What to know

Who Is Donald Trump?

Donald Trump

Businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump just made history by becoming the 45th president-elect of the United States of America. We know him from TV and internet memes, but who is he really?

The US election results shocked the world as Donald Trump secured the presidential race. On January 20, 2017, Trump will become the 45th president of the United States, having defeated his challenger, Hillary Clinton by a landslide.

Early Life & Education

Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York, to Fred Trump and Mary MacLeod on June 14, 1946. He was the fourth of five children, and attended the New York Military Academy from the age of 13, because his previous teachers found him to be somewhat of a rascal. There, he did exceptionally well, achieving both socially and academically, as he became a star athlete and was a student leader by the time he graduated in 1964.

After high school, Trump enrolled at Fordham University, only to transfer to Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania two years later. He graduated with a degree in economics in 1968.


While in college, Trump worked for his father’s real estate company during summers, which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. After graduating, he joined Elizabeth Trump & Son, and help finance an expansion of the company.

It was in 1971 that Donald was given control of the company, which later on renamed the Trump Organization. It was around this time that that he moved his residence to Manhattan, New York, and started growing relationships with some of the city’s most influential people.

When the Pennsylvania Central Railroad entered bankruptcy, Trump saw a chance for one of his first big projects. He was able to obtain some of the land the railroad owned on the West Side of Manhattan, where he initially planned to build apartment buildings. When those plans proved unfeasible due to the poor economic climate, he went on to convince the city to use the property for a city convention center. Even though he offered to forego a fee if the center was named after his family, it was subsequently named after Senator Jacob Javits, the Javits Center.

His big break in commercial real estate, however, came in 1974, when he bought the Commodore, a prime-location Penn Central hotel that was unprofitable. The following year, Trump signed a partnership deal with the Hyatt Hotel Corporation, worked out a 40-year tax abatement arrangement with the city, and raised enough fund to renovate the building into the Grand Hyatt. When it opened in 1980, it became an instant success, ranking Donald Trump among the city’s best known developers.

From there on, Trump really established himself globally. In 1982 he opened Trump Tower, a 58-story $200-million apartment-retail complex adjacent to the popular Tiffany $ Co. on Fifth Avenue. The building included a six-story marble atrium and a 80-foot waterfall, which attracted well-known retail brands and celebrities into the building. This was around the same time he was looking into investing in the casino business in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

One of his biggest projects in the casino and gambling business was the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. When it opened in 1990, it was the largest hotel-casino in the world, which he acquired. He also owns and operates around 18 golf courses around the world, and has owned several athletics teams, resorts and hotels all over the map. For a while, he also owned the the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants.

Reality TV & Show Business

We have all watched The Apprentice, the 2003 reality TV show that most of us know Trump from. He was in fact both the executive producer and host of the show, which ran on NBC. It revolved around a group of competitors battling for a high-level managerial position within Trump’s enterprises. He became famous for his catchphrase “you’re fired!”, which he trademarked.

Between the years of 1989 and 2010, Trump appeared in several movies. Some of the known appearances were in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Zoolander and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Personal Life & Marriage

Being a man as known as Donald Trump, it is hard to hide your relationships and keep them out of the public eye.

The Donald, as his ex-wife Ivana called him in an interview for Spy magazine in 1989, has had three marriages, from which he has five children and eight grandchildren. He first married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková in April, 1977. Donald and Ivana had three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.

In 1990, Trump’s marriage was failing. Partially due to his affair with actress Marla Maples, which had been making tabloid headlines. Later on that year, Ivana was granted an uncontested divorce, however, she claims that the two of them remain “the best of friends”.

Maples, gave birth to their daughter Tiffany on October 13, 1993, and they married two months later, in December. Their marriage lasted five years, with them officially divorcing in 1997, but it wasn’t finalized until 1999.

He and his current wife, and first lady to be, Melania Trump (née Knauss), started a relationship in 1998. Trump’s 2005-wedding to the Slovene model was one of the most spectacular events of the year, with reports claiming it costed over $35 million. A year later she gave birth to his youngest son, Barron William Trump, on March 20th.

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