Trump in February 2018
Eric Frederick Trump
January 6, 1984
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Georgetown University|
|Known for||Executive at the Trump Organization|
Former boardroom judge on The Apprentice
|Political party||Republican (2016–present) |
Independent (until 2016)
|Family||See Trump family|
Eric Frederick Trump (born January 6, 1984) is an American businessman and former reality television personality. He is the third child and second son of President Donald Trump and his first wife, Ivana Trump.
A fourth generation businessman (following his great-grandmother Elizabeth, grandfather Fred, and father), he is a trustee and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, running the company alongside his older brother Donald Jr. He also served as a boardroom judge on his father's TV show The Apprentice. During their father's presidency, the brothers continued to do deals and investments in foreign countries, as well as collect payments in their U.S. properties from foreign governments, despite a pledge that they would not do so.
Eric Trump was born in New York City and attended Trinity School. His parents divorced in 1992, when he was eight years old. As a young boy, Trump spent his summers in the Czech countryside near Zlin with his maternal grandparents. His grandfather, Milos Zelnicek, who died in 1990, was an engineer; his grandmother, Maria, was a worker in a shoe factory. His grandfather taught Trump how to hunt and fish.
Trump started accompanying his father to job sites and negotiations from a young age. According to Eric Trump, in his youth he mowed lawns, laid tile, and did other work on his father's properties. Trump briefly considered other careers but decided to join the family business while he was a high school student.
The Trump Organization
Trump is executive vice president of development and acquisitions of the Trump Organization. He worked with his sister, Ivanka, to redesign and renovate Trump National Doral and its Blue Monster course in Miami, Florida.
Amid the Trump–Ukraine scandal—where President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter—Eric Trump strongly criticized Hunter, accusing him of nepotism. Eric claimed that, unlike Hunter, "When my father became president, our family stopped doing international business deals." However, when Donald Trump became president, rather than place his assets in a blind trust, he made Eric a top executive in the family business, which continues to operate and promote deals across the world. PolitiFact and the Washington Post fact-checker rated Eric Trump's assertion that the Trump family "got out of all international business" as false. PolitiFact noted that not only has the Trump family engaged in international business dealings since Trump became president, but that some of the Trump children, including Eric, have openly celebrated their international business activities during that time.
In October 2019, Eric Trump complained about the Bidens, "Why is it that every family goes into politics and enriches themselves?" Shortly before he made that statement, President Trump had decided that the G-7 summit would be held at the Trump Doral resort, which was owned by the Trump family business. President Trump reversed his decision amid bipartisan condemnation from Republicans and Democrats.
The Eric Trump Foundation
In 2007, Eric Trump established the Eric Trump Foundation, a public charity which raised money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee. On November 30, 2012, the foundation committed to raising $20 million over a ten-year period for the naming rights to the new Eric Trump Foundation Surgery & ICU Center in the Kay Research and Care Center, a $198 million tower that was officially opened on February 19, 2015, on the St. Jude campus.
St. Jude stated in 2013 that the 7th Annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational on September 9, 2013, at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff, New York, had "... raised 1.5 million for the kids of St. Jude", for a total of $6 million since 2006. On December 30, 2016, Richard C. Shadyac Jr., the president of the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, wrote a letter to the Eric Trump Foundation stating that the foundation and "... related efforts, such as an Eric Trump Foundation-affiliated team that participates in the New York City Marathon", had raised $16.3 million for the hospital since the charity's inception ten years earlier.
On December 21, 2016, Eric announced that he would stop active fundraising for the Eric Trump Foundation as of December 31. The move came to avoid the appearance that donors were using him to gain access to his father after he won the presidential election.
The 2016 tax return, filed under the foundation's alternative name the Curetivity Foundation, shows that the contributions it received increased from $1.8 million in 2015 to $3.2 million in 2016. The foundation gave $2,910,000 in donations to St. Jude and several smaller donations to other charities while paying a total of $145,000 to various for-profit properties owned by the Trump family.
Controversy about funds usage
In 2016, the fundraising president of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital stated that the Eric Trump Foundation had raised and donated $16.3 million to the hospital since the charity's foundation.
