|45th President of the United States|
January 20, 2017
|Vice President||Mike Pence|
|Preceded by||Barack Obama|
|Born||Donald John Trump
June 14, 1946
New York City
|Political party||Republican (1987–1999, 2009–2011, 2012–present)|
|Alma mater||The Wharton School (BS in Econ.)|
|Net worth||US$3.1 billion (March 2018)|
|Awards||List of honors and awards|
|President of the United States
Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current President of the United States, in office since January 20, 2017. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality.
Trump was born and raised in the New York City borough of Queens, and received an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He took charge of his family's real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded it into Manhattan. The company built or renovated several skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump later started various side ventures, including licensing his name for real estate and consumer products. He managed the company until his 2017 inauguration. He co-authored several books, including The Art of the Deal. He owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015, and he produced and hosted the game show The Apprentice from 2003 to 2015. According to March 2018 estimates by Forbes, he is the world's 766th richest person, with a net worth of US$3.1 billion.
Trump entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican and defeated sixteen opponents in the primaries. Commentators described his political positions as populist, protectionist, and nationalist. His campaign received extensive free media coverage; many of his public statements were controversial or false. Trump was elected president in a surprise victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, and the fifth to have won the election while losing the popular vote. His election and policies have sparked numerous protests.
In domestic policy, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns; a revised version of the ban was implemented after legal challenges. He signed tax reform legislation that cut rates, rescinded the individual insurance mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, and opened the Arctic Refuge for oil drilling. He also enacted a partial repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act that had imposed stricter constraints on banks in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He made dozens of judicial appointments, including Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
In foreign policy, Trump has pursued his America First agenda. He withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations and the Paris Agreement on climate change, partially reversed the Cuban thaw, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. He imposed import tariffs on various goods from China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
After Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate coordination or links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in its election interference. Trump has repeatedly denied accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, condemning the investigation by calling it a politically motivated "witch hunt".
- 1 Family and personal life
- 2 Business career
- 3 Media career
- 4 Public profile
- 5 Political activities up to 2015
- 6 2016 presidential campaign
- 7 Presidency
- 7.1 Early actions
- 7.2 Domestic policy
- 7.3 Foreign policy
- 7.4 Personnel
- 7.5 Investigations
- 7.6 2020 presidential campaign
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 External links
Family and personal life
Ancestry and parents
Trump's ancestors originated from the German village of Kallstadt in the Palatinate on his father's side, and from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland on his mother's side. All of his grandparents and his mother were born in Europe.
Trump's paternal grandfather, Friedrich Trump, first immigrated 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 its gold rush. On a visit to Kallstadt, he met Elisabeth Christ and married her in 1902. The couple permanently settled in New York in 1905. Frederick died from influenza during the 1918 pandemic.
Trump's father Fred was born in 1905 in The Bronx. Fred started working with his mother in real estate when he was 15, shortly after his father's death. Their company, "E. Trump & Son", founded in 1923,[nb 1] 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 was later renamed The Trump Organization, after Donald Trump took charge in 1971.
Trump's mother Mary Anne was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. At age 18 in 1930, she immigrated 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 John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Queens, New York City, the fourth of five children. Trump grew up in Jamaica, Queens, and attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, he was enrolled in the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, after his parents discovered that he had made frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission.
In 1964, Trump enrolled at Fordham University. After two years, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While at Wharton, he worked at the family business, Elizabeth Trump & Son. He graduated in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in economics.
Trump did not serve in the military 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 July 1968, after graduating from college, was briefly classified as eligible to serve by a local draft board. In October 1968, he was classified as 1-Y, "unqualified for duty except in the case of a national emergency," and given a medical deferment which he later attributed to heel spurs; in 1972, the medical deferment was changed to 4-F, "not qualified for service." In the draft lottery in December 1969, Trump's birthday, June 15, received a high number which would have given him a low probability to be called to military service even without the 1-Y medical deferment.
In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, in a ceremony performed by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. 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 1992, following Trump's affair with actress Marla Maples.
In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump's daughter, who was named Tiffany after high-end retailer Tiffany & Company. Maples and Trump were married two months later in December 1993. They divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.
In 2005, Trump married his third wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. The ceremony was followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. In 2006, Melania became a United States citizen and gave birth to a son, Barron. Melania became First Lady upon Trump's inauguration as president in January 2017.
Upon 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, D.C. with her husband Jared Kushner. She serves as an assistant to the president, and he is a Senior Advisor in the White House.
Trump's ancestors were Lutheran 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 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 says he receives Holy Communion, but that he does not ask God for forgiveness. While campaigning, Trump referred to The Art of the Deal as his second favorite book after the Bible, saying, "Nothing beats the Bible." 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 associations 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 released a list of 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 Kushner, Trump said: "... I have a Jewish daughter and I am very honored by that."
Trump does not drink alcohol; this decision arose in part from watching his older brother Fred Jr. suffer from alcoholism that contributed to his early death in 1981. He also said that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed drugs, including marijuana.
In December 2015, Trump's personal physician, Harold Bornstein, released a superlative-laden letter of health praising Trump for "extraordinary physical strength and stamina". Bornstein later said that Trump himself had dictated the contents. A followup medical report showed Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid functions to be in normal ranges, and that he takes a statin. In January 2018, Trump was examined by White House physician Ronny Jackson, who stated that he was in excellent health, although his weight and cholesterol level were higher than recommended, and that his cardiac assessment revealed no medical issues. Several outside cardiologists commented that Trump's weight, lifestyle and LDL cholesterol ought to have raised serious concerns about his cardiac health.
