“Melania and Barron Won’t Move to D.C., Trump Tower to be White House of NYC”

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Donald J. Trump Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Donald Trump
Donald Trump official portrait.jpg
45thPresident of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence
Preceded by Barack Obama
Personal details
Born Donald John Trump
June 14, 1946 (age 70)
New York City
Political party Republican (1987–99, 2009–11, 2012–present)
Other political
affiliations
Spouse(s)
Relations See Family of Donald Trump
Children
Residence White House
Alma mater The Wharton School (B.S. in Econ.)
Occupation
Net worth DecreaseUS$3.5 billion (March 2017)[1]
Signature Donald J Trump stylized autograph, in ink
Website

 

Remember how in high school elections, the kid who promised soda machines and pizza for lunch every day always won? Meet their God.

“”People don’t know how great you are. People don’t know how smart you are. These are the smart people. These are the smart people. These are really the smart people. And they never like to say it, but I say it and I’m a smart person. These are the smart, we have the smartest people. We have the smartest people. And they know it. And some say it, but they hate to say it. But we have the smartest people. Government will start working again. Fixing things.
—Donald Trump, talking like a lobotomy patient whilst trying to assert how intelligent he is[1][2]

Donald John “On Many Sides, On Many Sides” Trump (b. 1946), a.k.a. “John Miller”,[3]“John Barron”,[4] and “Mr. Brexit“,[5] is an American (un)intentional comedian, honorary Russian Cossack,[6] heelWikipedia's W.svg wrestling personality,[note 1] Nobel Prize nominee,[7][8] and currentfalse-equivalency[9][10] President of the United States. In the summer of 2015 he commandeered the Republican Clown Car, running on the hazy slogan of “Make America Hate Great Again”.

Nowadays, Trump markets himself as a Turbo-Wingnut: he’s a climate change denier, is militantly pro-life, wants to toughen up America by building a Great Wall of Mexico,[11] eliminating the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Energy (respectively), thinks vaccines cause autism,[12] yada yada. His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, had more sensible policies on all these issues.[13] Regardless, this marks a substantial reversion of his earlier positions: Trump used to be pro-choice,[14] pro-universal health care,[15] and has donated more than half a million dollars to Democrats over the last two decades, including to the Wicked Witch of the East.[16]

Despite his campaign mythologizing around his path to the presidency somehow “coming from outside the system” and being “free of cronyism” (imagining a Democrat-disgruntled working class being the ones to carry him into office), actual Trump supporters generally have above average incomes, typical of the same voter demographic that’s always supported the GOP.[17][note 2] In American terms, Trump is pretty much styling himself as the second coming of Andrew Jackson, complete with his plan for a new Trail of Tears. In turn, Trump actually appears to have secured the conspiracy theorist vote,[18][note 3] a demographic which, these days, appears to include both himself[19] and his wife.[20]

He’s loud and fleshy flashy. He’s brash and a bit of a douchebag. He’s a li’l bit sexist and a li’l bit racist.[note 4] He has the complexion of a bruised orange.[note 5] That’s the essence of his persona, and all that anybody really knows about this “blue-collar billionaire.”[21] For those who haven’t swallowed his attempts at “branding” himself hook, line and sinker, it’s obvious that Trump stopped being a real person sometime around the mid-1980s,[22][23] around the time he allegedly developed a diet pill addiction.[24] Trump’s tendency towards using the hyper-superlative, combined with his severe disconnect from truth, give him one true superlative: he is an unsurpassed bullshit artist, which makes him an exceedingly difficult candidate for winning even a seemingly trivial libel lawsuit about his alleged net worth.[25][26]

Trump’s policies keep changing, but he has a consistent worldview, which is that everything is zero sum. No, really.[27] Thus — if you are weak, someone else is strong. That’s the kind of worldview which abuses patriotism to justify xenophobia, consistently reasoning from false dilemma; if you’re not working against other countries, then you’re working against ours. If you don’t want to torture Muslims, then you must hate your country.[note 6] If you’d seek out cooperation on global problems, then you must hate America by definition. To Trumpites, compromise is admitting defeat.[28] An ideology of dominance swept into power by populism — as history gently rings a bell.

The substance of Trump’s candidacy has been making dick jokes and period jokes,[note 7] and giving voice to the dark, hateful side of “took ur jerbs!“. He won the most number of votes for (and against) him in Republican primary history, demolishing the previous record held by George W. Bush,[29] and that’s without spending much money on the race.[note 8] In a way, his supporters have treated this election as a piece of absurdist theater — politics has become Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.

Following an escalating series of gaffes and scandals in the run-up to the Presidential election, many Republican leaders have withheld or renounced their support for his candidacy.[30] He has also been condemned by everyone from Tic Tacs[31] to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[32]

Despite all this, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States on November 8th, 2016. You wanted him, you got him.[note 9] Having single-handedly destroyed the Obama administration, the Clinton machine, the Bush dynasty, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party in the span of 18 months, Trump is now focused on the United States.

Family and personal life

Ancestry

Trump’s ancestors originated from the village of Kallstadt, Palatinate, Germany on his father’s side, and from the Outer Hebrides isles of Scotland on his mother’s side. All his grandparents, and his mother, were born in Europe. His mother’s grandfather was also christened “Donald”.[2]

Trump’s paternal grandfather, Friedrich Trump, first emigrated to the United States in 1885 at the age of 16, and became a citizen in 1892. He amassed a fortune operating boom-town restaurants and boarding houses in the Seattle area and the Klondike region of Canada, during the gold rush.[3] On a visit to Kallstadt, he met Elisabeth Christ and married her in 1902. The couple settled in New York definitively in 1905.[4] Friedrich died from influenza during the 1918 pandemic.[5]

Trump’s father Fred was born in 1905 in the Bronx, and started working with his mother in real estate when he was 15, shortly after his father’s death. Their company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, was primarily active in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Fred eventually built and sold thousands of houses, barracks and apartments.[5][6] The company would later become The Trump Organization when Donald Trump took over in 1971.[7]

Donald’s mother Mary Anne was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. In 1930, at age 18, she emigrated to New York where she worked as a maid.[8] Fred and Mary were married in 1936 and raised their family in Queens.[8][9]

Fred’s brother John (Donald Trump’s uncle) became a notable physicist and inventor.[10]

Early life and education

Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946 at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Queens, New York City. He was the fourth of five children born to Frederick Christ “Fred” Trump (1905–1999) and Mary Anne Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000).[13] His siblings are Maryanne (born 1937), Fred Jr. (1938–1981), Elizabeth (born 1942), and Robert (born 1948).

Trump grew up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens, New York. He attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, Trump’s parents enrolled him in the New York Military Academy, after discovering Donald made frequent trips into Manhattan without permission.[14][15] In August 1964, Trump entered Fordham University.[11][16] He transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania two years later, because it offered one of the few real estate studies departments in United States academia at the time.[17][16]

In addition to his father, Trump was inspired by Manhattan developer William Zeckendorf, vowing to be “even bigger and better”.[18] While at Wharton, he worked at the family business, Elizabeth Trump and Son,[19] graduating in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.[16][20][21]

Trump was not drafted during the Vietnam War.[22] While in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student deferments.[23] In 1966, he was deemed fit for service based upon a military medical examination, and in 1968 was briefly classified as fit by a local draft board, but was given a 1-Y medical deferment in October 1968.[24] Trump has attributed his medical deferment to heel spurs.[25] In 1969, he received a high number in the draft lottery, which made him unlikely to be called.

Jesus turns down friend request

“””[It] was the theo-political equivalent of money laundering. Dobson and his gang are making Trump clean so that he is worthy of evangelical votes.
—John Fea, history professor at Messiah College[101]

James Dobson of Focus on the Family believes that Trump was recently born again, but not everyone agrees.

