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Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr.

Donald John Trump Jr. (born December 31, 1977) is an American businessman and former reality television personality. He is the eldest child of President Donald Trump and his first wife Ivana Trump.

A fourth generation businessman (following his great-grandmother Elizabeth, grandfather Fred, and father), Trump Jr. currently serves as a trustee and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, running the company alongside his younger brother Eric.[2] He also served as a boardroom judge on his father's TV show The Apprentice.

Trump has also been active politically, serving in his father's presidential campaign. He had a meeting with a Russian lawyer, who promised damaging information about the campaign of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.[3][4][5] He is known for frequently promoting conspiracy theories and false information.[6][7][8]

Following his success in campaigning for Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections, Don Jr. is regarded as having a potential future as a politician.[9][10]

As of May 2019, Trump Jr. is under investigation by the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, with Ivanka and Eric Trump, for their role in their father's inauguration.[11]

He is also under investigation, along with Allen Weisselberg, for a possible role in concealing hush money payments and signed checks reimbursing per Michael Cohen regarding his father and the Trump Organization, by the Southern District of New York.[11]

Donald Trump Jr.
Donald John Trump Jr.

(1977-12-31)December 31, 1977
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BS)
  • Businessman
  • television personality
Known forExecutive in the Trump Organization
Former boardroom judge on The Apprentice
Political partyRepublican[1]
Vanessa Haydon
(m.2005;div. 2018)
RelativesSee Trump family

Early life

Trump Jr. was born on December 31, 1977, in Manhattan, New York City, to Ivana and Donald Trump.[12] He has two younger siblings, Ivanka and Eric. He also has two half siblings, Tiffany, from his father's marriage to Marla Maples, and Barron, from his father's current marriage to Melania Trump. Through his father, Trump Jr. is a grandson of Fred Trump and great-grandson of Elizabeth Trump, who founded what became the Trump Organization. As a boy, Trump Jr. found a role model in his maternal grandfather, Miloš Zelníček, who had a home near Prague, where he spent summers camping, fishing, hunting and learning the Czech language.[13]

Trump's parents divorced when he was 13 years old. His mother told him that his father was having an extramarital affair. Trump was estranged from his father for one year after the divorce, furious at his actions which broke up the family.[14]

Trump Jr. was educated at Buckley School[15][16] and the Hill School, a college preparatory boarding school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, followed by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where he graduated in 2000 with a B.S. in Economics.[17]


After graduating from Penn in 2000, Trump moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he hunted, fished, skied, lived in a truck, and worked as a bartender for a year, before returning to join the Trump Organization in New York. Trump has supervised building projects, which included 40 Wall Street, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Park Avenue,[18] In 2006 he helped launch Trump Mortgage; the company collapsed in less than a year.[12] In 2010 he became a spokesperson for Cambridge Who's Who, a public relations firm that had received hundreds of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.[12] He appeared as a guest adviser and judge on many episodes of his father's reality television show The Apprentice, from season 5 in 2006 to his father's last season in 2015.[19]

On January 11, 2017, Trump's father announced that he and his brother Eric would oversee a trust that included the Trump Organization’s assets while his father was president, in order to avert a conflict of interest.[20]

Involvement in politics

2016 presidential campaign

Trump Jr. campaigning for his father in Iowa, November 2016

Trump Jr. campaigning for his father in Iowa, November 2016

Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Trump Jr. was a key member of his father's campaign,[21] characterized by The New York Times as a "close political adviser".[22] He spoke at the Republican National Convention, along with his siblings Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany.[22] Some members of his father's campaign nicknamed him "Fredo", a reference to Fredo Corleone, a fictional character from The Godfather.[23]

Trump Jr. influenced his father's choice of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke during the presidential transition.[24][25]

Since his father's victory, Trump Jr. has developed what The Washington Post calls a "public persona as a right-wing provocateur and ardent defender of Trumpism."[26]

White genocide and Edwards interview

On March 1, 2016, an interview with white supremacist James Edwards and Trump Jr. was aired. After the 2016 Trump campaign initially denied the interview had taken place, later Trump Jr. claimed it was unintentional.[27] As a consequence of the interview, mainstream media outlets have accused Trump Jr. of being either a believer in the white genocide conspiracy theory,[28] or pretending to be an advocate for political gain.[29]

