Long before presidency and even TV appearances, Donald Trump was the most eccentric billionaire in the US. The fourth child of Mary and Fred Trump, he was born on June 14, 1946 in New York City’s Queens Borough. He was used to wealth and luxury from the very beginning, and found unique ways to make money. After a military school and a short academic career, Trump joined the family business in real estate. In this Donald Trump biography, we will go through all major events of his life.
The Early Years: He Was a Handful
Trump’s father, Frederick, developed and built housing for rich Americans. He specialized in managing and building apartments in three boroughs. His parents said the little boy was a handful, and this is what we know about his early years:
- he was a rough fellow;
- little boy was assertive and energetic;
- his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy;
- little Trump had to learn to channel his energy in a positive way.
Donald Trump did well in the academy and became a student of the year. By 1964, he was a star athlete and everyone’s favorite student. After graduation he entered Fordham University, but was transferred several times to different schools. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 with an economics degree. He wasn’t drafted for military service during the Vietnam War because he got one medical and four student deferments.
Donald Trump Biography: At the Beginning of His Career
In 1973, the family company got into problems. Trump’s father was called out for discriminating against African Americans and refusing to rent them apartments. The family never agreed with these allegations, but had to make housing available to African Americans. In order to meet the requirements, Trump’s father bought property in four different states.
Young Donald Trump, however, didn’t want to go far away from home. He wanted to expand his business in rich neighborhoods of New York and Manhattan. His main achievements of that time were:
- by the mid 70s, he had built many skyscrapers;
- renamed his family business the Trump Organization;
- escaped his father’s influence;
- became the company’s president;
- made his father a chairman.
By the early 80s, everyone could see Trump’s competitive spirit.
The Most famous Trump property
As the Donald Trump biography goes, the future president bought an option on the railroad’s yards when the Pennsylvania Central Railroad filed for bankruptcy. He wanted to build more apartments, but poor economic climate forced Trump to change his plans. In 1978, he promoted his apartments as the location of a city convention center and was selected over two other companies.
Trump wanted to name the center after his family and even offered to forego a fee if it was allowed, but his offer was turned down. Ultimately, the center was named for Senator Jacob Javits. Trump didn’t forget about the idea of naming buildings after his family. Here is what he did:
- Transferred the company’s course from residential buildings to glamorous city projects.
- Transformed the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt.
- Built the 68-storey Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
- Erected other famous buildings: Trump World Tower, Trump Palace, and Trump International Hotel.
- Later on, he built Trump Towers in three countries on the other side of the world.
In 1974, the future president got an option in the Commodore. It was a good-for-nothing establishment in a beautiful location. In 1975, he signed an agreement with the Hyatt Hotel Corporation that wanted to build a downtown hotel. He could win a 40-year tax abatement and renovated the Commodore. The new building had a facade of reflective glass designed by Der Scutt. The hotel, named as the Grand Hyatt, opened in 1980. It was an immediate success, and Trump became the best known and controversial businessman.
Taking on Debts
Opening so many fancy venues couldn’t go unnoticed. Right after the opening of Trump Taj Mahal, he had to take on debt to open a casino. This was the first step towards a huge debt that threatened Trump’s business and career. Trump got himself in such a debt that his father had to buy several million worth of casino chips to support Donald and help him stay afloat. However, the court saw his actions as an illegal loan.
The debt was so huge that Trump sold some of his assets, including the Trump Shuttle airline and expensive vehicles. Back then, he was on a tight budget. In the 90s, a Donald Trump biography called Lost Tycoon was offered to the public. According to that book, Trump was an innocent victim destroyed by foes and scandals. This was also the time when he divorced his first wife Ivana and married actress Marla Maples.
In the 90s, Trump spent many months trying to cope with debt and failing at meeting deadlines. However, he had to loan more money at unfortunate rates. In order to protect himself from personal liability, he founded a company. However, he didn’t have a single profitable month during the 90s. By 2004, the future president was in bankruptcy. He was sued many times, and his name became synonymous to “failure to pay debts”.
Trump said that Atlantic City was the reason behind his bankruptcy. However, the casinos weren’t a profitable business idea even before the 90s. In 2009 and 2014, his casinos were in bankruptcy once again. By 2015, when Trump decided to run for presidency, his business collapsed. However, while many vendors and shareholders lost their bets, Trump managed to shield his personal assets.
He Has Five Children and Eight Grandchildren
Trump is the first US president to have been having three wives and divorced twice. However, he says that family has always been the most important part of his life. He also has a few close friends and several good enemies. Ivana Zelnickova is his first big love. Together, they have many children:
- Donald Jr.;
In 1990, the world found out that the celebrity couple filed for divorce. The whole country watched the process and read press stories. Some people believed that Trump abused his first wife, even though she said there were no incidents. Trump married again in 1993. His wife Marla Maples gave birth to a girl soon after that. The couple filed for divorce in 1999. Finally, Trump married his wife Melania Knauss in 2005 and the world greeted their son, Barron William. As of today, Trump has eight grandchildren.
