|45th President of the United States|
January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021
|Vice President||Mike Pence|
|Preceded by||Barack Obama|
|Succeeded by||Joe Biden|
|Born||Donald John Trump
June 14, 1946
New York City
|Political party||Republican (1987–1999, 2009–2011, 2012–present)|
|Residence||Palm Beach, Florida|
|Alma mater||The Wharton School (B.S. in Econ.)|
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Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American conservative politician, business magnate, television personality, and author. He served as the 45th President of the United States, an office he held for one four-year term from January 20, 2017, to January 20, 2021.
Before becoming president, Trump had already been widely known since the 1980s as a business magnate, real estate developer, media personality, television producer, reality TV show host, film and TV actor, talk radio show host, professional wrestling personality, author, New York City institution, and American popular culture celebrity. As of 2021, he is the only person to become U.S. president with no prior political or military experience.
Trump was born and raised in Queens, New York City, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Later, he took charge of The Trump Organization, the real estate and construction firm founded by his paternal grandmother, which he ran for 45 years until 2016. During his real estate career, Trump built, renovated, and managed numerous office towers, hotels, condominiums, casinos, and golf courses. Besides real estate, he started several side ventures and has licensed the use of his name for the branding of various products and properties. He produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC, from 2004 to 2015. His net worth was estimated to be $3.5 billion as of 2017[update], making him the 544th richest person in the world.
Trump first publicly expressed interest in running for political office in 1987. He won two Reform Party presidential primaries in 2000, but withdrew his candidacy early on. In June 2015, he launched his campaign for the 2016 presidential election and quickly emerged as the front-runner among seventeen candidates in the Republican primaries. His remaining opponents all suspended their campaigns by the end of May 2016 and in July he was formally nominated at the Republican National Convention along with Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. His campaign received extensive media coverage. Many of his public statements were controversial.
Trump won the general election on November 8, 2016, in a surprise victory against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, and commenced his presidency on January 20, 2017. He became the oldest person to assume the presidency (surpassing Ronald Reagan), until Joe Biden in 2021, the wealthiest person ever to assume the presidency, and the fifth to have won election while losing the popular vote, though his supporters claimed there were irregularities. His political positions have been described by scholars and commentators as populist, protectionist, and nationalist. In the first year of Trump's presidency, the economy improved significantly, but progressive opponents strongly criticized his direct and plain-spoken personal style. With no significant scandals or international events to report, the democrat media focused on unsubstantiated allegations that Trump's election campaign team had colluded with Russian intelligence agencies to influence public opinion. The official investigation was eventually closed, with no evidence of the conspiracy theory.
The most significant domestic policy legislation Trump signed as president was arguably the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While budget deficits continued to increase during his administration, revenues hit record highs.
Meanwhile, he successfully nominated 234 Article III federal judges, including three associate justices to the Supreme Court of the United States: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. In December Trump refused to sign most legislation passed by the United States Congress until they made funds available to construct a secure barrier along the USA's southern border with Mexico, to increase border security, and reduce illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. Democratic congresspeople and some Republican sympathizers strongly opposed Trump's anti-illegal immigration policies, leading to a partial government shutdown that extended into 2019.
Faced with declining poll numbers, Trump then ended the shutdown, and attempted to start building more southern border barriers by declaring a national emergency. Congress members and left-wing activists sought to block authorization and funding for these efforts, with some success. Trump also appeared to reposition himself for the 2020 presidential election by adopting more "moderate" or progressive positions regarding immigration. This caused alienation among his political base.
On June 30, 2019, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on North Korean soil, when he negotiated the 2019 Koreas–United States DMZ Summit.
In September 2019, Democratic congresspersons initiated the first impeachment inquiry against the president over the alleged Trump–Ukraine conspiracy. In what detractors claimed were politically motivated proceedings to remove Trump from office, Democratic politicians claimed that the president withheld military aid to Ukraine to persuade them to investigate the actions of Trump's political rivals working in that country, although they presented no evidence. Trump's opponents charged him with two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. On December 18, 2019, the Democratic majority of the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for the first time in a strict party-line vote. Every Republican member and some Democrats voted against the bill. On February 5, 2020, he was acquitted in his first United States Senate impeachment trial.
On December 20, 2019, Trump administered the establishment of the United States Space Force (USSF), the space service branch of the United States Armed Forces, one of the eight Uniformed Services of the United States, and the world's first and, as of 2021, only independent space force. The establishment of the U.S. Space Force marked the first new U.S. independent military service since the United States Air Force in 1947.
In 2020, Trump's reelection campaign was overshadowed by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, while rising political tensions led to organized riots throughout the USA. These disturbances were described by Trump's supporters as an attempted revolutionary movement by established far-left forces.
