35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win

Trista - May 21, 2019

Most people know of Donald Trump only as a multi-billionaire who financed his own presidential campaign. Read on to learn more about the personality behind the institution, especially why he became so appealing to right-wing populists in 2016.

 

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump when he was four years old. Facebook / Tribune.

35. Donald Trump Was Born on June 14, 1946

He was the fourth of five children born to Fred Trump and his wife, Mary Anne MacLeod. His paternal grandfather had emigrated from Europe to the United States in 1885 and found wealth by operating restaurants and boarding houses during the gold rushes. Donald’s mother was a Scottish immigrant who came to New York in 1930.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
A view of Donald Trump’s childhood home in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York City. MLSLI / Tribune.

34. He Grew Up in Queens, New York

Queens is one of five boroughs of New York City (the wealthiest and most famous of them is Manhattan). He grew up in a neighborhood called Jamaica Estates and attended the Kew-Forest Preparatory School from the time he was in kindergarten until the seventh grade.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump. Wikimedia Commons.

33. His Family Owned a Real Estate Business

E. Trump & Son was a real estate business owned by Donald’s father, Fred. Following his grandfather’s success in operating boomtown boarding houses and restaurants during the Klondike Gold Rush, Fred, who was born in the Bronx, began his own real estate ventures. The company operated middle-class housing in New York City’s outer boroughs (Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island).

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Many of the Trump Village developments were the subjects of lawsuits. Hassan Tahir / Wikimedia Commons.

32. The Company Faced Multiple Discrimination Lawsuits

In 1969, a real estate development in Cincinnati, Ohio that Fred was hoping to revitalize faced a lawsuit for discriminating against African-Americans; Fred settled out of court. In 1973, Fred had another lawsuit, this one from the Justice Department, for systematically discriminating against African Americans who wished to rent his properties. The ensuing legal battle involved forceful counterattacks to every accusation, a method that Donald later adopted as part of his own style.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump, far left, with his siblings in mother in a family photo. Donald Trump, left, in a family photograph. DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. / Tribune.

31. When Donald Was 13, His Parents Sent Him to a Military Academy

His parents discovered that he had been making frequent trips to Manhattan without their permission, so in the effort to instill some discipline in him, they sent him to the New York Military Academy. It was a private boarding school, and he attended it until he graduated high school in 1964.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Fordham University. US News.

30. He Attended Fordham University Before Transferring

Donald initially enrolled at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he studied for two years. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and studied for a bachelor’s degree in economics at its Wharton School. The future president spent his summers working for the family business until he graduated college in 1968.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump during his senior year in 1964 at the New York Military Academy, Cornwall-on-Hudson. SEth Poppel / Yearbook Library / Tribune.

29. In College, Donald Trump Received Four Military Deferments

Trump attended college at the time that the Vietnam War was going into high gear, and a draft was being initiated. He received four separate deferments that kept him from having to join the military, despite having attended a military academy. Upon graduating, a medical examination showed that he was fit to serve, but two months later, he received a medical deferment.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Fred Trump and his son, Donald Trump, in 1973 at Trump Village. Barton Silverman / The New York Times / Tribune.

28. He Became President of the Family Real Estate Business

After finishing college, Trump went back to work for E. Trump and Son. Three years later, in 1971, his father became chairman of the board, and he became president of the business and renamed it The Trump Organization. A few years after the development in Ohio came under legal fire for racial discrimination, he sold the property.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
The Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City. Martin Dürrschnabel / Wikimedia Commons.

27. Donald Trump Initiated High-Profile Developments

Before his takeover, the company had invested mostly in middle-class rental properties in the outer boroughs. Trump invested in properties in Manhattan, the most premier real estate in New York City, and built his iconic development, Trump Tower. Trump Tower is a 58-story skyscraper that overlooks Central Park and has large apartments and office spaces.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
The Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City at Columbus Circle. Ingfbruno / Wikimedia Commons.

