Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current President of the United States, in office since January 20, 2017. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television producer and host
Trump was born in the New York City borough of Queens. He earned an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A third-generation businessman, Trump followed in the footsteps of his grandmother Elizabeth and father Fred in running the family real estate company (now The Trump Organization). He controlled it from 1971 until his inauguration as president in January 2017, when he delegated company management to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric. Trump's primarily focused on building or renovating office towers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump has also started and branded with his name. He has written or co-authored several books, including The Art of the Deal, and he produced and hosted the television show The Apprentice for 12 years. As of 2017, he was the 544th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion.
Trump had as early as 1987. He entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican, and defeated sixteen opponents in the primaries. Commentators described his political positions as populist, protectionist, and nationalist. His campaign received extensive free media coverage; many of his public statements were controversial or false. Trump won the general election on November 8, 2016 against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, and the fifth to have won the election despite losing the popular vote. His election and policies have sparked numerous protests.
In , Trump has sought, so far without success, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns; the ban was partially implemented after legal challenges. In , he withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and from the Paris Climate Agreement, and undid parts of the Cuban Thaw. After Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to continue the investigation into potential links between Russia and Trump campaign associates, and any related matters.
Family and personal life
Trump's ancestors originated from the German village of Kallstadt, Palatinate, on his father's side, and from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland on his mother's side. All his grandparents, and his mother, were born in Europe. His mother's grandfather was also christened "Donald".
Trump's paternal grandfather, Friedrich Trump, first emigrated to the United States in 1885 at the age of 16, and became a citizen in 1892. He amassed a fortune operating boom-town restaurants and boarding houses in the Seattle area and the Klondike region of Canada during its gold rush. On a visit to Kallstadt, he met Elisabeth Christ and married her in 1902. The couple settled in New York permanently in 1905. Frederick died from influenza during the 1918 pandemic.
Donald's father, Fred Trump, was born in 1905 in the Bronx. Fred started working with his mother in real estate when he was 15, shortly after his father's death. Their company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, was primarily active in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Fred eventually built and sold thousands of houses, barracks and apartments. The company later became The Trump Organization after Donald Trump took over in 1971.
Donald's mother, Mary Anne, was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. At age 18 in 1930, she emigrated to New York, where she worked as a maid. Fred and Mary were married in 1936 and raised their family in Queens.
Donald's uncle John Trump was an electrical engineer, physicist, and inventor. He was also a professor at MIT from 1936 to 1973. During World War II, he was involved in radar research for the Allies and helped design X-ray machines that were used to treat cancer.
Early life and education
Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Queens, New York City. He was the fourth of five children born to Frederick Trump (1905–1999) and Mary Anne Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000). His siblings are Maryanne (b. 1937), Fred Jr. (1938–1981), Elizabeth (b. 1942), and Robert (b. 1948).
Trump grew up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens. He attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, he enrolled in the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, after his parents discovered that he had made frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission.
In August 1964, Trump began his higher education at Fordham University. After two years, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, because it offered one of the few real-estate studies departments in United States academia at the time.
In addition to his father, Trump was inspired by Manhattan developer William Zeckendorf, vowing to be "even bigger and better". While at Wharton, he worked at the family business, Elizabeth Trump and Son, graduating in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
Trump did not enlist or get drafted during the Vietnam War. While in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student deferments. In 1966, he was deemed fit for service based upon a military medical examination, and in 1968 was briefly classified as fit by a local draft board. In September of that year, he was given a medical deferment, which he later attributed to heel spurs. In 1969, he received a high number in the draft lottery, which gave him a low probability to be called to military service.
Trump was 30 years old when he married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková in 1977 at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan in a ceremony performed by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. They had three children: Donald Jr. (b. 1977), Ivanka (b. 1981), and Eric (b. 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump's affair with actress Marla Maples.
In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump's daughter, who was named Tiffany after high-end retailer Tiffany & Company. Maples and Trump were married two months later on December 20, 1993. They divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.
On January 22, 2005, Trump married his third wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. The ceremony was followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. In 2006, Melania became a United States citizen and on March 20 of that year gave birth to a son, Barron. Melania became First Lady of the United States upon Trump's inauguration as the nation's 45th president in January 2017.
Upon his inauguration as president, Trump delegated the management of his real estate business to his two adult sons, Eric and Don Jr. His daughter Ivanka resigned from The Trump Organization and moved to Washington with her husband Jared Kushner. She serves as an assistant to the president, and he is a Senior Advisor in the White House.
Trump's ancestors were Lutheran on his father's side in Germany and Presbyterian on his mother's side in Scotland. His parents married in a Manhattan Presbyterian church in 1936. As a child, he attended the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, and had his Confirmation there. In the 1970s, his family joined the Marble Collegiate Church (an affiliate of the Reformed Church in America) in Manhattan. The pastor at that church, Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking and The Art of Living, ministered to Trump's family and mentored him until Peale's death in 1993. Trump, who is Presbyterian, has cited Peale and his works during interviews when asked about the role of religion in his personal life.
Trump receives Holy Communion, but he has said that he does not ask God for forgiveness. He stated: "I think if I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture....I guess that [Communion] is a form of asking for forgiveness”. On the campaign trail, Trump has referred to The Art of the Deal as his second favorite book after the Bible, saying, "Nothing beats the Bible." In a 2016 speech to Liberty University, he referred to "2 Corinthians" (pronounced "Second Corinthians") as "Two Corinthians", eliciting chuckles from the audience. The New York Times reported that Evangelical Christians nationwide thought "that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure".
Trump has had associations with a number of Christian spiritual leaders, including Florida pastor Paula White, who has been called his "closest spiritual confidant." In 2015, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson and in 2016, he released a list of his religious advisers, including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed and others. Referring to his daughter Ivanka's conversion to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner, Trump said: "I have a Jewish daughter; and I am very honored by that."
Trump's physician, Harold Bornstein, issued a 2016 medical report that showed Trump's blood pressure and liver and thyroid function to be in normal ranges. It also showed that he is overweight and takes statins to lower his cholesterol. Trump has said that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed drugs, including marijuana. He also drinks no alcohol; this decision arose in part from watching his older brother Fred Jr. suffer from alcoholism that contributed to his early death in 1981.
Trump said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father. He appeared on the initial Forbes 400 list of wealthy individuals in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune, including an "undefined" share of his parents' estate. During the late 1980s he became a billionaire, and made the Forbes World's Billionaires list for the first time in 1989, but he was absent from the Forbes 400 list following business losses from 1990 to 1995; he reportedly borrowed from his siblings' trusts in 1993. His father's estate, valued at more than $20 million, was divided in 1999 among Trump, his three surviving siblings and their children.
When Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency on June 16, 2015, he released a one-page financial summary that stated a net worth of $8,737,540,000. The following month, he filed a 92-page Federal Election Commission (FEC) financial disclosure form and declared his net worth was "in excess of ten billion dollars". In his presidential announcement speech, he said "I'm really rich", and said this would make him less indebted to large campaign donors. Forbes called his net worth estimate "a whopper", setting their own estimate at $4.1 billion in 2015. Trump valued his "properties under development" at $293 million; Forbes said they could not evaluate those deals, and booked them for $0. Trump's 2015 FEC disclosure reported $362 million in total income for the year 2014.
After Trump made controversial remarks about illegal immigrants in 2015, he lost business contracts with several companies; this reduced his Forbes estimate by $125 million. Consumer boycotts and reduced bookings may have further affected his brand value during the presidential campaign. Trump's 104-page FEC disclosure in May 2016 still claimed a total wealth over $10 billion, unchanged from 2015. The release of the Access Hollywood tapes in October 2016 put further pressure on his brand, but real estate experts predicted a positive rebound after he was elected.
In its 2017 billionaires' ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.5 billion (544th in the world, 201st in the U.S.) making him one of the richest politicians in American history. These estimates fluctuate from year to year, and among various analysts. In July 2016 Bloomberg News had pegged his wealth at $3 billion, calling it an increase thanks to his presidential nomination, whereas Forbes had ranked him 324th in the world (113th in the U.S.) with $4.5 billion just a few months earlier. The discrepancies among these estimates and with Trump's own figures stem mainly from the uncertain values of appraised property and of his personal brand.
In November 2017 the Trump Organization's revenue was suggested, by federal filings, to be $600m-$700m rather than the $9.5b previously claimed by the organization.
Trump started his career at his father's real estate development company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which owned middle-class rental housing in New York City's outer boroughs, but also had business elsewhere. For example, during his undergraduate study, Trump joined his father Fred in successfully revitalizing the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, boosting the occupancy rate from 66% to 100%.
When his father became chairman of the board in 1971, Trump was promoted to president of the company and renamed it The Trump Organization. In 1973, he and his father drew wider attention when the Justice Department contended that the organization systematically discriminated against African Americans wishing to rent apartments rather than merely screening out people based on low income as the Trumps stated. Under an agreement reached in 1975, the Trumps made no admission of wrongdoing, and made the Urban League an intermediary for qualified minority applicants. His adviser and attorney during (and after) that period was Roy Cohn, who responded to attacks by counterattacking with maximum force, and who valued both positive and negative publicity, which were attitudes that Trump appreciated.
In 1978, Trump consummated his first major real estate deal in Manhattan when he purchased a half-share in the decrepit Commodore Hotel. The purchase was largely funded by a $70 million construction loan that was jointly guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain. Designed by architect Der Scutt, the project leveraged competing interests and by taking advantage of tax breaks. After remodeling, the hotel reopened as the Grand Hyatt Hotel, located next to Grand Central Terminal.
Also in 1978, Trump finished negotiations to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 202-meter (663-foot) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, which The New York Times attributed to his "persistence" and "skills as a negotiator". To make way for the new building, a crew of undocumented Polish workers demolished an old Bonwit Teller store, including art deco features that had initially been marked for preservation. The building was completed in 1983 and houses both the primary penthouse condominium residence of Trump and the headquarters of The Trump Organization. Architectural critic Paul Goldberger said in 1983 that he was surprised to find the tower's atrium was "the most pleasant interior public space to be completed in New York in some years". Trump Tower was the setting of the NBC television show The Apprentice and includes a fully functional television studio set.
Repairs on Central Park's Wollman Rink begun in 1980 by a general contractor who was unconnected to Trump. Despite an anticipated two and a half year construction timeframe, the repairs remained incomplete in 1986. Trump took over the project, completed it in three months for $1.95 million, $775,000 less than the initial budget. He operated the rink for a year with most profits going to charity and public work projects, in exchange for the rink's concession rights.
In 1988 Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for a record-setting $407 million and asked his wife Ivana to manage its operation. Trump invested $50 million to restore the building, which he called "the Mona Lisa". According to hotel expert Thomas McConnell, the Trumps boosted it from a three-star to a four-star ranking and sold it in 1995, by which time Ivana was no longer involved.
In 1994, Trump became involved with a building on Columbus Circle that was swaying in the wind. He began a reconstruction project that stopped the swaying and gave the building a full makeover. Trump thereafter owned commercial space in that 44-story mixed-use tower (hotel and condominium), which he named Trump International Hotel and Tower.
In 1996, Trump acquired the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, which was a vacant seventy-one story skyscraper on Wall Street that had briefly been the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1930. After an extensive renovation, the high-rise was renamed the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.
In 1997, he began construction on Riverside South, which he dubbed Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. The project encountered delays the following year because a subcontracter had to replace defective concrete. He and the other investors in the project ultimately sold their interest for $1.8 billion in 2005 in what was then the biggest residential sale in the history of New York City.
In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower, which was across from the headquarters of the United Nations. For a while, the structure was the tallest all-residential tower in the world. In 2002, Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico, which was renovated and reopened in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue; the building consisted of 35 stories of luxury condominiums. Meanwhile, he continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.
Palm Beach estate
In 1985, Trump acquired the historic Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida for $5 million plus $3 million for the home's furnishings. The home was built in the 1920s by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, who envisioned the house as a future winter retreat for American presidents.
Trump's initial offer of $28 million had been rejected, and he was able to get the property at the much lower price by purchasing separate beachfront property and threatening to build a house on it that would block Mar-a-Lago's ocean view. In addition to using the estate as a home, Trump also turned it into a private club open to everyone who could afford the initiation fee of $100,000 plus annual dues.
In 1986, Trump acquired a foreclosed 33-story, twin-tower condominium complex in nearby West Palm Beach for $40 million. Auto CEO Lee Iacocca invested in three of the condos. Trump spruced up the complex's public areas and heavily promoted the property for years, but selling the units proved difficult, and the deal turned out to be unprofitable.
Atlantic City casinos
New Jersey legalized casino gambling in 1977, and the following year Trump was in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to explore how he might get involved in a new business venture. Seven years later, Harrah's at Trump Plaza hotel and casino opened there, built by Trump with financing from Holiday Corporation, which also managed the operation. Renamed "Trump Plaza" soon after it opened, it was at the time the tallest building in Atlantic City. The casino's poor financial results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp., which led to Trump's paying $70 million in May 1986 to buy out their interest in the property. Trump also acquired a partially completed building in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million; when completed in 1985, that hotel and casino became Trump Castle, and Trump's wife, Ivana, managed that property until Trump transferred her in 1988 to run the Trump Plaza Hotel in New York.