When asked the inevitable leading question, “What is your favorite book?” Trump answered with the usual pandering reply, “The Bible!”, although he couldn’t provide a favorite verse.[102] Eventually, Trump found one: “Two Corinthians” (he means Second Corinthians), which earned him an endorsement from Falwell Jr.[103]

It also leads one to wonder how frequently he takes holy communion, despite Trump’s claim of “as often as possible”[104] — quite the dedication to drinking red wine for someone who is also a teetotaler.[105]

Regarding the prospects of electing a hypothetical born-again Trump prone to fiddling with the nuclear football when bored or intoxicated, Hemant Mehta remarked that:[106]

“”If Christians do vote for the nuclear weapon-loving Trump, they probably have a better chance of meeting God real soon…

Religion

The Trump family were Lutherans on his father’s side in Germany,[47] and Presbyterian on his mother’s side in Scotland.[48] His parents married in a Manhattan Presbyterian church in 1936.[49] As a child, he attended Sunday School at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, and had his Confirmation there.[citation needed] In the 1970s, his family joined the Marble Collegiate Church (an affiliate of the Reformed Church in America) in Manhattan.[50] The pastor at that church, Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking and The Art of Living, ministered to Trump’s family and mentored him until Peale’s death in 1993.[51][50] Trump, who is Presbyterian,[52][53] has cited Peale and his works during interviews when asked about the role of religion in his personal life.[50]

Trump participates in the Holy Communion, but usually does not ask God for forgiveness. He stated: “I think if I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.”[54] On the campaign trail, Trump has referred to The Art of the Deal as his second favorite book after the Bible, saying “Nothing beats the Bible.”[55] In a 2016 speech to Liberty University, he referred to “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians“, eliciting chuckles from the audience.[56] Despite this, The New York Times reported that Evangelical Christians nationwide thought “that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure.”[57]

Trump has had relationships with a number of Christian spiritual leaders, including Florida pastor Paula White, who has been called his “closest spiritual confidant.”[58] In 2015, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson[59] and in 2016, he released a list of his religious advisers, including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed and others.[60] Referring to his daughter Ivanka’s conversion to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner, Trump said: “I have a Jewish daughter; and I am very honored by that.”[61]

Health

A 2016 medical report issued by his doctor, Harold BornsteinM.D., showed that Trump’s blood pressure, liver and thyroid function were in normal ranges.[62][63] Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed other drugs, including marijuana.[64] He also drinks no alcohol, a decision arising in part from watching his older brother Fred Jr. suffer from alcoholism until his early death in 1981.[65][66]

Wealth

Trump has said that he began his career with “a small loan of one million dollars” from his father.[67] Trump appeared on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune, including an “undefined” share of the fortune belonging to his family and father.[68] During the 1980s he became a billionaire,[69] but was absent from the Forbes list from 1990 to 1995 following losses which reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings’ trusts in 1993.[68] After his father died in 1999, he and his surviving siblings received shares of his father’s estate which was valued at more than $20 million.[70][71]

A tall rectangular-shaped tower in Las Vegas with exterior windows reflecting a golden hue. It is a sunny day and the building is higher than many of the surrounding buildings, also towers. There are mountains in the background. This tower is called the Trump Hotel Las Vegas.

Trump Hotel Las Vegas, with gold infused glass[72]

When he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, Trump released a one-page financial summary that stated a net worth of $8,737,540,000.[73] The following month, he filed a 92-page disclosure and put his wealth at over $10 billion.[74][75] His presidential announcement speech mentioned that “I’m really rich”, which he said would make him less reliant upon large campaign donations.[76][77]Forbes believed his net worth estimate was “a whopper”, figuring it was $4.1 billion in 2015 (405th in the world, 133d in the U.S.).[78][79] Trump also stated in the long 2015 financial disclosure that his income for the year 2014 was $362 million.[75]

After Trump made controversial remarks about illegal immigrants in 2015, he lost business contracts with several companies that summer, which Forbes estimated negatively impacted his net worth by $125 million.[80] The value of the Trump brand may have fallen further during his presidential campaign, as some consumers boycotted in response to his candidacy.[81] Bookings and foot traffic at Trump-branded properties fell off sharply in 2016,[82][83] though Trump’s 104-page financial disclosure in May 2016 still put his wealth at over $10 billion as he had done the previous July.[74][84][75] The release of the Access Hollywood tape recordings in October 2016 put further pressure on his business.[85]

In their 2017 annual billionaires’ ranking, Forbes estimated Trump’s net worth at $3.5 billion (544th in the world, 201st in the U.S.)[1] making him one of the richest politicians in American history. These estimates have fluctuated from year to year, and also depending upon who is doing the estimations; Bloomberg News pegged his wealth at $3 billion in 2016,[86] whereas Forbes said $4.5 billion that same year (324th in the world, 113th in the U.S.).[87] The discrepancies among these estimates and with Trump’s own estimates stem from the uncertain value of appraised property and of his personal brand.[86][88]

Tax returns

As required of all presidential candidates by FEC regulations, Trump published a 92-page financial disclosure form that listed all his assets, liabilities, income sources and hundreds of business positions,[74] but he declined to release his tax returns,[89] contrary to usual practice by every presidential candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976.[90] Trump’s refusal led to speculation that he was hiding something,[91] although there is no law that requires presidential candidates to release their returns.[92]

Trump explained that his tax returns are being audited and his lawyers advise against releasing them.[93][94] No law prohibits release of tax returns during an audit. Tax attorneys differ about whether such a release is wise legal strategy.[95] Trump has told the news media that his tax rate was “none of your business”, but added, “I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.”[96][97][98]

On October 1, 2016, three pages of Trump’s 1995 tax return were leaked to a New York Times reporter, who said the documents were received in her Times mailbox. Each of the three pages is one page from Trump’s state filings in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. They show that using allowed deductions for losses, Trump claimed a loss of $916 million that year. During the second presidential debate, Trump acknowledged using the deduction, but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied.[99] When asked if he used the tax code to avoid paying taxes, he said, “Of course I did. Of course I did.” He then went on to say he paid “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes”, calling it a “simple” thing. “I pay tax, and I pay federal tax, too”, he said.[100][101][102]

On March 14, 2017 the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 federal income tax returns were leaked to MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow show. The two pages showed that Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes and had a gross adjusted income of $150 million.[103][104] The White House confirmed the authenticity of the 2005 documents and stated: “Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.

Listen up, Fives, a Ten is speaking!

“”Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn’t know how to turn the cameras off, even when it’s filming its own demise.
Matt Taibbi[34]

The more we’ve learned about his businesses this election cycle, the more Americans have come to realize he has some of the worst business instincts of any human being.

