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Donald Trump

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Donald Trump
Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg
Trump attending a town hall meeting at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire in August 2015
Born Donald John Trump
(1946-06-14) June 14, 1946 (age 69)
Queens, New York City, U.S.
Alma mater
Years active 1968–present
Net worth Increase US$ 4.5 billion
(Forbes October 2015)[1]
Political party Republican (1987–99; 2009–11; 2012–present)[2]
Independent (2011–12)[2]
Democratic (before 1987; 2001–09)[2][3]
Reform (1999–2001)[2]
Religion Presbyterian
Children with Zelníčková;
Donald Trump, Jr.
Ivanka Trump
Eric Trump
with Maples;
Tiffany Trump
with Knauss;
Barron Trump
Donald Trump Signature.svg

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, politician, television personality, author, and candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election. Trump is the Chairman and President of The Trump Organization, as well as the founder of the gaming and hotel enterprise, Trump Entertainment Resorts, now owned by Carl Icahn.

Trump is a son of New York City real estate developer Fred Trump and worked for his father's firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending college. After graduating in 1968 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the company, and in 1971 was given control, later renaming it The Trump Organization. Trump has since built casinos, golf courses, hotels, and other properties, many of which bear his name.

Trump and his businesses, as well as his three marriages, have received prominent media exposure. He hosted The Apprentice, a popular NBC reality show, from 2004 to 2015.

Trump first campaigned for the U.S. presidency in 2000, winning two Reform Party primaries. On June 16, 2015, he again announced his candidacy for president, this time as a Republican. Trump became known for his opposition to illegal immigration and various free-trade agreements, as well as his frequently non-interventionist views on foreign policy, and quickly emerged as the Republican nomination front-runner. As of April 26, 2016, he has won 27 contests in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

Early life

Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, one of New York City's five boroughs.[4][5][6][7] He was the fourth of five children of Mary Anne (née MacLeod; 1912–2000), a homemaker and philanthropist,[8] and Fred Trump (1905–1999), a real estate developer. His mother was born at Tong on the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris.[9] In 1930, aged 18, she visited the United States and met Fred Trump. They were married in 1936 and settled in Jamaica Estates, Queens, as Fred Trump eventually became one of the city's biggest real estate developers.[8][10] 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.[11] Another brother, Fred Jr. (1938–1981), died of complications from alcoholism.[12]

Trump's father was born in Woodhaven, Queens, to Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump, immigrants who moved to the United States from Kallstadt, Germany in 1885.[13] Frederick worked as a successful Klondike Gold Rush restaurateur and possibly as a brothel keeper.[14][15] In a 1976 New York Times biographical profile,[16] and again in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, Trump incorrectly stated that Frederick Trump was of Swedish origin,[17][18] an assertion that Fred Trump made for many years ostensibly because "he had a lot of Jewish tenants and it wasn't a good thing to be German", according to a nephew identified as a family historian by The New York Times.[19] Donald Trump later acknowledged his German ancestry and served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.[10]

The family had a two-story mock Tudor Revival home on Wareham Place in Jamaica Estates,[20] where Trump lived while attending The Kew-Forest School. At Kew-Forest, Fred Trump served as a member of the Board of Trustees. Due to behavior problems, Trump left the school at age 13 and was enrolled in the New York Military Academy (NYMA).[21] In 1983, Fred told an interviewer that Donald "was a pretty rough fellow when he was small." Trump finished eighth grade and high school at NYMA.[22] During his senior year, Trump participated in marching drills and wore a uniform, attaining the rank of captain.[23] In 2015, he told a biographer that NYMA gave him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military."[24]

Trump attended Fordham University in the Bronx 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.[25] While there, he worked at his father's company, Elizabeth Trump & Son.[26] Trump graduated from Wharton in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in economics.[27][28]

Trump was eligible for the draft lottery during the Vietnam War.[29] He was not drafted due to four student deferments (2-S) while attending college, as well as a medical deferment (1-Y, later converted to 4-F) obtained in 1968 after his college graduation, prior to the lottery being initiated.[30] 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.[31] Trump attributed his medical deferment to "heel spurs" in both feet, according to a 2015 biographer,[24] but told an Iowa campaign audience he suffered from a spur in one foot, although he could not remember which one.[31] "I actually got lucky because I had a very high draft number", he told WNYW in 2011.[32] Selective Service records retrieved by The Smoking Gun website from the National Archives show that, Trump did eventually receive a high selective service lottery number in 1969.

Business career

Trump has said that when he graduated from college in 1968, he was worth about US$200,000 (equivalent to $1,021,000 in 2015).[33] At age 23, he made an unsuccessful commercial foray into show business, investing $70,000 to become co-producer of the 1970 Broadway comedy "Paris Is Out!", which flopped.[34] Trump began his real estate career at his father's company,[35] Elizabeth Trump and Son,[36] 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 had been the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962.[37] 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.[38] In 1972, The Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.[39][40]

In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan, where he became involved in larger construction projects, and used attractive architectural design to win public recognition.[41] 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, including false "no vacancy" statements, and sham leases presenting higher rents to minority applicants, to facilitate the denial of housing to racial minorities.[42] 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. After an unsuccessful countersuit filed by attorney Roy Cohn,[42] Trump settled the charges in 1975 without admitting guilt, 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."[43] The Trump Organization was again in court several years later for violating terms of the settlement.[42]

The Trump Organization owns, operates, develops, and invests in real estate around the world such as Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, seen at center, in Panama City, Panama.

Trump had an option to buy and made plans to develop the Penn Central Transportation Company property, which 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.[44] 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[45] and created The Trump Organization.[46]

Trump promoted Penn Central's rail yard on 30th Street 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,[47] 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.[48]

In 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International,[49] which led to mounting debt,[50] and by 1989, Trump was unable to meet loan payments. Although he secured additional loans and postponed interest payments, increasing debt brought the Taj Mahal to bankruptcy by 1991.[50] Banks and bondholders, facing potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars, 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 bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and more time to pay off the debt.[51] He also sold his financially challenged Trump Shuttle airline and his 282-foot megayacht, the Trump Princess.[52] 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[19] equally among his four surviving children.