Also in 1988, Trump acquired his third casino in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal (then halfway through construction), through a complex transaction with television host and entertainer Merv Griffin as well as the resort and casino company Resorts International. In October 1989, three of his top Atlantic City executives were killed in a helicopter accident, which both stymied and delayed the planned opening of the Taj Mahal. The Taj finally opened in April 1990 and was built at a total cost of $1.1 billion, which at the time made it the most expensive casino ever. The project was financed with $675 million in junk bonds and was a major gamble by Trump. The project underwent debt restructuring the following year, leaving Trump with 50% ownership. He also sold his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess, which had been indefinitely docked in Atlantic City while leased to his casinos for use by wealthy gamblers.
In 1995, Trump founded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR), which assumed ownership of Trump Plaza, Trump Castle, and the Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana. THCR purchased Taj Mahal in 1996 and underwent bankruptcy restructuring in 2004 and 2009, leaving Trump with 10% ownership in the Trump Taj Mahal and other Trump casino properties. From mid 1995 until early 2009, he served as chairman of the publicly-traded THCR organization—which was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts—and served as CEO from mid 2000 to mid 2005.
During the 1990s, Trump's casino ventures faced competition from Native American gaming at the Foxwoods casino located on an Indian reservation in Connecticut, where it was exempt from the state's anti-gambling laws. Trump stated in 1993 that the casino owners did not look like real Indians to him or to other Indians. Subsequent to that well-publicized remark about the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, Trump became a key investor backing the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, who were also seeking state recognition.
The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world. According to Golfweek, Trump owns or manages about 18 golf courses. His personal financial disclosure with the Federal Elections Commission stated that his golf and resort revenue for the year 2015 was roughly $382 million, while his three European golf courses did not show a profit.
In 2006, Trump bought 1,400 acres (570 ha), including the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and created a golf resort there. Scottish supporters emphasized potential economic benefits, and opponents emphasized potential environmental harm to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). A spokesperson for the golf course has said 95% of the SSSI is untouched. A 2011 independent documentary, You've Been Trumped, chronicled the golf resort's construction and struggles. In 2015, an offshore windfarm being built within sight of the golf course prompted a legal challenge by Trump, which was dismissed by the U.K. Supreme Court. In the wake of the 2008 recession, Trump greatly scaled back development of this property, and as of December 2016 Scottish officials were pushing for completion of the far larger development as originally approved.
In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which hosted the Open Championship four times between 1977 and 2009. After extensive renovations and a remodeling of the course by golf architect Martin Ebert, Turnberry was re-opened in June 2016.
Hotels outside New York
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, The Trump Organization expanded its footprint beyond New York with the co-development and management of hotel towers in Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Panama City, Toronto, and Vancouver. There are also Trump-branded buildings in Dubai, Honolulu, Istanbul, Manila, Mumbai and in Indonesia.
Branding and licensing
Trump has marketed his name on a large number of building projects that are owned and operated by other people and companies. He has also licensed his name for various commercial products and services. In doing so, he achieved mixed success for himself, his partners, and investors in the projects. In 2011, Forbes' financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion.
Legal affairs and bankruptcies
As of 2016, Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 3,500 state and federal legal actions. He or one of his companies was the plaintiff in 1,900 cases and the defendant in 1,450. With Trump or his company as plaintiff, more than half the cases have been against gamblers at his casinos who had failed to pay off their debts. With Trump or his company as a defendant, the most common type of case involved personal injury cases at his hotels. In cases where there was a clear resolution, Trump's side won 451 times and lost 38.
Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but his hotel and casino businesses have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. 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.
The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). 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."
A 2016 analysis of Trump's business career by The Economist concluded 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. A subsequent analysis by The Washington Post concluded that "Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success", calling his casino bankruptcies the "most infamous flop" of his business career.
After Trump took over the family real estate firm in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization, he greatly expanded its real estate operations, and also ventured into numerous other business activities. The company eventually became the umbrella organization for several hundred individual business ventures and partnerships.
In September 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals—an American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL)—from oil magnate J. Walter Duncan. The USFL played three seasons during the spring and summer. After the 1985 season, the organization folded due to continuous financial difficulties, despite winning an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.
Trump remained involved with other sports after the Generals folded; he operated golf courses in several countries. At the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, he hosted several boxing matches, which included Mike Tyson's 1988 heavyweight championship fight against Michael Spinks. He also acted as a financial advisor to Mike Tyson. In 1989 and 1990, Trump lent his name to the Tour de Trump cycling stage race, which was an attempt to create an American equivalent of European races such as the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia.
From 1996 to 2015, Trump owned part or all of the Miss Universe pageants. The Miss Universe Pageants include Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, and his management of this business involved his family members; for example, daughter Ivanka once hosted Miss Teen USA. Trump hired the first female president of the Miss Universe business in 1997. He became dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled the pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002.
In his 2015 U.S. presidential campaign kickoff speech, Trump made statements about illegal immigrants who crossed the border from Mexico. NBC then decided to end its business relationship with him and stated that it would no longer air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageants on its networks. In September 2015, Trump bought NBC's share of the Miss Universe Organization and became its sole owner for three days. He then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.
Trump University was a for-profit education company that was founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny. The company ran a real estate training program and charged between $1,500 and $35,000 per course. In 2005, the operation was notified by New York State authorities that its use of the word "university" was misleading and violated state law. After a second such notification in 2010, the name of the company was changed to the "Trump Entrepreneurial Institute". Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.
In 2013, the State of New York filed a $40 million civil suit alleging that Trump University made false statements and defrauded consumers. In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Trump personally as well as his companies. During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel who oversaw those two cases, alleging bias in his rulings because of his Mexican heritage. Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases, whereby Trump paid a total of $25 million and denied any wrongdoing.
The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation established in 1988 for the initial purpose of giving away proceeds from the book Trump: The Art of the Deal. The foundation's funds have mostly come from donors other than Trump, who has not given personally to the charity since 2008.
The foundation's tax returns show that it has given to health care and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups. In 2009, for example, the foundation gave $926,750 to about 40 groups, with the biggest donations going to the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation ($100,000), the New York–Presbyterian Hospital ($125,000), the Police Athletic League ($156,000), and the Clinton Foundation ($100,000). From 2004 to 2014, the top donors to the foundation were Vince and Linda McMahon of WWE, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007. Linda McMahon later became Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
In 2016, investigations by The Washington Post uncovered several potential legal and ethical violations conducted by the charity, including alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion. After beginning an investigation into the foundation, the New York State Attorney General's office notified the Trump Foundation that it was allegedly in violation of New York laws regarding charities, and ordered it to immediately cease its fundraising activities in New York. A Trump spokesman called the investigation a "partisan hit job". In response to mounting complaints, Trump's team announced in late December 2016 that the Trump Foundation would be dissolved to remove "even the appearance of any conflict with [his] role as President." According to an IRS filing in November 2017, the foundation intends to shut down and distribute its assets (about $970,000) to other charities. However, a spokesperson for the New York Attorney General's office said the foundation cannot legally shut down until an ongoing investigation of the charity is completed.