Trump is the beneficiary of several trust funds set up by his father beginning in 1949; Trump’s paternal grandmother also set up a trust fund for him in 1949. In 1976, Fred Trump set up trust funds of $1 million for each of his five children and three grandchildren; Donald Trump received annual payments from his trust fund, for example $90,000 in 1980 and $214,605 in 1981. By 1993, when Trump took two loans totaling $30 million from his siblings, their anticipated shares of Fred's fortune was $35 million each. Upon Fred Trump’s death in 1999, his will divided $20 million after taxes among his surviving children.
Trump said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father. He appeared on the initial Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune shared with his father. An ex-Forbes reporter said in 2018 that Trump had inflated his actual wealth in order to be included on the list. Trump made the Forbes World's Billionaires list for the first time in 1989, but he was dropped from the Forbes 400 from 1990 to 1995 following business losses. In 2005, Deutsche Bank loan documents pegged Trump's net worth at $788 million, while Forbes quoted $2.6 billion and journalist Tim O'Brien gave a range of $150 to $250 million. In its 2018 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion (766th in the world, 248th in the U.S.) making him one of the richest politicians in American history.
When he filed mandatory financial disclosure forms with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in July 2015, Trump claimed a net worth of about $10 billion; however FEC figures cannot corroborate this estimate because they only show each of his largest buildings as being worth "over $50 million", yielding total assets worth more than $1.4 billion and debt over $265 million. Trump reported a yearly income of $362 million for 2014, and $611 million from January 2015 to May 2016.
In 1968, Trump began his career at his father's real estate development company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which, among other interests, owned middle-class rental housing in New York City's outer boroughs. Trump worked for his father Fred, to revitalize the Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which the elder Trump had bought in 1964. The management of the property was sued for racial discrimination in 1969; the suit "was quietly settled at Fred Trump's direction." The Trumps sold the property in 1972, with vacancy on the rise.
When his father became chairman of the board in 1971, Trump was promoted to president of the company and renamed it The Trump Organization. In 1973, he and his father drew wider attention when the Justice Department contended in a lawsuit that their company systematically discriminated against African Americans who wished to rent apartments. The Department alleged that the Trump Organization had screened out people based on race and not low income as the Trumps had 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. Trump's attorney at the time was Roy Cohn, who valued both positive and negative publicity, and responded to attacks with forceful counterattacks; Trump later emulated Cohn's style.
In 1978, Trump launched his Manhattan real estate business by purchasing a 50% stake in the derelict Commodore Hotel, located next to Grand Central Terminal. The purchase was funded largely by a $70 million construction loan that was guaranteed jointly by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain. When the remodeling was finished, the hotel reopened in 1980 as the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Also in 1978, Trump obtained the rights to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 202-meter (663-foot) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, which Bill Geist in a New York Times cover story attributed to his "persistence", his "skills as a negotiator", and to "his finesse with the zoning code." To make way for the new building, a crew of undocumented Polish workers demolished the historic 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".
In 1980, repairs began on Central Park's Wollman Rink, with an anticipated two-and-a-half year construction time frame. Because of flaws in the design and numerous problems during construction, the project remained unfinished by May 1986 and was estimated to require another 18 months and $2 to $3 million to complete. Trump was awarded a contract as general contractor in June 1986 to finish the repairs by December 15 with a cost ceiling of $3 million, with the actual costs to be reimbursed by the city. Trump hired an architect, a construction company, and a Canadian ice-rink manufacturer and completed the work in four months, $775,000 under budget. He operated the rink for a year and gave most of the profits to charity and public works projects in exchange for the rink's concession rights. Trump managed the rink from 1987 to 1995. He received another contract in 2001 which was extended until 2021. According to journalist Joyce Purnick, Trump’s "Wollman success was also the stuff of a carefully crafted, self promotional legend." While the work was in progress, Trump called numerous press conferences, for example for the completion of the laying of the pipes and the pouring of the cement. In 1987, he also unsuccessfully tried to get the city to rename the landmark after him; the Trump logo is prominently displayed on the railing encircling the rink, on the ice resurfacer machine, colloquially referred to as a Zamboni, on the rental skates, and on the rink’s website.
In 1988 Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for a record-setting $407 million and appointed 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. They sold it in 1995, by which time Ivana was no longer involved in the hotel's day-to-day operations.
In 1994, Trump got involved with the refurbishing of the Gulf and Western Building on Columbus Circle. The former office building was remodeled with design and structural enhancements to become a luxury residential and hotel property. When the job was finished, Trump owned commercial space in a 44-story mixed-use tower (hotel and condominium) that he named Trump International Hotel and Tower.
In 1996, Trump acquired the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, which was a vacant seventy-one story skyscraper on Wall Street that 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 Riverside South, which he dubbed Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. He and the other investors in the project ultimately sold their interest for $1.8 billion in 2005 in what was then the biggest residential sale in the history of New York City. From 1994 to 2002, Trump owned a 50% share of the Empire State Building. He would have renamed it "Trump Empire State Building Tower Apartments" if he had been able to boost his share. In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower. For a couple years, the structure was the tallest all-residential tower in the world. In 2002, Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico, which was renovated and reopened in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue; the building consisted of 35 stories of luxury condominiums.
Palm Beach estate
In 1985, Trump acquired the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida for under $8 million. The home 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 Jack C. Massey's beachfront property for $2 million 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.
Atlantic City casinos
New Jersey legalized casino gambling in 1977, and Trump went to Atlantic City, New Jersey the following year in order to explore how he might get involved in a new business venture. Seven years later, Harrah's at Trump Plaza hotel and casino opened there; the project was built by Trump with financing from the Holiday Corporation, which also managed the operation. Renamed "Trump Plaza" soon after it opened, it was at the time the tallest building in Atlantic City. The casino's poor financial results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp., which led to Trump's 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 1988.
Also in 1988, Trump acquired his third casino in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal, then halfway through construction, through a complex transaction with television host and entertainer Merv Griffin as well as the resort and casino company Resorts International. The Taj 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. The project was financed with $675 million in junk bonds and 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.
