.[307][308] However, after Trump's December 2015 call to temporarily exclude Muslims from travel to the United States, numerous Jewish leaders, including Netanyahu,[309] criticized Trump's proposal. Several dozen Israeli Knesset members, many of whom are Muslim themselves, from across the political spectrum, signed a petition urging Netanyahu not to meet with Trump later that month;[310] a day later, Trump postponed his visit to Israel until "a later date after I become President of the U.S.",[311] stating that he did not want to put Netanyahu "under pressure".[309]

During a Fox News debate, when asked about the feasibility of his plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States, Trump said that Belgium and France had been blighted by the failure of Muslims in these countries to integrate. Trump said that living in Brussels was like living in a "hellhole" because of its dire state in Muslim assimilation.[312][313]

Petition to ban from United Kingdom

Following Trump's controversial comments on Muslim immigration, a petition with the title "Block Donald J Trump from UK entry"[314] was opened in the UK, on the Parliament's e-petition website, calling on the UK government's Home Office to ban him from entering the country. By 5:00 am on December 11, the total number of signatures exceeded 500,000,[315] far above the threshold of 100,000 required for a Parliamentary debate.[316] On January 18, the UK's House of Commons debated whether to ban Trump,[317] but ended without a vote, as UK members of parliament did not have the power to enact such a ban.[318] The three-hour long debate saw members on all sides of parliament describe Trump as "crazy" and "offensive".[319]

Personal life

Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka serves as executive vice president of the Trump Organization

Trump has had three marriages, which have been well-documented in the tabloid media.[320] His personal life has gained extensive media coverage.[321]

Trump married model Ivana Zelníčková on April 7, 1977 at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York.[322] They have three children: sons Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977) and Eric (born January 6, 1984) and daughter Ivanka (born October 30, 1981). Ivana became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988, with Trump at her side.[323] Trump is popularly known as "The Donald", a nickname perpetuated by the media after Ivana referred to him as such in a 1989 Spy Magazine cover story.[324][325] By early 1990, Trump's troubled marriage to Ivana and long-running affair with actress Marla Maples had become widely documented in the tabloid press,[33][326] and the couple divorced in 1991.[327]

Maples gave birth to their daughter Tiffany on October 13, 1993. They married two months later on December 20, 1993.[328] The couple formally separated in May 1997,[329] with their divorce finalized in June 1999.[330][331]

Trump dated model Kara Young in the mid to late 1990s,[332] and reportedly "bombarded" Princess Diana with expensive floral arrangements after her 1996 divorce from Prince Charles.[333] "I only have one regret in the women department – that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer", Trump wrote in his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback. "I met her on a number of occasions … She was a genuine princess – a dream lady."[334]

Trump's wife Melania, in 2011

In 1998, Trump began a relationship with Slovenian-born fashion model, Melania Knauss.[335][336] They became engaged in April 2004[337] 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.[338][339][340] In 2006, Melania became a naturalized U.S. citizen.[336] That same year, she gave birth to a son named Barron William Trump.[341][342] (Trump had previously used the pseudonym "John Baron" in some business deals.[73]) Having spoken the language since his childhood, Barron is fluent in Slovenian.[343] In a February 2009 interview on ABC's news program Nightline, Trump commented on his ex-wives: "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."[344]

Trump has eight grandchildren: five from his son Donald Jr. (Kai Madison, Donald John III, Tristan Milos, Spencer Frederick, and Chloe Sophia)[345][346][347] and three from his daughter Ivanka (Arabella Rose and Joseph Frederick).[348][349]

Religious views

Trump is a Presbyterian.[350] In an April 2011 interview on the 700 Club, he commented: "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."[351][352] Trump told a 2015 South Carolina campaign audience he joined the Marble Collegiate Church, where he married his first wife Ivana in 1977. The church has said he is "not an active member".[353]