On September 15, 2020, Trump negotiated the signing of the Abraham Accords, a peace treaty and normalization agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. The Abraham Accords marked the first peace treaty between Israel and any Arab country since the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty in 1994.
In October 2020 it was announced that Trump himself had tested positive for coronavirus, but appeared to recover within a few days. On election day, Trump received millions more votes than the polls had predicted, but the final tally was delayed in several key states. More and more mail-in ballots favoring his opponent Joe Biden were then produced in these states. By the next day, these newly counted votes appeared to give Biden a decisive edge. On November 7, 2020, most mainstream media projected Biden to have won the election, and to become the next U.S. president.
On January 6, 2021, as Congress gathered to count presidential electoral votes, a protest was held by both Trump supporters and Antifa/Black Lives Matter activists, during which some protesters broke into the United States Capitol building, causing lawmakers to flee, on the same day that Trump delivered a speech in Washington, D.C. He was then impeached a second time by the Democrat-led House of Representatives, becoming the only U.S. president to be impeached twice. The House passed one charge of "incitement of insurrection," despite the fact that Trump told the crowd at his speech to "peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard," and that the Capitol protest began before Trump finished his speech. Further, the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that explosives were left at the Republican National Committee and Democrat National Committee buildings before Trump even gave the speech, meaning it was planned ahead of time with no involvement by Trump.
The Senate took no further action during his term, although his second trial was scheduled for after he left office, making him the only president to be tried after the end of his presidency, and also the only president whose trial was not presided over by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump did not attend Biden's inauguration. Trump was acquitted by the Senate for the second time on February 13, 2021, making him the only president to be acquitted by the Senate twice, and meaning he is still eligible to run for a second presidential term in the future.
In 2020 and 2021, Trump was nominated five separate times for the Nobel Peace Prize by various international members of parliament, law professors, and national security experts, for his work toward achieving world peace, notably in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Korea, and for his overall foreign policy.
Trump's presidency took place in a period in American history marked by intense political and social division, and he faced open hostility from the mainstream media. Despite this, he achieved all of his campaign promises and more. He re-aligned the Republican Party as a populist, working-class, multi-ethnic party, becoming arguably the most successful one-term president in U.S. history, and the most significant Republican president since Ronald Reagan.
- 1 Family and personal life
- 2 Business career
- 2.1 Real estate
- 2.2 Branding and licensing
- 2.3 Legal affairs and bankruptcies
- 2.4 Side ventures
- 2.5 Foundation
- 2.6 Resignation
- 3 Media career
- 4 Political career up to 2015
- 5 2016 presidential campaign
- 6 Presidency
- 6.1 Transition
- 6.2 First 100 days
- 6.3 Dismissal of James Comey
- 6.4 Domestic policy
- 6.5 2018-2019 federal government shutdown
- 6.6 2020 Coronavirus epidemic
- 6.7 Foreign policy
- 6.8 2020 presidential campaign
- 6.9 Capitol mass protests
- 6.10 Second impeachment (2021)
- 7 Post-presidency
- 8 Awards, honors, and distinctions
- 9 Impeachment efforts
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
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 isles of 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 (later Frederick), 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 the 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.
Trump's father Fred was born in 1905 in the Bronx, and 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 would later become 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.
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 Christ "Fred" Trump (1905–1999) and Mary Anne Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000). His siblings are Maryanne (born 1937), Fred Jr. (1938–1981), Elizabeth (born 1942), and Robert (born 1948).
Trump grew up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens, New York. He attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, Trump's parents enrolled him in the New York Military Academy, after discovering Donald made frequent trips into Manhattan without permission. In August 1964, Trump entered Fordham University. He transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania two years later, 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 was not 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, but was given a 1-Y medical deferment in October 1968, attributed to heel spurs. In 1969, he received a high number in the draft lottery, which made him unlikely to be called.
Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, on April 7, 1977, at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan in a ceremony performed by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. They had three children: son Donald Jr. (born December 31, 1977), daughter Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and son Eric (born January 6, 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 Tiffany, named after Tiffany & Company. Maples and Trump were married two months later on December 20, 1993. They were divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by her mother in California.
Trump married Slovene model Melania Knauss, on January 22, 2005 at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. In 2006, Melania acquired United States citizenship and she gave birth to their son Barron on March 20. Upon Trump's accession to the presidency, Melania became First Lady of the United States.
Prior to 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 assistant to the president, while he is a Senior Advisor in the White House.
Trump's ancestors were Lutherans 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 participates in Holy Communion, but 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." 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 "Two Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians", eliciting chuckles from the audience. Despite this, 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 relationships 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."
A 2016 medical report issued by his doctor, Harold Bornstein M.D., showed that Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid function were in normal ranges. Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed other drugs, including marijuana. He also drinks no alcohol, a decision arising in part from watching his older brother Fred Jr. suffer from alcoholism until his early death in 1981.