In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.[53] 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.[54]

By 2014, Trump retained 10% ownership of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, both in Atlantic City. In that year, Trump Entertainment Resorts entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed Trump Plaza indefinitely. Billionaire Carl Icahn purchased the company in 2016, acquiring Trump Taj Mahal and kept Trump's name on the building even though Trump no longer maintains any ownership.[55]

According to a July 2015 press release from his campaign manager, Trump's "income" was $362 million ("which does not include dividends, interest, capital gains, rents and royalties").[56] According to Fortune magazine, the $362 million figure as stated on his FEC filings is not "income" but gross revenue before salaries, interest payments on outstanding debt, and other business-related expenses; Trump's true income was "most likely" about one-third of what Trump has publicly claimed.[57][58] According to public records, Trump received a $302 New York tax rebate in 2013 (and in two other recent years) given to couples earning less than $500,000 per year, who submit as proof their federal tax returns.[58] Trump's campaign manager has suggested that Trump's tax rebate was an error,[58] but Trump has not publicly released his federal tax returns, citing ongoing IRS audits.[59]

Trump has licensed his name and image for the development of many real estate projects. Trump-branded properties, which are not owned by Trump, including two Trump-branded real estate projects in Florida have gone into foreclosure.[60] 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.[61]

Trump has also licensed his name to son-in-law Jared Kushner's fifty story Trump Bay Street, a Jersey City luxury development that has raised $50 million of its $200 million capitalization largely from wealthy Chinese nationals who, after making an initial downpayment of $500,000 in concert with the government's expedited EB-5 visa program, can usually be expected to obtain U.S. permanent residency for themselves and their families after two years.[62] The EB-5 program, which does not require visa recipients to demonstrate marketable skills, has aroused concerns from the Homeland Security Department regarding inadequate background checks, with money laundering concerns and cases of identity fraud also noted by the General Accounting Office.[62] A spokesperson clarified that Trump is a partner with Kushner Properties only in name licensing and not in the building's financing.[62]

An analysis of Trump's business career by The Economist in 2016, concludes that his "...performance [from 1985 to 2016] has been mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York," noting both his successes and bankruptcies. Any such analysis is difficult because, as the newspaper observed, "Information about Mr Trump’s business is sketchy. He doesn’t run a publicly listed firm..." Trump's early successes were partly commingled with those of his father so they omit them claiming, "The best long-term starting point is 1985, when Mr Trump first appeared in the rankings without his father."[63]

Business ventures and investments

Trump Tower

Trump Tower, a 58-story, mixed-use skyscraper at 725 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, was developed by Trump and the Equitable Life Assurance Company, and was designed by architect Der Scutt of Swanke Hayden Connell.[64] Trump Tower today is solely owned by Trump and houses both his primary penthouse condominium residence and the headquarters of The Trump Organization.[65] Trump Tower is also the name of buildings that The Trump Organization has built in Baku, Azerbaijan; Istanbul, Turkey, and several other places.

Trump Tower occupies the former site of the architecturally significant Bonwit Teller flagship store, demolished in 1980.[66][67] There was controversy when valuable Art Deco bas-relief sculptures on its facade, which were supposed to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, were destroyed during the demolition process.[66][67] In addition, the demolition of the Bonwit Teller store was criticized for a contractor's use of some 200 undocumented Polish immigrant workers, who, during the rushed demolition process, were reportedly paid 4–5 dollars per hour for work in 12-hour shifts.[68][69] Trump testified in 1990 that 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 judge ruled in 1991 that the builders engaged in "a conspiracy to deprive the funds of their rightful contribution", referring to the pension and welfare funds of the labor unions.[70] However, the record became sealed when long-running labor lawsuit was settled in 1999, after 16 years in court.[68][69]

Trump Taj Mahal

Main article: Trump Taj Mahal

The Trump Taj Mahal is a casino on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. The casino was opened by then-owner Donald Trump in April 1990, and was built at a total cost of nearly one billion dollars. Financed with $675 million in junk bonds[71] at a 14% interest rate, the project entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year,[72] with Trump ceding 50% equity ownership to bondholders.[71][73] The property was repurchased in 1996 and consolidated into Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, which filed for bankruptcy in 2004 with $1.8 billion in debt, filing again for bankruptcy five years later with $50 million in assets and $500 million in debt. The restructuring ultimately left Trump with 10% ownership in the Trump Taj Mahal and other Trump casino properties.[73] Trump served as chairman of the organization, which was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts, from mid-1995 until early 2009, and served as CEO from mid-2000 to mid-2005.[74]

Its sister property, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, closed in September 2014. In November 2014, the Trump Taj Mahal threatened to close and cease casino and hotel operations by the end of the year if the union would not drop its appeal of the casino's bankruptcy ruling, rebuffing their demand for continued health insurance and pension coverage. On December 18, 2014 the Trump Taj Mahal reached an agreement with its union and kept the casino open, but did not restore the contested benefits.

In February 2016, the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Entertainment Resorts were purchased by billionaire Carl Icahn and exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[55]

Golf courses

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]

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

In 2006, Trump bought the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, creating a highly controversial[77] golf resort, against the wishes of local residents, on an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[78][79] You've Been Trumped was an independent documentary by British filmmaker Anthony Baxter in 2011 that chronicled the golf resort's construction and the subsequent struggles between the locals and Donald Trump.[80] Despite Trump's promises of 6,000 jobs, by his own admission, a decade later, the Scotland golf course has created only 200 jobs.[81]

In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota.[82][83] In June 2015, Trump's appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm (Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm) within sight of the golf links was denied.[84]

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 in the case of Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd v The Scottish Ministers. 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."[85]

Branding and licensing

Trump has marketed his name on a large number of building projects as well as commercial products and services, achieving mixed success doing so for himself, his partners, and investors in the projects.[86][87] 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),[2] Trump Restaurants (located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump[3] (an online travel search engine[88][89][90]), Select By Trump (a line of coffee drinks),[91] Trump Drinks (an energy drink for the Israeli and Palestinian markets)[92][93][94][95] 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,[96] Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump Home (home furnishings),[97] Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump: The Game (1989 board game with a 2005 re-release version tied to The Apprentice),[89] Donald Trump's Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Mortgage, Trump Network (a multi-level vitamin, cosmetic, and urinalysis marketing company),[98][99] Trump Vodka,[97][100][101] Trump Steakhouse[88][102] and Trump Steaks.[89] In addition, Trump reportedly received $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he did for The Learning Annex.[103] Trump also endorsed ACN Inc., a multi-level marketing telecommunications company. He has spoken at ACN International Training Events at which he praised the company's founders, business model and video phone.[104] He earned a total $1.35 million for three speeches given for the company, amounting to $450,000 per speech.[92][105][106][107][108][109][110]

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.[111] Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects.[112] For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name.[112] 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[113] 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."[114][115]

Net worth

Unlike past Presidential candidates, Trump has never publicly verified his income claims by releasing his tax returns;[116] "I try to pay as little tax as possible ... It's a little tax," Trump told an interviewer in January 2016, while saying he was preparing the documents for release in the near future and claiming to have filed "big returns."[117] Former GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is among those who have questioned Trump's purported wealth and his unwillingness to release his tax returns, suggesting Trump might be wary of revealing a potential electoral "bombshell".[118][119][120][121] In the wake of Romney's accusation, Trump said during a February 25, 2016 debate that he was currently subject to an Internal Revenue Service audit going back "two or three years,"[122] later saying the audit affected "four or five" years,[59] and that he had been audited every year for the past 12 years.[123] Trump later told CNN he suspected the government's scrutiny was due to religion, because he was a "strong Christian."[124] As he was "in the midst of negotiating and talking with the IRS" over tax obligations going back several years, he would neither reveal recent returns nor records for audited years he had "passed" because such records "mesh" and "interrelate" with current disputed IRS filings.[124] Tax experts observed that the normal statute of limitations for IRS audits is three years, and an inquiry involving four or five years of returns might indicate substantial under-reporting or evidence of fraud, in which case normal statutes of limitations do not apply.[59]

Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 as having an estimated $200 million fortune, including a share of his father's estimated $200 million net worth.[125] After several years on the list, Trump's financial indiscipline in the 1980s caused him to be dropped from 1990 to 1995, and reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings' trusts in 1993;[125] in 2005, The New York Times referred to Trump's "verbal billions" in a skeptical article about Trump's self-reported wealth.[125] At the time, three individuals with direct knowledge of Trump's finances told reporter Timothy L. O'Brien that Trump's actual net worth was between $150 and $250 million, though Trump then publicly claimed a net worth of $5 to $6 billion.[125] Claiming libel, Trump sued the reporter (and his book publisher) for $5 billion, lost the case, and then lost again on appeal; Trump refused to turn over his unredacted tax returns despite his assertion they supported his case.[126] In a sworn deposition, Trump testified that he once borrowed $9.6 million from his father, calling it "a very small amount of money," but could not recall when he did so;[127] Trump has since told campaign audiences he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father,[127] which he paid back with interest: "it has not been easy for me," Trump told one New Hampshire crowd.[128]

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."[129] (Presidential candidates are expected 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 which claimed a $7 billion net worth.[130]

Estimates of Trump's net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: in 2015, Forbes pegged it as $4 billion,[131] while the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (which scrutinized Trump's FEC filings) estimated a net worth of $2.9 billion.[132] 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"[133] stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000.[134] "I'm really rich," Trump said.[133] Forbes called the nearly $9 billion figure a "100%" exaggeration.[135] In June 2015, Business Insider published Trump's June 2014 financial statement, noting that $3.3 billion of that total 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."[136] In July 2015, Federal election regulators released new details of Trump's self-reported 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.[137][138] Mortgages on Trump's major properties—including Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street, and the Trump National Doral golf course—each fall into the "above $50 million" range, the highest reportable category on FEC filings, with Trump paying interest rates ranging from 4% to 7.125%.[139] (Mortgages on those three properties were separately reported as $100 million, $160 million, and $125 million in 2013.[140]) Other outstanding Trump mortgages and debts are pegged to current market interest rates.[139] A 2012 report from Trump's accounting firm estimated $451.7 million in debt and other collateral obligations.[140] Filings in 2015 revealed debt of $504 million, according to Fortune magazine.[57]

A July 2015 campaign press release, issued one month after Trump announced his presidential run, said that the FEC filing "was not designed for a man of Mr. Trump's massive wealth"[139] and that his "net worth is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS" (emphasis in original document).[138][141] However, Trump has testified that "my net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings—even my own feelings."[142] On the same day, Trump's own stated estimates of his net worth have varied by as much as $3.3 billion.[125] Trump has also acknowledged that past exaggerated estimates of his wealth have been "good for financing."[143] 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."[135] 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.[144] 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.[145]


According to a July 2015 press release by Trump's campaign, a portion of Trump's fortune is 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 was not 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.[146] In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.[147] Trump also has US$9 million invested in hedge funds.[148] 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.[113]


Trump at a baseball game in 2009

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.[149]

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.[150]

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,[151] hosting Tyson's fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.[152]

Beauty pageants

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

From 1996 until 2015, when he sold his interests to WME/IMG,[153] 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."[154]

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.[155][156] Trump told People magazine in July 2015 that the lawsuit against Univision was "part of the [presidential] campaign."[157] 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,[157] though it was not immediately clear whether Trump had filed lawsuits against NBC or merely threatened to do so.[158] He sold his own interests in the pageant shortly afterwards.[153]


Trump's hotel and casino businesses have been declared bankrupt four times between 1991 and 2009 to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds.[159][160] Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws — they’re very good for me" as a tool for trimming debt.[161][162]

According to a report by Forbes in 2011, the four bankruptcies 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).[163][164] 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."[72] He indicated that other "great entrepreneurs" do the same.[163]


In 1991, Trump Taj Mahal was unable to service its debt and filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[72] 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.[165]


On November 2, 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Trump lost his 49 percent stake in the luxury hotel to Citibank and five other lenders.[166] In return Trump received 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.[167]


Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino closed its doors in 2014

By 1994, Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt through sales of his Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza assets,[168] and significantly reduced his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. Although he lost the Trump Princess yacht and the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he did retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of three casinos in Atlantic City, including Trump's Castle. Trump sold his ownership of West Side Yards (now Riverside South, Manhattan) to Chinese developers including Hong Kong's New World Development, receiving a premium price in exchange for the use and display of the name "Trump" on the buildings.[169]


Donald Trump's third corporate bankruptcy was on October 21, 2004, involving Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, the publicly-traded holding company for his three Atlantic City casinos and some others.[170] Trump lost over half of his 56% ownership and gave bondholders stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. No longer CEO, Trump retained a role as chairman of the board. In May 2005[171] the company emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.[172] 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.'"[173]


Trump's fourth corporate bankruptcy occurred in 2009, when Trump and his daughter Ivanka resigned from the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts; four days later the company, which owed investors $1.74 billion against its $2.06 billion of assets, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At that time, Trump Entertainment Resorts had three properties in Atlantic City: Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (closed in 2014), and Trump Marina (formerly Trump's Castle, sold in 2011). Trump and some investors bought the company back that same year for $225 million. As part of the agreement, Trump withdrew a $100 million lawsuit he had filed against the casino's owners alleging damage to the Trump brand. Trump re-negotiated the debt, reducing by over $1 billion the repayments required to bondholders.[174][175]

Trump Entertainment Resorts filed again for bankruptcy in 2014[176] and was purchased by billionaire philanthropist Carl Icahn in 2016, who acquired Trump Taj Mahal in the deal.[55]

In 2014, Trump sued his former company to remove his name from the buildings since he no longer ran the company, having no more than a 10% stake; he lost the suit.[177]

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[178]), 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!.[179][180][181][182][183] He also had a cameo in an episode of the television series Sex and the City.[184] Trump is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000 every year.[185][186]

The Apprentice

Trump posing with guest basketball 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."[4][5][6]

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 a July 2015 press release, Trump's campaign manager claimed that NBCUniversal had paid him $213,606,575 for his 14 seasons hosting the show, although the network did not verify the claim.[187] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).[87]

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.[188] Eleven days later, Trump stated that he was "not ready" to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run.[189] Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production.[190] 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.[191] According to a campaign press release, during the 14 seasons of The Apprentice, Trump was paid $213,606,575.[56]