In 1983, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, described in a New York Times profile as Trump's "pastor" and "family minister," said that Trump was "kindly and courteous in certain business negotiations and has a profound streak of honest humility."[36] Trump calls his own book The Art of the Deal (1987) "my second favorite book of all time", and has told campaign audiences: "Do you know what my first is? The Bible! Nothing beats the Bible."[354][355] Declining to name his favorite Bible verse, Trump said "I don't like giving that out to people that you hardly know."[353]

Trump has said that while he participates in Holy Communion, he has not asked God for forgiveness for his sins. He says: "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture."[356]

Trump has praised and maintains relationships with several prominent national evangelical and Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins and Ralph Reed.[357] During his 2016 presidential campaign, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson.[358]

Trump also has strong ties with the Jewish American community.[359] Asked in 2015 at an Algemeiner Journal awards ceremony about having Jewish grandchildren, Trump said: "Not only do I have Jewish grandchildren, I have a Jewish daughter (Ivanka, who converted to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner) and I am very honored by that … it wasn't in the plan but I am very glad it happened."[360]

Hairstyle

Rear view of Trump's combover, in 2013

Trump's hairstyle has been widely examined and is often fodder for comedic remarks. His hair is notorious for its uniquely dynamic shape, sand-yellow-white color, and what Vanity Fair had described as an unusual two-directional "double combover" which is made particularly visible in harsh lighting.[361] Louis Licari has conjectured that it is all Trump's hair, but only through transplants, possibly performed by hair transplantation pioneer Norman Orentreich.[362][363] An unauthorized 1993 biography by Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III said that Trump underwent painful scalp-reduction surgery in 1989 performed by one of his [then-wife] Ivana's plastic surgeons, an allegation Trump denied.[364] In August 2015 at a rally in Mobile, Alabama Trump said: "If it rains, I’ll take off my hat, and I’ll prove once and for all that it’s mine."[363] Trump told Playboy in 2004 that he styles his own hair and lets only one person trim it: "My girlfriend [now-wife] Melania."[363] In recent years there have been reports that Trump has his own hairdresser.[363] When it comes to fixative, Trump said at a rally on December 30, 2015, in Hilton Head, South Carolina that he likes to liberally apply hair product in his New York apartment. Addressing the environmental issues regarding aerosol products, Trump dismissed the pumped product preferred by environmentalists, saying "I wanna use hair spray!"[365] In June 2015, Trump told The Des Moines Register he would probably change his current hairstyle if elected U.S. President in 2016, saying he would not have time to maintain it, as he would be "working his butt off in the White House".[366]

Legal affairs

Corporate bankruptcies

Four of Trump's businesses have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[367][368] According to a report by Forbes in 2011, these were the result of 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).[369][370] 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."[371] He indicated that other "great entrepreneurs" do the same.[369]

The first Trump corporate entity to file bankruptcy was Trump Taj Mahal in 1991.

The first of Trump's corporate entities to file bankruptcy was in 1991, when Trump Taj Mahal was unable to pay its obligations.[371] Forbes indicated that this first bankruptcy was the only one where Trump's personal financial resources were involved. Time, however, maintains that $72 million of his personal money was also involved in a later 2004 bankruptcy.[372]

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.[373] 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.[374]

In the subsequent restructuring of these two events, Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt by 1994,[375] and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he relinquished 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. Trump sold his ownership of West Side Yards to Asian developers as a result of his negotiations with Chase Manhattan Bank. Trump was reportedly paid a premium for placing his well-known moniker on the buildings that eventually arose. In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. The real estate assets became a source of wealth even when profits had struggled.[376]

The third corporate bankruptcy was on October 21, 2004, when Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt.[377] 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 opted to relinquish his CEO position but retained a role as Chairman of the board. In May 2005[378] the company emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.[379] Writing about this and previous bankruptcies in his 2007 book, Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life, Trump wrote: "I figured it was the bank's problem, not mine. What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, 'I told you you shouldn't have loaned me that money. I told you the goddamn deal was no good.'"[380]