Teflon Don

“”That may be Trump’s one skill – performing so many outrages that he gets us to sideline some of them while we try to deal with the worst/most recent.
Ophelia BensonWikipedia's W.svg[35]

Trump’s connections with mob figures are old and run deep, according to journalist Wayne Barrett; they’re mostly associated with his casino and huge erections construction activities.[36][37][38] In 2015, the details became public of Trump’s involvement with Colombo crime family figures during the making of Trump’s first name-branded product: a Cadillac limousine in 1988.[39]Trump has dragged his feet over releasing will never willingly release his tax returns, and Ted Cruz suggests those returns could show the extent of his mob dealings.[40] Trump and some of his spawn have been named as material witnesses in a massive tax-avoidance scheme by mob-connected Felix Sater.[41] As an aside, it has been reported that Trump himself paid no income taxes in 1978, 1979, 1984, 1992, and 1994.[42]

Trump’s connections to organized crime go back to shortly after his first forays into Manhattan real estate.[43] Trump made friends with Roy Cohn,Wikipedia's W.svg formerly Joseph McCarthy‘s lawyer during the McCarthy Senate hearings, but who by then was a mob lawyer.[43] Cohn likely introduced Trump to Genovese crime boss Anthony Salerno.Wikipedia's W.svg[43]

In 1979, Trump hired a demolition contractor to take down the building at the future Trump Tower site.[43] The contractor used illegal, non-union Polish workers who were exposed to asbestos.[43][44] Though the site was a union site, there was no picket because it was a mob-controlled union; Trump knew that the Polish workers were illegal.[43] Trump used overpriced concrete from companies controlled by Salerno and Gambino family crime boss Paul CastellanoWikipedia's W.svg to build Trump Tower and Trump Plaza.[43]

When Trump sought to build casinos in Atlantic City in 1982, he was able to hide his mob connections by persuading the New Jersey Attorney General John Degnan to only investigate him for the prior six months.[43] At least one Trump company has been exposed as having ties to international money laundering from an ex-Soviet Union state,[45] and it has been speculated that the Trump casinos may have been used for laundering prior to bankruptcy.[46] Trump bought land in Atlantic City at an inflated price from hit men connected to Nicky Scarfo,Wikipedia's W.svg of the Philadelphia crime familyWikipedia's W.svg as well as purchasing or leasing other land that likely benefitted the Scarfo mob.[43]

Saudi prince claims he bailed Trump out twice when the mogul got into financial difficulties. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bought up a private yacht that Trump was forced to cede to creditors during the 1990’s, and later helped buy a NYC hotel when Trump was short of funds a second time. Said Saud is now embarrassed by the association.[47][48]

On January 1, 2017 Trump hosted and appeared on stage with Joey ‘No Socks’ CinqueWikipedia's W.svg at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.[49]Cinque is a Gambino crime family-affiliate who was convicted of felony possession of a trove of stolen artwork.[49]

Trump has lied on numerous occasions about his connections to organized crime, including under oath.[43][50]

Business acumen

“”He was the original “too big to fail.”
—Harry Hurt III, biographer[51]
“”In 1995, when he offered this company, if a monkey had thrown a dart, at the stock page, the monkey on average would’ve made 150 percent. But the people that believed in him, who listened to his siren song, ended up losing well over 90 cents in the dollar. They got back less than a dime.
—Warren Buffett on Trump’s Atlantic City hotels business[52]

It’s always been a bit of mystery just how much Trump buys into his own bullshit. He estimates his net worth at “over ten billion”, which is impossible for him to prove but also impossible for anyone to disprove.[note 10] This is not just based on his assets (which are not terribly liquid) but also how he feels about his worth on a daily basis.[53] The record really shows a middling businessman with a lot of structural advantages, who came out on top because of how rigged the system is.[54] It’s not hard to make a lot of money in New York real estate, especially when your rich daddy gives you a big head-start. In fact, over time it becomes practically impossible to lose money.[23][55] This is relevant to his claim that he can do an exceptional job of running the US government, since he hasn’t been truly tested in a situation with no fawning yes-men or training wheels.

Really, the reason the Trump Brand still exists and is fiscally solvent is because of his daughter Ivanka.[56] Supposedly his sons are both dumbasses, but she is scarily intelligent. It was her idea to start selling off the name in exchange for royalties without having to put up the capital costs of construction and running a property, something which Donald opposed but is now the cornerstone of the company, since it’s effectively free money. Ivanka is obviously worried about damage to the Trump brand, since she’s tried to spin out a separate sub-brand; she’s the one who staged a family intervention and convinced Dad to fire his campaign manager.[57]

Trump’s record on predicting economic recessions is also laughably bad:[58]

  • In 1999, he predicted an economic crash greater than the Great Depression.
  • Then, in 2001, he reversed his position and claimed the US market was strong right before a minor recession hit.
  • In 2005, he claimed the real estate market was strong, and followed this up with the launching of “Trump Mortgage” in 2006. Trump Mortgage subsequently went out of business when the housing market crashed the next year.
  • In 2011, he predicted massive inflation, suggesting the price of a loaf of bread would soon be $25.
  • And he has been predicting another recession since 2012…though this has been silent since his election.

Real estate business

The distinctive façade of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan

Trump started his career at his father’s real estate development company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs outside Manhattan, but also had business elsewhere.[105] For example, during his undergraduate study, Trump joined his father Fred in successfully revitalizing the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, thereby boosting the occupancy rate from 66% to 100%.[106][107]

Trump was promoted to president of the company in 1971 (while his father became chairman of the board), and renamed it The Trump Organization.[7][108] In 1973, he and his father drew wider attention when the Justice Department contended that the organization systematically discriminated against African Americans wishing to rent apartments, rather than merely screening out people based on low income, as the Trumps stated. Under an agreement reached in 1975, the Trumps made no admission of wrongdoing, and made the Urban League an intermediary for qualified minority applicants.[109][110] His adviser and attorney during (and after) that period was Roy Cohn, who responded to attacks by counterattacking with maximum force, and who valued both positive and negative publicity, which were attitudes that Trump appreciated.[111]

Manhattan developments

In 1978, Trump consummated his first major real estate deal in Manhattan, purchasing a half-share in the decrepit Commodore Hotel, largely funded by a $70 million construction loan jointly guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain. Designed by architect Der Scutt, the project was able to proceed by leveraging competing interests and by taking advantage of tax breaks.[112] After remodeling, the hotel reopened as the Grand Hyatt Hotel, located next to Grand Central Terminal.[113][114]

Central Park‘s Wollman Rink, which was renovated by Trump

Also in 1978, Trump finished negotiations to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 202-meter (663-foot) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, which The New York Times attributed to his “persistence” and “skills as a negotiator”.[115] To make way for the new building, a crew of undocumented Polish workers demolished an old Bonwit Teller store including art deco features that had initially been marked for preservation.[116] The building was completed in 1983, and houses both the primary penthousecondominium residence of Trump and the headquarters of The Trump Organization.[117][118] Architectural critic Paul Goldberger said in 1983 that he was surprised to find the tower’s atrium was “the most pleasant interior public space to be completed in New York in some years”.[119][120] Trump Tower was the setting of the NBC television show The Apprentice, and includes a fully functional television studio set.[121]

Repairs on the Wollman Rink (originally opened in 1949 in Central Park) were started in 1980 by a general contractor unconnected to Trump. Despite an expected 2 12-year construction schedule, the repairs were not completed by 1986. Trump took over the project, completed it in three months for $775,000 less than the initial budget of $1.95 million, and operated the rink for one year with all profits going to charity in exchange for the rink’s concession rights.[122]

In 1988 Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for a record-setting $407 million, and asked his wife Ivana to manage its operation.[123] Trump invested $50 million to restore the building, which he called “the Mona Lisa”.[124] According to hotel expert Thomas McConnell, the Trumps boosted it from a three-star to a four-star ranking, and sold it in 1995, by which time Ivana was no longer involved.[125]

In 1994, Trump became involved with a building on Columbus Circle which was swaying in the wind. He began a reconstruction project that stopped the swaying and gave the building a full makeover.[126][127] Trump thereafter owned commercial space in that 44-story mixed-use tower (hotel and condominium), which he named Trump International Hotel and Tower.[128]

Lower portion of 40 Wall Street

In 1996, Trump acquired a vacant seventy-story skyscraper on Wall Street which had briefly been the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1930. After an extensive renovation, the high-rise was renamed the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.[129]

In 1997, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River, and encountered delays the following year because a subcontracter had to replace defective concrete.[130][131] Ultimately, he and the other investors in that project sold their interest in 2005 for $1.8 billion, in what was then the biggest residential sale in the history of New York City.[132]

From 1994 to 2002, Trump owned a 50% share of the Empire State Building. He would have renamed it to “Trump Empire State Building Tower Apartments” if he had been able to boost his share.[133][134]

In 2001, across from the headquarters of the United Nations, he completed Trump World Tower, which for a while was the tallest all-residential tower in the world.[135] Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico in Manhattan in 2002, which re-opened with 35 stories of luxury condominiums in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue.[136] Meanwhile, he continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.[137]

Palm Beach estate

Mar-a-Lago in 2009
The Trumps with Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife at Mar-a-Lago in 2017

Trump acquired the historic Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida in 1985 for $5 million, plus $3 million for the home’s furnishings. It was built in the 1920s by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, who envisioned the house as a future winter retreat for American presidents.