His first three children run the Trump Organization. However, Donald Trump is still chief executive. Many experts criticized Trump for not addressing his businesses and the potential for conflicts of interest. Trump spends a lot of time with his family at Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. This is the former retreat of General Foods owner Marjorie Merriweather Post. Trump got the estate in 1985 and turned it into a private club. He loves to play golf there and at other resorts. He calls his mansion “winter White House” and often makes weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago.
Donald Trump Biography: A Successful Entertainer
You may remember a reality TV show “The Apprentice” with Trump as a host. There, people tried to get a job in one of his companies. The TV show drew big ratings and featured Trump’s signature phrase “You’re fired.” The TV show became a household name and ranked over $1 million per episode. Trump hosted 14 episodes of the main show and a spinoff show, “The Celebrity Apprentice”.
In addition to his career as a host, Trump has been featured in many films and TV shows. Moreover, he owned beauty contests, including Miss USA, where he selected models for the Miss Universe pageant. In 1999, he became an owner of a modeling agency that has been successfully operating ever since.
He’s Always Wanted To Lead the Country
Trump showed his interest in running for president at the end of the 80s. 13 years later, in 2000, he decided to join a race as a Reform Party candidate. In 2008, he became the most famous member of the birther movement and questioned Obama’s birthplace. Trump repeatedly questioned Obama’s religious belief and citizenship.
The movement asserted Obama couldn’t be the president of the US because he wasn’t a natural-born citizen. However, those claims were debunked. Trump admitted that there was no truth in his claims and Obama was born in Hawaii. However, there was no apology.
2016 Presidential Campaign
Trump had come a long way before winning the presidency in 2016. This was the first time when he held elected government office. He had considered entering the race several times before that but opted not to do it. Here is how he came up with this idea:
- in 2011, Trump started questioning whether Obama was born in the US;
- during the next years, he collected rumors about Obama’s past to grow his audience;
- by 2014, Trump gained recognition in the world and was respected by conservative politics;
- The White House even had to release Obama’s birth certificate to prove Trump wrong.
In 2015, Trump gave a speech at Trump Tower to announce his presidential candidacy. For the first time, he said a famous slogan “Make America Great Again” and showed up in a baseball hat he often wore at public rallies. This is when he said that he would stop Iran from acquiring weapons. He also mentioned a “laughable deal” made by Secretary Kerry who also broke a leg during a bike race.
Even though some people distanced themselves from Trump, many people loved his outspokenness and brilliant business career. Besides, he wasn’t a politician. One of the most popular campaign promises was to build a wall with Mexico. Overall, his speech was very bizarre and very entertaining.
As the time went by, almost everyone predicted Clinton’s victory. However, on November 2016, Trump and Governor Mike Pence defeated Clinton and Senator Tim Kaine. This famous debate was viewed by millions of people. Trump won several swing states, as well as red states, and got 306 electoral votes (Clinton got 232 votes). Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump became the president.
Focusing On US Manufacturing and Ending Contracts with China
An important part of Donald Trump biography is his promise to focus on America’s manufacturing and put economic interests of his country before everything else. Since 2016, Trump has taken a stance on China and protected American manufacturers from Chinese competition. These are the key elements of his trade policy.
During the first month in a president seat, he went through all trade deals between the US, Mexico, Canada, and China. He cancelled some deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and reworked others. Other major activities of that time regarding trading included:
- Trying to figure out what to do with the trade deficit. Trump was going to close the gap between exports and imports. Many people acknowledge that his actions led to an improvement. The gap declined in 2019. This hadn’t happened in years.
- Raised border taxes. The war with China has resulted in raised border taxes. However, most of the tariffs are still in place. Trump offered tax credits to US companies to help them move their production units out of China. The slogan is “we will end our reliance on China”.
Steel, French wine and other goods from Europe were also affected by higher tariffs. Besides, aluminum and steel from Brazil and Argentina, as well as Canadian aluminum products were also affected.
Tracing Police Misbehavior
In 2018, Trump touted the First Step Act in an attempt to manage police misbehavior. This was the first step towards changes in the justice system. This was a major decision that shaped federal laws and gave courts discretion during sentencing. Besides, it improved prisoner rehabilitation practices.
Trump said we should wait for the second act that would make employment of former prisoners easier. However, no action has been taken so far. Some of his actions led to major protests against racial discrimination. As of today, he supports police and law enforcement.