When Trump was elected president of the United States in November 2016, questions arose over how he would avoid conflicts of interest between his work in the White House and his business activities. At a press conference on January 10, 2017, Trump said that he and his daughter Ivanka would resign all roles with The Trump Organization, while his two adult sons Don Jr. and Eric would run the business, together with Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
Trump retained his financial stake in the business. His attorney Sherri Dillon said that before the January 20 inauguration, Trump would put those business assets into a trust, which would hire an ethics advisor and a compliance counsel. She added that The Trump Organization would not enter any new foreign business deals, while continuing to pursue domestic opportunities. As of April 2017, Trump companies owned more than 400 condo units and home lots in the United States, valued at over $250 million in total ($200,000 to $35 million each).
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. 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 $1 million per episode. In a July 2015 press release, Trump's campaign manager said that NBCUniversal had paid him $213,606,575 for his 14 seasons hosting the show, although the network did not verify the statement. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television on The Apprentice.
Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump was hired as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities 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. International versions of The Apprentice franchise were co-produced by Burnett and Trump.
On February 16, 2015, NBC announced that they would be renewing The Apprentice for a 15th season. On February 27, Trump stated that he was "not ready" to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run. Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production. 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."
After Trump's election campaign and presidential win led to his departure from the program, actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced Trump as host for the fifteenth season. Trump is still credited as an executive producer for the show.
Trump is a World Wrestling Entertainment fan and a friend of WWE chairman Vince McMahon. In 1988–89 Trump hosted WrestleMania IV and V at Boardwalk Hall (dubbed "Trump Plaza" for storyline purposes) and has been an active participant in several of the shows. He also appeared in WrestleMania VII, and was interviewed ringside at WrestleMania XX, in 1991 and 2004, respectively. Trump appeared at 2007's WrestleMania 23 in a match called "The Battle of the Billionaires". He was in Bobby Lashley's corner, while Vince McMahon was in the corner of Lashley's opponent Umaga, with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee. The terms of the match were that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost. Lashley won the match, and so McMahon was shaved bald. On June 15, 2009, McMahon announced as part of a storyline on Monday Night Raw that he had "sold" the show to Trump. Appearing on screen, Trump declared that 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. McMahon "bought back" Raw the following week for twice the price. In 2013, Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion. He made his sixth WrestleMania appearance the following night at WrestleMania 29.
As president, Trump appointed WWE CEO Linda McMahon to his Cabinet as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
Acting and public image
Trump has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series. He played an oil tycoon in The Little Rascals, and had a singing role at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006. Trump is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000. His television reality show The Apprentice was twice (2004 and 2005) nominated for an Emmy Award.
Trump has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. He has been parodied regularly on Saturday Night Live by Phil Hartman, Darrell Hammond and Alec Baldwin, and in South Park as Mr. Garrison. The Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future", written during his 2000 campaign for the Reform party, anticipated a future Trump presidency. A dedicated parody series called The President Show debuted in April 2017.
Starting in the 1990s, Trump was a guest about 24 times on the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Show on talk radio. Trump also had his own daily talk radio program called Trumped!, from 2004 to 2008. Since the 1980s, Trump's wealth and lifestyle have been a fixture of hip hop lyrics, his name being quoted by more than 50 artists.
Political career up to 2015
Early involvement in politics
Trump first vaguely expressed interest in running for office in 1987, when he spent almost $100,000 to place full-page advertisements in several newspapers. In his view at that time, "America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves", and "should present Western Europe and Japan with a bill for America's efforts to safeguard the passage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf." According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired person in America.
Trump considered running for president in 1988, , 2004, and 2012, and for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but aside from 2000 did not enter any of those races. In February 2009, Trump appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, and spoke about the automotive industry crisis of 2008–10. He said that "instead of asking for money", General Motors "should go into bankruptcy and work that stuff out in a deal."
Trump publicly speculated about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and a Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders; he was one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. A Newsweek poll conducted in February 2011 showed Trump within a few points of incumbent president Barack Obama, with many voters undecided in the November 2012 general election for president of the United States. 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. His moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.
Trump played a leading role in "birther" conspiracy theories that had been circulating since President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Beginning in March 2011, Trump publicly questioned Obama's citizenship and eligibility to serve as president. Although the Obama campaign had released a copy of the short-form birth certificate in 2008, Trump demanded to see the original "long-form" certificate. He mentioned having sent investigators to Hawaii to research the question, but he did not follow up with any findings. He also repeated a debunked allegation that Obama's grandmother said she had witnessed his birth in Kenya. When the White House later released Obama's long-form birth certificate, Trump took credit for obtaining the document, saying "I hope it checks out." His official biography mentions his purported role in forcing Obama's hand, and he has defended his pursuit of the issue when prompted, later saying that his promotion of the conspiracy made him "very popular". In 2011, Trump had called for Obama to release his student records, questioning whether his grades warranted entry into an Ivy League school. When asked in 2015 whether he believed Obama was born in the United States, Trump said he did not want to discuss the matter further. In September 2016, Trump publicly acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S., and said that the rumors had been started by Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign.
Trump made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011. His appearance at CPAC was organized by GOProud, an LGBT conservative organization, in conjunction with GOProud supporter Roger Stone, who was close with Trump. GOProud pushed for a write-in campaign for Trump at CPAC's presidential straw poll. The 2011 CPAC speech Trump gave is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.
In the 2012 Republican primaries, Trump generally had polled at or below 17 percent among the crowded field of possible candidates. On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president in the 2012 election, while also saying he would have become the President of the United States, had he run.
In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). During the lightly attended early-morning speech, Trump spoke out against illegal immigration, then-President Obama's "unprecedented media protection", and advised against harming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Additionally, Trump spent over $1 million in 2013 to research a possible run for president of the United States. In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. In response to the memo, Trump said that while New York had problems and that its taxes were too high, running for governor was not of great interest to him. In January 2014, Trump made statements denying climate change that were discordant with the opinion of the scientific community. A February 2014 Quinnipiac poll had shown Trump losing to the more popular Cuomo by 37 points in a hypothetical election. In February 2015, Trump told NBC that he was not prepared to sign on for another season of The Apprentice, as he mulled his political future.
In 1999, Trump switched to the Reform Party and ran a presidential exploratory campaign for its nomination. After his run, Trump left the party in 2001 due to the involvement of David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani.
From 2001 to 2008, Trump identified himself as a Democrat, but in 2008, he endorsed Republican John McCain for president. In 2009, he officially changed his party registration to Republican. In December 2011, Trump became an independent for five months before returning to the Republican Party, where he later pledged to stay.