Trump's most recent 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.[381] 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, 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.[382] Trump Entertainment Resorts filed again for bankruptcy in 2014.[383]

Lawsuits

Over the course of his career, Trump has initiated and been the target of "hundreds" of civil lawsuits, which his lawyer Alan Garten said in 2015 was "a natural part of doing business in this country".[384]

In 1973, the Justice Department filed suit against the Trump Management Corporation for alleged racial discrimination, which Trump's company disputed.[385] The case was settled out of court in 1975.[386]

In 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.[387] Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy for the first time in November 1990.[388] A defamation lawsuit by the analyst against Trump for $2 million was settled out of court.[389] The analyst's statements regarding the Taj Mahal's prospects were later called "stunningly accurate".[390]

In 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.[391]

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.[392] Trump then initiated a suit asserting that his image had been damaged. Both parties agreed to drop their suits, and sales of the units continued.[393]

In 2008, Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit for alleged fraud and civil rights violations[394] against the California city of Rancho Palos Verdes, a seaside town of 41,000 with an annual budget just under $20 million, over thwarted luxury home development and expansion plans on part of a landslide-prone golf course purchased by Trump in 2002 for $27 million.[394] Trump had previously sued a local school district over land leased from them in the re-branded Trump National Golf Club, and had further angered some local residents by renaming a thoroughfare after himself.[394] Trump's lawyer was unable to convince a judge that the city's "relentless anti-growth municipal ideology"[395] had stymied Trump's ambitions, as Trump had never submitted permit applications in the first place,[395] and the suit was ultimately withdrawn in 2012 with Trump and the city agreeing to modified geological surveys and permit extensions for some 20 proposed luxury homes (in addition to 36 homes previously approved).[395][396] Trump ultimately opted for a permanent conservation easement instead of expanded housing development on the course's driving range.[397]

In 2009, Trump was sued by investors who had put down deposits, typically $200,000–$300,000 per person, for condos in the failed Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico.[398] The investors alleged that Trump (whose videos promoting the development had been shown to potential investors) misrepresented his role in the project, stating after its failure that he had been little more than a spokesperson for the entire venture, disavowing any financial responsibility for the debacle.[399] Investors were abruptly informed that they would be getting nothing back: "All that remains of Trump Baja is a highway billboard with a large photo of Donald Trump that advertises condos for sale. It hovers over a closed sales center and showroom, a paved parking lot, a big hole that cuts a wide swath, drainage pipes and construction equipment", reported the Associated Press in 2009.[398] In the litigation that ensued in a California court, Trump's attorneys sought to question a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter about a 2006 story with the headline "Trump puts 'brand' on Baja with condo-hotel", which quoted Trump saying he was a "significant" equity investor in the development.[400] The California court rejected Trump's legal maneuver, siding with attorneys who argued that California Shield Law prevented discovery of a reporter's unpublished notes.[401] In 2013, Trump settled the lawsuit with more than one hundred would-be condo owners for an undisclosed amount.[402]

In 2011, an appellate court upheld a New Jersey Superior Court judge's decision dismissing Trump's $5 billion defamation lawsuit against author Timothy L. O'Brien, who had reported in his book, TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald (2006), that Trump's true net worth was in fact between $150 and $250 million, not the "billions" Trump had told the author and publicly stated in 2005.[403] Trump complained that the author's alleged underestimation of his net worth was motivated by malice and had cost him business deals and reputational damage.[404] The appellate court, however, noted the consistency of O'Brien's three confidential sources.[405]

Trump sued comedian Bill Maher for $5 million in 2013, when in which Maher appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and offered $5 million payable to a charity if Trump produced his birth certificate to prove his mother had not mated with an orangutan. This was inreciprocation for Trump having previously challenged Obama to produce his birth certificate, had offered $5 million payable to a charity of Obama's choice, if Obama produced his college applications, transcripts, and passport records.[406][407]) Trump produced his birth certificate, filing a lawsuit after Maher was not forthcoming, claiming Maher's $5 million offer was legally binding. "I don't think he was joking", Trump said. "He said it with venom."[406] Maher replied that Trump needed to learn the difference between "what a joke is and what a contract is" and that the U.S. legal system is "not a toy for rich idiots to play with", and said that it was obvious humans and orangutans cannot reproduce.[408] Trump withdrew his lawsuit against the comedian after eight weeks.[409]

