1946-06-13 to Present
U.S.Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality.
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital in the borough of Queens, New York City. His father was Frederick Christ Trump, a Bronx-born real estate developer, whose own parents were German immigrants. His mother was Scottish-born housewife and socialite Mary Anne MacLeod Trump.
In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, part of the Reformed Church. The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to Trump's family and mentored him until Peale's death in 1993.
In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková. They have three children, Donald Jr. (born 1977), Ivanka (born 1981), and Eric (born 1984), and ten grandchildren. Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992.
Trump attracted public attention in 1978 with the launch of his family's first Manhattan venture, the renovation of the derelict Commodore Hotel, adjacent to Grand Central Terminal. The financing was facilitated by a $400 million city property tax abatement arranged by Fred Trump, who also joined Hyatt in guaranteeing $70 million in bank construction financing.
Trump has had a sporadic relationship with professional wrestling promotion World Wrestling Entertainment since the late 1980s; in 1988 and 1989, WrestleMania IV and V, which took place at the Atlantic City Convention Hall, were billed as taking place at the nearby Trump Plaza.
In 1982, Trump was listed on the initial Forbes list of wealthy individuals as having a share of his family's estimated $200 million net worth. His financial losses in the 1980s caused him to be dropped from the list between 1990 and 1995.
In 1984, Trump opened Harrah's at Trump Plaza hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey with financing from the Holiday Corporation, who also managed the operation. Gambling had been legalized there in 1977 in an effort to revitalize the once-popular seaside destination.
Earlier, Trump had also acquired a partially completed building in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million. Upon its completion in 1985, that hotel and casino was called Trump Castle. Trump's then-wife Ivana managed it until 1988.
Trump's first book, The Art of the Deal (1987), topped the New York Times Best Seller list for 13 weeks, and remained on the list for 48 weeks. According to The New Yorker, "The book expanded Trump's renown far beyond New York City, promoting an image of himself as a successful dealmaker and tycoon".
In 1987, Trump spent $94,801 (equivalent to $213,344 in 2019) to place full-page advertisements in three major newspapers, proclaiming "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".
In 1988, Trump founded Trump Shuttle, purchasing 21 planes and landing rights at three airports in New York City, Boston, and the Washington, D.C., area, from the defunct Eastern Air Lines, costing $380 million financed from 22 banks. The airline offered charter services in addition to scheduled shuttle flights, and was eventually sold to USAir Group in 1992 after failing to operate at a profit.
The Donald J. Trump Foundation was a U.S.-based private foundation 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.
In 2003, Trump became the co-producer and host of The Apprentice, a reality show in which contestants competed for a one-year management job with the Trump Organization, and Trump weeded out applicants with the catchphrase "You're fired". He later co-hosted The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities competed to win money for charities. In February 2015, Trump said he was not ready to sign on for another season of the show because he considered running for president. Despite this, NBC planned a fifteenth season, but in June distanced itself from Trump, citing "derogatory statements regarding immigrants" in his campaign announcement.
In 2004, Trump co-founded a company called Trump University that sold real estate training courses priced at between $1,500 and $35,000. After New York State authorities twice notified the company that its use of the word "university" violated state law, its name was changed to the "Trump Entrepreneurial Institute" in 2010.
In 2013, Trump spoke at CPAC again; he railed against illegal immigration, bemoaned Obama's "unprecedented media protection", advised against harming Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and suggested that the government "take" Iraq's oil and use the proceeds to pay a million dollars each to families of dead soldiers.
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.
In 2015, Trump said he "makes a lot of money with" the Saudis and that "they pay me millions and hundreds of millions." And at a political rally, Trump said about Saudi Arabia: "They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much."
In 2015, Robert Gordon University revoked the honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) they had granted him in 2010, stating that "Mr. Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university."
In February 2015, Trump said he was not ready to sign on for another season of the show (The Apprentice) because he considered running for president. Despite this, NBC planned a fifteenth season, but in June distanced itself from Trump, citing "derogatory statements regarding immigrants" in his campaign announcement.
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".
Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump made a controversial proposal to ban Muslim foreigners from entering the United States until stronger vetting systems could be implemented. He later re framed the proposed ban to apply to countries with a "proven history of terrorism".
In December 2015, Trump said in a radio interview that he had a "conflict of interest" in dealing with Turkey and Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan because of his Trump Towers Istanbul, saying "I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul and it's a tremendously successful job ... It's called Trump Towers – two towers instead of one ... I've gotten to know Turkey very well".
American Media, Inc. (AMI) paid $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal in August 2016, and Trump's attorney Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016. Both women were paid for non-disclosure agreements regarding their alleged affairs with Trump between 2006 and 2007. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to breaking campaign finance laws, saying he had arranged the payments at the direction of Trump in order to influence the presidential election. AMI admitted paying McDougal to prevent publication of stories that might damage Trump's electoral chances. Trump denied the affairs, and claimed he was not aware of Cohen's payment to Daniels, but reimbursed him in 2017. Federal prosecutors asserted that Trump had been involved in discussions regarding non-disclosure payments as early as 2014. Court documents showed that the FBI believed Trump was directly involved in the payment to Daniels, based on calls he had with Cohen in October 2016. The closure of the federal investigation into the matter was announced in July 2019, but days later the Manhattan District Attorney subpoenaed the Trump Organization and AMI for records related to the hush payments and in August subpoenaed eight years of tax returns for Trump and the Trump Organization.