Trump’s initial offer of $28 million had been rejected, and he was able to get the property at the much lower price by purchasing separate beachfront property and threatening to build a house on it that would block Mar-a-Lago’s ocean view. In addition to using the estate as a home, Trump also turned it into a private club open to everyone who could afford the initiation fee of $100,000 plus annual dues.[138]

In 1986, he acquired a foreclosed, 33-story, twin-tower condominium complex in nearby West Palm Beach for $40 million, with automobile manufacturing executive Lee Iacocca investing in three of the condos.[139] Despite sprucing up its public areas, and years of heavy promotion, selling the units proved difficult, and the deal turned out to be unprofitable.[140]

Atlantic City casinos

New Jersey legalized gambling in 1977, and the following year Trump was in Atlantic City, New Jersey to explore how he might get involved. Seven years later, Harrah’s at Trump Plaza hotel and casino opened there, built by Trump with financing from Holiday Corporation which also was managing that business.[141] Renamed “Trump Plaza” soon after opening, it was then the tallest building in Atlantic City.[142] The casino’s poor results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp., which led to Trump paying $70 million in May 1986 to buy out their interest in the property.[143][144] Trump also acquired a partially completed building in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million; when completed in 1985, that hotel and casino became Trump Castle, and Trump’s wife, Ivana, managed that property until Trump transferred her in 1988 to run the Trump Plaza Hotel in New York.[145][146]

The entrance of the Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City. It has motifs evocative of the Taj Mahal in India.

Entrance of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City

Also in 1988, Trump acquired his third casino in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal then halfway through construction, by making a complex transaction with the television host and entertainer Merv Griffin as well as the resort and casino company Resorts International.[147] In October 1989, three of his top Atlantic City executives died in a helicopter accident, which both stymied and delayed the planned opening of the Taj Mahal.[148] The Taj finally opened in April 1990, and was built at a total cost of $1.1 billion, which at the time made it the most expensive casino ever.[149][150] Financed with $675 million in junk bonds,[151] it was a major gamble by Trump.[152] The project underwent debt restructuring the following year,[153] leaving Trump with 50% ownership.[154] He also sold his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess, which had been indefinitely docked in Atlantic City while leased to his casinos for use by wealthy gamblers.[155][156]

Trump founded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR) in 1995, which assumed ownership of Trump Plaza, Trump Castle, and the Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana.[157] THCR purchased Taj Mahal in 1996, and underwent bankruptcy restructuring in 2004 and 2009, leaving Trump with 10% ownership in the Trump Taj Mahal and other Trump casino properties.[158] He served as chairman of the publicly-traded THCR organization, which was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts, from mid-1995 until early 2009, and served as CEO from mid-2000 to mid-2005.[159]

During the 1990s, Trump’s casino ventures faced competition from Native American gaming at the Foxwoods casino located on an Indian reservation in Connecticut (where it was exempt from the state’s anti-gambling laws). Trump stated in 1993 that the casino owners did not look like real Indians to him or to other Indians.[160][161] Subsequent to that well-publicized remark about the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, Trump became a key investor backing the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots who were also seeking state recognition.[162]

Legal affairs and bankruptcies

As of 2016, Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 3,500 state and federal legal actions. He or one of his companies was the plaintiff in 1,900 cases and the defendant in 1,450. With Trump or his company as plaintiff, more than half the cases have been against gamblers at his casinos who had failed to pay off their debts. With Trump or his company as a defendant, the most common type of case involved personal injury cases at his hotels. In cases where there was a clear resolution, Trump’s side won 451 times and lost 38.[163][164]

Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but his hotel and casino businesses have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds.[165][166] Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, “I do play with the bankruptcy laws – they’re very good for me” as a tool for trimming debt.[167][168]

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).[169][170] Trump said, “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt … We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. You know, it’s like on The Apprentice. It’s not personal. It’s just business.”[153]

A 2016 analysis of Trump’s business career by The Economist concluded that his “… performance [from 1985 to 2016] has been mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York”, noting both his successes and bankruptcies.[171] A subsequent analysis by The Washington Post concluded that “Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success”, calling his casino bankruptcies the “most infamous flop” of his business career.

Golf

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, the real-life Auric Goldfinger has been trying to build a golf course on (what used to be) a protected wetland habitat.[59] He tried to have several of his Scottish neighbors evicted, including a local farmer by the name of Michael Forbes who refused an offer on his property. For this, Forbes was awarded “top Scot” award in 2012.[60] His actions were parodied in this song.

Since then, the Scottish government’s plans to increase wind turbine capacity (his opposition to which even led to a heated discussion over Twitter with the host of the British version of The Apprentice, Lord [formerly Sir Alan] Sugar[61]) has encouraged him to cancel his plans, proving once and for all that they are worth every penny. Trump reported to Scottish authorities that he lost millions on the project, whereas in his US presidential disclosure, he claimed that the project was highly profitable.[62]

Golf courses

 A golf course. In the background is the Turnberry Hotel, a two-story hotel with white façade and a red roof. This picture was taken in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Turnberry Hotel and golf course, Ayrshire, Scotland

The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world. According to Golfweek, Trump owns or manages about 18 golf courses.[173] His personal financial disclosure with the Federal Elections Commission stated that his golf and resort revenue for the year 2015 was roughly $382 million,[74][84] while his three European golf courses did not show a profit.[86]

In 2006, Trump bought 1,400 acres (570 ha) including the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and created a golf resort there.[174] Scottish supporters emphasized potential economic benefits, and opponents emphasized potential environmental harm to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).[175][176][177] A spokesperson for the golf course has said 95% of the SSSI is untouched.[178] A 2011 independent documentary, You’ve Been Trumped, chronicled the golf resort’s construction and struggles.[179] In 2015, an offshore windfarm being built within sight of the golf course prompted a legal challenge by Trump, which was dismissed by the U.K. Supreme Court.[180] In the wake of the 2008 recession, Trump greatly scaled back development of this property, and as of December 2016 Scottish officials were pushing for completion of the far larger development as originally approved.[181]

In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which hosted the Open Championship four times between 1977 and 2009.[182][183] After extensive renovations and a remodeling of the course by golf architect Martin Ebert, Turnberry was re-opened in June 2016.[184]

Russian projects and investors

Trump pursued business deals in Russia starting in 1987, and in 1996 filed trademark applications for potential Russian real estate development deals, but none of those deals ever materialized.[185][186] Along with his partners and children, Trump visited Moscow several times, connecting with developers and government officials to explore joint venture opportunities that never panned out.[187][188][189][190]

Outside Russia, several of Trump’s real estate developments received a large part of their financing from private Russian investors. In 2008 his son Donald Trump Jr. said “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” and “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”[191][185][192] Trump hosted the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, in partnership with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, and his Russia ties came under intense investigative reporting during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.[187][189]