Veselnitskaya meeting

On June 9, 2016, Trump Jr. attended a meeting arranged by publicist Rob Goldstone on behalf of Azerbaijani-Russian businessman Emin Agalarov.[30] The meeting was held in Trump Tower in Manhattan, between three members of the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign: Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort – and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, her translator Anatoli Samochornov, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, and Ike Kaveladze, a Georgian-American, U.S.-based senior vice president at Crocus Group, the real estate development company run by Aras Agalarov.[30]

Approximately a year later, Trump Jr. initially told the media that adoption of Russian children was the main subject of the meeting.[31] On July 8, 2017, Trump Jr. tweeted his email exchange with Goldstone. It revealed that Trump Jr. had agreed to attend the meeting with the understanding he would receive information damaging to Hillary Clinton, which he considered opposition research.[32] Goldstone also wrote in one of Trump Jr.'s publicly disclosed emails that the Russian government was involved.[32] Robert Mueller, the special counsel of the Department of Justice in charge of Russia-related investigations, investigated the emails and the meeting.[33] Although the White House lauded Trump Jr. for his transparency, he released the e-mails only after The New York Times had informed him that they had them and were going to publish a story about them.[34]

Meeting with Gulf states emissary

Trump Jr. had a meeting in August 2016 with emissary for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia who offered help to the Trump presidential campaign.[35] The meeting included Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation; George Nader, an envoy representing the crown princes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia; and American businessman Erik Prince.[36][35]

Correspondence and WikiLeaks

In November 2017, news broke that Julian Assange had used the WikiLeaks Twitter account to corresponded with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential election. Trump Jr. had already provided this correspondence to congressional investigators who were looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[37][38][39]

The correspondence showed that WikiLeaks actively solicited the cooperation of Trump Jr., who was a campaign surrogate and advisor in the campaign of his father. WikiLeaks urged the Trump campaign to reject the results of the 2016 presidential election at a time when it appeared the Trump campaign would lose. WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to share an unsubstantiated[40] claim that Hillary Clinton had wanted to attack Assange with drones. WikiLeaks also shared a link to a website that would help people to search through Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's hacked e-mails, which Wikileaks had recently made public. Trump Jr. shared both.[37][38]

2018 midterm election campaigns

During the 2018 midterms election cycle, Trump actively campaigned on behalf of Republican candidates, including for Matt Rosendale, Patrick Morrisey, Mike Braun, Ron DeSantis, Lee Zeldin and Matt Gaetz.[41] He raised millions of dollars for Republican candidates, was second only to his father in his ability to draw crows to draw campaign events, and is credited with helping Republican candidates win.[9]

Other political activities

In 2011, Trump Jr. responded to criticism of the Tea Party movement by Florida Representative Frederica Wilson by confusing Wilson with California Representative Maxine Waters and saying that her colorful hats made her look like a stripper.[42]

In April 2017, he campaigned for Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte,[43] and in May met with Republican National Committee officials to discuss the party's strategy and resources.[44]

In September 2017, Trump Jr. asked to have his Secret Service detail removed, telling friends he wanted more privacy. The request was criticized by former Secret Service agents.[45] Trump Jr.'s protection was restored later that month.[46]

Statements on social media


During his father's presidential campaign, Trump Jr. caused controversy in 2016 when he posted an image that compared refugees to Skittles, saying "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."[22][47][48] The makers of Skittles condemned the tweet, saying "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy."[48][22] The Cato Institute reported that year that the chances that "an American would be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee was 1 in 3.64 billion" per year.[49]

Another controversy arose when Trump Jr. retweeted remarks by psychologist Kevin B. MacDonald about alleged favors exchanged by Hillary Clinton and Switzerland's largest bank (McDonald has been accused of anti-semitism for some of his writings).[22] On the campaign trail, Trump Jr. promoted Alex Jones' conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton wore an earpiece to a presidential forum[50][51][52] and that official unemployment rates were manipulated for political purposes.[53]

In September 2016, Trump Jr. cited Holocaust imagery to criticize what he perceived as the mainstream media's seemingly uncritical coverage of Hillary Clinton during her campaign, by "letting her slide on every discrepancy", while also accusing Democrats involved in the 2016 campaign of lying. Trump Jr. said if the Republicans were committing the same offences mainstream outlets would be "...warming up the gas chamber right now."[54][55] Also that month, Trump Jr. shared an image on Instagram depicting a cross between his father and Pepe the Frog. When asked on Good Morning America about Pepe the Frog and its associations with white supremacy, Trump Jr. said he had never heard of Pepe the Frog and thought it was just a "frog with a wig."[56]