In 1995, Trump founded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR), 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. Trump remained chairman of THCR until 2009.
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. According to his FEC personal financial disclosure, his 2015 golf and resort revenue amounted to $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). In 2015, an offshore windfarm being built within sight of the golf course prompted a legal challenge by Trump, which was dismissed by the UK Supreme Court. In the wake of the 2008 recession, Trump greatly scaled back development of this property, and as of December 2016[update] 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 British Open 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.
Branding and licensing
The Trump Organization expanded its business into branding and management by licensing the Trump name for a large number of building projects that are owned and operated by other people and companies. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, The Trump Organization expanded its footprint beyond New York with the branding and management of various developers' hotel towers around the world. These included projects 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 Indonesia.
The Trump name has also been licensed for various consumer products and services, including foodstuffs, apparel, adult learning courses, and home furnishings. These ventures met with mixed success for Trump, 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. According to an analysis by The Washington Post, there are more than 50 licensing or management deals involving Trump's name, which have generated at least $59 million in yearly revenue for his companies.
Legal affairs and bankruptcies
As of April 2018[update], Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, according to a running tally by USA Today. As of 2016[update], he or one of his companies had been 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.
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has alleged that she and Trump had an affair in 2006, which Trump denied. Just before the 2016 presidential election Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as part of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); Cohen said he paid her with his own money. In February 2018, Daniels sued Cohen's company asking to be released from the NDA and be allowed to tell her story. Cohen obtained a restraining order to keep her from discussing the case, and asserted that Daniels could owe $20 million in liquidated damages for breaching the agreement. In March 2018, Daniels claimed in court that the NDA never came into effect because Trump did not sign it personally. In May 2018, Trump's annual financial disclosure revealed that he reimbursed Cohen in 2017 for payments related to Daniels.
After Trump took over the family real estate firm in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization, he greatly expanded its real estate operations and 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 (USFL)—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.
After the Generals folded, Trump remained involved with other sports; he operated golf courses in several countries. At the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, he hosted several boxing matches, which included Mike Tyson's 1988 heavyweight championship fight against Michael Spinks. He also acted as a financial advisor to Mike 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. The pageants include Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. His management of this business involved his family members—daughter Ivanka once hosted Miss Teen USA. He became dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled the pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as producer of Miss Universe.
In his 2015 U.S. presidential campaign kickoff speech, Trump made controversial statements about illegal immigrants who crossed the border from Mexico. NBC then 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 and then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.
Trump University was a for-profit education company that was founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny. The company ran a real estate training program and charged between $1,500 and $35,000 per course. In 2005, New York State authorities notified the operation 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.
Ronald Schneckenberg, a sales manager for Trump University, said in a testimony that he was reprimanded for not trying harder to sell a $35,000 real estate class to a couple who could not afford it. Schneckenberg said that he believed "Trump University was a fraudulent scheme" which "preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money."
In 2013, New York State filed a $40 million civil suit against Trump University; the suit alleged that the company 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 presiding Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, 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 that was established in 1988 for the initial purpose of giving away proceeds from the book Trump: The Art of the Deal. 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. Trump later named Linda McMahon as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
In 2016, The Washington Post reported that the charity had committed several potential legal and ethical violations, including alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion. Also in 2016, the New York State Attorney General's office notified the Trump Foundation that the foundation appeared to be in violation of New York laws regarding charities, ordering it to immediately cease its fundraising activities in New York. A Trump spokesman called the Attorney General's 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." According to an IRS filing in November 2017, the foundation intended to shut down and distribute its assets (about $970,000) to other charities. However, the New York Attorney General's office had to complete their ongoing investigation before the foundation could legally shut down, and in June 2018 they filed a civil suit against the foundation for $2.8 million in restitution and additional penalties. The suit names Trump himself as well as his adult children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.
Conflicts of interest
Before being inaugurated as president, Trump moved his businesses into a revocable trust run by his eldest sons and a business associate. According to ethics experts, as long as Trump continues to profit from his businesses, the measures taken by Trump do not help to avoid conflicts of interest. Because Trump would have knowledge of how his administration's policies would affect his businesses, ethics experts recommend that Trump sell off his businesses. Multiple lawsuits have been filed alleging that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution due to his business interests; they argue that these interests allow foreign governments to influence him. Previous presidents in the modern era have either divested their holdings or put them in blind trusts, and he is the first president to be sued over the emoluments clause.
Trump has published numerous books. His first published book in 1987 was Trump: The Art of the Deal, in which Trump is credited as co-author with Tony Schwartz, who has stated that he did all the writing for the book. It reached number 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list, stayed there for 13 weeks, and altogether held a position on the list for 48 weeks. According to The New Yorker, "The book expanded Trump's renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon." Trump's published writings shifted post-2000, from generally memoirs about himself, to books giving advice about finance.
In 1988 and 1989, Trump hosted WrestleMania IV and V at Boardwalk Hall, and he has been an active participant in several World Wrestling shows. In 2013, he was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion.
The Apprentice franchise
In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show The Apprentice, in which contestants competed for a one-year management job with the Trump Organization; applicants were successively "fired" and eliminated from the game. He went on to be co-host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities compete to win money for their charities. While Trump co-produced the show with Mark Burnett, Trump stayed in the forefront, deciding winners and "firing" losers. International versions of The Apprentice franchise were co-produced by Burnett and Trump.
In February 2015, Trump stated that he was "not ready" to sign on for another season of the show because of the possibility of a presidential run. Despite this, NBC announced they were going ahead with production of a 15th season. In June, 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."
Trump has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series. He played an oil tycoon in The Little Rascals, and had a singing role at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006. Trump is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000.
