Donald Trump (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Donald John Trump, Sr. (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner, and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have made him a well-known celebrity who was No. 17 on the 2011 Forbes Celebrity 100 list.
Considered one of best known real estate entrepreneurs in the United States, Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a wealthy New York City real-estate developer. He worked for his father's firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company. He was given control of the company in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization.
In 2010, Trump expressed an interest in becoming a candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election, though in May 2011, he announced he would not be a candidate. Trump was a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In 2013, Trump spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States in 2016.
Early life and education
Trump was born in Queens, New York City, New York. He is a son of Fred Trump, and his wife, Mary Anne (MacLeod), who married in 1936. His mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland. Donald was one of five children. Donald's oldest brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 43. Trump's paternal grandparents were German immigrants. His grandfather, Frederick Trump (né Friedrich Drumpf), emigrated to the United States in 1885 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1892. Frederick married Elisabeth Christ (October 10, 1880 - June 6, 1966) at Kallstadt, Kingdom of Bavaria, Germany, on August 26, 1902. They had three children.
Trump attended The Kew-Forest School, Forest Hills, New York, as did some of his siblings. At age 13 after having some difficulties there, his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy (NYMA), hoping to direct his energy and assertiveness in a positive manner. At NYMA, in upstate New York, Trump earned academic honors, and played varsity football in 1962, varsity soccer in 1963, and varsity baseball from 1962 to 1964 (baseball captain 1964). The baseball coach, Ted Dobias, a local celebrity for his work with area youth, awarded him the Coach's Award in 1964. Promoted to Cadet Captain-S4 (Cadet Battalion Logistics Officer) in his senior year, Trump and Cadet First Sergeant Jeff Donaldson (NYMA class of 1965; West Point 1969) formed a composite company of cadets, taught them advanced close-order drill, and marched them down Fifth Avenue on Memorial Day, 1964.
Trump attended Fordham University for two years before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in economics. In his book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, Trump discusses his undergraduate career:
After I graduated from the New York Military Academy in 1964, I flirted briefly with the idea of attending film school ... but in the end I decided real estate was a much better business. I began by attending Fordham University ... but after two years, I decided that as long as I had to be in college, I might as well test myself against the best. I applied to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and I got in ... I was also very glad to get finished. I immediately moved back home and went to work full time with my father.
Trump is popularly known as The Donald, a nickname perpetuated by the media after his first wife Ivana Trump, a native of the Czech Republic, referred to him as such in an interview.
While it has been reported that he does not shake hands because of fear of germs, he claims this is "a rumor that the enemies say", and shook hands repeatedly in public during a visit to New Hampshire in April 2011. Trump is a golfer, with a low single-figure handicap. He is a member of the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, and plays regularly at the other courses he owns and operates.
Trump's mother, Mary Anne, was born in 1912 at Tong, Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland, United Kingdom. In 1930, aged 18, on a holiday in New York, she met Fred Trump and stayed in New York. Born in Queens, New York, Trump has four siblings: two brothers, Fred, Jr. (who is deceased) and Robert S. Trump; and two sisters, Maryanne and Elizabeth. His older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a federal appeals court judge.
In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelní?ková and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and Eric (born January 6, 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples and together they had one child, Tiffany (born October 13, 1993). They divorced on June 8, 1999. In a February 2008 interview on ABC's news program Nightline, Trump commented on his ex-wives by saying, "I just know it's very hard for them (Ivana and Marla) to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it."
On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss (), a native of Slovenia. Trump and Knauss married on January 22, 2005, at Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church, on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate. Melania gave birth to a boy named Barron William Trump, Trump's fifth child, on March 20, 2006.
Trump has five grandchildren. Four from his son Donald Jr. (Kai Madison, Donald John III, Tristan Milos, and Spencer Frederick) and one from his daughter Ivanka (Arabella Rose).