26. He Expanded the Company to Hotels and Casinos

In 1978, Trump purchased a 50% stake in the Commodore Hotel in Manhattan, which was adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, and reopened it in 1980 as the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The businessman moved The Trump Organization out of New York City and into nearby areas, like Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he built hotels and casinos.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump’s autobiography. Amazon.

25. His Autobiography was The Art of the Deal

In 1987, the book was released as part memoir, part business advice. Journalist Tony Schwartz did the bulk of the writing, but the credit went to Trump. The book quickly became a number-one bestseller, and it was revived during the 2016 presidential campaign. He claimed that after the Bible, it was his favorite book.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump and his wife Ivana in their Manhattan apartment living room. Fred R. Conrad / The New York Times / Tribune.

24. His First Wife Was Ivana Zelníčková

Ivana was a Czech model, and the two were married in 1977. Together, they had three children: Donald Junior, Eric, and Ivanka, all three of whom now work in the White House in an official capacity. In 1988, Ivana became a US citizen through the naturalization process.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Marla Maples and Donald Trump. Ron Galella / WireImage / US Magazine.

23. They Divorced Following His Affair With Marla Maples

Marla Maples was an actress with whom Trump had an affair. He and Ivana divorced in 1992, the year that Marla became pregnant with his daughter, Tiffany. They named her after the iconic jewelry company Tiffany & Co. Following the divorce, Trump’s older children remained in New York City and went on to high-profile boarding schools in high school.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump wed Marla Maples in 1993. They were married for six years. Sonia Moskowit / Shutterstock / Tribune.

22. Donald and Marla Married the Next Year

In 1993, Donald Trump and Marla Maples were married, shortly after the birth of Tiffany, the only child that they would have together. Their marital troubles frequently made the news, and Donald himself said that when he married her, he was “more in lust than in love.” The couple would divorce in 1999.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump Tower. Reuters / Eduardo Munoz / Business Insider.

21. The Trump Organization Went Through a Series of Bankruptcies

By the end of the 1980s, Trump had lost his billionaire status and, to keep the family business afloat, had to borrow from his siblings’ trust funds. He has faced consistent scrutiny over what his net worth actually is; in 2007, he said: “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.” In total, six of his real-estate developments have declared bankruptcy.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
A banner promoting The Apprentice hung at Trump Tower. Wire Image / Tribune.

20. The Hit Show The Apprentice Brought Him Back From the Verge of Bankruptcy

In 2003, Trump signed on with NBC Studios to host and produce a reality show in which people could compete for the opportunity to have a one-year managerial contract at The Trump Organization. In the celebrity version of the show, celebrities could compete for a sizeable donation to a charity of their choice. His catchphrase on the show was, “You’re fired!”

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump sold the Miss Universe Organization, which included the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants in 2015. Ethan Miller / Getty Images / Business Insider.

19. Trump Owned the Miss Universe Pageants From 1996 until 2015

The brand included Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, and he got his daughter Ivanka to host Miss Teen USA once. The shows aired on CBS for many years, but when he was dissatisfied with the network’s scheduling, he moved them to NBC. Following controversial remarks about Mexican immigration that he made in 2015, NBC declined to continue airing the pageant.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Oprah interviewed him about a potential presidential run. Oprah.com.

18. He Was Expected to Make a Presidential Run in 1988

In 1987, Trump bought some full-page ads in major newspapers, like The New York Times, to express his political views on issues such as foreign aid, nuclear disarmament of the Soviet Union, and communist uprisings in Central America. High-profile members of Congress, including John Kerry, believed that he was gearing up for a presidential run in the 1988 election.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
The logo of the Reform Party. Twitter.

17. Donald Trump Was a Member of the Reform Party

The Reform Party was begun by Ross Perot and appealed to populist voters who are disillusioned with “politics as usual” by relying on “big tent politics.” Big tent politics refers to attracting voters from a range of views by appealing to their grievances rather than to a shared ideology. He even ran for president in 2000 on the Reform Party ticket, but he soon left the party, citing that “So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.”

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
The Democratic logo. Limaohio.com.