Trump has made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates, with the top ten recipients of his political contributions being six Democrats and four Republicans. After 2011, his campaign contributions were more favorable to Republicans than to Democrats. In February 2012, Trump openly endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president. When asked in 2015 which of the last four presidents he prefers, Trump picked Democrat Bill Clinton over the Republican Bushes.
According to a New York state report, Trump circumvented corporate and personal campaign donation limits in the 1980s—although no laws were broken—by donating money to candidates from 18 different business subsidiaries, rather than donating primarily in his own name. Trump told investigators he did so on the advice of his lawyers. He also said the contributions were not to gain favor with business-friendly candidates, but simply to satisfy requests from friends.
2000 presidential campaign
In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000. 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. Trump eventually dropped out of the race due to party infighting, but still went on to win the party's California and Michigan primaries.
2016 presidential campaign
On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Trump Tower in Manhattan. In the speech, Trump drew attention to domestic issues such as illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism, which all remained large priorities during the campaign. He also announced his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again".
In his campaign, Trump said that he disdained political correctness; he also stated that the media had intentionally misinterpreted his words, and he made other claims of adverse media bias. In part due to his fame, Trump received an unprecedented amount of free media coverage during his run for the presidency, which elevated his standing in the Republican primaries.
Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan were hesitant to support him during his early quest for the presidency. They doubted his chances of winning the general election and feared that he could harm the image of the Republican Party.
The alt-right movement coalesced around Trump's candidacy, due in part to its opposition to multiculturalism and immigration. The connection of this group to the Trump campaign is controversial; writers such as Jon Ronson have suggested that the link between Trump and right-wing figures such as Alex Jones and Roger Stone is a marriage of convenience. Trump personally condemned the alt-right in an interview after the election.
During the campaign, Trump was accused of pandering to white nationalists, especially in his initial refusal to condemn the support of David Duke—a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan—in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper. He had previously criticized Duke in 1991, disavowed the 2000 Reform Party due to the support of Duke and others, and disavowed Duke on the campaign trail both before and after the interview. In August, he appointed Steve Bannon—the executive chairman of Breitbart News—as his campaign CEO; the website was described by Bannon as "the platform for the alt-right." However, Bannon later told the Wall Street Journal that he was an "economic nationalist" but not "a supporter of ethno-nationalism." According to Michael Barkun, the Trump campaign was remarkable for bringing fringe ideas, beliefs, and organizations into the mainstream.
Fact-checking organizations have denounced Trump for making a record number of false statements compared to other candidates. At least four major publications – Politico, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times – have pointed out lies or falsehoods in his campaign statements. NPR said that Trump's campaign statements were often opaque or suggestive. Lucas Graves, an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, opined that Trump "often speaks in a suggestive way that makes it unclear what exactly he meant, so that fact-checkers "have to be really careful" when picking claims to check, "to pick things that reflect what the speaker was clearly trying to communicate."
Trump's penchant for hyperbole is believed to have roots in the New York real estate scene, where Trump established his wealth and where puffery abounds. Trump has called his public speaking style "truthful hyperbole", an effective political tactic that may, however, backfire for overpromising. Martin Medhurst, a Baylor University professor of communication and political science, analyzed Trump's frequently used rhetorical devices, such as catchy slogans, hyperbole, insinuations and preterition.
In compliance with FEC regulations of all presidential candidates, Trump published a 92-page financial disclosure form in 2015; the form listed all of his assets, liabilities, income sources and hundreds of business positions. His decision not to release his tax returns was contrary to usual practice by every presidential candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976. Although there is no law that requires presidential candidates to release their returns, Trump's refusal led to speculation that he was hiding something. Trump explained that his tax returns were being audited and his lawyers had advised him against releasing the returns. However, no law prohibits release of tax returns during an audit. Tax attorneys differ about whether such a release is wise legal strategy. Trump has told the news media that his tax rate was "none of your business", but added, "I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible."
On October 1, 2016, three pages of Trump's 1995 tax return were leaked to a reporter from The New York Times, who said she received the documents in her Times mailbox. Each of the three pages is one page from Trump's state filings in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. They show that using allowed deductions for losses, Trump claimed a loss of $916 million that year. During the second presidential debate, Trump acknowledged using the deduction, but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied. When asked if he used the tax code to avoid paying taxes, he said, "Of course I did. Of course I did." He then went on to say he paid "hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes", calling it a "simple" thing. "I pay tax, and I pay federal tax, too", he said.
On March 14, 2017, the first two pages of Trump's 2005 federal income tax returns were leaked to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who unveiled them on her show. The two pages showed that Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes and had a gross adjusted income of $150 million. The White House confirmed the authenticity of the 2005 documents and stated: "Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns."
Trump entered a field of 17 major candidates who were vying for the 2016 Republican nomination; this was the largest presidential field in American history. Trump participated in eleven of the twelve Republican debates, skipping only the January 28 seventh debate, which was the last debate before primary voting began on the first of February. The debates received historically high television ratings, which increased the visibility of Trump's campaign.
By early 2016, the race had mostly centered on Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. On Super Tuesday, Trump won the plurality of the vote, and he remained the front-runner throughout the remainder of the primaries. By March 2016, Trump became poised to win the Republican nomination. After a landslide win in Indiana on May 3, 2016—which prompted the remaining candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their presidential campaigns—RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. With nearly 14 million votes, Trump broke the all-time record in the history of the Republican Party for winning the most primary votes. He also set the record for the largest number of votes cast against the front runner.
General election campaign
After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump shifted his focus to the general election. He urged remaining primary voters to "save [their] vote for the general election." Trump began campaigning against Hillary Clinton, who became the presumptive Democratic nominee on June 6, 2016, and continued to campaign across the country.
Clinton had established a significant lead over Trump in national polls throughout most of 2016. In early July, Clinton's lead narrowed in national polling averages following the FBI's re-opening of its investigation into her ongoing email controversy.
On July 15, 2016, Trump announced his selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Four days later on July 19, Trump and Pence were officially nominated by the Republican Party at the Republican National Convention. The list of convention speakers and attendees included former presidential nominee Bob Dole, but the other prior nominees did not attend.
Two days later, Trump officially accepted the nomination in a 76-minute speech that was inspired by Richard Nixon's 1968 acceptance speech. The historically long speech was watched by nearly 35 million people and received mixed reviews, with net negative viewer reactions according to CNN and Gallup polls.
On September 26, 2016, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in their first presidential debate, which was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. NBC News anchor Lester Holt was the moderator. The TV broadcast was the most watched presidential debate in United States history. The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. The beginning narrative of that debate was dominated by a leaked tape of Trump making lewd comments, and counter-accusations by Trump of sexual misconduct done by Bill Clinton. Trump had invited four women who had accused Clinton of impropriety to a press conference prior to the debate. The final presidential debate was held on October 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Trump's refusal to say whether he would accept the result of the election, regardless of the outcome, drew particular press attention.