Trump has stated in interviews that he is a Presbyterian. In April 2011 on Human Events, he said that he is "a Presbyterian within the Protestant group". In an April 2011 interview, on the 700 Club, Trump said, "I'm a Protestant, I'm a Presbyterian. And you know I've had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion." A 2010 article in The Daily Telegraph stated that Trump was Catholic. A February 2011 Politics Daily article described Trump as "apparently a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, which is a Presbyterian denomination". Andrew Cusack in 2008 stated that Donald Trump is a member of New York City's Marble Collegiate Church. Explaining that church's organizational relationships, Cusack says "the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church is actually a denomination within a denomination" and that the Collegiate Churches are "now part of the Reformed Church of America". Marble Collegiate Church also states that it is denominationally affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, with the RCA website stating that the RCA has a local church "presbyterian form of government". Trump does not drink alcohol.
In September 2010, Trump expressed on Anderson Cooper's show on CNN, his "suspicions of ulterior motives at the imam running the project" known as Park51, claiming the imam was "using religion" (meaning Islam) to get a good price for the real estate. He also appeared on Fox's Hannity, and said much the same. Trump was quoted by the New York Post that, while he "is a 'big believer in freedom of religion,' ... his personal opinion was that the mosque should not be built close to Ground Zero ...". After Trump offered in a letter to buy the two-building site for more than $6 million in order to end the general controversy, the lawyers for the majority stakeholder, according to the Post, criticized "Trump's letter offering to buy the site as a publicity stunt".
Real estate developments
Trump began his career at his father's company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. One of Trump's first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. Trump became intimately involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years. In 1972 the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.
In 1971 Trump moved to Manhattan and became involved in larger building projects and utilized attractive architectural design to win public recognition. He made plans to acquire and develop the old Penn Central for $60 million with no money down. Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and created The Trump Organization.
The New York City government had a plan to build the Javits Convention Center on property Trump held a right to buy option. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million but the city rejected his offer and Trump received a broker's fee on the sale of the property instead. The Wollman Rink in Central Park, was started in 1980 with an expected 2˝-year construction schedule but was nowhere near completion by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project, at no cost to the city, and completed it in six months using $750,000 of the remaining $3 million budget.
Trump renovated the Trump Tower in New York City and Atlantic City casino business, including acquiring the Taj Mahal Casino in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.
This expansion, both personal and business, led to mounting debt. Much of the news about him in the early 1990s involved his much publicized financial problems, creditor-led bailout, extramarital affair with Marla Maples (whom he later married), and the resulting divorce from his first wife, Ivana Trump.
By 1989, poor business decisions left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal re-emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.
The late 1990s saw a resurgence in his financial situation and fame. In 2001, he completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters. Also, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. Trump owns commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle. Trump currently owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate, and remains a major figure in the field of real estate in the United States and a celebrity for his prominent media exposures.
Trump has several projects under way, with varying levels of success in their progress. The Trump International Hotel and Tower - Honolulu seems to be a success. According to Trump, buyers paid non-refundable deposits, committing to purchase every unit on the first day they were made available. Construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower - Chicago seems to be proceeding as planned, although 30 percent of the units remain unsold. The Trump International Hotel and Tower - Toronto has had a series of delays and a height reduction. The Trump Tower - Tampa has been quite controversial because the initial sales were so successful that all deposits were returned in order to charge a higher price. Three years after construction of this controversial development began, construction has delayed and lawsuits have been filed. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one Trump construction project was put on hold in favor of another (Trump International Hotel and Tower - Fort Lauderdale). Meanwhile, Trump Towers - Atlanta is being developed in a housing market having the nation's second-highest inventory of unsold homes.
In its October 7, 2007 Forbes 400 issue, "Acreage Aces", Forbes valued Trump's wealth at $3.0 billion. Since 2011, his net worth has been estimated from $2.9 billion to $7 billion.
In March 1990, Trump threatened to sue Janney Montgomery Scott, a stock brokerage firm, whose analyst had made negative comments on the financial prospects of Taj Mahal. The analyst refused to retract the statements, and was fired by his firm. Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy for the first time in November 1990. A defamation lawsuit by the analyst against Trump for $2 million was settled out of court. On November 2, 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 protection plan. Under the plan, Trump agreed to give up a 49 percent stake in the luxury hotel to Citibank and five other lenders. In return Trump would receive more favorable terms on the remaining $550+ million owed to the lenders, and retain his position as chief executive, though he would not be paid and would not have a role in day-to-day operations.
