18 Lesser-Known Facts About Donald Trump

Donald Trump, before becoming the 45th president of the United States, led a life filled with business ventures, personal milestones, and public controversies. Here are 18 lesser-known facts about his life before his presidency:

Born into Wealth

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Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York, to Fred and Mary Anne Trump, a successful real estate developer and a homemaker, respectively. His family lived in an upscale community in the Queens Borough of New York City known as Jamaica Estates.

Scottish and German Heritage

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With Trump’s outspoken questioning of other presidential candidates being eligible to run because their parents were immigrants, it may be shocking to know how relatively new his family is to the country. His mother was born in Scotland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1930. His father was born in New York City to German immigrant parents.

Military School

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At age 13, Trump’s parents sent him to the New York Military Academy, hoping the discipline of the school would positively channel his energy. He excelled both socially and academically at the academy. By the time he graduated in 1964, he was a star athlete and student leader.

Education

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Trump began his higher education at Fordham University in 1964. He transferred to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania two years later and graduated in 1968 with a degree in economics.

Real Estate Beginnings

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Trump joined his father’s real estate business, Elizabeth Trump & Son, where he worked through college summer breaks. Right after college, he joined full-time. He later renamed it the Trump Organization.

Manhattan Projects

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He expanded the real estate business to Manhattan, where his father’s financial and political backing enabled him to do his first deals, demolishing and renovating landmark buildings.

No Interest in Politics

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In a 1985 interview—his first major debut—with Mike Wallace, Wallace asked Mr. Trump about his future plans. “You’re in your late 30s. You got 40 years to live, minimum,” he told Mr. Trump. “What are you going to do?” “There are a lot of things to do,” Mr. Trump replied. When Wallace asked if those things included politics, Mr. Trump brushed it aside. “No, not politics, not politics,” he said.

The Art of the Deal

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The Art of the Deal is a book credited to Trump and journalist Tony Schwartz. Published in 1987, it is part memoir and part business advice book that helped make Trump a household name. It reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list and stayed there for 13 weeks. Tony Schwartz later said the book was the biggest regret of his life.

Miss Universe

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From 1996 to 2015, he owned the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe beauty pageants. He was forced to sell the organization in 2015 after his incendiary comments about Mexicans drove away broadcasters NBC and Univision. There were other allegations of inappropriate behavior behind the scenes as well.

The Apprentice

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“You’re fired” became a quick tagline and product promotion for Trump long before we knew him as a politician. Trump gained widespread fame as the host of the reality TV show The Apprentice from 2004 to 2015. The Celebrity Apprentice was introduced in 2008.

Multiple Marriages

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Trump has been married three times. He married Ivana Trump in 1977; they had two children, Ivanka and Eric. They divorced in 1991 due to his affair with his second wife, Marla Maples, whom he married in 1993. They divorced in 1997, after the birth of their daughter, Tiffany. He met Melania in 1998, and they were married in 2005. They have one son, Baron.

Six Bankruptcies

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The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).

Trump University

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Founded in 2005, Trump University claimed to teach students Donald Trump’s real estate secrets. It started as a free three-hour seminar where participants would be encouraged to sign up for a $1,500 three-day seminar. Participants would then be encouraged to sign up for a $35,000 mentorship program. Only 572 students went on to the $35,000 level. The “university” shut down in 2010 with multiple lawsuits and fraud claims.

Real Estate Licensing

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Trump licensed his name to numerous real estate projects worldwide, a strategy that expanded his brand without requiring large capital investments. His name was licensed to golf courses and lodgings across the globe.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Trump has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his role as a producer of the Miss Universe pageants. The ceremony was held on January 16, 2007.

WrestleMania Appearances

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Trump is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., hosted both WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V—the only venue to present The Show of Shows two years in a row. He finally got in on the action in 2007.

Health Habits

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Trump has called golfing his “primary form of exercise” but usually does not walk the course. He considers exercising a waste of energy because he believes exercise depletes the body’s energy “like a battery, with a finite amount of energy.” Trump’s eating habits have become quite well known with his love for fast food and well-done steaks with ketchup.

First Presidential Run

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In 1999, Trump quit the Republican Party to join the Reform Party and seek that party’s presidential nomination. Trump quit the race because he concluded that the Reform Party was self-destructing and could not provide the “support a candidate needs to win.”

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