Trump and Mike 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.
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 Bill 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.
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.
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 nearly 2.9 million fewer popular votes than Clinton, which made him the fifth person to be elected president while losing the popular vote. Clinton was ahead nationwide with 65,853,514 votes (48.18%) to 62,984,828 votes (46.09%).
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 negotiations, reinstatement 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.
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.
U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan increased from 8,500 to 14,000, as of January 2017, reversing Trump's pre-election position 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.
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.
On January 31, Trump nominated U.S. Appeals Court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat on the Supreme Court previously held by Justice Antonin Scalia until his death on February 13, 2016.
Trump signaled his intention to run for a second term by filing with the FEC within a few 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 $22 million in hand, and it had raised a total amount exceeding $67 million by December 2018. $23 million was spent in the fourth quarter of 2018, as Trump supported various Republican candidates for the 2018 midterm elections.
On March 14, 2017, the first two pages of Trump's 2005 federal income tax returns were leaked to 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 the documents.
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."
In April 2017, Trump ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airfield in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. According to investigative journalist Bob Woodward, Trump had ordered his defense secretary James Mattis to assassinate Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after the chemical attack, but Mattis declined; Trump denied doing so.
On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed FBI director James Comey. He first attributed this 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.
In August, Trump dramatically escalated his rhetoric against North Korea, warning that further provocations against the U.S. would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". In response, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to direct a missile test toward Guam.
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, along with certain Venezuelan officials. After lower courts partially blocked the new restrictions, the Supreme Court allowed the September version to go into full effect on December 4, and ultimately upheld the travel ban in a June 2019 ruling.
In September 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be repealed after six months. Trump argued that "top legal experts" believed DACA was unconstitutional, and called on Congress to use the six-month delay to pass legislation solving the "Dreamers" issue permanently. No legislation had been agreed to on DACA by March 2018, when the delay expired.
Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017, despite criticism and warnings from world leaders. He subsequently opened a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in May 2018.
In December 2017, Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, lowered personal tax brackets, increased child tax credit, doubled the estate tax exemption to $11.2 million, and limited the state and local tax deduction to $10,000.
Journalist Jonathan Greenberg reported in April 2018 that Trump, using a pseudonym "John Barron", called him in 1984 to falsely assert that he owned "in excess of ninety percent" of the Trump family's business, in an effort to secure a higher ranking on the Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans. Greenberg also wrote that Forbes had vastly overestimated Trump's wealth and wrongly included him on the Forbes 400 rankings of 1982, 1983, and 1984.
After Trump met Putin at the Helsinki Summit on July 16, 2018, Trump drew bipartisan criticism for siding with Putin's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, rather than accepting the findings of the United States intelligence community.
On August 21, 2018, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight felony counts of false tax filing and bank fraud. Trump said he felt very badly for Manafort and praised him for resisting the pressure to make a deal with prosecutors, saying "Such respect for a brave man!" According to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, Trump had sought advice about pardoning Manafort but was counseled against it.
On November 29, Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump's 2016 attempts to reach a deal with Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen said he had made the false statements on behalf of Trump, who was identified as "Individual-1" in the court documents.
On January 23, 2019, Maduro announced that Venezuela was breaking ties with the United States following Trump's announcement of recognizing Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition leader, as the interim president of Venezuela.
In January 2019, The New York Times quoted senior administration officials as saying Trump has privately suggested on multiple occasions that the United States should withdraw from NATO. The next day Trump said the United States is going to "be with NATO one hundred percent" but repeated that the other countries have to "step up" and pay more.
During much of Trump's presidency, Democrats were divided on the question of impeachment. Fewer than 20 representatives in the House supported impeachment by January 2019; after the Mueller Report was released in April and special counsel Robert Mueller testified in July, this number grew to around 140 representatives.
On April 3, 2019, the House Ways and Means Committee made a formal request to the Internal Revenue Service for Trump's personal and business tax returns from 2013 to 2018, setting a deadline of April 10. That day, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said the deadline would not be met, and the deadline was extended to April 23, which also was not honored, and on May 6 Mnuchin said the request would be denied. On May 10, 2019, committee chairman Richard Neal subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the IRS for the returns and seven days later the subpoenas were defied. A fall 2018 draft IRS legal memo asserted that Trump must provide his tax returns to Congress unless he invokes executive privilege, contradicting the administration's justification for defying the earlier subpoena. Mnuchin asserted the memo actually addressed a different matter.
On June 30, 2019, Trump, Kim, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held brief talks in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president had set foot on North Korean soil. They agreed to resume negotiations.
In August 2019, a whistleblower filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community about a July 25 phone call between Trump and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump had pressured Zelensky to investigate CrowdStrike and Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, that the White House attempted to "lock down" the call records in a cover-up. The whistleblower further stated that the call was part of a wider pressure campaign by Giuliani and the Trump administration which may have included withholding financial aid from Ukraine in July 2