World Wrestling Entertainment

Trump has been publicly shown to be a World Wrestling Entertainment fan and is a 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.[192] 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"). He also appeared in WrestleMania VII. Trump was interviewed by Jesse Ventura ringside at WrestleMania XX.[193]

He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called "The Battle of the Billionaires."[192] 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.[192] 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.[192] Lashley won the match, and he and Trump shaved McMahon bald.[192]

On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had "sold" the show to Trump.[192] 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.[192] McMahon "bought back" Raw the following week for twice the price.[192]

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.[194]

Trump Model Management

In 1999, Donald Trump founded a modeling company, Trump Model Management, which operates in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City.[195] Together with another Trump company, Trump Management Group LLC, Trump Model Management has brought nearly 250 foreign fashion models to the US to work in the fashion industry since 2000.[196] The company has a reputation for premier models. In 2014, president of Trump Model Management Corrine Nicolas, other managers, and the company were sued by one of the agencies former models, Alexia Palmer, alleging racketeering, breach of contract, mail fraud, and violating immigrant wage laws.[197]


Trump has described his political leanings and positions in various, sometimes contradictory ways over time.[198][199][200][201] Politico has described his positions as "eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory."[201] He has listed his party affiliation as Republican, Independence Party, Democrat, and "decline to state."[201][202] He has also run as a Reform Party candidate.[202] Specifically, he has changed his positions on taxing the wealthy, abortion rights and health care.[201]

Trump declaring party loyalty, September 3, 2015, Trump Tower

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.[203] After 2011, his campaign contributions were more favorable to Republicans than to Democrats.[204]

Trump was an early supporter of Republican Ronald Reagan for U.S. president,[205] and in February 2012 endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.[206] When asked in 2015 which recent president was best, Trump picked Democrat Bill Clinton over Republicans George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.[207][208] The Clintons' foundation has received between $100,000 and $250,000 from Trump,[209] and they attended Trump's 2005 wedding reception.[210] Trump wrote in 2008 that Hillary Clinton would be a "great president or vice-president."[211]

Trump's party affiliation has changed over the years. Until 1987, he was a Democrat;[3] then he was a Republican from 1987 to 1999.[2] He then switched to the Reform Party from 1999 to 2001.[2] After a presidential exploratory campaign with the Reform Party, he wrote an OpEd in the New York Times stating that he was leaving the Reform Party because of the involvement of "David Duke, Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep."[212] From 2001 to 2009 he was a Democrat again;[2] he switched to the Republican Party again from 2009 to 2011.[2] An independent from 2011 to 2012, he returned to the Republican Party in 2012, where he has remained.[2]

Political positions

Trump's politics have been described as populist,[213] nativist,[217] protectionist,[220] and authoritarian.[223] Others have described him as a moderate Republican.[224]

On social issues, Trump describes himself as pro-life[225] and would ban late-term abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or health.[225] During a televised town hall event, Trump said "there has to be some sort of punishment" for the woman having an abortion, in a hypothetical situation in which abortion were outlawed. He later retracted the statement in response to outcry from his rivals and pro-life groups.[226] He is in favor of cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood.[227] Trump supports the Second Amendment, is opposed to gun control in general,[225][228] and has a New York concealed carry permit.[229] He supports fixing the federal background check system so that criminal and mental health records are always put into the system.[228] Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana,[230] while being supportive of states' rights.[230] Trump has stated that he supports traditional marriage.[231] 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."[225][232]

Trump has demonstrated his support of capital punishment both through his campaign speeches,[233] and through full-page ads he purchased in 1989 in New York City.[237]

Regarding healthcare and education, 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.[238] 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.[239] Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools.[240] He opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative for primary and secondary schools,[225][241] and has called Common Core "a disaster" that must be ended.[242]

Trump's views on immigration, free trade, and military interventionism, as well as his support for social security, has often put him in conflict with Republican Party establishment consensus.[214] He identifies as a "free trader", but says that trade must be "reasonably fair".[243] His campaign's tax plan calls for reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% concurrent with the elimination of various loopholes and deductions.[244] Trump believes the minimum wage should not be raised because increasing it would hurt America's economic competitiveness.[245]

On the issue of immigration, Trump has emphasized U.S. border security. During his first town hall campaign meeting in Derry, New Hampshire Trump said that if he won the election, "Day 1 of my presidency, illegal immigrants are getting out and getting out fast."[246] Trump opposes birthright citizenship, arguing that it is not or should not be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[247][248] On people already illegally in the United States, Trump has variously said they should all be deported, that all should be deported but some could return, that only some should be deported, or that the decision should be made after the border has been strengthened.[198]

Regarding the environment, Trump 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.[249] He has called global warming "a total hoax."[231]

On foreign policy, Trump has been described as non-interventionalist[214][250] and nationalist.[251] He supports increasing U.S. military defense spending,[251] but favors decreasing U.S. spending on NATO.[252] Trump has at various times said he favored sending U.S. troops as well as opposed sending U.S. troops to defeat the Islamic State.[198] In a 2002 interview, Trump said he favored invading Iraq. On February 18, 2016, he said that by the time the invasion occurred, he had become an opponent.[253] In 2008, Trump said that George W. Bush should have been impeached for the war.[254] Regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Trump has stated the importance of being a neutral party during potential negotiations, while also having stated that he is "a big fan of Israel." He endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013.[255] Trump has been critical of Pakistan, comparing it to North Korea, describing it as "probably the most dangerous country" in the world, and saying that Pakistan's nuclear weapons posed a "serious problem." He has advocated improving relations with India as a "check" to Pakistan.[256]

Presidential leanings, 1988–2012

Trump first expressed interest in running for office in 1987, when he spent $100,000 to place full page ads critiquing U.S. defense policy in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.[257][258]

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.[259][260] 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.[261] In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000.[262][263] 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.[264] Though he dropped out of the race due to party infighting, Trump still won the party's California and Michigan primaries.[265][266][267][268]

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.[269]

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.[270] 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.[271] 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.[272][273] His moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.[274][275][276] On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president.[274] Public Policy Polling described the events of May 2011 as "one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of presidential politics."[277]

Between presidential announcements, 2011–15

In April 2011, Trump questioned President Barack Obama's proof of citizenship,[278] alleging that "his grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya, and she was there and witnessed the birth."[279] (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.)[280] Trump also questioned whether Obama had good enough grades to warrant entry to Harvard Law School.[281] Trump is said to have sent a team of private investigators to Hawaii, Obama's documented birthplace,[280] and told The Today Show "they cannot believe what they're finding."[282] On April 25, 2011, Trump called for Obama to end the citizenship issue by releasing the long form of his birth certificate.[283][284] 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.[285] 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?"[286] 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."[287][288]