In 2013, a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Trump of defrauding more than 5,000 people of $40 million for the opportunity to learn Trump's real estate investment techniques in a for-profit training program, Trump University, which operated from 2005 to 2011.[410][411][412] Schneiderman contended that Trump's seminars constituted an "unlicensed, illegal educational institution" which utilized false advertising, bait-and-switch tactics, intentional misrepresentation and other fraudulent practices.[384] In January 2014, a New York Superior Court upheld part of the Attorney General's case against Trump,[413] and in October 2014, found Trump liable for not obtaining a license to operate the for-profit investment school, Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, formerly known as Trump University. (Trump ultimately stopped using the term "University" following a 2010 order from New York regulators, who called Trump's use of the word "misleading and even illegal"; the state had previously warned Trump in 2005 to drop the term or not offer seminars within New York.)[414][415][416] In a separate class action civil suit in mid-February 2014, a San Diego federal judge allowed claimants in California, Florida, and New York to proceed.[417] A Trump counterclaim, alleging that the state Attorney General's investigation was accompanied by a campaign donation shakedown, was investigated by a New York ethics board and dismissed in August 2015.[418] Trump also filed a $1 million defamation suit against former Trump University student Tarla Makaeff, who had spent about $37,000 on seminars, after she joined the class action lawsuit and publicized her classroom experiences on social media.[399] Unable to prove malice, Trump University lost an anti-SLAPP lawsuit (under statutes designed to thwart legal intimidation of class action participants) and was ordered by a U.S. District Judge in April 2015 to pay Makaeff and her lawyers $798,774.24 in legal fees and costs.[419] "That just shows you how low they will go to silence people", Makaeff said.[399]

In 2014, the former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin ultimately settled a $5 million arbitration judgment against her, having been sued by Trump after alleging that the Miss USA 2012 pageant results were rigged. Monnin wrote on her Facebook page that another contestant told her during a rehearsal that she had seen a list of the top five finalists, and when those names were called in their precise order, Monnin realized the pageant election process was suspect, compelling Monnin to resign her Miss Pennsylvania title. Trump's lawyer said that Monnin's allegations had cost the pageant a lucrative British Petroleum sponsorship deal and threatened to discourage women from entering Miss USA contests in the future.[420] According to Monnin, testimony from the Miss Universe Organization and Ernst & Young revealed that the top 15 finalists were selected by pageant directors regardless of preliminary judges' scores.[421] As part of the settlement, Monnin was not required to retract her original statements.[420] "Standing on truth has cost me much", Monnin said.[422]

In 2014, the 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 claimed to be owed more than $200,000. Palmer contended 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".[423][424]

In 2015, Trump initiated a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County claiming that officials, in a "deliberate and malicious" act, pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to the Palm Beach International Airport over his Mar-A-Lago estate.[425] The air traffic is allegedly damaging the construction of the building and disrupting its ambience. Trump had previously sued twice over airport noise.[425]

In July 2015, Trump filed a $10 million lawsuit against chef José Andrés claiming that he backed out of a deal to open the flagship restaurant at Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.[426] Andrés replied that Trump's lawsuit was "both unsurprising and without merit".[427] After denouncing chef Geoffrey Zakarian who, like Andrés, withdrew from the Trump International Hotel project in the wake of Trump's comments on Mexican illegal immigrants (and who was expected to lose his $500,000 restaurant lease deposit as a result),[427] Trump sued Zakarian in August 2015 for a sum "in excess of $10 million" for lost rent and other damages.[428] Trump's lawsuit called Zakarian's offense at his remarks "curious in light of the fact that Mr. Trump's publicly shared views on immigration have remained consistent for many years, and Mr. Trump's willingness to frankly share his opinions is widely known."[428]