16. Trump Registered as a Democrat in 2001

Following his falling-out with the populist Reform Party, he officially became a Democrat. He had long had progressive leanings on social issues, such as on gay marriage, and made sizeable campaign contributions to Democratic candidates. Nevertheless, in 2008, he endorsed the Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump and Melania. Rex / Shutterstock / GQ.

15. Donald Trump Married Melania Knauss in 2005

Donald Trump’s third marriage was to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss. They had met in 1998, while he was still married to Marla Maples. Together, they have a son, Barron. Though he made television appearances as an infant, his mother ensured that he stayed out of the limelight during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Republican party logo. Wikimedia Commons.

14. He Switched to the Republican Party in 2009

Following the election of the Democratic candidate Barack Obama in 2008, Trump switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. His social views were much more liberal than in keeping with mainstream Republicanism, but his populist mindset that had endeared him to members of the Reform Party transitioned smoothly to the Republican Party.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
President Obama released his birth certificate. Military.id.me.

14. He Gained Political Notoriety With the Obama Birther Movement

Following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, Trump publicly made calls for Obama to show his birth certificate to prove that he had been born in the United States (as the US Constitution requires). Even after the 44th president showed his birth certificate, indicating that he had been born in Hawaii, the topic remained a favorite among conspiracy theorists throughout his eight-year presidency.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump spoke out against illegal immigration. Medium.

13. Donald Trump Railed Against Illegal Immigration

Donald Trump was becoming a fixture in the Republican party, and he frequently appeared and spoke at major events for the GOP. He often spoke vehemently against illegal immigrants for supposedly stealing American jobs and subverting the American way of life. Many people already felt that way about illegal immigration, and he became emblematic of populism within the Republican party.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Victorina Morales started working at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey in 2013 after leaving Guatemala in 1999 and entering the US illegally. Christopher Gregory /The New York Times / tn.com.

12. Meanwhile, His Company Hired Illegal Immigrants

The topic of illegal immigration is one that would become quite contentious during his time in the Republican party, mainly because his real estate company was known to hire large numbers of illegal immigrants. Many analysts believe that his vitriolic speeches against illegal immigration were meant to garner political support but didn’t reflect his personal or business ethos.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump’s presidential ambitions weren’t taken seriously against Mitt Romney. Getty Images / Hollywood Reporter.

11. He Contemplated Running for President in 2012

In 2011, Trump made some public speculations about making a bid for the 2012 presidential election. He even spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee in February of that year, but in May, he announced that he would not run for president. At the time, many people did not take his presidential ambitions seriously and instead saw him as a spokesman for the Republican party.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Mitt Romney with his running mate Paul Ryan at a Virginia rally in 2012. James Currie / Wikimedia Commons.

10. Instead, Trump Endorsed Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was a businessman who was supported by many who felt that President Obama’s policies were socialist and hurting the capitalist way of life. Donald Trump was one of those who frequently denounced Obama, and he endorsed Mitt Romney as someone who would help America’s businesses get back on their feet.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump wearing a MAGA hat. Breitbart.

9. He Also Trademarked His Campaign Slogan, Make America Great Again

In 2012, the same year that he would have run for president, he privately began what would become central to his 2016 presidential campaign. He trademarked the slogan Make America Great Again less than a week after Obama won re-election in 2012. He then began gearing up in earnest for a presidential run.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan printed on a poster. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. / donaldjtrump.com / Wikimedia Commons.

8. In 2015, Donald Trump Announced His Candidacy for President

Trump was far from mainstream within the Republican party; populists supported him on the fringes who were drawn to his rhetoric against illegal immigration. He did not have the support of the establishment, something that those populists celebrated when, in 2015, he announced his candidacy for the office of president. He remarked that he did not need the support of the establishment because he was rich enough to fund his campaign.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump’s campaign was supported by populists thanks to the America First Committee logo. Wikimedia Commons.

