Donald John Trump, Sr. (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor, television personality, author, and politician. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump’s extravagant lifestyle and outspoken manner have made him a celebrity for years, a status amplified by the success of his NBC reality show The Apprentice.
Trump is a son of Fred Trump, a prominent New York City real estate tycoon. He worked for his father’s firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company. He was given control of the company in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization. Trump remains a major figure in the real estate industry in the United States and a celebrity for his prominent media exposure.
In 2010, Trump expressed an interest in becoming a candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election, though in May 2011, he announced he would not run. Trump was a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In 2013, Trump spent over $1 million to research a possible presidential bid in 2016. On June 16, 2015, Trump formally announced his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2016 election at Trump Tower in Manhattan. To which end he is seeking the nomination of the Republican Party.
Early life and education
Trump was born on June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York, one of five children of Mary Anne (née MacLeod) and Fred Trump, who married in 1936. His oldest brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 43. Trump’s mother was a Scottish immigrant, born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland, while Trump’s paternal grandparents were German immigrants. His grandfather, Frederick Trump (né Friedrich Drumpf), immigrated to the United States in 1885 and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1892. Frederick married Donald’s grandmother, Elisabeth Christ (October 10, 1880 – June 6, 1966), at Kallstadt, Bavaria, Germany, on August 26, 1902. They had three children.
Trump attended the Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, Queens, as did some of his siblings. At age 13 after he had some difficulties there, his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy (NYMA), hoping to direct his energy and assertiveness in a positive manner. At NYMA, in rural New York, Trump earned academic honors, and played varsity football in 1962, varsity soccer in 1963, and varsity baseball from 1962 to 1964 (baseball captain 1964).
Trump attended Fordham University in the Bronx for two years before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania because Wharton then had one of the few real estate departments in U.S. academia. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
Trump began his career at his father’s real estate company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. One of Trump’s first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. Trump became intimately involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years. In 1972 the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.
In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan and became involved in larger building projects and utilized attractive architectural design to win public recognition. He made plans to acquire and develop the old Penn Central for $60 million with no money down. Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and created The Trump Organization.
New York City had a plan to build the Javits Convention Center on property for which Trump held a right-to-buy option. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million but the city rejected his offer and Trump received a broker’s fee on the sale of the property instead. Repairs on The Wollman Rink in Central Park (built in 1955) were started in 1980 with an expected 2½-year construction schedule but was nowhere near completion by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project, at no cost to the city, and completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget.
In 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International. This expansion, both personal and business, led to mounting debt.
By 1989, poor business decisions left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and to the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.
The late 1990s saw a resurgence in his financial situation. In 2001, he completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters. Also, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. Trump owns commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle. Trump owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate.
Trump has developed many real estate projects, such as Trump International Hotel and Tower – Honolulu, Trump International Hotel and Tower – Chicago, Trump International Hotel and Tower – Toronto, and Trump Tower – Tampa. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one Trump construction project was put on hold in favor of another (Trump International Hotel and Tower – Fort Lauderdale). Meanwhile, Trump Towers – Atlanta is being developed in a housing market having the nation’s second-highest inventory of unsold homes.
In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4.1 billion. In June 2015, Business Insider published a June 30, 2014, financial statement supplied by Trump. The statement reflects his net worth as $8.7 billion. Of that amount, $3.3 billion is represented by “Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments”, described by Business Insider as “basically [implying] that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion”.