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.[289][290] Statements of Trump's hinting that vaccination would cause autism were subject to criticism in various media by the scientific community.[291][292] He has also been criticized for climate change-denying statements, because they are discordant with the opinion of the scientific community.[293]

In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[294] The speech was not well attended.[295] He spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States.[296] 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.[297] In February 2015, Trump opted not to renew his television contract for The Apprentice, generating speculation that he might run for president in 2016.[298]

Presidential campaign, 2016

Trump campaigning in Las Vegas, February 2016

On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Trump Tower in New York City. Trump drew attention to domestic issues such as illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism, in a campaign strongly emphasized by the slogan "Make America Great Again."[299]

Trump runs as a self-described conservative, particularly as it relates to fiscal and religious matters. As it extends to social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, some political analysts infer Trump to be a "moderate."[citation needed] He campaigns on a platform that puts great emphasis on American patriotism, with a significant disdain for political correctness.[307] He is running counter to the Republican establishment, which widely opposes his candidacy, doubting his chances of winning the general election and fearing he could cause significant change to the image of the Republican Party.[308] However, Trump's candidacy has largely succeeded, partly because of widespread media coverage, his ability to self-finance his campaign and not be reliant on super PACs, frequent endorsements, and the idea that he and his supporters call "telling it like it is."[320]

Although many of Trump's proposed policies largely appeal to working-class voters, political pundits deem some of them highly controversial and unrealistic, including the deportation of around 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., the erection of a substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border, expanded use of aggressive interrogation techniques, and a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.[328] Trump's persona has also come under fire, with political contenders describing him as "divisive", "unserious", and a "bully", denouncing the frequent personal attacks he makes on journalists, politicians, and competing candidates.[340]

Trump has also employed strong rhetoric on religion, and has strongly supported Christian groups in the U.S., claiming that he will reverse unfavourable tax treatments preventing them from expressing themselves in the political arena and promising to revive a more widespread use of the phrase "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" in department stores. Other issues he highlights include taking care of military veterans, making the military "strong", aggressive bombing of the Mideast terrorist group ISIS, surveillance of certain mosques in the U.S., and getting trade agreements more favorable to American workers.[345]

By early 2016, the race had mostly centered on Trump and Ted Cruz.[346] On Super Tuesday, Trump won the majority of the delegates and continued to remain the front-runner throughout the presidential primaries. By March 2016, Trump reached over 50% in national support and became poised to win the Republican nomination.[349]

In response to recent radical Islamic terrorist attacks, Trump proposed "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on." The proposal drew wide criticism from sources both within the U.S. and abroad–including unusual sources such as foreign leaders, and leaders of Trump's own party.[350][351] Figures in the Republican 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."[352] The Washington Post reported that, "Donald Trump [was] featured in new jihadist recruitment video."[353]

During a Fox News debate, when asked about the feasibility of his plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States (approximately 100,000 Muslim immigrants are admitted to the U.S. each year),[354] 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.[355][356] Following Trump's controversial comments on Muslim immigration, the UK House of Commons held a debate on whether to ban Trump from entering the United Kingdom (UK), after a petition was filed on Parliament's e-petition website and signed by over 500,000.[357][358] The debate concluded without a vote on the matter.[359]

Personal life

Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka in 2016 (top) and second-oldest son Eric in 2010 (bottom) serve as executive vice presidents of The Trump Organization along with Donald, Jr.


Trump has had three marriages, the first two ending in divorce, which have been well documented in the tabloid media.[360] His personal life has gained extensive media coverage.[361]

Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, at age 30 on April 7, 1977 at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.[362] They had 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.[363] 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.[364][365] 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.[18][366] The couple divorced in 1991.[367] In 1992, Donald Trump sued Ivana for $25 million, alleging that she was not honoring a gag clause in their divorce agreement by disclosing facts about him.[368][369][370][371][372]

Maples gave birth to their daughter Tiffany on October 13, 1993. They married two months later on December 20, 1993.[373] The couple formally separated in May 1997,[374] with their divorce finalized in June 1999.[375][376]

Trump's wife Melania, at a campaign appearance in 2016

In 1998, Trump began a relationship with Slovenian-born fashion model Melania Knauss.[377][378] They became engaged in April 2004[379] 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.[380][381][382] In 2006, Melania became a naturalized U.S. citizen.[378] In March 2006, she gave birth to their son named Barron William Trump.[383][384] (Trump had previously used the pseudonym "John Baron" in some business deals and when communicating with journalists.[16][68][385]) Having spoken the language since his childhood, Barron is fluent in Slovenian.[386] 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."[387]

Trump has eight grandchildren: five from his son Donald Jr. (Kai Madison, Donald John III, Tristan Milos, Spencer Frederick, and Chloe Sophia)[388][389][390] and three from his daughter Ivanka (Arabella Rose, Joseph Frederick, and Theodore James).[391][392][393]

Other relationships

Trump has said of his early dating life that he felt "like a great and very brave soldier" and "lucky" to have avoided the contraction of AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, calling it his own "personal Vietnam".[394] "If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller", Trump wrote in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback.[395] He was rumored to have dated models such as Carla Bruni in the early 1990s[396][397] and Kara Young in the mid to late 1990s[398]—although Bruni vehemently denied the rumors, stating that she had met Trump only once at a charity event[399]—and was known to have "bombarded" Princess Diana with expensive floral arrangements after her 1996 divorce from Prince Charles.[400] "I only have one regret in the women department – that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer," Trump wrote in 1997. "I met her on a number of occasions … She was a genuine princess – a dream lady."[401] According to his former construction executive Barbara Res, Trump, using a pseudonym, leaked to the media a rumor that Diana was seeking to buy an apartment in Trump Tower, knowing Buckingham Palace would issue only a "no comment" statement. "He was brilliant at stuff like that," Res said.[385] In 1994, The New York Times reported that Diana and Prince Charles, who had recently separated, had independently paid $50,000 to become members of Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club, with Trump quoted saying he had "handled the applications myself".[402] After Buckingham Palace called the report "complete and utter rubbish", Trump stated that he had made Charles and Diana honorary members but they had not responded to his offer.[402][403] Speaking on The Howard Stern Show three years after Diana's death, Trump said he would have slept with her "without hesitation" and that "she had the height, she had the beauty, she had the skin," while adding that "she was crazy, but these are minor details."[404]

Religious views

Trump is a Presbyterian.[405] 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."[406][407] Trump told a 2015 South Carolina campaign audience he attends Marble Collegiate Church, where he married his first wife Ivana in 1977. The church has said he is "not an active member."[408] Trump has said that although he participates in Holy Communion, he has not asked God for forgiveness for his sins. He stated, "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture."[409]

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."[22] 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."[410][411] Declining to name his favorite Bible verse, Trump said "I don't like giving that out to people that you hardly know."[408]

Trump maintains relationships with several prominent national evangelical and Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins and Ralph Reed.[412] During his 2016 presidential campaign, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson.[413]