Presidential approval polls taken during the first ten months of Trump's term have shown him to be the least popular U.S. president in the history of modern opinion polls. A Pew Research Center global poll conducted in July 2017, found "a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs". This compares to a median of 64% rate of confidence for his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump received a higher rating in only two countries: Russia and Israel. An August 2017 POLITICO/Morning consult poll found on some measures "that majorities of voters have low opinions of his character and competence". Trump is the only elected president who did not place first on Gallup's poll of men Americans most admired in his first year in office, coming in second behind Barack Obama.
Trump uttered "at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days" in office according to The New York Times, and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office according to the "Fact Checker" political analysis column of The Washington Post, which also wrote, "President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered ... the pace and volume of the president's misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up." After 466 days in office, the tally was at 3,001 false or misleading claims, and it had risen to an average of 6.5 per day from 4.9 during Trump's first 100 days in office.
Trump has a history of making racially controversial remarks and taking actions that are perceived as racially motivated. In 1975, he settled a 1973 Department of Justice lawsuit that alleged housing discrimination against black renters. He was accused of racism for insisting that a group of black and Latino teenagers were guilty of raping a white woman in the 1989 Central Park jogger attack, even after they were exonerated by DNA evidence in 2002. He continued to maintain this position as late as 2016.
Trump played a leading role in "birther" conspiracy theories that had been circulating since Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Beginning in March 2011, he 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, he had called for Obama to release his student records, questioning whether his grades warranted entry into an Ivy League school. He also claimed in his 2011 CPAC speech that Obama's classmates "don't know who he is". When asked in 2015 whether he believed Obama was born in the United States, he said he did not want to discuss the matter further. In September 2016, he publicly acknowledged Obama's birthplace and falsely claimed that the rumors had been started by Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign. In late 2017, he continued to question the authenticity of the birth certificate in closed-door conversations with advisers.
Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech in which he stated: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. ... They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people." Later, his attacks on a Mexican-American judge were criticized as racist. His comments following a 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, were seen as implying a moral equivalence between white supremacist marchers and those who protested them. In the aftermath of widespread condemnation of his response, Trump stated in prepared remarks that "racism is evil". In a January 2018 Oval Office meeting to discuss immigration legislation with Congressional leaders, Trump reportedly referred to El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and African countries as "shitholes". His remarks were condemned as racist worldwide, as well as by many members of Congress. Trump has denied accusations of racism multiple times, saying he is the "least racist person".
Trump's racially insensitive statements have been condemned by many observers in the U.S. and around the world, but accepted by his supporters either as a rejection of political correctness or because they harbor similar racial sentiments. Several studies and surveys have stated that racist attitudes and racial resentment have fueled Trump's political ascendance, and have become more significant than economic factors in determining party allegiance of voters. According to an October 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll, 45% of American voters view Trump as racist and 40% do not.
Trump has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. He has been parodied regularly on Saturday Night Live by Phil Hartman, Darrell Hammond, and Alec Baldwin, and in South Park as Mr. Garrison. The Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future", written during his 2000 campaign for the Reform party, anticipated a future Trump presidency. A dedicated parody series called The President Show debuted in April 2017 on Comedy Central.
Starting in the 1990s, Trump 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. Trump's wealth has often featured in hip hop lyrics, with his name mentioned in 266 songs.
Trump's presence on social media has attracted attention worldwide since he joined Twitter in March 2009. He communicated heavily on Twitter during the 2016 election campaign, and has continued to use this channel during his presidency. The attention on Trump's Twitter activity has significantly increased since he was sworn in as president. He uses Twitter as a direct means of communication with the public, sidelining the press. Many of the assertions he tweeted have been proven false. Two-thirds of Americans dislike his "use of Twitter", according to a July 2017 ABC News/Washington Post poll.
In December 2016, 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." In the same month, 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. In 2010, Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, awarded Trump an honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). The university revoked the award in 2015, stating that "Mr. Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university."
Political activities up to 2015
Trump's political party affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He was a Democrat prior to 1987, when he registered as a Republican in Manhattan. He switched to Independent in 1999, Democrat in 2001, and back to Republican in 2009.
In 1987 Trump spent almost $100,000 to place full-page advertisements in three major newspapers, proclaiming that "America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves". The advertisements also advocated for "reducing the budget deficit, working for peace in Central America, and speeding up nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union." After rumors of a presidential run, Trump was invited by Democratic senators Jim Wright and John Kerry, and Arkansas congressman Beryl Anthony Jr., to host a fundraising dinner for Democratic Congressional candidates and to switch parties. Anthony told The New York Times that "the message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message". Asked whether the rumors were true, Trump denied being a candidate, but said, "I believe that if I did run for President, I'd win." According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired man in America, behind Ted Kennedy and Bill Cosby.
In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the nomination of the Reform Party for the 2000 presidential election. 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, but still went on to win the Reform Party primaries in California and Michigan. After his run, Trump left the party due to the involvement of David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani. Trump also considered running for president in 2004. In 2005, Trump said that he voted for George W. Bush. In 2008, he endorsed Republican John McCain for president.
Trump publicly speculated about running for president in the 2012 election, and made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011. The speech is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.
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. Trump's interest in gaining political stature was accelerated after Obama lampooned him at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April 2011. In the 2012 Republican primaries, Trump generally had polled at or below 17 percent among the crowded field of possible candidates (one exception was a PPP poll in April 2011 that put him at 26%; however, his support dropped to 8% a few weeks later).
Trump's moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice. 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 December 2011, Trump became an independent for five months before returning to the Republican Party. In February 2012, Trump endorsed Romney for president.
In 2013, Trump was a featured CPAC speaker, where he spoke out against illegal immigration while seeming to encourage immigration from Europe, bemoaned Obama's "unprecedented media protection", and advised against harming Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. He spent over $1 million that year to research a possible 2016 candidacy. In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump responded that while New York had problems and its taxes were too high, he was not interested in the governorship. 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. When asked in 2015 which of the last four presidents he preferred, Trump picked Democrat Bill Clinton over the Republican Bushes.