Trump also issued an order to introduce multiple police reforms. These include:
- huge grants to reward mindful practices;
- creating of databases to trace police abuse;
- prohibiting chokehold methods.
Trump also said that some practices used to restrain suspects should be prohibited, but he hasn’t done anything in this regard.
Terminating Affordable Care Act, Lowering Drug Costs
In 2016, Trump said he would terminate the Affordable Care Act developed by Obama. Even though he is yet to fulfill his promise, he’s already undone parts of the Act. For example, he repealed an individual mandate that required people to pay a tax penalty or buy health insurance. Trump has significantly restricted opioid prescribing. Critics say that dismantling the Act and expanding healthcare coverage should help deal with the crisis.
Trump is also concerned about bringing down drug prices, and several steps have already been made towards this goal. For example, he allowed to import cheaper drugs from abroad and get discounts. The effects of this move have yet to be seen. Trump also declared the opioid crisis in 2017. In order to stop the crisis, he offered $1.8 billion in federal funding. This money should be spent on treatment and recovery.
Ending trade deficits, cutting regulations, and lowering corporate and individual taxes
In 2016, one of the key parts of Trump message was to drive economic growth and strengthen the economy. As such, Trump promised to do the following:
- eliminate existing business regulations;
- revive the manufacturing sector;
- cut taxes;
- boost energy production;
- create new jobs;
- renegotiate trade agreements.
Once he became the president, he has followed through the majority of these promises. For example, he issued regulations of energy, agricultural and financial sectors. Trump firmly believes that these three areas can spur economic growth. Speaking of manufacturing jobs, they went up in 2016, but the growth slowed down in 2017. One of the major achievements in this regard is the coal industry that had been in decline under Obama. However, energy companies haven’t shifted away from coal.
In 2017, Trump signed a tax reform bill that significantly reduced taxes for middle-class families, corporations, and high-income earners. As of today, some people criticize Trump’s approach to trade policy. However, Mr. President has said many times that trade deficits are bad for the economy. Therefore, he thinks new deals with China, Canada, Mexico and other America’s leading partners should be prohibited. Trump ignored warnings from economists, lawmakers and US companies, and followed through with his views on trade.
Since 2016, Trump has placed tariffs on imports, sparked a massive trade dispute, and renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement. As of today, he wants to replace the agreement with a new deal. It means that the relationship between the US, Canada and Mexico may be reconsidered in the future.
It’s hard to deny that the economy grew at a respectable rate from 2016 to 2019. Trump continued the positive trajectory started by Obama, but change the course. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate was 4%, which is 0.7% less than before Trump. Under him, the stock market has made record gains. The economy was doing so well before the pandemic that Trump said it was “the strongest” in the US. This was a slight exaggeration.
The Beginning of the Pandemic
An important part of the Donald Trump biography is the pandemic. The economic growth came to a halt when the virus arrived to the country and America declared a national crisis. States shut down to slow the spread of the pandemic. From March to May, over 20 million Americans filed jobless claims, which had never happened before. An unemployment rate spiked to 14.7% within two months. Trump boosted unemployment insurance payments, funded local governments and sent funding to states. He also provided unemployed Americans with stimulus checks.
Since March 2020, some businesses have reopened and people got their jobs back. Still, a current unemployment rate of 8.4% is much higher than that in 2017. Almost one million people fill jobless claims every month. As of today, the economy is in flux. This is unfortunate for Trump who is in his last weeks of campaigning.
Trump Got Coronavirus
After Trump confirmed getting Covid-19, he cancelled his plans to attend rallies and fundraisers during the election campaign. This is a huge blown for the president who has been trying to convince everyone that the worst is behind. However, as of October 2020, cases continue to rise. All while Trump is running against Joe Biden.
Trump getting the virus is the most serious public health threat encountered by any American president. In order to get better, Trump had to cancel his participation in the second debate against Biden. Instead, the event was held virtually. Trump needed nine days to get better. On the tenth day, he stood on a balcony at the White house and spoke with several hundreds of his closest supporters.
The speech lasted for 18 minutes, while he was coughing. However, overall, Trump looked healthy. In a nutshell, this is what he said:
- he is doing better every day;
- he wants to vote Democrats into oblivion;
- nine days after catching the Covid-19, he is no longer contagious;
- he was allowed to discontinue his isolation by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention;
- Covid PCR sample demonstrated that Trump was no longer a transmission risk.
Donald Trump is known for his signature buildings – 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, Trump Plaza, luxurious golf resorts and casinos. He is a successful host of two popular TV shows and an eccentric celebrity. He went into his father’s business and developed middle-class housing in many boroughs. As his actions as a president show, he loves to participate in high-reward, high-risk projects.