Trump's campaign platform emphasized renegotiating U.S.–China relations and free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strongly enforcing immigration laws, and building a new wall along the U.S.–Mexico border. His other campaign positions included pursuing energy independence while opposing climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, modernizing and expediting services for veterans, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, abolishing Common Core education standards, investing in infrastructure, simplifying the tax code while reducing taxes for all economic classes, and imposing tariffs on imports by companies that offshore jobs. During the campaign, he also advocated a largely non-interventionist approach to foreign policy while increasing military spending, extreme vetting of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries to pre-empt domestic Islamic terrorism, and aggressive military action against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or IS).
Media have described Trump's political positions as "populist", and some of his views cross party lines. For example, his economic campaign plan calls for large reductions in income taxes and deregulation, consistent with Republican Party policies, along with significant infrastructure investment, usually considered a liberal (Democratic Party) policy. According to political writer Jack Shafer, Trump may be a "fairly conventional American populist when it comes to his policy views", but he attracts free media attention, sometimes by making outrageous comments.
Trump has supported or leaned toward varying political positions over time. Politico has described his positions as "eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory", while NBC News counted "141 distinct shifts on 23 major issues" during his campaign.
Russian interference in election
In January 2017, American intelligence agencies – the CIA, FBI and NSA, represented by the Director of National Intelligence – jointly stated with "high confidence" that the Russian government attempted to intervene in the 2016 presidential election to favor the election of Trump. In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, former FBI Director James Comey affirmed he has "no doubt" that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, adding "they did it with purpose and sophistication".
Trump claims that the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election is the pursuit of a false narrative, calling it "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" Russian president Vladimir Putin echoed Trump's opinion, saying that Democrats cling to this fictitious explanation to avoid confronting their election loss.
Interactions with Russia
There has been intensive media scrutiny of Trump's relationship to Russia. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin as a strong leader. One of his campaign managers, Paul Manafort, had worked for several years to help pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich win the Ukrainian presidency. Other Trump associates, including former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, have been connected to Russian officials. Russian agents were overheard during the campaign saying they could use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump.
Members of Trump's campaign and later his White House staff, particularly Flynn, were in contact with Russian officials both before and after the November election. In a December 29, 2016 conversation, Flynn and Kislyak discussed the recently imposed sanctions against Russia; Trump later fired Flynn for falsely claiming he had not discussed the sanctions.
In March 2017, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that "the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts."
In 2017, Trump and other senior White House officials asked the Director of National Intelligence, the NSA director, the FBI director, and two chairs of congressional committees to publicly dispute the news reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia.
Sexual misconduct allegations
Two days before the second presidential debate, a 2005 recording surfaced in which Trump was heard bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women. The hot mic recording was captured on a studio bus in which Trump and Billy Bush were preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood. "I just start kissing them," Trump said, "I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything ... grab them by the pussy." During the recording, Trump also spoke of his efforts to seduce a married woman, saying he "moved on her very heavily." These statements were recorded several months after Trump married his third and current wife, Melania, who was pregnant at the time.
Trump's language on the tape was described by the media as "vulgar", "sexist", and descriptive of sexual assault. The incident prompted him to make his first public apology during the campaign, and caused outrage across the political spectrum, with many Republicans withdrawing their endorsements of his candidacy and some urging him to quit the race. Subsequently, at least 15 women came forward with new accusations of sexual misconduct, including unwanted kissing and groping, resulting in widespread media coverage.
Trump and his campaign have denied all of the sexual misconduct accusations, which Trump has called "false smears", and alleged a conspiracy against him. In his two public statements in response to the controversy, Trump responded by alleging that Bill Clinton, former President of the United States and husband of Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, had "abused women" and that Hillary had bullied her husband's victims.
Election to the presidency
On Election Day, November 8, 2016, Trump received 306 electoral votes to Clinton's 232 votes. The counts were later adjusted to 304 and 227 respectively, after defections on both sides, formalizing Trump's election to the presidency. In the early hours of November 9, Clinton called Trump to concede the election. Trump then delivered his victory speech before hundreds of supporters in the New York Hilton hotel. The speech was in contrast with some of his previous rhetoric, with Trump promising to heal the division caused by the election, thanking Clinton for her service to the country, and promising to be a president to all Americans.
Trump received a smaller share of the popular vote than Clinton, making him the fifth person to be elected president while losing the popular vote. Clinton finished ahead by 2.86 million votes or 2.1 percentage points, 48.04% to 46.09%, with neither candidate reaching a majority nationwide.
Trump's victory was considered a stunning political upset, as polls consistently showed Hillary Clinton leading nationwide (which were consistent with her win in the popular vote) and in most battleground states, while Trump's support had been underestimated throughout his campaign. The errors in some state polls were later partially attributed to pollsters overestimating Clinton's support among well-educated and nonwhite voters, while underestimating Trump's support among white working-class voters. Trump won the perennial swing states of Florida, Iowa and Ohio, and flipped Clinton's "blue wall" states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which had been Democratic strongholds since the 1990s. Trump's victory marked the return of a Republican White House combined with control of both chambers of Congress, as was the case during parts of George W. Bush's presidency from 2003 to 2007.
Trump is the wealthiest president in U.S. history. He is also the first president without prior governmental or military experience. Of the 43 previous presidents, 38 had held prior elective office; two had not held elective office but had served in the Cabinet; and three had never held public office but had been commanding generals.
Trump's election victory sparked protests across the United States. His opponents took to the streets to amplify their opposition to Trump's views and denounce his inflammatory statements. Trump initially said on Twitter that the protests consisted of "professional protesters, incited by the media", and were "unfair", but he later stated that he loves their passion for the country. After Obama's re-election in 2012, Trump had tweeted "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"
On the Saturday following Trump's inauguration, massive demonstrations took place in the United States and worldwide in protest of Trump; approximately 2,600,000 people took part in Women's Marches worldwide. One of these marches was the Women's March on Washington (in Washington, D.C.), where over 500,000 people marched in opposition to Trump.
|Republican||Donald Trump||14,015,993 votes|
|Republican||Ted Cruz||7,822,100 votes|
|Republican||Marco Rubio||3,515,576 votes|
|Republican||John Kasich||4,290,448 votes|
|Republican||Donald Trump||62,979,879 votes|
(30 states + ME-02)
|Democratic||Hillary Clinton||65,844,954 votes|
(20 states + DC)
On November 10, Trump had his first ever meeting with outgoing president Barack Obama to discuss plans for an orderly transition of power. The New York Times said, "It was an extraordinary show of cordiality and respect between two men who have been political enemies and are stylistic opposites." The BBC stated that "their antipathy was barely concealed" in "awkward photos" of the meeting.