7. His “America First” Platform Opposed Immigration

Trump’s presidential campaign centered on a program that he called “America First.” He wanted to severely curb immigration, not only immigration but also legal immigration, as well. He also wanted to withdraw from trade deals, such as NAFTA, and international agreements, including the sending of foreign aid and financial support of the United Nations, that he felt were harmful to America.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Hillary Clinton speaks during the second presidential debate at St. Louis’ Washington University as Trump listens in the background. AFP / Tribune.

6. Trump Appealed to Populists Who Felt That They Were Being Ignored

Many within the Republican party spoke out against Trump as he ran a campaign that seemed to be opposed to so many tenets of the Republican platform. What people didn’t expect was a surge of populism. Rather than heavy-hitters who had been used to guiding American policies for decades, ordinary people, particularly white Americans who lived in poverty, supported his programs. They believed that he would return the jobs, such as coal-mining jobs, that had been lost due to overseas outsourcing and industrial development.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Populism was stronger than anyone anticipated as represented in this picture, which was a part of a series by Weatherhead Center scholars about the consequences of the UK referendum on European Union membership. wcfia.harvard.edu.

5. Turns Out, the Populist Movement Was Huge

The same year that Trump ran his presidential campaign, a populist vote in the United Kingdom led to it deciding to withdraw from the European Union (Brexit). Other populist movements spread in other Western democracies, particularly with the immigration crisis hitting Europe. No one anticipated how powerful the global populist movement was becoming.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
President-elect Donald Trump during his election night rally in Manhattan. Reuters / Tribune.

4. To Populists, His Wealth Meant He Wasn’t Tied to “The System”

Populists ignored the ethics of Trump’s business and his relationships with Washington and New York elite. Instead, they clambered to the belief that because he was so independently wealthy, he didn’t have to kowtow to those who had been running Washington for decades. He could act in the best interests of America, especially the common people who had been ignored for so long, because he wasn’t financially obligated to pay favors to big companies.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
A US worker inspecting the border wall at Sunland Park, which is opposite of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters file.

3. His Promise to Build a Wall Also Appealed to Populists

During Trump’s presidential campaign, one of the most frequent criticisms was that he was not presenting any viable policies regarding how he would run the country. The main feature of his campaign was a wall that he would build on the border that America shares with Mexico to stop the flood of illegal immigrants. Additionally, he would make Mexico pay for the wall. When the wisdom of his policies was questioned, he would announce that the wall would be even higher.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Trump supporters at a 2016 rally in Reno, Nevada. AP Photo / Lance Iversen / Huffington Post.

2. Donald Trump Scattered Bible Verses in His Campaign

White evangelical voters have long been supportive of the Republican party (not as much for evangelical voters of other ethnicities). Throughout his campaign, he quoted a few Bible verses and gave some references. He was endorsed by influential people in the evangelical culture, particularly Jerry Falwell Junior, the son of the late Jerry Falwell, who galvanized evangelical voters in support of Ronald Reagan.

35 Facts About Donald Trump that Paved the Way for his Presidential Win
Donald Trump and his family on NBC’s Today show in 2016. Shutterstock / Tribune.

1. Trump Became the Richest President in US History (So Far)

No major poll predicted that Donald Trump would win the election against Hillary Clinton. When he did, the entire country – the world, in fact – was in shock at what had happened in America. Few people had taken the populist movements seriously, but Donald Trump’s election proved that government discontents had been heard. When he was sworn into office, he was the wealthiest president in the history of the country.

 

Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

“Reform Party of the United States of America.” Wikipedia.

“Donald Trump.” Wikipedia.

“Donald Trump.” Biography.com.

“Why Did Donald Trump & Marla Maples Divorce? They Have Remained Supportive Of Each Other,” by Kathleen Walsh. Romper. April 4, 2016.

“Trump cherry-picks examples of violent illegal immigrants to stir up his base, but the statistics tell a different story,” by John Haltiwanger. Business Insider. November 1, 2018.

“Did Donald Trump Register ‘Make America Great Again’ in 2012?” Snopes.com.

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