Allegations of business with firms linked to organized crime

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, as well as investigative journalist Wayne Barrett who wrote an unauthorized 1992 Trump biography, have alleged that Trump and his companies did business with New York and Philadelphia families linked to the Italian-American Mafia.[429][430] According to the Washington Post, "He was never accused of illegality, and observers of the time say that working with the mob-related figures and politicos came with the territory."[431]

Johnston and Barrett claim Trump purchased the future site of Atlantic City's Trump Plaza for twice its market value from the Philadelphia crime family member Salvatore Testa, and according to the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation's 1986 report on organized crime, constructed the casino using two firms controlled by Nicodemo Scarfo.[430] Although Trump was a federal target in a 1979 bribery investigation, and later questioned in a 1981 racketeering probe, neither investigation resulted in criminal charges.[430] Trump was criticized for omitting mention of that investigation in his New Jersey casino license application, and Johnston alleged that he had persuaded state officials to limit his background investigation.[429] It was also reported by Johnston and other investigative reporters that Trump Tower, Trump Plaza, and other New York City properties were constructed with concrete purchased from S&A Concrete Co., a firm owned by Anthony Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family.[429][431]

According to British investigative journalist John Sweeney, Trump walked out of an interview for the BBC's Panorama series with Sweeney after Trump answered a question about why he continued to do business with Felix Sater, an ex-convict who identified himself a "senior advisor to Donald Trump" (a claim disputed by Trump's representatives), after Sater's mafia and Russian criminal ties, as well as a 1998 racketeering conviction for a $40 million Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme,[432] were publicly reported in 2007.[433][434][435] Sater's fraud victims included Holocaust survivors Ernest and Judit Gottdiener, whose estate later sued Sater and a business partner for failing to pay $7 million in restitution.[436] Sater moved into a Trump Tower office on the same floor as Trump's office in 2010, according to court records and Associated Press interviews.[432] "Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it", Trump told the AP in December 2015. "I'm not that familiar with him."[432] When previously asked about Sater by The New York Times in December 2007, Trump said of Sater "We never knew that. We do as much of a background check as we can on the principals. I didn’t really know him very well."[434] Sater was born in Russia in 1966 and emigrated to the U.S. with his family at the age of 8,[434] and later developed ties to members of the Bonanno and Genovese crime families.[437] He worked with Trump on at least four projects including Trump SoHo, Trump International Hotel and Residence Phoenix (which failed[437]), Trump International Hotel and Residence Ft. Lauderdale (which collapsed amid allegations of fraud[438]), and an unrealized skyscraper project in Denver which involved Sater traveling with Trump to the city[439] and being interviewed with Trump by The Rocky Mountain News in 2005.[434] Alan Garten, senior attorney for Trump, said that Sater has "got a lot of contacts" and worked with Trump scouting high-end luxury real estate opportunities, but was never formally employed, and did not close any deals for Trump over the course of a six-month non-contractual working relationship in 2010.[432] "If Mr. Sater was good enough for the government to work with", referring to the cooperation agreement which kept Sater's racketeering conviction sealed from public scrutiny for 14 years, "I see no reason why he wasn't good enough for Mr. Trump."[432]

Campaign contributions

According to a New York State report, Trump "circumvented" personal and corporate campaign donation limits in the 1980s by donating money to candidates from 18 different business subsidiaries, rather than giving primarily in his own name.[431] Trump told investigators he did so on the advice of lawyers, and not to curry favor with business-friendly candidates, but simply to satisfy requests from friends.[431]

Awards and honors

Trump receiving the 2015 Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation's annual Leadership Award in recognition for his contributions to American military education programs
Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Bibliography

See also

References

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Further reading

External links

Business positions
New title Chief Executive Officer of
Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts

1995–2004
Succeeded by
Robert Griffin