Trump has said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father. Trump appeared on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune, including an "undefined" share of the fortune belonging to his family and father. During the 1980s he became a billionaire, but was absent from the Forbes list from 1990 to 1995 following losses which reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings' trusts in 1993. After his father died in 1999, he and his surviving siblings received shares of his father's estate which was valued at more than $20 million.
When he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, Trump released a one-page financial summary that stated a net worth of $8,737,540,000. The following month, he filed a 92-page disclosure and put his wealth at over $10 billion. His presidential announcement speech mentioned that "I'm really rich", which he said would make him less reliant upon large campaign donations. Forbes believed his net worth estimate was "a whopper", figuring it was $4.1 billion in 2015 (405th in the world, 133rd in the U.S.). Trump valued his "properties under development" at $293 million; Forbes said that it did not know what they were worth and so was valuing them as worth $0. Trump had stated in the long 2015 financial disclosure that his income for the year 2014 was $362 million.
After Trump made controversial remarks about illegal immigrants in 2015, he lost business contracts with several companies that summer, which Forbes estimated negatively impacted his net worth by $125 million. The value of the Trump brand may have fallen further during his presidential campaign, as some consumers boycotted in response to his candidacy. Bookings and foot traffic at Trump-branded properties fell off sharply in 2016, though Trump's 104-page financial disclosure in May 2016 still put his wealth at over $10 billion as he had done the previous July. The release of the Access Hollywood tape recordings in October 2016 put further pressure on his business.
In their 2017 annual 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 have fluctuated from year to year, and also depending upon who is doing the estimations; Bloomberg News pegged his wealth at $3 billion in 2016, whereas Forbes said $4.5 billion that same year (324th in the world, 113th in the U.S.). The discrepancies among these estimates and with Trump's own estimates stem from the uncertain value of appraised property and of his personal brand.
Trump started his career at his father's real estate development company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs outside Manhattan, 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, thereby boosting the occupancy rate from 66% to 100%.
Trump was promoted to president of the company in 1971 (while his father became chairman of the board), 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, purchasing a half-share in the decrepit Commodore Hotel, largely funded by a $70 million construction loan jointly guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain. Designed by architect Der Scutt, the project was able to proceed by leveraging 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 the Wollman Rink (originally opened in 1949 in Central Park) were started in 1980 by a general contractor unconnected to Trump. Despite an expected two and one-half year construction schedule, the repairs were not completed by 1986. Trump took over the project, completed it in three months for $775,000 less than the initial budget of $1.95 million, and operated the rink for one year with all profits going to charity 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 which 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 a vacant seventy-story skyscraper on Wall Street which 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 Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River, and encountered delays the following year because a subcontracter had to replace defective concrete. Ultimately, he and the other investors in that project sold their interest in 2005 for $1.8 Billion, in what was then the biggest residential sale in the history of New York City.
In 2001, across from the headquarters of the United Nations, he completed Trump World Tower, which for a while was the tallest all-residential tower in the world. Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico in Manhattan in 2002, which re-opened with 35 stories of luxury condominiums in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue. Meanwhile, he continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.
Palm Beach estate
Trump acquired the historic Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida in 1985 for $5 million, plus $3 million for the home's furnishings. It 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, he acquired a foreclosed, 33-story, twin-tower condominium complex in nearby West Palm Beach for $40 million, with automobile manufacturing executive Lee Iacocca investing in three of the condos. Despite sprucing up its public areas, and years of heavy promotion, selling the units proved difficult, and the deal turned out to be unprofitable.
Atlantic City casinos
New Jersey legalized gambling in 1977, and the following year Trump was in Atlantic City, New Jersey to explore how he might get involved. Seven years later, Harrah's at Trump Plaza hotel and casino opened there, built by Trump with financing from Holiday Corporation which also was managing that business. Renamed "Trump Plaza" soon after opening, it was then the tallest building in Atlantic City. The casino's poor results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp., which led to Trump 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, by making a complex transaction with the 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 died 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. Financed with $675 million in junk bonds, it 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.
Trump founded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR) in 1995, 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. He served as chairman of the publicly-traded THCR organization, which was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts, from mid-1995 until early 2009, 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.
Hotel outside New York
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, The Trump Organization expanded its footprint in the United States beyond New York and into a few other countries, 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, as well as licensing 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 charge of the family real estate firm in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization, he not only greatly expanded its real estate operations, but 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—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, operating golf courses in several countries. He also hosted several boxing matches in Atlantic City at the Trump Plaza, including Mike Tyson's 1988 heavyweight championship fight against Michael Spinks, and at one time acted as a financial advisor to 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, which were founded in 1952. 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 2015, after Trump made statements about illegal immigrants from Mexico in his U.S. presidential campaign kickoff speech, NBC 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, becoming its sole owner for three days, then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.