Other real estate activities

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, The Trump Organization expanded its footprint in the United States beyond New York and into a few other countries, with the co-development and management of hotel towers in Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Panama City, Toronto, and Vancouver. There are also Trump-branded buildings in Dubai, Honolulu, Istanbul, Manila, Mumbai and in Indonesia.[193]

Resignation

When Trump was elected president in November 2016, questions arose over how he would avoid conflicts of interest between his work in the White House and his business activities. At a press conference on January 10, 2017, Trump said that he and his daughter Ivanka would resign all roles with The Trump Organization, while his two oldest sons Don Jr. and Eric would run the business, together with Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.[194]

Trump retained his financial stake in the business.[195] His attorney Sherri Dillon said that before the January 20 inauguration, Trump would put those business assets into a trust, which would hire an ethics advisor and a compliance counsel. She added that the Trump Organization would not pursue any new foreign business deals, while continuing to pursue domestic opportunities.[196] As of April 2017, Trump companies owned more than 400 condo units and home lots in the United States, valued at $250 million in total ($200,000 to $35 million each).[197]

Side ventures

After Trump took charge of the family real estate firm in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization, he not only greatly expanded its real estate operations, but also ventured into numerous other business activities. The company eventually became the umbrella organization for several hundred individual business ventures and partnerships.[198]

Sports events

Trump at a baseball game in 2009. He is wearing a baseball cap and sitting amid a large crowd, behind a protective net.

Trump at a New York Mets home game in 2009

In September 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals—an American Football team that played in the United States Football League—from oil magnate J. Walter Duncan. The USFL played its first three seasons during the spring and summer, but Trump convinced the majority of the owners of other USFL teams to move the USFL’s 1986 schedule to the fall. He argued that the new schedule would coincide with the National Football League and would eventually force a merger with the NFL, thereby significantly increasing their investment.[199]

After the 1985 season, the Generals merged with the Houston Gamblers, but the organization experienced continuous financial difficulties. The USFL was down to just seven active franchises from a high of eighteen and was soon forced to fold, despite winning an antitrustlawsuit against the NFL.[200]

Trump remained involved with other sports after the Generals folded, operating golf courses in several countries.[200] He also hosted several boxing matches in Atlantic City at the Trump Plaza, including Mike Tyson’s 1988 fight against Michael Spinks, and at one time, acted as a financial advisor to Tyson.[200][201][202]

In 1989 and 1990, Trump lent his name to the Tour de Trumpcycling stage race, which was an attempt to create an American equivalent of European races such as the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia. The inaugural race was controversial, and Trump withdrew his sponsorship after the second Tour de Trump in 1990, because his other business ventures were experiencing financial woes. The race continued for several more years as the Tour DuPont.[203][204]

Trump submitted a stalking-horse bid on the Buffalo Bills when it came up for sale following Ralph Wilson‘s death in 2014; he was ultimately outbid, as he expected, and Kim and Terrence Pegula won the auction.[205] During his 2016 presidential run, he was critical of the NFL’s updated concussion rules, complaining on the campaign trail that the game has been made “soft” and “weak”, saying a concussion is just “a ding on the head.” He accused referees of throwing penalty flags needlessly just to be seen on television “so their wives see them at home.”[206]

Beauty pageants and model management

From 1996 until 2015, Trump owned part or all of the Miss Universe pageants, which were founded in 1952.[207][208] The Miss Universe Pageants include Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, and his management of this business involved his family-members; for example, daughter Ivanka once hosted Miss Teen USA. Trump hired the first female president of the Miss Universe business in 1997.[209] He became dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled the pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002.[210][211]

In 2015, NBC and Univision both ended their business relationships with the Miss Universe Organization after Trump’s controversial 2015 presidential campaign remarks about Mexican illegal immigrants.[212][213] Trump subsequently filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, alleging a breach of contract and defamation.[214][215] The lawsuit was settled in February 2016, but terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[216] On September 11, 2015, Trump announced that he had become the sole owner of the Miss Universe Organization by purchasing NBC’s stake.[217][218] He sold his own interests in the pageant shortly afterwards to WME/IMG.[207]

In 1999, a few years after buying into Miss Universe, Trump founded a modeling company, Trump Model Management, which operates in the SoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan.[219] Together with another Trump company, Trump Management Group LLC, Trump Model Management has brought hundreds of foreign fashion models into the United States to work in the fashion industry since 2000.[220] This business and the beauty pageants overlapped somewhat, with various pageant contestants getting modelling contracts.

Trumped-up university

“”Even in New York, a city of shining spires to every kind of financial bullshit imaginable, it is illegal for Trump to claim that he can teach you anything.
Cracked[63]

Trump University was essentially a scam in which people were promised an education in real estate, by top experts picked by Trump himself, for an exorbitant “tuition”. Salesmen were told to apply high-pressure tactics on vulnerable people. Some were encouraged to max out their credit cards, others had to cough up their disability money, etc.[64] In return, they received bare-bones real estate education from people Trump never even met, though he was very much involved in the marketingaspects.[65] He got a cut in return for these “institutions” being allowed to use his name.[66]

An even bigger issue lies with name Trump University itself and its claims to offer certain degrees: graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral. This is in violation of New York law, which requires you to obtain a charter to call yourself a university. In 2014, the New York Supreme Court held that Trump was personally liable for running an unlicensed school and making “false promises” through his university Trump Entrepreneur Initiative;[67][68] this was confirmed by the testimony of a former salesperson and the court-released “Trump University Playbook.”[69][70][71] About 8000 former students are suing Trump U. in two separate class-action lawsuits, one of which involves the RICOWikipedia's W.svg (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act.[72] In August 2016, Judge Curiel ruled that Trump must face a civil trial for fraud and racketeering under RICO, which automatically requires triple damages; things are looking very bad for Trump on this front.[73]

This is the case in which Trump attacked a “Mexican” judge’s ancestry (he’s actually from Indiana) because he made a judgment Trump didn’t like.[74] But all this shows is that Trump is willing to do anything to help us make him realize his American dream, even if it means ruining us financially.

“”Why isn’t this man in jail for fraud? In addition to his phony Trump University, there was also a Trump Institute, that used plagiarized materials to peddle real estate advice.
PZ Myers [75]

Trump faces law suits over this.[76] Trump may be liable for impeachment over this[77], but somehow managed to settle for a fraction of the damages.[78] No, we’re not sure how this works.

Trump University

Trump University LLC was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until at least 2010.[222] After multiple lawsuits, the business is now defunct. It was founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny, and offered courses, charging between $1,500 and $35,000 per course.[223][224] In 2005 the operation was notified by New York State authorities that its use of the word “university” violated state law, and after a second such notification in 2010, the name of the company was changed to the “Trump Entrepreneurial Institute”.[225] Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.[226]

In 2013, the State of New York filed a $40 million civil suit alleging that Trump University made false statements and defrauded consumers.[225][227] In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Trump personally as well as his companies.[228] During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel who oversaw those two cases, alleging bias because of his Mexican heritage.[229][230][231] Trump later said that his concerns about Curiel’s impartiality were not based upon ethnicity alone, but also upon rulings in the case.[232][233]

The Low v. Trump case was set for trial on November 28, 2016 in San Diego.[234] Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases. In the settlement, Trump did not admit to any wrongdoing but agreed to pay a total of $25 million.[235][236] The litigants agreed to the settlement just an hour before a hearing regarding Trump’s latest request to delay the trial until after the inauguration. Jason Forge, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said he “definitely detected a change of tone and change of approach” from the Trump representatives after the election.[237] The settlement was called into question on March 6, 2017, when Sherri Simpson, a Florida bankruptcy lawyer and former Trump University student, filed an objection.[238]

Branding and licensing

Trump has marketed his name on a large number of building projects that are owned and operated by other people and companies, as well as licensing his name for various commercial products and services. In doing so, he achieved mixed success for himself, his partners, and investors in the projects.[239] In 2011, Forbes financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion.[240]

Because developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects, some buildings that display his name are not owned or operated by him.[241]According to Forbes, this portion of Trump’s empire, run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation, with 33 licensing projects under development including seven Trump International Hotel and Tower “condo hotels”.