In March 2017, Trump Jr. criticized the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, after the 2017 Westminster attack, which in turn led British lawmakers to criticize Trump Jr.[57][58][59] British journalists said that Trump Jr. had quoted Khan out of context when he criticized him.[58][59] Khan did not respond to the criticism, saying he had "far more important things" to do.[57]

In April 2017, Trump Jr. lauded Mike Cernovich, who promotes the white genocide and debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theories,[60] saying, "In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he'd win the Pulitzer".[61][62]

In May 2017, Trump Jr. promoted what CNN called the "long-debunked, far-right conspiracy theory" that Bill Clinton was linked to Vince Foster's death.[63] In November, Trump Jr. again promoted the conspiracy theory that the Clintons murdered people.[64]

On October 31, 2017, Trump Jr. tweeted that he would take away half of his three-year-old daughter's Halloween candy because, he wrote, "it’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism".[65]

On November 7, 2017, he posted tweets urging voters in Virginia's gubernatorial election to vote "tomorrow", the day after the election.[66]


In February 2018, advertisements in Indian newspapers promoted a deal whereby anyone who purchased Trump Organization apartments in Gurgaon before February 20 would be invited to have a "conversation and dinner" with Trump Jr. The ads were criticized by corruption watchdogs as unethical.[67][68]

In February 2018, Trump Jr. liked two tweets promoting a conspiracy theory that survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting were coached into propagating anti-Trump rhetoric.[69][70]

In May 2018, Trump Jr. retweeted a false and antisemitic conspiracy theory that George Soros, the Jewish Hungarian-American businessman and philanthropist, was a "nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth".[71][12][72] The tweets originated from Roseanne Barr, whose tv-show was cancelled the same day for posting a series of racist and antisemitic tweets.[71] George Soros's spokesperson responded to the tweets, "George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary as a 13-year-old child by going into hiding and assuming a false identity with the help of his father, who managed to save his own family and help many other Jews survive the Holocaust."[72]

In June 2018, Trump Jr. liked a tweet suggesting that the migrant children separated from their parents due to the Trump administration family separation policy were actually actors.[73]

In August 2018, Trump Jr. shared on Instagram a doctored image which had been crudely edited to falsely state that CNN had reported his father, President Trump's approval rating as 50%. The actual CNN report had Trump at 40%, below Obama's 45% at the same point of his presidency. Trump Jr. deleted the image two days later.[74][75]

In September 2018, when Hurricane Florence was affecting the United States, Trump Jr. tweeted a picture of CNN journalist Anderson Cooper waist-deep in floodwaters when another man in the same picture was standing knee-deep a distance away. Trump Jr. then proposed a conspiracy theory that CNN was "lying to try to make [his father, President Trump] look bad." In actuality, the picture of Cooper was around ten years old, taken during 2008's Hurricane Ike before Trump became president, and Cooper was videoed talking about how the floodwaters were receding.[76]

Personal life


In 2003 Trump Jr. began dating model Vanessa Kay Haydon at his father's suggestion.[12] The couple married on November 12, 2005, at his father's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida; the service was officiated by Trump Jr.'s aunt, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.[77] Haydon's grandfather was Danish jazz musician Kai Ewans.[78][79][80][81] They have five children.[82]

On March 15, 2018, it was announced that the couple had separated and that she had filed for uncontested divorce in Manhattan Supreme Court.[83][84][85] However, later it was revealed that the divorce is contested.[86] The complaint is secret except for the title of the case.[87] On February 22, 2019, they announced that they settled their divorce at the end of 2018.[88]

Since 2018, Trump has been dating Kimberly Guilfoyle.[9][89] Guilfoyle had been friends with the Trump family for years.[90]


Trump Jr. is an enthusiastic game hunter. Controversy erupted in 2012 when the pictures he had taken of his hunting trophies in 2010 were published. In one photo, Trump Jr. has his arms around a dead leopard, and in another, he is holding a knife in one hand and a bloody elephant tail in the other. Although the hunt was legal, anti-hunting activists criticized him. At least one sponsor dropped his father's TV show The Celebrity Apprentice.[91] On Earth Day in 2017, Trump Jr. legally hunted prairie dogs in Montana with GOP Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte.[92] President Trump reversed the decision to allow elephant trophies imported from Zambia and Zimbabwe, pending further review.[93]

See also

  • Business projects of Donald Trump in Russia

  • Mueller Report

  • Karen McDougal § Alleged affair with Donald Trump

  • Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal

  • Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections


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