Trump University LLC was a for-profit education company founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny, that ran a real estate training program, charging 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 by Trump and Tony Schwartz. 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."
When Trump was elected president 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.
Trump appeared at 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.
Acting and public image
Trump has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series, and he was twice nominated for an Emmy Award. He played an oil tycoon in The Little Rascals, made cameo appearances in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and other movies and TV shows, and had a singing role at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006. Trump was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and received an annual pension of more than $110,000. Trump has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Starting in the 1990s, he 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 and other music lyrics, his name being referenced 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." As of December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired person in America according to a Gallup poll.
Trump considered running for president in 1988, 2000, 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, ostensibly due to the involvement of David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani.
From 2001 to 2008, Trump identified 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 recent president 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 won 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.
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."
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 which 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.
As required of all presidential candidates by FEC regulations, Trump published a 92-page financial disclosure form that listed all his assets, liabilities, income sources and hundreds of business positions, but he declined to release his tax returns, contrary to usual practice by every presidential candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976. Trump's refusal led to speculation that he was hiding something, although there is no law that requires presidential candidates to release their returns.
Trump explained that his tax returns are being audited and his lawyers advise against releasing them. 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 16 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 seventh debate on January 28 (that was the last debate before primary voting began on February 1). 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 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 for winning the most primary votes in the history of the Republican Party. He also set the record for the largest number of votes against the front runner.
General election campaign
After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump's focus shifted to the general election, urging 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 in national polls over Trump 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. Trump and Pence were officially nominated by the Republican Party on July 19, 2016, 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 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 the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Lester Holt, an anchor with NBC News, was the moderator. This 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 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 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on October 19. 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 claims
In January 2017, American intelligence agencies – the CIA, FBI and NSA, represented by the Director of National Intelligence – stated that the former two agencies assessed with "high confidence" (the NSA expressed "moderate 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". Information released to the public by these intelligence agencies provided little detail of the scope or effectiveness of the alleged interference, beyond repeated reassurances that neither vote tallies nor the election outcome were affected.
On February 16, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and 3 companies for improprieties including allegedly purchasing approximately $100,000 in online advertisments (most of which ran after the 2016 election) without registering with the Federal Election Commission. In July 2018, he indicted an additional 12 Russian nationals on allegations of having hacked computers and servers belonging to the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Convention. Media reports indicate these indictments are largely symbolic, as the accused parties live in Russia and are unlikely to be extradited.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Trump has repeatedly stated that accusations of collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government constitute a false narrative advanced by his political enemies, including regular tweets characterizing such claims as the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!". Investigations by the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General have also cast doubt on the legitimacy of the collusion accusations, including evidence of collaboration between the Clinton campaign, former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, intelligence firm Fusion GPS, law firm Perkins Coie, former FBI Director James Comey, FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok, and others to manufacture evidence of a connection between Trump and Russia that could be exploited for partisan political ends. Russian president Vladimir Putin has also denied all allegations of election interference, 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 that the media described as "vulgar" and "sexist". 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 after losing the popular vote. Records on this matter date from the year 1824.[nb 1] 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 (where she did win) 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 became the first president without prior governmental or military experience. Of the 43[nb 2] 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. He lost his home state of New York, becoming the fourth candidate to win the presidency without his home state. The others were James Polk (Tennessee) in 1844, Woodrow Wilson (New Jersey) in 1916, and Richard Nixon (New York) in 1968.
Trump's victory sparked protests across the United States. Trump opponents took to the streets to amplify their opposition to Trump's views and denounce his inflammatory statements. Some argued that Clinton's popular vote victory meant Trump was not the democratically elected president and should be considered illegitimate. 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. In contrast, 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 there were progressive demonstrations protesting Trump in the United States and worldwide, with approximately 2,600,000 taking part in "Women's Marches" worldwide. The most notable of these marches was the Women's March on Washington (in Washington, D.C.), where over 500,000 people marched in opposition to Trump. This was more than three times the number of people who were at Trump's inaugural speech, according to crowd scientists at the Manchester Metropolitan University.
|Republican Party presidential primaries, 2016|
|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
|United States presidential election, 2016|
|Republican||Donald Trump||62,979,879 votes
(30 states + ME-02)
|Democratic||Hillary Clinton||65,844,954 votes
(20 states + DC)
On November 10, President-elect Trump had his first ever meeting with President Obama to discuss plans for a peaceful transition of power. The New York Times stated that "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
Trump's transition team was led by Chris Christie until November 11, 2016, when Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over. Since then, Trump has chosen RNC chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff and businessman and media executive Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist.
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, 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 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.
First 100 days
Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States 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, President Trump signed an executive order that suspended admission of refugees for 120 days and denied entry to citizens of Iraq,