In February 2016, the mainsteam media issued reports of Pope Francis suggesting that Donald Trump was "not Christian" because of his advocacy for a border wall to keep out undocumented immigrants.[414] "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not about building bridges, is not a true Christian. This is not in the Gospel," the Pope replied to a reporter's questions about Trump, adding "we must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt."[415] Trump called the Pope's criticism "disgraceful" in a Facebook post, suggesting that the Mexican government was "using the Pope as a pawn" for political purposes[416] "because they want to continue to rip off the United States."[417] Trump said that "if and when" the Islamic State (ISIL) attacks the Vatican, the Pope would have "wished and prayed" Trump were President because under Trump's leadership, such an attack would not happen.[417] Shortly thereafter, Director of the Holy See Press Office Federico Lombardi insisted that the Pope was "in no way" launching an attack on Donald Trump nor was he trying to sway voters by declaring someone who advocates building walls isn't Christian.[418] The spokesman clarified that "the Pope has made it clear that would not enter into the [presidential] election campaign in the United States." After the clarification by Lombardi, Trump retracted his criticism of the Pope: "I don't think this is a fight," said Trump. "I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media."[419]

Trump has ties to the Jewish-American community.[420] At an Algemeiner Journal awards ceremony honoring him with the Algemeiner Liberty Award, he was asked 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."[421]

In popular culture

Trump has appeared in the Doonesbury comic strip by Garry Trudeau since 1987.[422][423] The depictions prompted a caustic response from Trump.[424][425]

Trump and members of his family have been parodied on Saturday Night Live since 1988, and he has hosted the show twice, in April 2004 and November 2015.[426] The 2015 episode had the highest ratings of a Saturday Night Live episode since December 21, 2013.[427]

In 1991, Libby Handros made a documentary entitled Trump: What's the Deal?, about Trump in the 1980s and 1990s.[428]

In March 2000, the plot of The Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future" included Lisa succeeding Trump as President of the United States of America.[429]

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.[430]

In April 2011, Trump attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner, featuring comedian Seth Meyers. President Barack Obama used the occasion to present several prepared jokes mocking Trump.[431]

You've Been Trumped, a 2011 documentary film by Anthony Baxter, follows the development of a Scottish golf resort.[97][432][433][434][435][436] When it was announced that the documentary was to be given its UK television première on BBC Two on October 21, 2012,[437] Trump's lawyers contacted the BBC to demand that the film should not be shown, claiming it was defamatory and misleading. The screening went ahead, with the BBC defending the decision and stating that Trump had refused the opportunity to take part in the film.[438]

Trump sued comedian Bill Maher for $5 million in 2013. Maher had appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and had offered to pay $5 million to a charity if Trump produced his birth certificate to prove that Trump's mother had not mated with an orangutan. This was said by Maher in response to Trump having previously challenged Obama to produce his birth certificate, and offering $5 million payable to a charity of Obama's choice, if Obama produced his college applications, transcripts, and passport records.[439][440] Trump produced his birth certificate and filed a lawsuit after Maher was not forthcoming, claiming that Maher's $5 million offer was legally binding. "I don't think he was joking," Trump said. "He said it with venom."[439] Trump withdrew his lawsuit against the comedian after eight weeks.[441]

Legal affairs

Over the course of his career, Trump has been involved in a number of lawsuits, including over 150 lawsuits in US federal courts and over 150 lawsuits in Broward County Court (in Florida) since 1983.[442][443][444] Of Trump's involvement in many lawsuits, his lawyer Alan Garten said in 2015 that this was "a natural part of doing business in [the United States]."[445][446]


In 1973, the Justice Department sued the Trump Management Corporation for alleged racial discrimination, which Trump's company disputed. The corporation was charged with quoting different rental terms and conditions to blacks and making false "no vacancy" statements to blacks for apartments they managed in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.[447] In response, Trump sued the government for $100 million, asserting that the charges were irresponsible and baseless.[448] The ensuing countersuit was thrown out of court.[449] The corporation settled out of court in 1975, promising not to discriminate against minorities. In addition, the corporation was required to send a bi-weekly list of vacancies to the New York Urban League, a civil rights group and give them priority for certain locations.[450] In 1978, the Justice Department sued Trump Management in Brooklyn for not satisfying the requirements of the 1975 settlement following allegations of discriminatory housing practices.[451]

In 1985, New York City brought a lawsuit against Donald Trump for allegedly using tactics to force out tenants of 100 Central Park South,[452] which he intended to demolish together with the building next door. After ten years in court, the two sides negotiated a deal allowing the building to stand as condominiums.[453]

In 1988, the Justice Department sued Donald Trump for violating procedures related to public notifications when buying voting stock in a company related to his attempted takeovers of Holiday Corporation and Bally Manufacturing Corporation in 1986. On April 5, 1988, Trump agreed to pay $750,000 to settle the civil penalties of the antitrust lawsuit.[454]

In late 1990, Donald Trump was sued $2 million by a business analyst for defamation, and Trump settled out of court.[455] Briefly before Trump's Taj Mahal opened in April 1990, the analyst had said that the project would fail by the end of that year. Trump threatened to sue the analyst's firm unless the analyst recanted or was fired. The analyst refused to retract the statements, and his firm fired him for ostensibly unrelated reasons.[456] Trump Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy in November 1990, the first of several such bankruptcies.[457] After, the NYSE ordered the firm to compensate the analyst $750,000; the analyst did not release the details of his settlement with Donald Trump.[458]

In 1991, Donald Trump sued the manufacturers of a helicopter that crashed in 1989, killing three executives of his New Jersey hotel casino business.[459] The helicopter fell 2,800 feet after the main four-blade rotor and tail rotor broke off the craft, killing Jonathan Benanav, an executive of Trump Plaza, and two others: Mark Grossinger Etess, president of Trump Taj Mahal, and Stephen F. Hyde, chief executive of the Atlantic City casinos.[460][461][462] Since one of the defendants was allegedly owned by the Italian government, the case moved to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed the case in 1992.[463]

Trump Plaza was fined $200,000 in 1991 by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission for moving African-American and female employees from craps tables in order to accommodate high roller Robert LiButti, a mob figure and alleged John Gotti associate, who was said to fly into fits of racist rage when he was on losing streaks.[464]

In 1991, one of Trump's casinos in Atlantic City, NJ, was found guilty of circumventing state regulations about casino financing when Donald Trump's father bought $3.5 million in chips that he had no plans to gamble. Trump Castle was forced to pay a $30,000 fine under the settlement, according to New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director Jack Sweeney. Trump was not disciplined for the illegal advance on his inheritance, which was not confiscated.[465]