White House appointments
In the White House, Trump chose RNC chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff; he was replaced by retired Marine General John F. Kelly on July 28, 2017. He appointed businessman and media executive Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist; Bannon resigned on August 18, 2017 and no replacement has been named.
Trump's cabinet nominations included Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, financier Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Trump also brought on board politicians who had opposed him during the presidential campaign, notably neurosurgeon Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations.
While most of Trump's nominees were approved by the GOP majority in the Senate, the confirmation of education reform activist Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education required Vice President Pence to cast a rare tie-breaking vote.
Most cabinet members were unable to take office on Inauguration Day because of delays in the formal confirmation process. Part of the lateness was ascribed to delays in submitting background-check paperwork, and part to obstructionism by Senate Democrats. The last Cabinet member, Robert Lighthizer, took office as U.S. Trade Representative on May 11, 2017, more than four months after his nomination.
On November 22, Trump outlined his plan for his first 100 days in office in a video posted on YouTube. The plan included the United States' withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and asking the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a plan to protect the U.S. from cyber-attack.
On December 7, Time named Trump as its "Person of the Year". In an interview on The Today Show, he said he was honored by the award, but he took issue with the magazine for referring to him as the "President of the Divided States of America." He also opposed Time's decision to change its "Man of the Year" title to "Person of the Year" in 1999, describing the action as too "politically correct". On December 13 he was named Financial Times Person of the Year. In December 2016, Forbes ranked Trump the second most powerful person in the world, after Vladimir Putin and before Angela Merkel.
Based on intelligence reports issued from October 2016 to January 2017, the Obama administration accused the Russian government of trying to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump, by supplying the DNC emails to WikiLeaks for publication. Trump, WikiLeaks and Russian officials have denied the allegations.
Trump's inauguration as the 45th president was held on Friday, January 20, 2017. In his first week as president, Trump signed six executive orders. His first order as president set out interim procedures in anticipation of repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That same week, Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, re-instated the Mexico City Policy, reopened the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction projects and signed an executive order to begin planning, designing and constructing a new Mexico border wall and reinforce border security.
On January 31, Trump nominated U.S. Appeals Court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The Senate confirmed the nomination on April 7 with a 54–45 vote.
On January 27, Trump signed Executive Order 13769, which suspended admission of refugees for 120 days and denied entry to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days, citing security concerns about terrorism. The order was imposed without warning and took effect immediately. Confusion and protests caused chaos at many airports, as travelers were detained on arriving in the United States or barred from boarding U.S.-bound planes. The administration then clarified that visitors with a green card were exempt from the ban.
On January 30, Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order and was promptly dismissed. She was replaced as acting Attorney General by Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who agreed to enforce the order. Multiple legal challenges were filed against the order, and on February 5 a federal judge in Seattle blocked its implementation. On October 24, 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed the only remaining travel ban appeal as being moot because the revised order had expired. It expressed "no views on the merits" of the case.
On March 6, Trump issued a revised order, which excluded Iraq, gave specific exemptions for permanent residents, removed priorities for religious minorities (e.g. Christian refugees), and allowed for a week to implement legislation. Again federal judges in Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia blocked its implementation. On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the lower courts and allowed most provisions of the revised executive order to take effect. The Supreme Court ruled that Trump's ban can be enforced on visitors from targeted countries who lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The court scheduled full hearings in October.
On September 24, 2017, the temporary executive order, which was close to expiry, was replaced by Presidential Proclamation 9645, which permanently restricts travel from the originally targeted countries except Iraq and Sudan, and further bans travelers from North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela (only on certain government officials and their families). These provisions were slated to take effect on October 18, and the Supreme Court cancelled the hearing that was planned for October 10. On October 17, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the portions of these provisions applying to the six Muslim-majority countries, leaving only the restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela to take effect.
Dismissal of James Comey
On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey. He attributed the action to recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, which criticized Comey's conduct in the investigation about Hillary Clinton's emails. On May 11, Trump stated that he was concerned with the ongoing "Russia thing" and that he had intended to fire Comey earlier.
According to a Comey memo of a private conversation on February 14, 2017, Trump said he "hoped" Comey would drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, who had been forced to resign as National Security Advisor after it was discovered that he had misled the Vice President about communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In March and April, Trump had told Comey that the ongoing suspicions formed a "cloud" impairing his presidency, and asked him to publicly state that he was not personally under investigation. He also asked DNI Dan Coats and NSA Director Michael Rogers to issue statements saying there was no evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Both refused, considering this an inappropriate request, although not illegal. Comey eventually testified on June 8 that while he was director, the FBI investigations did not target Trump himself. The Washington Post later reported that within days of Comey's dismissal, the FBI started investigating whether Trump had obstructed justice. Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow stated that he had not been notified of any such investigation. ABC News later reported that the special counsel is gathering preliminary information about possible obstruction of justice but has not launched a full-scale investigation.
Trump attracted attention for implying that he had "tapes" of conversations with Comey, before later stating that he did not in fact have such tapes.
False and misleading statements
As president, Trump has frequently made false statements in public speeches and remarks. Trump uttered "at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days" in office according to The New York Times, and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office according to the "Fact Checker" political analysis column of The Washington Post, which also wrote, "President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered... the pace and volume of the president's misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up."
Trump's energy policy advocates domestic industrial support for both fossil and renewable energy sources in order to curb reliance on Middle-Eastern oil and possibly turn the U.S. into a net energy exporter. His appointed advisers favor a less regulated energy market and, because they do not consider climate change a threat, see no need for immediate action.
Trump does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2012, he said that global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese, but later said that he was joking. He has called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a "disgrace" and has threatened to cut its budget. Trump pledged to eliminate the Clean Power Plan and withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for reductions in carbon emissions in more than 170 countries. After winning the presidency, Trump said he had an "open mind" towards the Paris agreement, but on June 1, 2017, he announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, making the United States one of only three nations at the time, besides Syria and Nicaragua, not to be members.
Trump's immigration policies were intensely discussed during the campaign. Trump vowed to build a more substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants, a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for. He pledged to massively deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States, and criticized birthright citizenship as it creates "anchor babies". He said the focus of deportation would be criminals, those who have overstayed their visas, and other "security threats".
Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump made a controversial proposal to completely ban Muslim non-citizens from entering the United States until stronger vetting systems could be implemented. Later in 2016 he stated that the ban would apply only to people originating from countries with a "proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies", or countries "compromised by terrorism".
