On 8th November 2016, the world woke up to surprising news of Billionaire Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump winning the bid to become the most powerful man on the earth. The news came as a shock to almost everyone; pleasant for few not so for others. Such is the personality of the 45th President of the United States; you can love him or hate him but you cannot simply ignore him.
At first instance, Trump completely fits the description of Marvel’s popular superhero Iron Man, who describes himself and “flamboyant, billionaire playboy. However; ostentatious personality, self-obsession, bully-like behaviour, controversies and outrageous statements; these have been just a few of the attributes of Donald Trump’s personality that we have encountered during last 18 months of his campaign. But, there is more to the man behind the poster that connected with more than half of America and won the bid to be the most powerful man on the earth.
Donald Trump was born in 1946 to a New York Business Tycoon Fred and Mary Trump. He enjoyed the company of 5 siblings and enjoyed a ‘well-privileged’ childhood in Jamaica Estates, Queens, a neighbourhood in New York City.
image source: Newsday
Donald Trump did his early schooling from The Kew-Forest School in Queens, New York.However, soon he was transferred to the New York Military Academy (NYMA) at the age of 13 due to behavioural problems. After completing his schooling, Trump joined Fordham University in the Bronx followed by a graduate course in economics from Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump also took a special course on real-estate studies during his graduation at Wharton - one of the few business schools in the US to offer it.
But, if you thought Trump was your ideal student during his school days, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, reports suggest that he was penalized many times for his ‘brash and bully-like behaviour’, both in school and college.
As stated above, Trump was the son of a New York business tycoon, which is a good start for any aspiring businessman. He was handed over the keys to his father’s business empire after his elder brother Freddie Trump fell into disfavour with father Frederick C Trump. His elder brother Freddie wanted to be a pilot and was not interested in taking over the business.
After inheriting the business in 1971, Trump renamed his father’s construction company as 'The Trump Organization' (TTO). Since then, TTO has acted as a mother-ship for all his real estate business holdings and other business ventures. By 1975, Trump rose to be the President of TTO and became a well-known name in the real estate circles across America by 1978.
What cemented his position as a major real-estate player in the US was the 'Grand Hyatt Hotel' project which he undertook in Manhattan. Under this project, he transformed the rundown Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt Hotel with bold design and new concepts in 1978.
Again in 1983, Trump came into the limelight with his signature Trump Tower project, which was termed as an ode to “Trump's seemingly blind ego” right in the heart of New York City. Currently, the Trump Tower serves as the home to US president-elect and also as the headquarters of TTO. Over the years, the 58 -storey skyscraper has acquired cult status on the skyline of New York with high-end condominiums and stores. It also features as a tourist destination in New York.
After establishing himself as the real-estate mogul, Trump moved on the organized gambling business through casinos. His first venture in organized gambling was Harrah's in Trump Plaza which opened in 1984 in the Atlantic City. Despite the poor performance, Donald Trump decided to pursue his interest in casino business by acquiring a $320 billion Hilton property in Atlantic City and transforming it into Trump Castle.
Among other his other gambling dens, the popular ones include Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches in Florida. In 1988, Trump acquired Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. In fact, the Taj Mahal Hotel was his dream project which cost him $ 1.1 billion pushing him on the verge of bankruptcy.
It is not a hidden fact that the US president-elect is obsessed with name and it can be clearly seen across all his property and businesses. In 1990’s, Donald Trump went on an overdrive to transform his name into a real-estate brand. He acquired many new businesses and created several more from casinos, clubs, hotels, commercial buildings to even a university, airline and a personalized board game. And to the surprise of many marketing pundits, it worked flawlessly.
His cult status in the real-estate business with properties named as Trump World Tower, Trump Place, Trump International Hotel and Tower; brought him many favours. There is also an interesting incident wherein Trump Towers in Istanbul also paid him to borrow his name.
Taking the Trump brand further, he also invested in professional sports with Football club New Jersey Generals. His properties including Trump Towers and Casinos, have witnessed some iconic boxing matches, some even including the Iron Mike Mike Tyson. If you were interested WWE as a kid, you might have noticed him make several appearances for the show in the late 90s.
image source:Richard Bravo
Despite being a hardcore businessman, Trump was also a man of varied interests and he never shied away from flaunting them or experimenting with them. Taking his love for Television, the billionaire businessman turned a TV host for reality game show titled 'The Apprentice' in 2003. With his flamboyant nature and larger than life personality; Trump use to fire multiple contestants in the game show only to hire one at the end of the season. In fact, Trump made 'You're fired' his catchphrase and went ahead and even copyrighted it. Taking his love for showbiz a bit further, Donald Trump has also appeared in several US TV shows and movies including Zoolander, The Associate, Home Alone 4 and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
Another part of his personality which was severely criticized during the presidential campaign was his “love” for the beauty of fairer sex. Just like his Reality TV, Trump decided to take this interested to the next level through beauty pageants. In fact, he has been a major player (complete owner or partial owner) in popular beauty pageants like Miss Teen America, Miss Universe and Miss America from 1996 to 2015. Currently, Trump’s business portfolio also includes a modelling company which has over 250 foreign models on its payroll.
image source:Talking Points Memo
Another aspect of Trump’s life that was in limelight during the extremely personal election campaign was his personal life and marriages. Trump has five children by three marriages and has eight grandchildren.
His first marriage to Czech model Ivana Zelníčková in 1977 bore him three children i.e., Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. In 1990, Trump’s affair with actress Marla Maples which was highly publicized in the tabloid press brought down his first marriage with Ivana.
In December 1993, Trump married actress Marla Maples after the birth of their daughter Tiffany. Their marriage ended in with a bitter separation in May 1997 followed by a divorce in 1999.
Trump’s current wife Slovene model Melania Knauss began a relationship with the real-estate mogul in 1998. Trump married Melania in 2005, which will make her the first lady of US, come 20th January 2016. Trump and Melania became proud parents with the birth of son Barron William Trump.
The political journey of Trump began in the 1970s when he first backed Ronald Reagan's politics and policies as the president. Post-1987, Trump joined the Reform Party, which he left in December 2001 to join the Democrats – his bitter enemy during the 2016 US presidential elections. During his stint with the Democratic Party, Trump backed legislations on women's choice on abortion and legalization of drugs.
In 2009, Trump ditched Democrats for Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. After the unsuccessful campaign of John McCain, he joined the Grand Old Party who gave him a presidential ticket for 2016 US Election.
The idea of running for the US presidential elections was not new or unknown to Donald Trump. In fact, he had floated the same idea multiple times in 1988, 2004, and 2012. However, the idea of running for office bore fruit in only in 2015, when he formally announced his plan to be Republican Party’s candidate for 2016 US elections.
Trump began his fierce election campaign in with slogan ‘Make America Great Again’. During his entire election campaign, Trump capitalized on home-grown anger in the US regarding immigration, the Islamic terror, national debt and US citizens losing jobs due to outsourcing. Trump presidential campaign was also severely criticized for several controversies, including raising questions about US President Obama’s origins, building a wall on Mexico border, banning entry of Muslims into US and sexual harassment allegations by several women.
But in a closely fought battle, Trump managed to emerge victorious winning 279 electoral votes to his rival Hillary’s 228 on 8th November 2016. He will assume office on 20th January 2016. At the age of 70, he will be the oldest person ever to assume the presidency.