Trump has financially supported candidates from both parties, with the top ten recipients of his political contributions being six Democrats and four Republicans. After 2011, his campaign contributions were stronger for Republicans.
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.
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 discussed 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". Trump said his wealth would make him immune to pressure from campaign donors. He declared that he was funding his own campaign, but according to The Atlantic, "Trump’s claims of self-funding have always been dubious at best and actively misleading at worst."
In the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries, Trump entered a field of 17 major 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 January 28 seventh debate, which was the last debate before primary voting began on the first of February. The debates received historically high television ratings, which increased the visibility of Trump's campaign. Republican leaders were hesitant to support him. They doubted his chances of winning the general election and feared that he could harm the image of the Republican Party.
By early 2016, the race had focused on Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. On Super Tuesday, Trump won the plurality of the vote, and he 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 Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their presidential campaigns—RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. With 14,015,993 votes, Trump broke the all-time record in the history of the Republican Party for winning the most primary votes. He also set the record for the largest number of votes cast against the front runner. He won a total of 1441 delegates (58.3% of the total) and 44.9% of the vote versus 25.1% for the runner-up, Cruz.
General election campaign
After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump shifted his focus to the general election. Trump began campaigning against Hillary Clinton, who became the presumptive Democratic nominee on June 6, 2016.
Clinton had established a significant lead over Trump in national polls 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. Four days later on July 19, Trump and Pence were officially nominated by the Republican Party 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. The historically long speech received mixed reviews, with net negative viewer reactions according to CNN and Gallup polls.
On September 26, 2016, Trump and Clinton faced off in their first presidential debate, which was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York and moderated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt. The TV broadcast 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 of that debate was dominated by references to a recently leaked tape of Trump making sexually explicit comments, which Trump countered by referring to alleged sexual misconduct on the part of Bill Clinton. Prior to the debate, Trump had invited four women who had accused Clinton of impropriety to a press conference. The final presidential debate was held on October 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Trump's refusal to say whether he would accept the result of the election, regardless of the outcome, drew particular attention, with some saying it undermined democracy.
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 or banning 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).
The media has 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 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.
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, and due to his willingness to say things other candidates would not, and because a candidate who is gaining ground automatically provides a compelling news story, Trump received an unprecedented amount of free media coverage during his run for the presidency, which elevated his standing in the Republican primaries.
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, with the Los Angeles Times saying that "Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has". NPR said that Trump's campaign statements were often opaque or suggestive.
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 that may, however, backfire for overpromising.
White supremacist support
The alt-right movement coalesced around Trump's candidacy, due in part to its opposition to multiculturalism and immigration.[not in citation given] Trump has disavowed white supremacists, alt-right supporters, David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan on multiple occasions,
During the campaign, Trump was accused of pandering to white supremacists. He retweeted open racists, and repeatedly refused to condemn David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan or white supremacists, in an interview on CNN's State of the Union, saying that he would first need to "do research" because he knew nothing about Duke or white supremacists. In a subsequent interview he said that he had been given a "bad earpiece", and that he had disavowed Duke the day before. In August 2016, 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." According to Michael Barkun, the Trump campaign was remarkable for bringing fringe ideas, beliefs, and organizations into the mainstream.
As a presidential candidate, Trump disclosed details of his companies, assets, and revenue sources to the extent required by the FEC. His 2015 report listed assets above $1.4 billion and outstanding debts of at least $265 million. The 2016 form showed little change.
Trump did not release his tax returns during his presidential campaign or afterward, contrary to usual practice by every candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976 and to his promise in 2014 to do so if he ran for office. Presidential candidates are not required by law to release them. Trump's refusal led to speculation that he was hiding something. He said that his tax returns were being audited, and his lawyers had advised him against releasing them. No law prohibits the publication of tax returns during an audit, and tax attorneys differ about whether such a release is wise strategy. Trump has told the news media that his tax rate was none of their business, and that he tries to pay "as little tax as possible".
In October 2016, portions of Trump's state filings for 1995 were leaked to a reporter from The New York Times. They show that Trump declared a loss of $916 million that year, which could have let him avoid taxes for up to 18 years. During the second presidential debate, Trump acknowledged using the deduction, but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied. He said that he did use the tax code to avoid paying taxes.
On March 14, 2017, the first two pages of Trump's 2005 federal income tax returns were leaked to Rachel Maddow and shown on MSNBC. The document states that Trump had a gross adjusted income of $150 million and paid $38 million in federal taxes. The White House confirmed the authenticity of these documents and stated: "Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns."
Sexual misconduct allegations
A total of 19 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct as of December 2017[update]. Trump and his campaign have denied as of October 2016[update] all of the sexual misconduct accusations, which Trump has called "false smears", and alleged a conspiracy against him.
Two days before the second presidential debate, a 2005 recording surfaced in which Trump was heard bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women. The hot mic recording was captured on a studio bus in which Trump and Billy Bush were preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood. In the tape, Trump said: "I just start kissing them ... I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything ... grab 'em by the pussy." During the recording, Trump also spoke of his efforts to seduce a married woman, saying he "moved on her very heavily".
Trump's language on the tape was described by the media as "vulgar", "sexist", and descriptive of sexual assault. 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. In his two public statements in response to the controversy, Trump alleged that former President Bill Clinton had "abused women" and that Hillary had bullied his victims.
Election to the presidency
On November 8, 2016, Trump received 306 pledged electoral votes versus 232 for Clinton. The official counts were 304 and 227 respectively, after defections on both sides. Trump received a smaller share of the popular vote than Clinton, which made him the fifth person to be elected president while losing the popular vote.[nb 2] Clinton was ahead nationwide by 2.1 percentage points, with 65,853,514 votes ( 48.18%) to 62,984,828 votes ( 46.09%); neither candidate reached a majority.