In 1993, Donald Trump sued Jay Pritzker, a Chicago financier and Trump's business partner since 1979 on the Grand Hyatt hotel. Trump alleged that Pritzker overstated earnings in order to collect excessive management fees.[466] In 1994, Pritzker sued Trump for violating their agreement by, among other ways, failing to remain solvent.[467] The two parties ended the feud in 1995 in a sealed settlement, in which Trump retained some control of the hotel and Pritzker would receive reduced management fees and pay Trump's legal expenses.[468]

Vera Coking sued Trump and his demolition contractor for damage to her home during construction of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. In 1997, she dropped the suit against Trump and settled with his contractor for $90,000.[469] Coking had refused to sell her home to Trump and ultimately won a 1998 Supreme Court decision which prevented Atlantic City from using eminent domain to condemn her property.[470][471]

In the late 1990s, Donald Trump and rival Atlantic City casino owner Stephen Wynn engaged in an extended legal conflict during the planning phase of new casinos Wynn had proposed to build. Both owners filed lawsuits against one another and other parties, including the State of New Jersey, beginning with Wynn's antitrust accusation against Trump.[472][473] After two years in court, Wynn's Mirage casino sued Trump in 1999 alleging that his company had engaged in a conspiracy to harm Mirage and steal proprietary information, primarily lists of wealthy Korean gamblers. In response, Trump's attorneys claimed that Trump's private investigator dishonored his contract by working as a "double agent" for Stephen Wynn's Mirage casino by secretly taping conversations with Trump. All the cases were settled at the same time on the planned day of an evidentiary hearing in court in February 2000, which was never held.[474]


In 2000, Donald Trump paid $250,000 to settle fines related to charges brought by New York State Lobbying Commission director David Grandeau. Trump was charged with circumventing state law to spend $150,000 lobbying against government approval of plans to construct an Indian-run casino in the Catskills, which would have diminished casino traffic to Trump's casinos in Atlantic City.[475][476]

In 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., alleging that the company had committed several "misleading statements in the company's third-quarter 1999 earnings release." Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. did not deny the charge, and consented to the Commission's cease-and-desist order.[477][478][479]

Trump sued Leona Helmsley,[480] and Helmsley counter-sued Trump[481] due to contentions regarding ownership and operation of the Empire State Building. In 2002, Trump announced that he and his Japanese business partners, were selling the Empire State Building to partners of his rival Leona Helmsley.[482][483]

In 2004, Donald Trump sued Richard T. Fields in Broward County Circuit Court (in Florida); Fields was once Trump's business partner in the casino business, but had recently become a successful casino developer in Florida apart from Trump. Fields counter-sued Trump in Florida court. Trump alleged that Fields misled other parties into believing he still consulted for Trump, and Fields alleged improprieties in Trump's business.[484] The two businessmen agreed in 2008 to drop the lawsuits when Fields agreed to buy Trump Marina in Atlantic City, N.J. for $316 million,[485] but the deal was unsettled again in 2009 because Trump resigned his leadership of Trump Entertainment after Fields lowered his bid.[486] Fields never bought the company, which went into bankruptcy about the same time and was sold for $38 million.[487][488] Trump's lawsuit was dismissed after a hearing in 2010.[489]

In 2006, the town of Palm Beach began fining Trump $250 per day for ordinance violations related to his erection of an 80-foot-tall (24 m) flagpole flying a 15 by 25 feet (4.6 by 7.6 m) American flag on his property. Trump sued the town for $25 million, saying that they abridged his free speech, also disputing an ordinance that local businesses be "town-serving". The two parties settled as part of a court-ordered mediation, in which Trump was required to donate $100,000 to veterans' charities. At the same time, the town ordinance was modified allowing Trump to enroll out-of-town members in his Mar-a-Lago social club.[490]

In 2008, Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit for alleged fraud and civil rights violations[491] against the California city of Rancho Palos Verdes, over thwarted luxury home development and expansion plans upon part of a landslide-prone golf course in the area, which was purchased by Trump in 2002 for $27 million.[491] 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.[491] The $100 million 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).[492][493] Trump ultimately opted for a permanent conservation easement instead of expanded housing development on the course's driving range.[494]

In 2009, Donald Trump sued a law firm he had used, Morrison Cohen, for $5 million for mentioning his name and providing links to related news articles on its website. This lawsuit followed a lawsuit by Trump alleging overcharging by the law firm, and a countersuit by Morrison Cohen seeking unpaid legal fees.[162] The suit was dismissed in a 15-page ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten, who ruled that the links to news articles concerned "matters of public interest."[495]

In 2009, Trump was sued by investors who had made deposits for condos in the canceled Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico.[496] The investors said that Trump 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.[497] Investors were informed that their investments would not be returned due to the cancellation of construction.[496] In 2013, Trump settled the lawsuit with more than one hundred prospective condo owners for an undisclosed amount.[498]


In 2004, the Trump Organization partnered with Bayrock Group LLC on a $200 million hotel and condo project in Fort Lauderdale Beach, to be called Trump International Hotel & Tower. After proceeding five years, real estate market devaluation stymied the project in 2009 and Trump dissolved his licensing deal, demanding that his name be removed from the building. Soon after this, the project defaulted on a $139 million loan in 2010.[499] Investors later sued the developers for fraud. Trump petitioned to have his name removed from the suit, saying he had only lent his name to the project. However his request was refused since he had participated in advertising for it.[86] The insolvent building project spawned over 10 lawsuits, some of which were still not settled in early 2016.[500]

After the 2008 housing-market collapse, Deutsche Bank attempted to collect $40 million that Donald Trump personally guaranteed against their $640 million loan for Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Rather than paying the debt, Trump sued Deutsche Bank for $3 billion for undermining the project and damage to his reputation.[501] Deutsche Bank then filed suit to obtain the $40 million. The two parties settled in 2010 with Deutsche Bank extending the loan term by five years.[502]

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 (2005), that Trump's true net worth was really between $150 and $250 million. Trump had reportedly told O'Brien he was worth billions and, in 2005, had publicly stated such.[503] Trump said that the author's alleged underestimation of his net worth was motivated by malice and had cost him business deals and damage to his reputation.[504] The appellate court, however, ruled against Trump, citing the consistency of O'Brien's three confidential sources.[505]

In 2013, in a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Trump was accused 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.[506][507][508] 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.[509][510][511] Although Trump has claimed a 98% approval rating on course evaluations, former students recounted high-pressure tactics from instructors seeking the highest possible ratings, including threats of withholding graduation certificates,[512] and more than 2,000 students had sought and received course refunds before the end of their paid seminars.[512] In a separate class action civil suit against Trump University in mid-February 2014, a San Diego federal judge allowed claimants in California, Florida, and New York to proceed;[513] 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.[514] Trump 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.[497] Trump University was later ordered by a U.S. District Judge in April 2015 to pay Makaeff and her lawyers $798,774.24 in legal fees and costs.[497][515]

In 2011, Donald Trump sued Scotland for building a wind farm after assuring him it would not be built. He had recently built a golf course there and planned to build an adjacent hotel. The suit was dismissed in favor of Scotland by the Scottish Supreme Court.[516][517]