Properties to which Trump has licensed his name and image include two in Florida that have gone into foreclosure.[242] The Turkish owner of Trump Towers Istanbul, who pays Trump for the use of his name, was reported in December 2015 to be exploring legal means to dissociate the property after the candidate’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

The pyramid scheme multilevel marketing company

In 2009, Trump “partnered” with the founders of Ideal Health International (est. 1997), a multilevel marketing business, rebranding it as The Trump Network.[79] “Partnering” in this case is just another Trumpian term of art, as it was yet one more Trump brand rental and he claimed not to be involved with the company’s operations, even if what both he, company representatives and advertising for the network stated implied that there was an actual partnership “that was certain to lift thousands of people into prosperity”; after the brand rental came to an end in 2012, its assets were bought off by a Canadian and rebranded.[79]

The “business”, which consisted of selling a urine test device with customized vitamins,[80][81] not only made investors lose money buying the highly overpriced products, but also buying customized infomercials in local TV channels.

Charity

As of 2015, Trump owned 30% of the Bank of America building in San Francisco, location of the “Banker’s Heart” statue. Apparently, this is where he left his heart.[82][83]

Donald Trump has been called “the least charitable billionaire in the world”.[84]Take, for example, his donations to 9/11 charities: $1,000 (his own backyard, no less). The donation went to the anti-psychology Scientology front group, the “New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund“, which was co-founded by Tom Cruise.[85][86] Trump, who owns 40 Wall Street, actually received $150,000 for damages due to 9/11 from a special federal fund earmarked for “small businesses”, despite the fact that the building wasn’t damaged.[87]

Many of Trump’s larger donations are on their face self-serving, in the form of donations to:[88][89]

To prove his anti-vaxx bona fides, Trump’s foundation gave $10,000 to Jenny McCarthy‘s “charity” Generation Rescue.[89]

As for real charities, Trump has a pattern of stiffing them:[92][93] The Donald J. Trump Foundation has actually received more donations from a single other donor (World Wrestling Entertainment) than Trump himself contributed during the period 1990 to 2009 when he gave a paltry $3.7 million.[85] In 2014, Trump personally gave $0 to his own foundation.[94]

The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was reported to have been considering an investigation of Trump University just before requesting and receiving a $25,000 political donation from Trump himself.[95] The donation allegedly came illegally from a non-profit Trump family foundation, which is not allowed to make political donations because of its tax status.[95] It’s also come out that he may not have been donating the proceeds of several business ventures to charity as he had promised to do, which could amount to fraud. This is aside from the veterans’ charity snafu.[96] These include Trump U, Trump Vodka, and his new book Crippled America, all high-profile activities with profits supposedly going to benefit charity. The harsh spotlight of a presidential run was suddenly not working out for him.[97] The Trump Foundation has been illegally soliciting money in the State of New York because it is not registered to do so as required by law.[98] On October 3, 2016, the Trump Foundation was ordered to cease and desist fundraising immediately by the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.[99] The charity did not register properly as it should have and investigations by the Washington Post suggested Trump benefited personally from spending by the charity.[100]

Foundation

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation[244] established in 1988 for the initial purpose of giving away proceeds from the book Trump: The Art of the Deal by Trump and Tony Schwartz.[245][246] The foundation’s funds have mostly come from donors other than Trump,[247] who has not given personally to the charity since 2008.[247]

The foundation’s tax returns show that it has given to health care and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups.[248] In 2009, for example, the foundation gave $926,750 to about 40 groups, with the biggest donations going to the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation ($100,000), the New York–Presbyterian Hospital ($125,000), the Police Athletic League ($156,000), and the Clinton Foundation ($100,000).[249][250] From 2004 to 2014, the top donors to the foundation were Vince and Linda McMahon of WWE, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007.[247] Linda McMahon later became Administrator of the Small Business Administration.[251]

In 2016, investigations by The Washington Post uncovered several potential legal and ethical violations conducted by the charity, including alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion.[252] After beginning an investigation into the foundation, the New York State Attorney General‘s office notified the Trump Foundation that it was allegedly in violation of New York laws regarding charities, and ordered it to immediately cease its fundraising activities in New York.[253][254][255] A Trump spokesman called the investigation a “partisan hit job”.[253] In response to mounting complaints, Trump’s team announced in late December 2016 that the Trump Foundation would be dissolved to remove “even the appearance of any conflict with [his] role as President.”

Rare moments

“”Our country is divided and out of control. The world is watching. Our country is totally divided and our enemies are watching.
—Trump accidentally says something poignant, for once.[107]

Despite his status as a living meme, even Trump is no exception to the stopped-clock principle: he regularly calls out the neoconservatives and their hired help.[108] His annihilation of the Club for Growth was also on point.[109]

  • Trump’s comments on George Bush having advance foreknowledgeWikipedia's W.svg of the September 11 attacks and the lack of strategy post-9/11 from the Bush administration have led some in the right-wing news media[110] (even including self-confessed truther Alex Jones[111]) to label him a “truther“, although this isn’t very accurate, as Trump backtracked from some of the advance knowledge comments.[112] He also believes the famous “28 pages” redacted from the official 9/11 report were done so to please the Saudis,[113] which would appear to be partially accurate.[114]
  • He once recorded an audio commentary for a film that is regarded as the greatest of all time by several critics. The name of said film? Citizen Kane, of course. You can find it on YouTube.
  • On the bureaucracy front, he dropped a requirement that federal government agencies report on their Y2K preparedness 17 years after it came and proved to be a bit pile of nothing.

Media

Trump has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award and has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series.[257] He has also played an oil tycoon in The Little Rascals,[258] and had a singing role at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006.[259] Trump is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000.[260][261] He has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Starting in the 1990s, he was a guest about 24 times on the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Show on talk radio.[262] Trump also had his own daily talk radio program called Trumped!, from 2004 to 2008.[263][264][265]

The Apprentice

Donald Trump posing with former basketball player Dennis Rodman in a room with paintings adorning the walls. Trump is wearing a suit with a light-colored tie and dress shirt, while Rodman is wearing a brown t-shirt with a design on it, blue jeans, and a baseball cap that also has a design on it.

Trump posing with former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman during Rodman’s 2009 participation on Celebrity Apprentice

In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality showThe Apprentice, in which a group of competitors battled for a high-level management job in one of Trump’s commercial enterprises. Contestants were successively “fired” and eliminated from the game. For the first year of the show, Trump earned $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show’s initial success, he was paid $1 million per episode.[266] In a July 2015 press release, Trump’s campaign manager said that NBCUniversal had paid him $213,606,575 for his 14 seasons hosting the show,[75] although the network did not verify the statement.[267] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television on The Apprentice.[239][268]

Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump was hired as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities 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. International versions of The Apprentice franchise were co-produced by Burnett and Trump.