By 1994, Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he was forced to relinquish the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. Chase Manhattan Bank, which lent Trump the money to buy the West Side yards, his biggest Manhattan parcel, forced the sale of the tract to Asian developers. According to former members of the Trump Organization, Trump did not retain any ownership of the site's real estate - the owners merely promised to give him about 30 percent of the profits once the site was completely developed or sold. Until that time, the owners of The West Side Yards gave him modest construction and management fees to oversee the development, and allowed him to put his name on the buildings that eventually rose on the yards because his well-known moniker allowed them to charge a premium for their condos.
Trump was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. Wall Street drove its stock above $35 in 1996, but by 1998 it had fallen into single digits as the company remained profitless.
In January 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., alleging that it had committed several "misleading statements in the company's third-quarter 1999 earnings release." The matter was settled with the defendant neither admitting nor denying the charge.
Finally, on October 21, 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt. The plan called for Trump's individual ownership to be reduced from 56 percent to 27 percent, with bondholders receiving stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. Since then, Trump Hotels has been forced to seek voluntary bankruptcy protection to stay afloat. After the company applied for Chapter 11 Protection in November 2004, Trump relinquished his CEO position but retained a role as Chairman of the Board. In May 2005 the company re-emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.
Lender Deutsche Bank refused to let Trump lower the prices on the units to spur sales. Arguing that the financial crisis and resulting drop in the real estate market is due to circumstances beyond his control, Trump invoked a clause in the contract to not pay the loan. Trump then initiated a suit asserting that his image had been damaged. Both parties agreed to drop their suits, and sale of the units is nearly complete.
On February 17, 2009 Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; Trump stating on February 13 that he would resign from the board. Trump Entertainment Resorts has three properties in Atlantic City.
Main article: The Trump Organization
Trump branding and licensing
Having carved out a niche for the Trump brand in the real estate business, Trump has since then moved on to establish the Trump name and brand in a multitude of other industries and products. Trump has succeeded in marketing the Trump name on a large number of products, including Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (a business education company, formerly called the Trump University), Trump Restaurants (Located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump (an online travel website), Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men's accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), Trump Ice bottled water, Trump Magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 Board Game), Donald Trump's Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex.
In 2011, Forbes reported that its financial experts had estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputes this valuation, saying that his brand is worth about $3 billion. Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects. For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name. According to Forbes, this portion of Trump's empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation. According to Forbes there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven "condo hotels" (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments).
Although not related to font designer Georg Trump, Donald Trump uses the "Trump Medieval" font Georg designed, for his own corporate logo.
Estimates of Trump's net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: In 2013, Forbes put it at $3.2 Billion. As early as 2005, however, New York Times writer Timothy L. O'Brien questioned the accuracy of the Forbes figure: He quoted a Forbes editor stating that the magazine "work[ed] hard to ensure the accuracy of its data but that it also [relied] on information provided by those whom it surveys", and that Trump would "constantly [call] about himself and [say] we're not only low, but low by a multiple." While the magazine put Trump's 2004 net worth at $2.6 billion, O'Brien's 2005 article references three unnamed business associates of Trump who "thought his net worth was somewhere between $150 million and $250 million."
After the publication of the article, Trump unsuccessfully filed a libel lawsuit against O'Brien; it was dismissed in 2009. In the lawsuit it was revealed that in 2005, Deutsche Bank valued Trump's net worth at $788 million, to which Trump objected.
In April 2011, amidst speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the US presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to Trump stating that, if Trump should decide to run for president, he would file "financial disclosure statements that [would] show his net worth [was] in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt." (Presidential candidates are required to disclose their finances after announcing their intentions to run.) Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his professionally prepared 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book stating a $7 billion net worth.
Other investments include a 17.2 percent stake in Parker Adnan, Inc. (formerly AdnanCo Group), a Bermuda-based financial services holdings company. In late 2003, Trump, along with his siblings, sold their late father's real estate empire to a group of investors that included Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and LamboNuni Bank reportedly for $600 million. Donald Trump's share was $200 million, which he later used to finance Trump Casino & Resorts.
Trump at one time acted as a financial advisor for Mike Tyson, hosting Tyson's fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City. Trump was an owner of the New Jersey Generals football team. He later bought the Eastern Shuttle routes.