Trump's victory was considered a stunning political upset by most observers, as polls had consistently showed Hillary Clinton with a nationwide—though diminishing—lead, as well as a favorable advantage in most of the competitive states. Trump's support had been modestly underestimated throughout his campaign, and many observers blamed errors in polls, partially attributed to pollsters overestimating Clinton's support among well-educated and nonwhite voters, while underestimating Trump's support among white working-class voters. However, the polls were actually relatively accurate, but media outlets and pundits alike showed overconfidence in a Clinton victory despite a large number of undecided voters and a favorable concentration of Trump's core constituencies in competitive states.
Trump won 30 states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which had been Democratic strongholds since the 1990s. Clinton won 20 states and the District of Columbia. Trump's victory marked the return of a Republican White House combined with control of both chambers of Congress.
Trump is the wealthiest president in U.S. history, even after adjusting for inflation. He is also the first president without prior government or military service. Of the 43[nb 3] 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.
Some rallies during the primary season were accompanied by protests or violence, including attacks on Trump supporters and vice versa both inside and outside the venues. Trump's election victory sparked protests across the United States, in opposition to his policies and his inflammatory statements. Trump initially said on Twitter that these were "professional protesters, incited by the media", and were "unfair", but he later tweeted, "Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country."
In the weeks following Trump's inauguration, massive anti-Trump demonstrations took place, such as the Women Marches, which gathered 2,600,000 people worldwide, including 500,000 in Washington alone.
Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017. During his first week in office, he signed six executive orders: interim procedures in anticipation of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, re-instatement of the Mexico City Policy, unlocking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction projects, reinforcing border security and beginning the planning and design process to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Economy and trade
Trump has been described as a protectionist because of his steel and aluminum tariffs, criticism of NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and his proposal to significantly raise tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports to the United States. He has also been critical of the World Trade Organization, threatening to leave unless his proposed tariffs are accepted. On January 23, 2017, he signed an order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On March 8, 2018, he signed an order imposing import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, with exemptions for Canada, Mexico, and possibly other countries.
In December 2017, Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which cut the corporate tax rate to 21%, lowered personal tax brackets, increased child tax credit, doubled the estate tax threshold to $11.2 million, and limited the state and local tax deduction to $10,000. The reduction in individual tax rates ends in 2025. While people would generally get a tax cut, those with higher incomes would see the most benefit. Households in the lower or middle class would also see a small tax increase after the tax cuts expire. The bill is estimated to increase deficits by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. In February 2018, Trump praised the bill for increasing pay for millions, after announcements of bonuses from many companies. These bonuses have been criticized by the bill's opponents as publicity stunts, and economists have said many of them would have happened anyway due to low unemployment.
Energy and climate
While campaigning Trump's energy policy advocated domestic support for both fossil and renewable energy sources in order to curb reliance on Middle-Eastern oil and possibly turn the U.S. into a net energy exporter. However following his election his "America First Energy Plan" did not mention renewable energy and instead focused on fossil fuels. Environmentalists have expressed concerns because he has announced plans to make large budget cuts in programs that research renewable energy and to roll back Obama-era policies directed at curbing climate change and limiting environmental pollution.
Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate change and his Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, does not believe that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming. While admitting that the climate is warming, Pruitt believes that warming is not necessarily harmful and could be beneficial. Based on numerous studies, climate experts disagree with his position. On June 1, 2017, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, making the U.S. the only nation in the world to not ratify the agreement.
Government size and deregulation
Trump's early policies have favored rollback and dismantling of government regulations. He signed a Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution, the first in 16 years and second overall. During his first six weeks in office, he abolished ninety federal regulations.
On January 23, 2017, Trump ordered a temporary government-wide hiring freeze, except for those working in certain areas. The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office told a House committee that hiring freezes have not proven to be effective in reducing costs. Unlike some past freezes, the current freeze bars agencies from adding contractors to make up for employees leaving. A week later Trump signed Executive Order 13771, which directed administrative agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation they issue. Agency defenders expressed opposition to Trump's criticisms, saying that the bureaucracy exists to protect people against well-organized, well-funded interest groups.
In 1999, Trump told Larry King Live that "I believe in universal healthcare." Trump's 2000 book, The America We Deserve, argued strongly for a single-payer healthcare system based on the Canadian model, and he has voiced admiration for the Scottish National Health Service.
During his campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Shortly after taking office, he urged Congress to repeal and replace it. In May of that year, the United States House of Representatives voted to repeal the ACA. Over the course of several months' effort, however, the Senate was unable to pass any version of a repeal bill. Trump has expressed a desire to "let Obamacare fail", and the Trump administration has cut the ACA enrollment period in half and drastically reduced funding for advertising and other ways to encourage enrollment. The tax reform Trump signed into law at the end of his first year in office effectively repealed the individual health insurance mandate that was a major element of the Obamacare health insurance system; this repeal is scheduled to be implemented in 2019.
Trump's proposed immigration policies were a topic of bitter and contentious debate during the campaign. He promised to build a more substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants and vowed that Mexico would pay for it. He pledged to massively deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States, and criticized birthright citizenship for creating "anchor babies". He said that deportation would focus on criminals, visa overstays, and security threats.
Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump had made a controversial proposal to ban Muslim foreigners from entering the United States until stronger vetting systems could be implemented. He later restrained the proposed ban to countries with a "proven history of terrorism".
On January 27, 2017, Trump signed Executive Order 13769, which suspended admission of refugees for 120 days and denied entry to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days, citing security concerns. The order was imposed without warning and took effect immediately. Confusion and protests caused chaos at airports. The administration then clarified that visitors with a green card were exempt from the ban.