On February 16, 2015, NBC announced that they would be renewing The Apprentice for a 15th season.[269] On February 27, Trump stated that he was “not ready” to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run.[270] Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production.[271] On June 29, after widespread negative reaction stemming from Trump’s campaign announcement speech, NBC released a statement saying, “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”[272]

After Trump’s election campaign and presidential win led to his departure from the program, actor and former California GovernorArnold Schwarzenegger replaced Trump as host for the fifteenth season.[273] Trump is still credited as an executive producer for the show.[274]

Professional wrestling appearances

Trump is a World Wrestling Entertainment fan and a friend of WWE chairman Vince McMahon. In 1988–89 Trump hosted WrestleMania IV and V at Boardwalk Hall (dubbed “Trump Plaza” for storyline purposes) and has been an active participant in several of the shows.[275] He also appeared in WrestleMania VII, and was interviewed ringside at WrestleMania XX.[276]

Trump appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called “The Battle of the Billionaires”.[275] He was in Bobby Lashley‘s corner, while Vince McMahon was in the corner of Lashley’s opponent Umaga, with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee.[275] The terms of the match were that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost.[275] Lashley won the match, and so McMahon was shaved bald.[275]

On June 15, 2009, McMahon announced as part of a storyline on Monday Night Raw that he had “sold” the show to Trump.[275] Appearing on screen, Trump declared that 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.[275] McMahon “bought back” Raw the following week for twice the price.[275]

In 2013, Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion. He made his sixth WrestleMania appearance the following night at WrestleMania 29.

It begins

George H.W. Bush started this when he considered Trump for vice president and planted the idea in his head, not realizing that Trump was some kind of Cthulhu in the making and unknowingly screwing his second son out of the chance.[116]

If there is anything this election has taught us, it’s that Trump is playing Korean Starcraft while everyone else is playing checkers. He registered the slogan “Make America Great Again” six days into Barack Obama’s second term.[117] There has been some (mostly baseless) speculation that Trump’s entire candidacy is revenge for Obama’s Roast jokes.

Testing the waters

“”My audience, 90% of them, they support you.
Alex Jones to Trump, in a 2015 Infowars-exclusive interview[118]

Trump was a long-shot Republican contender for the 2012 Presidential nomination, so he could have run against Barack Obama. Then as now, Trump had no political experience, though he has a good deal of bankruptcy[119] business experience. Trump’s ongoing activities were hard to reconcile with “conservative” positions: he owes a substantial portion of his wealth to his involvement in the gambling industry, and his apparel line is manufactured in the very country that he wanted to hit with punitive tariffs.[120] In 2011, he also became the first presidential hopeful to use the word “fucking” in a speech.[121]

When compared side-by-side with old Fox News personalities, it’s pretty clear Trump was doing something akin to that (You suck, America! Now buy my book and I’ll tell you why). Content to surf the media wave and pocket the donations,[122] Trump didn’t hesitate to jump on the birther bandwagon, demanding to see Obama’s long-form birth certificate. He also believes Bill Ayers ghostwrote Dreams From My Father.[123][124]

He dropped out of the race after the aforementioned speech, which went against his work ethic heavily endorsed on The Apprentice. (Don’t give up!) It can be speculated that this was an elaborate ruse to pump up the show in ratings. After NBC took The Apprentice off the air in ’07, Trump returned to hawking steaks.[note 11]

Political career

Early involvement in politics

a full-page newspaper advertisement in which Trump placed full-page advertisements critiquing U.S. defense policy

Trump’s December 1987 advertisement in The Boston Globe, criticizing U.S. defense policy

Trump first vaguely expressed interest in running for office in 1987, when he spent almost $100,000 to place full-page advertisements in several newspapers. In his view at that time, “America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves”,[278] and “should present Western Europe and Japan with a bill for America’s efforts to safeguard the passage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.”[279] As of December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired person in America according to a Gallup poll.[280][281]

Trump considered running for president in 1988, 2000, 2004, and 2012, and for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter any of those races.[282][283] In February 2009, Trump appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, and spoke about the automotive industry crisis of 2008–10. He said that “instead of asking for money”, General Motors “should go into bankruptcy and work that stuff out in a deal.”[284]

Trump publicly speculated about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and a Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders; he was one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.[285] A Newsweek poll conducted in February 2011 showed Trump within a few points of incumbent president Barack Obama, with many voters undecided in the November 2012 general election for president of the United States.[286] 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 while he was still actively considering a run.[287][288] His moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.[289][290][291]

Trump played a leading role in “birther” conspiracy theories that had been circulating since President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.[292][293] Beginning in March 2011, Trump publicly questioned Obama’s citizenship and eligibility to serve as President.[294][295][296]Although the Obama campaign had released a copy of the short-form birth certificate in 2008,[297] Trump demanded to see the original “long-form” certificate.[294] He mentioned having sent investigators to Hawaii to research the question, but he did not follow up with any findings.[294] He also repeated a debunked allegation that Obama’s grandmother said she had witnessed his birth in Kenya.[298][299] When the White House later released Obama’s long-form birth certificate,[300] Trump took credit for obtaining the document, saying “I hope it checks out.”[301] His official biography mentions his purported role in forcing Obama’s hand,[302] and he has defended his pursuit of the issue when prompted, later saying that his promotion of the conspiracy made him “very popular”.[303] In 2011, Trump had called for Obama to release his student records, questioning whether his grades warranted entry into an Ivy League school.[304] When asked in 2015 whether he believed Obama was born in the United States, Trump said he did not want to discuss the matter further.[305][306] In September 2016, Trump publicly acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S., and said that the rumors had been started by Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign.[295][307][308]

Donald Trump, dressed in a black suit with white shirt, and blue tie. He is facing toward the viewer and speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2011.

Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011

Trump made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011. His appearance at CPAC was organized by GOProud, an LGBT conservative organization, in conjunction with GOProud supporter Roger Stone, who was close with Trump. GOProud pushed for a write-in campaign for Trump at CPAC’s presidential straw poll. The 2011 CPAC speech Trump gave is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.[309][310]Christopher R. Barron, co-founder of GOProud, would later endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and launch “LGBT for Trump”, a political campaign with the goal of encouraging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to support Trump.[311]

In the 2012 Republican primaries, Trump generally had polled at or below 17 percent among the crowded field of possible candidates.[312]On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president in the 2012 election, while also saying he would have become the President of the United States, had he ran.[289]

In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[313] During the lightly attended early-morning speech, Trump spoke out against illegal immigration, then-President Obama’s “unprecedented media protection”, and advised against harming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.[314][315]

Additionally, Trump spent over $1 million in 2013 to research a possible run for president of the United States.[316] In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. In response to the memo, Trump said that while New York had problems and that its taxes were too high, running for governor was not of great interest to him.[317] In January 2014, Trump made statements denying climate change that were discordant with the opinion of the scientific community.[318] A February 2014 Quinnipiac poll had shown Trump losing to the more popular Cuomo by 37 points in a hypothetical election.[319] In February 2015, Trump told NBC that he was not prepared to sign on for another season of The Apprentice, as he mulled his political future.[320]

Political affiliations

Trump shaking hands with President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Both are standing and facing each other.