In April 2011, it was reported that Trump was in the process of negotiating a deal with New York City to reopen the historic Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park.
Stock market investments
In 2011, Trump made a rare foray into the stock market after being disappointed with the depressed American real estate market and facing poor returns on bank deposits. He stated that he wasn't a stock market person, but he also stated that prime real estate at good prices is hard to get. Among the stocks Trump purchased, he stated he bought stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble. In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.
Scottish golf course
In 2006, Trump bought the Menie estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland announcing that he intended to create the best golf course in the world on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). The project includes plans for a hotel, holiday homes, housing and two golf courses. It led to controversy, with opposition voiced by environmentalists, and planning permission was initially refused by Aberdeenshire Council. In 2008 the local authority was overruled by the Scottish government, First Minister Alex Salmond citing economic benefits Trump had promised as justifying the unusual step of permitting development on an SSSI. These figures were disputed by the London School of Economics.
In 2009, Aberdeenshire Council received a request on behalf of Trump International Golf Links Scotland to approve compulsory purchase orders on a number of local homes. A protest group campaigned actively, using mass land purchase as a tactic. In late January 2011 Trump International stated that it had "no interest" in pursuing compulsory purchase orders and that it had never applied for them.
An award-winning 2011 documentary film, You've Been Trumped, by Anthony Baxter, follows the development's progress, showing Trump speaking locally about his ambitions for the project, insulting a local farmer, who he claimed lived in "a slum", and being awarded an honorary degree by The Robert Gordon University, in spite of a professor at that university returning his own honorary degree in protest. It also queries the supposed economic benefits, the ecological impact and the effect on local residents. When it was announced that the documentary was to be given its UK television premičre on BBC Two on October 21, 2012, Trump's lawyers contacted the BBC to demand that the film should not be shown, claiming that it was defamatory and misleading. The screening went ahead, the BBC defending the decision and stating that Trump had refused the opportunity to take part in the film.
Trump has objected to plans for an offshore windfarm to be built within sight of the golf links. In 2011, he wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond expressing his view that the planned structures were ugly. He denied that he was concerned only with the view from the golf links, saying, "It is not only for my project, it is more to preserve Scotland's beautiful coastline and natural heritage." In 2012, Trump announced that if the windfarm were built he would abandon his plans for the hotel and housing at the golf links. Trump's advertisement comparing wind farms to terrorism was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The Miss Universe Organization has been owned by Donald Trump since 1996 and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) became a joint partner in 2003. The organization produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants. In December 2006, talk show host Rosie O'Donnell criticized Trump's lenience toward Miss USA, Tara Conner, who had violated pageant behavioral guidelines. This sparked a tabloid war between the two celebrities which lasted for several weeks thereafter.
Donald Trump, a two-time Emmy Award-nominated personality, has made appearances as a caricatured version of himself in television series and films (e.g. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,The Nanny,The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Days of Our Lives, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.), and as a character (The Little Rascals). He has been the subject of comedians, Flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists.
In March 2011, Trump was the subject of a Comedy Central Roast. The special was hosted by Seth MacFarlane, and roasters included Larry King, Snoop Dogg, and Anthony Jeselnik among regular roast participants. Trump's daughter Ivanka was seen in the audience. In April 2011, Trump attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner, featuring comedian Seth Meyers. President Obama used the occasion to present several prepared jokes mocking Trump.
In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show, The Apprentice, in which a group of competitors battled for a high-level management job in one of Trump's commercial enterprises. The other contestants were successively "fired" and eliminated from the game. In 2004, Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase "You're fired."
For the first year of the show Trump was paid $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show's initial success, he is currently paid a reported $3 million per episode, making him one of the highest paid TV personalities. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).
Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump also put together The Celebrity Apprentice, where well-known stars compete to win money for their charities. While Trump and Burnett co-produced the show, Trump stayed in the forefront, deciding winners and "firing" losers.