On January 30, Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order, that she deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional; Trump immediately dismissed her. Multiple legal challenges were filed against the order, and on February 5 a federal judge in Seattle blocked its implementation. On March 6, Trump issued a revised order, which excluded Iraq, gave specific exemptions for permanent residents, and removed priorities for Christian minorities. Again federal judges in three states blocked its implementation. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban could be enforced on visitors who lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."
The temporary order was replaced by Presidential Proclamation 9645 on September 24, 2017, which permanently restricts travel from the originally targeted countries except Iraq and Sudan, and further bans travelers from North Korea and Chad, and certain Venezuelan officials. After lower courts partially blocked the new restrictions with injunctions, the Supreme Court allowed the September version to go into full effect on December 4. In January 2018, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear a challenge to the travel ban. The Court heard oral arguments on April 25; a ruling would probably be issued by late June.
While running for president, Trump said that he intended to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on "day one" of his presidency. The program, introduced in 2012, allowed people who had either entered or remained in the United States illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and be eligible for a work permit.
In September 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program would be repealed after six months. Trump argued that "top legal experts" believed that DACA was unconstitutional, and called on Congress to use the six-month delay to pass legislation solving the "Dreamers" issue permanently. As of March 2018[update], when the delay expired, no legislation had been agreed on DACA. Several states immediately challenged the DACA rescission in court. Two injunctions in January and February 2018 allowed renewals of applications and stopped the rolling back of DACA, and in April 2018 a federal judge ordered the acceptance of new applications; this would go into effect in 90 days.
Trump is conservative, describes himself as pro-life, and opposes abortion except for cases of rape, incest, and circumstances endangering the health of the mother. He has said that he is committed to appointing justices who would try to overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade. He personally supports "traditional marriage" but considers the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage a "settled" issue.
Trump supports a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment and says he is opposed to gun control in general, although his views have shifted over time. Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana. He favors capital punishment, as well as the use of waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse" methods of torture.
Trump has been described as non-interventionist and nationalist. He has repeatedly stated that he supports his foreign policy "America First". He supports increasing United States military defense spending, but favors decreasing United States spending on NATO and in the Pacific region. He says America should look inward, stop "nation building", and re-orient its resources toward domestic needs. As a candidate he questioned whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members, and suggested that he might leave NATO unless changes are made to the alliance. As president he has reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO.
In order to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Trump in 2015 called for seizing the oil in ISIS-occupied areas, using U.S. air power and ground troops. In 2016, Trump advocated sending 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops to the region, a position he later retracted.
During his campaign and as president, Trump repeatedly said that he wants a good relationship with Russia. Trump has pledged to hold a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin. He added that Russia could help the U.S. in fighting ISIS militants. He has also praised China's President Xi Jinping, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. On April 7, 2017, Trump ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airfield in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. On April 13, 2018, he announced missile strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, following a suspected chemical attack near Damascus.
On June 16, 2017, Trump announced that he was canceling the Cuban thaw initiated by the Obama administration, while also expressing hope that a new deal could be negotiated between Cuba and the United States. On November 8, 2017, the Trump administration tightened the rules on trade with Cuba, thus undoing Obama administration's loosening of restrictions. These changes are "intended to steer economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence and security services"; they limited individual visits to Cuba.
During the campaign Trump maintained that "Iran is now the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East and on the road to nuclear weapons." He opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or "Iran nuclear deal") that was negotiated with the United States, Iran, and five other world powers in 2015, calling it "terrible" and saying that the Obama administration negotiated the agreement "from desperation." At one point he said that despite opposing the content of the deal, he would attempt to enforce it rather than abrogate it. However, in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March 2016, Trump said that his "number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran."
After January 29, 2017 missile test by Iran, on February 3, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran′s 25 individuals and entities, which it said were but "initial steps", with Trump′s National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn adding that ″the days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.″
The Trump administration boasted that Trump personally lobbied dozens of European officials against doing business with Iran during the May 2017 Brussels summit; this likely violated the terms of the JCPOA, which expressly states that the U.S. may not pursue "any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran." The Trump administration certified in July 2017 that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement.
On May 18, 2018 Donald Trump announced that the United States would be leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Trump has stated the importance of being a neutral party during potential negotiations, while also having stated that he is "a big fan of Israel". During the campaign he said he would relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from its current location, Tel Aviv. On May 22, 2017, Trump was the first U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, during his first foreign trip, which included Israel, Italy, the Vatican, and Belgium. Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017, despite criticism and warnings from world leaders. Trump added that he would initiate the process of establishing a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The United Nations General Assembly condemned the move, adopting a resolution that "calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem" in an emergency session on December 21, 2017.
North Korea became a major issue in mid-2017. During the campaign and the early months of his presidency, Trump said he hoped that China would help to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions and missile tests. However, North Korea accelerated their missile and nuclear tests leading to increased tension. In July, the country tested two long-range missiles identified by Western observers as intercontinental ballistic missiles, potentially capable of reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. In August, Trump dramatically escalated his rhetoric against North Korea, warning that further provocation against the U.S. would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un then threatened to direct the country's next missile test toward Guam.
In March 2018, the White House confirmed that Trump would accept a meeting invitation from Kim. On June 12. 2018, after several rounds of preliminary staff-level meetings, Trump and Kim held a bilateral summit in Singapore.
Trump's connections to Russia have been intensely scrutinized by the media. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader and called for better relations with Moscow. Within days of Trump's inauguration, State Department staffers were ordered to develop plans for immediately revoking the sanctions against Russia, although the plans were never carried out.
According to Putin and some political experts and diplomats, the U.S.–Russian relations, which were already at the lowest level since the end of the Cold War, have further deteriorated since Trump took office in January 2017.