In June 2017, Forbes reported that the Eric Trump Foundation shifted money intended to go to cancer patients to the family's businesses. Eric Trump had asserted that his foundation got to use Trump Organization assets for free ("We get to use our assets 100% free of charge"), but that appears not to be the case. According to Forbes, more than $1.2 million of the donations went to the Trump Organization for the use of Trump's Westchester golf course and that "Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament." According to a former member of the foundation's board of directors, "We did have to cover the expenses. ...The charity had grown so much that the Trump Organization couldn't absorb all of those costs anymore." Forbes acknowledged that the charity has done a great deal of good, including an intensive-care unit that opened in 2015 at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, as well as funding cancer research. According to Trump, the Foundation's expense ratio is 12.6%, and "at no time did the Trump Organization profit in any way from the foundation or any of its activities".
Forbes also reported that more than $500,000 of the money donated for cancer patients "was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses." According to Forbes, "All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors. It also raises larger questions about the Trump family dynamics and whether Eric and his brother, Don Jr., can be truly independent of their father." The foundation says that relevant donors were informed that donations would be redirected.
The Eric Trump Foundation has advertised that its golf charity events raised money exclusively for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, with 95–100% of the money raised going toward the charity. Public tax records show that the foundation applied significant amounts of the funds raised to pay costs of the events to the Trump Organization for use of its facilities. Additionally, the foundation donated to charitable causes other than St. Jude and made grants to several other charities, including at least three animal welfare organizations and the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, a California wine industry organization.
Trump said in July 2016 that his father, Donald Trump, had made "hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal donations" to the Eric Trump Foundation in the past, but there is no evidence that the elder Trump gave donations on such a scale. When The Washington Post followed up for evidence, Trump appeared to backtrack and refused to give details.
In June 2017, the New York State Attorney General's Office confirmed that it had begun an inquiry into the Eric Trump Foundation, based on issues raised by the Forbes investigation. The investigation was reported as ongoing in December 2018.
Trump presidential campaigns
2016 presidential campaign
His father's 2016 presidential campaign was formally launched on June 16, 2015 at Trump Tower in New York City. He was a key advisor, fundraiser, and campaign surrogate during his father's successful run for the presidency. Trump and his wife made campaign appearances in numerous states on behalf of his father.
On August 2, 2016, in a television appearance on CBS This Morning, Trump was asked to comment on his father's controversial statement to USA Today the previous day in which he said that if his daughter were ever subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, he hoped she would find another company to work for or switch careers. Eric Trump said, "Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman; she wouldn't allow herself to be objected [recte subjected] to it."
2020 presidential campaign
In May 2020, Trump said on Fox News that stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of the coronavirus were a deliberate strategy by the Democrats and the Biden campaign, intended to prevent his father's re-election by depriving him of the ability to conduct large campaign rallies. Trump said that after election day, "coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen."
While ballots were being counted in the 2020 election, Trump made baseless claims intended to cast doubt on the ballot counting process in Pennsylvania. He shared a fake video which purported to show that Trump ballots were being burned.
On July 4, 2013, Trump became engaged to his longtime girlfriend Lara Lea Yunaska, an associate producer on the syndicated television news program Inside Edition. They married on November 8, 2014, at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. On September 12, 2017, the couple's first child, son Eric "Luke" Trump, was born. On August 19, 2019, Lara gave birth to daughter Carolina Dorothy Trump, the couple's second child. On September 29, 2020, he stated he is not part of the LGBT community, walking back a statement he had made earlier that same day indicating that he was.
Big game hunting
In 2010, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) criticized Trump, a big game hunter, for an African hunting trip he took with Donald Trump Jr., his older brother. PETA condemned the pair after photos showed the brothers on an organized safari in Zimbabwe, where their hunting targets included elephants and leopards. The director general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, V. Chandenga, issued an official response supporting the brothers and calling any allegations of illegality "baseless" and "false". Both brothers defended their safari via Twitter, affirming their actions as hunters and longtime advocates of the outdoors. Donald Trump also addressed the controversy, saying on TMZ that he fully supported his sons' actions.
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A spokesperson for the Eric Trump Foundation, which was recently rebranded Curetivity, said the charity had been transparent—at least with some people. 'Relevant donors whose money was given to causes other than St. Jude were made aware the funds would be donated elsewhere,' the spokesperson wrote in an email to Forbes. 'All donations made via the website were given to St. Jude.'
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