World Wrestling Entertainment
Trump is a known World Wrestling Entertainment fan and friend of WWE owner Vince McMahon. He has hosted two WrestleMania events in the Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several of the shows. Trump's Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City was host to the 1991 WBF Championship (which was owned by WWE, known at the time as the "World Wrestling Federation."). Trump was interviewed by Jesse Ventura ringside at WrestleMania XX. He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in the corner of Bobby Lashley who competed against Umaga with WWE Chairman McMahon in his corner, in a hair versus hair match, with either Trump or McMahon having their head shaved if their competitor lost. Lashley won the match, and he and Trump both proceeded to shave McMahon bald.
On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on WWE Raw that he had 'sold' the show to Donald Trump. Appearing on screen, Trump confirmed it and declared he would be at the following commercial-free episode in person and would give a full refund to the people who purchased tickets to the arena for that night's show in the amount of USD $235,000. McMahon "bought back" Raw on June 22, 2009. His entrance theme "Money, Money" was written by Jim Johnston.
Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 at Madison Square Garden due to his contributions to the promotion. He made his fifth Wrestlemania appearance the next night.
In the 2000 election, Trump expressed a desire to run as a third-party candidate for the United States presidency, considering a bid for the nomination of the Reform Party as a business conservative, socially moderate candidate. In his 2000 tome, The America We Deserve, economic policies Trump proposed include:
Institution of a once-only 14.25 percent tax on personal estates and trusts over $10 million, which he estimated would raise $5.7 trillion in revenue toward retirement of the national debt, tax cuts for the middle class, and supplementing the funding of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; and, by way of compensating this one-time tax on the wealthy, permanent abolition of the 55 percent federal inheritance tax.
Repeal of limits on campaign contributions, combined with outlawing soft money campaign contributions
Regarding universal health care, Trump touted himself as "a conservative on most issues, but a liberal on this one. Working out detailed plans will take time. But the goal should be clear: Our people are our greatest asset."
Renegotiation of U.S. trade policies.
For 2004 and 2008, Trump speculated about running for President in the Republican party and for 2006 considered running for governor of New York as a representative of the party. In October 2007, Trump appeared on Larry King Live and delivered a strong criticism of then-United States President George W. Bush, particularly concerning the Iraq War. He speculated that Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton could win the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominations, respectively, and voiced some support for either of them being elected President. He expressed doubt, on CNN's The Situation Room at the time, over whether a candidate for President could win the election by supporting a continued escalation of the war in Iraq.
On September 17, 2008, Trump officially endorsed John McCain for the U.S. Presidency on Larry King Live. Trump again registered as a Republican in 2009 after having registered with the Democratic Party in 2001. Trump said in an interview in 2007, "I'm very much independent in that way. I go for the person, not necessarily the party. I mean, I vote for Republicans and I vote for Democrats."
Since the 1990 U.S. elections, Donald Trump has made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates. These have included Republicans John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and George W. Bush and Democrats Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, Anthony Weiner, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Charles Rangel.
In January 2013, Trump endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the 2013 Israeli elections stating that "A strong prime minister is a strong Israel." An ardent Zionist with having taking a more active role in Israeli politics as of 2012, Trump posted his endorsement via a YouTube video where in the video from his office in Manhattan, Trump says he is "a big fan of Israel." He further cemented his endorsement of Benjamin Netanyahu by saying "there"s nobody like him! He"s a winner; he"s highly respected; he"s highly thought of by all."
Potential candidacy for President of the United States
In 2010, Trump said he considered himself a potential candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election. In his primary campaign, Trump has made a February speech to a CPAC gathering, an early venue for candidates considering a presidential run, as a write-in candidate in its straw poll for the office. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Donald Trump leading among potential contenders for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. A Newsweek poll conducted February 2011 showed Trump within a few points of Obama, with many voters undecided in the November 2012 general election for President of the United States against Barack Obama. A poll released in April 2011 by Public Policy Polling showed Trump having a nine-point lead in a potential contest for the Republican nomination for President of the United States while he was still actively considering a run.
Trump's present political stances include being pro-life, supports defining marriage as between one man and one woman, supports Second Amendment rights of gun ownership and opposes gun control, advocates the repeal and replacement of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, anti-foreign aid; and supporting a fair trade policy and believing generally that the People's Republic of China should be considered more of an adversarial competitor, subjected to significant import tariffs as a response to China's currency manipulation in order to help balance the U.S. budget. He said he would impose a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. He also believes the U.S. should disengage in Iraq and Afghanistan. In December 2008, Trump supported a government backed rescue plan for the American auto industry where the government would provide the debtor in possession financing for a Chapter 11 restructuring.
