Donald Trump

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Donald Trump on NBC's The Apprentice

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946, his nickname being "The Donald" -- given to him by ex-wife Ivana Trump) is an American business executive. Donald Trump is most famous for several large skyscrapers he developed in Manhattan and named after himself. Starting with Trump Tower, he developed Trump World Tower along the East River, completed in 2001, and then began construction of the Trump Place apartment complex along the Hudson River that same year. He is also a major figure in the field of casino/hotels in the United States, and has become notable on television for his role on the reality show The Apprentice. Trump is often known as "A Schoolboy's Dream" and "A Competitor's Challenge", as he is rarely afraid of defining the ways of a prolific American business executive, and thus became an example of one.



He was born in New York, New York, the fourth of five children of Frederick C. and Mary MacLeod Trump. His grandfather came from Germany. Donald's father, Fred Trump, was a real estate developer who became rich with the building and operating of rental barracks in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.


At age 13, Donald's parents sent him to the New York Military Academy hoping to channel his energy and assertiveness in a positive manner. Trump attended Fordham University before transferring to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in economics, he joined his father's real estate company. Trump moved to Manhattan in 1971.

In his book, Art of the Deal, Trump discusses his undergraduate career:

"After I graduated from the New York Military Academy in 1964 I flirted briefly with the idea of attending film school...But in the end I decided real estate was a much better business. I began by attending Fordham University...but after two years, I decided that as long as I had to be in college, I might as well test myself against the best. I applied to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and I got in...I was also very glad to get finished. I immediately moved back home and went to work full-time with my father."


Trump began his career at his father's company, the Trump Organization, and initially concentrated on his father's preferred field of middle class rental housing. In the 1970s he benefitted from the financially strained New York city government's willingness to give tax concessions in exchange for investment at a time of finanicial crisis.

1980s Boom

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Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, New York City

As a talented dealmaker, he was able to secure loans with little collateral in the 1980s and created an empire in real estate, casinos, sports, and transportation, becoming something of a celebrity in the process. He put on front rank boxing cards at his casinos featuring the likes of Mike Tyson, and revelled in the publicity they brought him. His buildings are all characterized by a somewhat satirical personality cult around himself. The name "Trump" always appears in the name of his buildings (Trump Tower, Trump Taj Mahal, etc.) and often the decor features large letter "T"s in prominent locations. This self promotion also led to criticism and ridicule, most notably by Spy Magazine, which printed unflattering photographs and satirical commentary of Donald Trump and his wife Ivana. The 1980s also saw the brief emergence of an American cycling stage race, the Tour de Trump (19891990).


By 1990, the effects of recession left him unable to meet loan payments. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bondholders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid risking losing even more in a court fight. Also in 1990, he co-produced the game show Trump Card in syndication.

By 1994, Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he was forced to relinquish the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City.

In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. Wall Street drove its stock above $35 in 1996, but by 1998 it had fallen into single digits as the company remained profitless and struggled to pay just the interest on its nearly $2 billion in debt. Under such financial pressure, the properties were unable to make the improvements necessary for keeping up with their flashier competitors.

On October 21, 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt. The plan called for Trump's individual ownership to be reduced from 56 percent to 27 percent, with bondholders receiving stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. However, Trump's personal fortune has not been, in recent years, affected by his financial troubles with hotels and casinos. The Forbes 400 lists his net worth at $2.6 billion, though Trump himself claims to be worth over $5 billion.

In summary, Mr. Trump's major businesses have been bankrupt twice.


In 1999, Trump indicated an interest in running for president on the Reform party ticket in 2000. He withdrew after the party disintegrated into factionalism. Trump's political views are largely centrist. He is pro-choice regarding abortion and supports gay rights, Social Security privatization, and tax cuts such as those implemented by President Bush. In 2004, Trump expressed opposition to the Iraq War but claims to have still voted for Bush due to his tax cut policy. Trump has contributed to both Republicans and Democrats, having donated slightly more money to Democratic candidates.

Trump has recently attacked the official "Freedom Tower" plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center, claiming the plan to be "a pile of crap", and claims that most New Yorkers want the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center rebuilt, with a symbolic 111 stories, one story taller than the original predecessors (the "Twin Towers II" plan). He claims they would be taller, better, stronger and safer than the Freedom Tower; however, there is skepticism that the Twin Towers II proposal will actually replace the Freedom Tower plan and be built. In a recent CNN poll over 63% of voters wanted to see Trump's plan go into action.


In 1990, Trump's Atlantic City casino was used for the game show Trump Card, produced by Fielder-Berlin.

In 2004, Trump became star and executive producer 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. The other contestants were "fired", or eliminated, from the game. The winner of the program earns a $250,000 annual salary. At the end of each episode, Trump eliminated one contestant by telling them, "You're fired," which became a somewhat popular catch phrase. (See also: The Cobra motion).

A Muppet of Donald Trump also appears in an episode of the 36th season of Sesame Street, alongside grouch Muppet Donald Grump.


In 1977 Trump married Ivana Zelničkova and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka (born October 30, 1981) and Eric (born 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples, and together they have one child, Tiffany (born October 13, 1993). They divorced in June 8, 1999. Ivanka Trump is featured in a documentary called Born Rich about the experience of growing up as an heir to not only one of America's prolific business lineages, but to also a respected name in the New York Business World.

On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss. Trump and Knauss married on January 222005 at Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church on the Island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. Based on his marriages, it is evident that Trump has a preference for Eastern European women.



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Future site of Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto

United States and Canada:


Future Developments

External links



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