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. The Trump Organization'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.[518] 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.[519] As part of the settlement, Monnin was not required to retract her original statements.[518][520]

In 2014, model Alexia Palmer filed a civil suit against Trump Model Management for promising a $75,000 annual salary but paying only $3,380.75 for three years' work. Palmer, who came to the US at age 17 from Jamaica under the H-1B visa program in 2011,[521] 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."[522][523] Palmer has now filed a class-action lawsuit against the modeling agency with similar allegations.[524] If approved, the class could include up to 250 other foreign fashion models whom Trump Model Management and another Trump company, Trump Management Group LLC, has attempted to bring to the US since 2000,[525] or up to 1,100 foreign workers for whom Trump's companies filed visa paperwork since 2000 to be employed temporarily as waitresses, cooks, vineyard workers, laborers, managers, superintendents, and fashion models, including at least 850 H-2B visa applications for workers from Mexico.[526]

In 2015, Trump sued Univision for breach of contract and defamation when they dropped their planned broadcast of the Miss USA pageant. The decision was made because of Trump's "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants", according to the network's announcement.[527] Trump settled the $500 million lawsuit with Univision CEO Randy Falco out of court.[528]

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, because he said the airplanes damaged the building and disrupted its ambiance.[529] Trump had previously sued twice over airport noise.[529]

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 in Washington, D.C.[530] Andrés replied that Trump's lawsuit was "both unsurprising and without merit."[531]

Also in July 2015, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian also withdrew from the Washington, D.C., project with José Andrés in the wake of Trump's comments on Mexican illegal immigrants, and is expected to lose his own $500,000 restaurant lease deposit as a result.[531] Trump denounced and then sued Zakarian in August 2015 for a sum "in excess of $10 million" for lost rent and other damages.[532] 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."[532][533]

Trump is suing the town of Ossining, New York over the property tax valuation on his 147-acre Trump National Golf Course, located in Briarcliff Manor in Westchester County, which Trump purchased for around $8 million at a foreclosure sale in the 1990s and to which he claimed, at the club's opening, to have added $45 million in facility improvements.[534] Although Trump stated in his 2015 FEC filing that the property was worth at least $50 million, his lawsuit seeks a $1.4 million valuation on the property, which includes a 75,000 square foot clubhouse, five overnight suites, and permission to build 71 condominium units,[534] in an effort to shave $424,176 from his annual local property tax obligations.[535] Trump filed the action after separately being sued by Briarcliff Manor for "intentional and illegal modifications" to a drainage system which caused more than $238,000 in damage to the town's library, public pool, and park facilities during a 2011 storm.[535]

In September 2015, five men who had demonstrated outside of a Trump presidential campaign event at Trump Tower in New York City sued Donald Trump, alleging that Trump's security staff punched one of them. They also allege that Trump's security guards had been advised by city police that they were permitted to protest there. Several people videotaped the incident.[536][537]

In 2015, restaurant workers at Trump SoHo filed a lawsuit that from 2009 to at least the time of the filing, gratuities added to customers' checks were illegally withheld from employees. The Trump Organization has responded that the dispute is between the employees and their employer, a third-party contractor. Donald Trump has been scheduled to testify in court on September 1, 2016.[538]

Allegations of business links to organized crime

Nicodemo Scarfo

Journalists David Cay Johnston and Wayne Barrett, the latter of whom wrote an unauthorized 1992 Trump biography, have claimed that Trump and his companies did business with New York and Philadelphia families linked to the Italian-American Mafia.[539][540] A reporter for the Washington Post writes, "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."[541] One of these figures, Kenny Shapiro, was a prominent financier for the Scarfo family,[542] but was defended by Trump at public hearings in 1992 when he was applying for casino licenses in New Jersey.[543]

Johnston and Barrett say that 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.[540] Johnston and other investigative reporters also reported 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.[539][541]

Robert LiButti

According to an investigative report by Yahoo News which obtained documents through the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, Robert LiButti was recorded in a September 1990 FBI wiretap telling a Trump casino executive of his close relationships to both Trump and Gotti, invoking the latter's name in connection to members of the Gambino crime family and pressuring Trump for business accommodations.[464] Trump Plaza paid an additional $450,000 fine leveled by the Casino Gaming Commission for giving LiButti $1.6 million in rare automobiles.[464]

Felix Sater

Starting in 2003, the Trump Organization worked with Felix Sater, who was then an executive at Bayrock Group LLC, on at least four projects including Trump SoHo; Trump International Hotel and Residence Phoenix, which failed;[544] Trump International Hotel and Residence Ft. Lauderdale, which collapsed amid allegations of fraud;[545] and an unrealized skyscraper project in Denver. Promoting the Denver project, Sater and Trump[546] travelled to the city[547] and gave an interview on The Rocky Mountain News in 2005.[548] In 2007, information became public regarding Sater's 1998 racketeering conviction for a $40 million Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme. After his conviction, Sater had worked for the authorities as an informant against the mafia. At that point, Trump began to cut ties with Sater, eventually stripping his name from a Ft. Lauderdale-area Sater project in 2009.[86][548][549][550][551] In 2010, Sater was given a business development role at Trump Organization with an office at Trump Tower on the same floor as Trump's office.[549][552]

According to British investigative journalist John Sweeney, Trump walked out of a 2013 interview with Sweeney for the BBC's Panorama series when he asked Trump a question about his relationship with Sater.[550] "Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it", Trump told the AP in December 2015. "I'm not that familiar with him." Trump's attorney said that Sater has "got a lot of contacts" and worked with Trump scouting 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.[549]

Tevfik Arif

In 2005, Trump joined Tevfik Arif and Tamir Sapir, executives of Bayrock LLC, as a full equity partner in a building project in New York City, the 46-story Trump SoHo.[553] The building was finished in 2010.[554] In 2010, Tevfik Arif and nine others were detained by Turkish authorities while aboard an historic yacht with women allegedly acting as prostitutes. Nine women from Russia and the Ukraine were also detained in a bust culminating a seven-month investigation.[555] It was not the first time he had used the yacht for this purpose, and the others who were detained included Russian, Kyrgyz, and Kazakh businessmen and top government officials.[556] In April 2011, Arif was acquitted of the charges that he was operating a prostitution ring, in a judgment that also recorded that all the women aboard the 'Savarona' were age 18 or older.[557]

Campaign contributions

According to a New York state report, Trump circumvented corporate and personal campaign donation limits in the 1980s by donating money to candidates from 18 different business subsidiaries, rather than giving primarily in his own name.[541][558] Trump told investigators he did so on the advice of his lawyers. He also said the contributions were not to curry favor with business-friendly candidates, but simply to satisfy requests from friends.[541][559]

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

Books authored

See also


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Further reading

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Fred Trump
Chairman and President of The Trump Organization