His campaign has been reported by some media as a possible promotional tool for his reality show The Apprentice. Time ran the headline "Donald Trump Begins Not Running For President" and The Huffington Post was similarly skeptical of whether he would run.
Regardless of this skepticism, Trump has quietly chosen to participate in the "Politics and Eggs" forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, a popular spot for presidential candidates visiting New Hampshire. This scheduled visit is important because the event is taking place in mid June 2011, supposedly after Trump had been supposed to make his decision whether to or not to run. On April 23, 2011, the New York-based TV station NY1 reported that Trump had not voted in primary elections in New York City for a span of 21 years, beginning after the city's mayoral primary in 1989, an accusation he has denied. A City election board spokeswoman confirmed the story.
On May 5, 2011, Trump announced he would not be the celebrity pace-car driver for the 2011 Indy 500 as was previously announced a month earlier by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (on April 5, 2011.) Trump stated he made the decision because of business constraints, but there had been a fan campaign for the Speedway to instead name a racing celebrity to the position and a Speedway press release stated that Trump cancelled because of his intention to run for President.
On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president. On May 23, 2011, Trump stated that he hadn't ruled out running for president, adding: "The country is so important, so vital that we choose the right person, and at this moment, I don't see that person." In December 2011, Trump was suggested as a possible Vice Presidential selection by Michele Bachmann, if she were to win the Republican nomination.
In February 2012 he endorsed Mitt Romney prior to the Nevada caucuses. Trump gave media interviews endorsing Romney before the Michigan primary.
Trump was a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In 2013, Trump spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States in 2016.
Statements about Barack Obama
Speaking to an audience of more than five thousand people in Boca Raton, Florida on April 16, 2011, Trump implied that voter reaction to the 2008 financial crisis and the perception of slow progress on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the final months of George W. Bush's second term as President was the primary cause for the election of his successor Barack Obama and further that Obama would probably be known "as the worst president in U.S. history."
Trump brought attention to conspiracy theories questioning Obama's citizenship status in media appearances and received heavy criticism from political opponents for this. In an NBC-TV interview broadcast April 7, 2011, Trump said he was "not satisfied that Obama had proven his citizenship."
In an April 2011 NBC interview, Trump disclosed that he had sent researchers to Hawaii to investigate the matter of Obama's citizenship status, commenting "they cannot believe what they're finding," though no revelation or information was ever subsequently published. On Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN, April 25, 2011, Trump said he wanted Obama to end the issue by releasing the long-form of his birth certificate. With media coverage and Trump's repeated calls for release of the birth certificate, Obama eventually made a formal statement in efforts by the White House to put the matter to rest with the release of the long-form of Obama's birth certificate on April 27, 2011. Trump expressed pride at his role in the release of the long-form certificate in a press conference follow-up, but did not, however, say whether he would be releasing his own tax returns, despite suggesting that he would make those public when Mr. Obama produced his long-form birth certificate. In May 2011, Public Policy Polling described the events as "one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of presidential politics".
On October 24, 2012, Trump offered to donate $5 million to a charity of Obama's choice in exchange for the release of the President's college and passport applications. He had tweeted that he had a "big announcement", that would be "bordering on gigantic" and that it would "possibly" change the outcome of the presidential race, Trump again took credit for the release of Obama's birth certificate.
Following President Obama's re-election, Trump sent messages on his Twitter account saying that the election was a "sham and a travesty" and that the electoral college was "a disaster" and called for "a revolution". Trump deleted the last comment when it became clear that Obama had won the electoral college and also the popular vote.
Trump has authored many books including:
Trump: The Art of the Deal (1987)
Trump: Surviving at the Top (1990)
Trump: The Art of Survival (1991)
Trump: The Art of the Comeback (1997)
Trump: How to Get Rich (2004)
The Way to the Top: The Best Business Advice I Ever Received (2004)
Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life (2004)
Trump: The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received (2005)
Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men - One Message (2006), co-written with Robert Kiyosaki.