Trump is conservative, describes himself as pro-life, and generally opposes abortion; exceptions are made in cases of rape, incest, and circumstances endangering the health of the mother. He has said that he is committed to appointing justices who would try to overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade. He personally supports "traditional marriage" but considers the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage a "settled" issue.
Trump supports a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment and says he is opposed to gun control in general, although his views have shifted over time. Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana. He favors capital punishment, as well as the use of waterboarding.
In 1999, Trump told Larry King Live that "I believe in universal healthcare." Trump's 2000 book, The America We Deserve, argued strongly for a single-payer healthcare system based on the Canadian model, and has voiced admiration for the Scottish National Health Service.
As a candidate, Trump repeatedly vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Starting early in his presidency he urged Congress to repeal and replace it. In May the United States House of Representatives voted to repeal the ACA. However, despite trying for months, the Senate was unable to pass any of several versions of a repeal bill. Trump has expressed a desire to "let Obamacare fail", and the Trump administration has cut the ACA enrollment period in half and drastically reduced funding for advertising and other ways to encourage enrollment.
Trump aims to streamline the Department of Veterans Affairs, getting rid of backlogs and waitlists, and upgrading relevant facilities. On his first Monday in office, Trump issued a federal hiring freeze on the VA.
Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools. He opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative for primary and secondary schools, and has called it "a disaster" that must be ended. He has stated he would abolish all or part of the Department of Education.
Economy and trade
Trump's campaign tax plan called for levelling the corporate tax rate to 15%, eliminating various business loopholes and deductions, and reducing the number of brackets for personal income tax: the top rate would be reduced from 39.6% to 25%, a large "zero bracket" would be created, and the alternative minimum tax and estate tax (which currently applies to individual estates over $5.45 million or $10.9 million per married couple) would both be eliminated. His comments about the minimum wage have been inconsistent.
Trump identifies as a "free trader", but says that trade must be "reasonably fair". He has often been called a "protectionist", because of his criticism of NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and his proposal to significantly raise tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports to the United States. He has also been critical of the World Trade Organization, threatening to leave unless his proposed tariffs are accepted. However, Trump has been very keen to support a "fair" post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom, which Trump says would be "good for both sides".
Government size and deregulation
Trump's early policies have favored deregulation and a smaller federal government. He became the first president in sixteen years to sign a Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution; the law had been used only once before. During his first six weeks in office, he abolished ninety federal regulations.
On January 23, 2017, Trump ordered a temporary government-wide hiring freeze, which allows for exceptions, primarily for jobs deemed vital for national security or public safety reasons. The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office told a House committee that hiring freezes have not proven to be effective in reducing costs. Unlike some past freezes, the current freeze bars agencies from adding contractors to make up for employees leaving.
A week later Trump signed Executive Order 13771, directing administrative agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation they issue. Harvard Law professor Jody Freeman said that the order would do no more than slow the regulatory process, because it did not block rules required by statute.
On February 24, 2017, Trump ordered the agencies to create task forces to determine which regulations are deemed burdensome to the U.S. economy. Agency defenders expressed opposition to Trump's criticisms, saying that the bureaucracy exists to protect people against well-organized, well-funded interest groups.
Oct 26, 2017 President Trump took a bold step, speaking to reporters at (CNN) and declaring the Oxycontin has fueled an opioid epidemic a national public health emergency on Thursday, telling an audience in the East Room of the White House that "we can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic."
Trump has been described as non-interventionist and nationalist. He repeatedly stated that he supports "America First" foreign policy. He supports increasing United States military defense spending, but favors decreasing United States spending on NATO and in the Pacific region. He says America should look inward, stop "nation building", and re-orient its resources toward domestic needs. As a candidate he questioned whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members, and suggested that he might leave NATO unless changes are made to the alliance. But as president he has reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO.
In order to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Trump in 2015 called for seizing the oil in ISIS-occupied areas, using U.S. air power and ground troops. In 2016, Trump advocated sending 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops to the region, a position he later retracted. 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". During the campaign he said he would relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from its current location, Tel Aviv, although he has not pursued that proposal as president. On May 22, 2017, Trump was the first U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, during his first foreign trip, visiting Israel, Italy, the Vatican, and Belgium.
Both as a candidate and as president, Trump repeatedly said he wants a good relationship with Russia. Trump has pledged to hold a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin. He added that Russia could help the U.S. in fighting ISIS militants. On April 7, 2017, Trump ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airfield in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.
North Korea became a major issue in mid-2017. During the campaign and the early months of his presidency, Trump had hoped that China would help to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions and missile tests. However, North Korea accelerated its missile testing, leading to an increase in tensions in April 2017. In July, the country tested two long-range missiles identified by Western observers as intercontinental ballistic missiles, potentially capable of reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. In August, Trump dramatically escalated his rhetoric against North Korea, warning that further provocation against the U.S. will be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un then threatened to direct the country's next missile test toward Guam. Trump responded that if North Korea took steps to attack Guam, "[t]hings [would] happen to them like they never thought possible."
Impeachment efforts and polling
On July 12, 2017, California Representative Brad Sherman formally introduced an article of impeachment, H. Res. 438, accusing the president of obstructing justice regarding the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Presidential approval ratings for Trump have revealed him to be the least popular US president in the history of modern opinion polling as of the first ten months of the term.
2020 presidential campaign
Trump signaled his intention to run for a second term by filing with the FEC within hours of assuming the presidency. This transformed his 2016 election committee into a 2020 reelection one. Trump marked the official start of the campaign with a campaign rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, 2017, less than a month after taking office. By February 1, 2017, the campaign had already raised over $7 million.
Awards, honors, and distinctions
- Honorary Doctor of Laws from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1988)
- Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wagner College in Staten Island, New York (2004)
- Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland (2010) (revoked in 2015)
- Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (2012)
- Honorary Doctor of Laws from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (2017)
- Tree of Life Award by the Jewish National Fund, for contributions to Israel–United States relations. (1983)
- Ellis Island Medal of Honor in celebration of "patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity." (1986)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his role in Ghosts Can't Do It (1990)
- Gaming Hall of Fame (1995)
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2007)
- Muhammad Ali Entrepreneur Award (2007)
- WWE Hall of Fame (2013)
- The Algemeiner Liberty Award for contributions to Israel–United States relations. (2015)
- Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation Commandant's Leadership Award. (2015)
- Time Person of the Year (2016)
- Financial Times Person of the Year (2016)
State orders and awards
- Records on this matter date from the year 1824. The number "five" includes the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. Despite their similarities, some of these five elections had peculiar results; e.g. John Quincy Adams trailed in both the national popular vote and the electoral college in 1824 (since no-one had a majority in the electoral college, Adams was chosen by the House of Representatives), and Samuel Tilden in 1876 remains the only losing candidate to win an actual majority of the popular vote (rather than just a plurality).
- Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president.