Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician, media personality, and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021.
Trump graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in 1968. He became president of his father’s real estate business in 1971 and renamed it the Trump Organization. He expanded the company’s operations to building and renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses and later started side ventures, mostly by licensing his name.
From 2004 to 2015, he co-produced and hosted the reality television series The Apprentice. Trump and his businesses have been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, including six bankruptcies.
Trump’s political positions have been described as populist, protectionist, isolationist, and nationalist. He won the 2016 U.S. presidential election as the Republican nominee against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton despite losing the national popular vote.
He became the first U.S. president with no prior military or government service. His election and policies sparked numerous protests. The 2017–2019 special counsel investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to favor the election of Trump.
Trump promoted conspiracy theories and made many false and misleading statements during his campaigns and presidency, to a degree unprecedented in American politics. Many of his comments and actions have been characterized as racially charged or racist, and many as misogynistic.
Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, diverted military funding toward building a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border, and implemented a policy of family separations for apprehended migrants. He rolled back more than 100 environmental policies and regulations in an aggressive attempt to weaken environmental protections.
Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which cut taxes for individuals and businesses and rescinded the individual health insurance mandate penalty of the Affordable Care Act. He appointed 54 federal appellate judges and three U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Trump initiated a trade war with China and withdrew the U.S. from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three times, but made no progress on denuclearization.
He reacted slowly to the COVID-19 pandemic, ignored or contradicted many recommendations from health officials in his messaging, and promoted misinformation about unproven treatments and the need for testing.
Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden but refused to concede defeat, falsely claiming widespread electoral fraud and attempting to overturn the results by pressuring government officials, mounting scores of unsuccessful legal challenges, and obstructing the presidential transition. On January 6, 2021, Trump urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol, which many of them then attacked, resulting in multiple deaths and interrupting the electoral vote count.
Trump is the only American president to have been impeached twice. After he tried to pressure Ukraine in 2019 to investigate Biden, he was impeached in December by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and acquitted by the Senate in February 2020.
The House impeached Trump a second time in January 2021, for incitement of insurrection, and the Senate acquitted him in February. In December 2022, the House January 6 Committee recommended criminal charges against Trump for obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and inciting or assisting an insurrection. Scholars and historians rank Trump as one of the worst presidents in American history.
Since leaving office, Trump has remained heavily involved in the Republican Party. In November 2022, he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election. In March 2023, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on 34 felony counts of fraud, making him the first former US president to face criminal charges; he pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Early Life and Education
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York. He was the fourth of five children to parents Frederick, a real estate developer, and Mary Trump, a New York socialite, and philanthropist. Donald was an energetic, assertive child. In the 1950s, the Trumps’ wealth increased with the postwar real estate boom. Trump was raised Presbyterian by his mother, and today, he identifies as a mainline Protestant.
Main article: Family of Donald Trump
In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková.They had three children: Donald Jr. (born 1977), Ivanka (born 1981), and Eric (born 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988.The couple divorced in 1990, following Trump’s affair with actress Marla Maples.Trump and Maples married in 1993 and divorced in 1999. They have one daughter, Tiffany (born 1993), who was raised by Marla in California.In 2005, Trump married Slovenian model Melania Knauss.They have one son, Barron (born 2006). Melania gained U.S. citizenship in 2006.
In 1977, Trump married his first wife Ivana Trump, (née Zelnickova Winklmayr), a New York fashion model who had been an alternate on the 1972 Czech Olympic Ski Team. She was named vice president in charge of design in the Trump Organization and played a major role in supervising the renovation of the Commodore and the Plaza Hotel.
The couple had three children together: Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka and Eric. They went through a highly publicized divorce that was finalized in 1992.
In 1993 Trump married his second wife, Marla Maples, an actress with whom he had been involved for some time and already had a daughter, Tiffany.
Trump would ultimately file for a highly publicized divorce from Maples in 1997, which became final in June 1999. A prenuptial agreement allotted $2 million to Maples.
Trump is currently married to former Slovenian model Melania Trump (née Knauss), who is more than 23 years his junior. In January 2005, the couple married in a highly-publicized and lavish wedding. Among the many celebrity guests at the wedding were Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.
Trump went to Sunday school and was confirmed in 1959 at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens.In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, which belongs to the Reformed Church in America.The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to the family until his death in 1993.Trump has described him as a mentor.In 2015, the church stated that Trump was not an active member. In 2019, he appointed his personal pastor, televangelist Paula White, to the White House Office of Public Liaison.In 2020, he said he identified as a non-denominational Christian.
Trump has called golfing his “primary form of exercise” but usually does not walk the course. He considers exercising a waste of energy, because exercise depletes the body’s energy “like a battery, with a finite amount of energy.” In 2015, Trump’s campaign released a letter from his longtime personal physician, Harold Bornstein, stating that Trump would “be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” In 2018, Bornstein said Trump had dictated the contents of the letter, and that three Trump agents had seized his medical records in a February 2017 raid on the doctor’s office.
Trump’s Real Estate and Businesses
Trump followed his father into a career in real estate development, bringing his grander ambitions to the family business. Trump’s business ventures include The Trump Organization, Trump Tower, casinos in Atlantic City and television franchises like The Apprentice and Miss Universe. Trump has business deals with the Javits Center and the Grand Hyatt New York, as well as other real estate ventures in New York City, Florida and Los Angeles.
Federal income disclosure forms Trump filed in 2017 list Trump’s golf courses, including Trump National Doral and Mar-a-Lago in Florida, as earning about half of his income. Other financial ventures include aircraft, merchandise and royalties from his two books, The Art of the Deal and Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again.
The Art of the Deal
In 1987, Trump published the book The Art of the Deal, co-authored with Tony Schwartz. In the book, Trump describes how he successfully makes business deals.
“I DON’T do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form,” Trump wrote.
The book made the New York Times best-seller list, although the number of copies sold has been debated; sales have been estimated at between 1 to 4 million copies to-date. Schwartz later became an outspoken critic of the book and of Trump, saying he felt remorseful for helping make the president “more appealing than he is.”
Over the years, Trump’s net worth have been a subject of public debate. Because Trump has not publicly released his tax returns, it’s not possible to definitively determine his wealth in the past or today. However, Trump valued his businesses at least $1.37 billion on his 2017 federal financial disclosure form, published by the Office of Government Ethics. Trump’s 2018 disclosure form put his revenue for the year at a minimum of $434 million from all sources.
In 1990, Trump asserted his own net worth in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. At the time, the real estate market was in decline, reducing the value of and income from Trump’s empire. The Trump Organization required a massive infusion of loans to keep it from collapsing, a situation that raised questions as to whether the corporation could survive bankruptcy. Some observers saw Trump’s decline as symbolic of many of the business, economic and social excesses that had arisen in the 1980s.
A May 2019 investigation by The New York Times of 10 years of Trump’s tax information found that between 1985 and 1994, his businesses lost money every year. The newspaper calculated that Trump’s businesses suffered $1.17 billion in losses over the decade.
Trump later defended himself on Twitter, calling the Times’ report “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!” He tweeted that he reported “losses for tax purposes,” and that doing so was a “sport” among real estate developers.
Trump’s net worth was questioned over the course of his 2016 presidential run, and he courted controversy after repeatedly refusing to release his tax returns while they were being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. He did not release his tax returns during the election, and he has not to date. It was the first time a major party candidate had not released such information to the public before a presidential election since Richard Nixon in 1972.