War in Afghanistan
Under the Trump administration, U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan have increased from 8,500 to 14,000, as of January 2017[update]. Trump announced this troop increase in August 2017; this was a change from his pre-election position which was critical of further involvement in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said then that they aimed to "force the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement"; in January 2018, however, Trump spoke against talks with the Taliban.
White House staff
The Trump administration has been characterized by high turnover, particularly among White House staff. By the end of Trump's first year in office, 34 percent of his original staff had resigned, been fired, or been reassigned. As of early March 2018[update], 43 percent of senior White House positions had turned over. Both figures set a record for recent presidents—more change in the first 13 months than his four immediate predecessors saw in their first two years. Notable early departures included National Security Advisor Mike Flynn (after just 25 days in office), Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, replaced by retired Marine General John F. Kelly on July 28, 2017, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Close personal aides to Trump such as Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, John McEntee and Keith Schiller, have quit or been forced out.
Trump's cabinet nominations included U.S. Senator from Alabama 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, such as 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, the first in a Cabinet nominee's Senate confirmation.
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, and 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.
Two of Trump's 15 original cabinet members were gone within 15 months: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign in September 2017 due to excessive use of private charter jets and military aircraft, and Trump replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo in March 2018 over disagreements on foreign policy.
Trump has been slow to appoint second-tier officials in the executive branch, saying that many of the positions are unnecessary. As of October 2017[update], there were hundreds of sub-cabinet positions vacant. At the end of his first year in office, "Of the roughly 600 key executive branch positions, just 241 have been filled, 135 nominated candidates await confirmation while 244 slots have no nominee at all."
In January 2017, American intelligence agencies—the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA, represented by the Director of National Intelligence—jointly stated with "high confidence" that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election to favor the election of Trump. 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." Later, in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, he affirmed he has "no doubt" that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, adding "they did it with purpose and sophistication".
One of Trump's 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. On December 29, 2016, Flynn talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions that had been imposed the same day; Trump later fired Flynn for falsely claiming he had not discussed the sanctions.
Dismissal of James Comey
On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey. He attributed the action to recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, which criticized Comey's conduct in the investigation about Hillary Clinton's emails. On May 11, Trump stated that he was concerned with the ongoing "Russia thing" and that he had intended to fire Comey earlier.
According to a Comey memo of a private conversation on February 14, 2017, Trump said he "hoped" Comey would drop the investigation into Michael Flynn. In March and April, Trump had told Comey that the ongoing suspicions formed a "cloud" impairing his presidency, and asked him to publicly state that he was not personally under investigation. He also asked intelligence chiefs Dan Coats and Michael Rogers to issue statements saying there was no evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Both refused, considering this an inappropriate request, although not illegal. Comey eventually testified on June 8 that while he was director, the FBI investigations did not target Trump himself. In a statement on Twitter Trump implied that he had "tapes" of conversations with Comey, before later stating that he did not in fact have such tapes.
On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller, a former Director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). In this capacity, Mueller oversees the investigation into "any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Mueller is also investigating Trump campaign's possible ties to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar, Israel and China.
The Washington Post reported that days after Comey's dismissal the special counsel started investigating whether Trump had obstructed justice. Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow stated that he had not been notified of any such investigation. ABC News later reported that the special counsel was gathering preliminary information about possible obstruction of justice but had not launched a full-scale investigation.
In January 2018, The New York Times reported that Trump had ordered Mueller to be fired in June, after learning that Mueller was investigating possible obstruction of justice, but backed down after White House Counsel Don McGahn said he would quit; Trump called the report "fake news". The New York Times reported in April 2018 that Trump had again wanted the investigation shut down in early December 2017, but stopped after learning the news reports he based his decision on were incorrect. In April 2018, following an FBI raid on the office and home of Trump's private attorney Michael Cohen, Trump mused aloud about firing Mueller.
In January 2018, The Washington Post reported that Mueller wants to interview Trump about the removal of Michael Flynn and James Comey. Trump has expressed a willingness to do the interview; according to The New York Times, some of his lawyers have warned against doing so. Mueller can subpoena Trump to testify if Trump refuses. As of March 2018, Trump is reportedly a "subject" of the investigation, meaning his conduct is being looked at, but not a "target" which would indicate the likelihood of criminal charges.
In July 2017, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced an article of impeachment. In November 2017, six other Democratic representatives introduced five articles of impeachment citing "obstruction of justice", "violation of the foreign emoluments clause", "violation of the domestic emoluments clause", "undermining the independence of the federal judiciary," and "undermining the freedom of the press".
In December 2017, an impeachment resolution was put to a vote. Introduced by Congressman Al Green (D-TX), it comprised two articles of impeachment titled "Associating the Presidency with White Nationalism, Neo-Nazism and Hatred" and "Inciting Hatred and Hostility". It was defeated 364 to 58.
2020 presidential campaign
Trump signaled his intention to run for a second term by filing with the FEC within hours of assuming the presidency. This transformed his 2016 election committee into a 2020 reelection one. Trump marked the official start of the campaign with a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, 2017, less than a month after taking office. By January 2018, Trump's reelection committee had raised $22.1 million.
- Some modern sources, including Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal, refer to the company as "Elizabeth Trump & Son." Contemporary sources, however, refer to it as "E. Trump & Son."
- Records on this matter date from the year 1824. The number "five" includes the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. Despite their similarities, some of these five elections had peculiar results; e.g. John Quincy Adams trailed in both the national popular vote and the electoral college in 1824 (since no-one had a majority in the electoral college, Adams was chosen by the House of Representatives), and Samuel Tilden in 1876 remains the only losing candidate to win an actual majority of the popular vote (rather than just a plurality).
- Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president.
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SEKULOW: The president is not and has not been under investigation.
DICKERSON: How do you know?
SEKULOW: Because we've received no notice of investigation. There has been no notification from the special counsel's office that the president is under investigation.
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