Trump meets with President Ronald Reagan at a 1987 White House reception, 30 years before taking office

Trump’s political party affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. Trump was a Democrat prior to 1987.[321] In 1987, Trump registered as a Republican in Manhattan.[322]

In 1999, Trump switched to the Reform Party and ran a presidential exploratory campaign for its nomination. After his run, Trump left the party in 2001, ostensibly due to the involvement of David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani.[323]

From 2001 to 2008, Trump identified as a Democrat, but in 2008, he endorsed Republican John McCain for President. In 2009, he officially changed his party registration to Republican.[324] In December 2011, Trump became an independent for five months before returning to the Republican Party, where he later pledged to stay.[325][326]

Trump has made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates, with the top ten recipients of his political contributions being six Democrats and four Republicans.[327] After 2011, his campaign contributions were more favorable to Republicans than to Democrats.[328] In February 2012, Trump openly endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for President.[329] When asked in 2015 which recent president he prefers, Trump picked Democrat Bill Clinton over the Republican Bushes.[330][331]

According to a New York state report, Trump circumvented corporate and personal campaign donation limits in the 1980s—although no laws were broken—by donating money to candidates from 18 different business subsidiaries, rather than donating primarily in his own name.[332][333] Trump told investigators he did so on the advice of his lawyers. He also said the contributions were not to gain favor with business-friendly candidates, but simply to satisfy requests from friends.[332][334]

2000 presidential campaign

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign of 2000 for the nomination of the Reform Party began when real estate magnate and long-time President/CEO of the Trump OrganizationDonald Trump of New York announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee on the October 7, 1999 edition of Larry King Live. Though Trump had never held elected office, he was well known for his frequent comments on public affairs and business exploits as head of The Trump Organization. He had previously considered a presidential run in 1988 as a Republican, but chose not to run. For 2000, MinnesotaGovernorJesse Ventura persuaded Trump to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, which was fracturing despite achieving ballot access and qualifying for matching funds as a result of the 1996 presidential campaign of businessman Ross Perot. Trump’s entrance into the Reform Party race coincided with that of paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan, whom Trump attacked throughout the campaign as a “Hitler-lover.”

Trump focused his campaign on the issues of fair trade, eliminating the national debt, and achieving universal healthcare as outlined in the campaign companion piece The America We Deserve, released in January 2000. He named media proprietor Oprah Winfrey as his ideal running mate and said he would instantly marry his girlfriend, Melania Knauss, to make her First Lady. Critics questioned the seriousness of Trump’s campaign and speculated that it was a tactic to strengthen his brand and sell books. Trump defended his candidacy as a serious endeavor and proclaimed that he had a chance to win the election. Though he never expanded the campaign beyond the exploratory phase, Trump made numerous media appearances as a candidate, traveled to campaign events in Florida, California, and Minnesota, and qualified for two presidential primaries. Veteran campaign strategist and longtime Trump aide Roger Stone was hired as director of the exploratory committee.

Internal conflict caused Ventura to exit the Reform Party in February 2000, removing Trump’s most vocal proponent. Trump officially ended his campaign on the February 14, 2000 airing of The Today Show. Though he believed he could still win the Reform Party presidential nomination, he felt the party was too dysfunctional to support his campaign and enable a win in the general election. A poll matching Trump against likely Republican nominee George W. Bush and likely Democratic nominee Al Gore showed Trump with seven percent support. Despite his withdrawal, Trump won both primaries for which he qualified. Buchanan would go on to win the nomination.

After the election, Trump gained greater fame as the host of The Apprentice. He seriously considered running as a Republican in the 2012 presidential election but decided against it. Four years later, he initiated a full-scale presidential campaign, became the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee and was elected the 45th President of the United States.

Background

Donald Trump with President Ronald Reagan in 1987, when Trump first considered running for president.

Real estate magnate Donald Trump, head of The Trump Organization since 1971, first dabbled in presidential politics in the early summer of 1987. Republican political organizer Mike Dunbar, unimpressed with the candidates for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination, founded the “Draft Trump for President” organization. Believing Trump had the makings of a president, Dunbar pitched Trump the idea of speaking at an event for Republican candidates in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire. According to Dunbar in a later interview, Trump was receptive to this idea.[1] Then a registered Democrat, Trump officially changed his registration to Republican in July 1987.[2] Speculation that he would actually run for president intensified two months later,[3] when he purchased $94,801 worth of full-page advertisements in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and The Washington Post with the heading “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.” The advertisements reflected Trump’s concerns that Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait were taking advantage of American money and protection without providing any benefit to the United States.[4] The next month, as Dunbar had proposed, Trump appeared at a Rotary Club luncheon in New Hampshire. There, he delivered what The New York Times described as an “impassioned speech,” in which he expressed concern about the United States being “pushed around” by its allies and proposed that “these countries that are ripping us off pay off the $200 billion deficit.” In the audience, college students held placards reading “Trump for President.” Nevertheless, Trump proclaimed, “I’m not here because I’m running for President. I’m here because I’m tired of our country being kicked around and I want to get my ideas across.”[5] Later, Trump appeared on the Phil Donahue Show. After the appearance, he received a letter from former President Richard Nixon in which Nixon explained that his wife Pat, “an expert on politics,” had seen Trump on the show and “predicts that whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!”[6] In November 1987, Trump released The Art of the Deal, which became a New York Times bestseller.[7]

Months later, during an April 1988 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show,[8] Trump discussed his displeasure with the United States’ status as a “debtor nation” and its seeming inability to compete with Japan. Winfrey asked Trump if he would ever run for president. He replied, “Probably not, but I do get tired of seeing the country get ripped off … I just don’t think I have the inclination to do it.” Furthermore, he asserted that if he ever did run, he would win the election.[9] He later appeared at the 1988 Republican National Convention. In an interview on the floor, NBC News reporter Chris Wallace asked whether Trump’s visit to his first national convention would induce him to “take the plunge” into a presidential campaign. In response, Trump downplayed his prior exploration into presidential politics, though repeated that he would win if he ever ran, and praised then-presumptive Republican presidential nominee George H. W. Bush.[10] During another convention interview on Larry King Live, Trump dismissed the speculation that he had considered running for president and commented, “I doubt I’ll ever be involved in politics beyond what I do right now.”[3] Talk of a potential Trump candidacy grew silent for much of the next decade.

Trump with President Bill Clinton at Trump Tower in 2000

In 1995, industrialist Ross Perot, who had received 18.9 percent of the vote during his Independent 1992 run for president, formed the Reform Party of the United States of America[11] Though Perot won the party’s 1996 nomination and garnered 8.4 percent of the popular vote, rifts had begun forming within the party. Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, who unsuccessfully challenged Perot for the 1996 presidential nomination, accused Perot of using the party as a personal vehicle, and broke off with his supporters to form a new party.[12] In 1998, former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota as a member of the Reform Party—the party’s most significant victory—but Perot and his followers were not receptive to Ventura and his political allies.[13] The Perot faction adamantly, though unsuccessfully, attempted to prevent the election of Ventura supporter Jack Gargan as party chairman in 1999 when Perot backer Russ Verney chose not to stand for re-election for his term ending January 1, 2000.[14] Opting not to run for president himself in 2000,[13] Ventura searched for candidates.[15] Initially, he courted WWF Board Member and former Connecticut governorLowell P. Weicker, Jr.. He then turned to friend and wrestling aficionado Donald Trump.

Early stages

In 1999, The New York Times reported that Jesse Ventura first approached Trump about a possible 2000 presidential run while both were in attendance at a wrestling event in Atlantic City.[16] Trump’s ambitions may have spawned earlier. The America We Deserve co-writer Dave Shiflett said Trump first thought about running in late 1998, when he looked at his political advantages in money and name recognition, and concluded that he was “at least as competent” as then President Bill Clinton.[17] According to Shiflett, this prompted Trump to ask top aide Roger Stone to find the “most eminent hack writer in America” to put Trump’s political ideas into a book. Stone reached out to Shiflett, a contributor to The American Spectator. In Spring 1999, Shiflett met with Trump about the project that would later become The America We Deserve. During the initial meeting, Shiflett claims Trump raised concerns about a suitcase bomb destroying Manhattan.

Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura privately encouraged Trump to run.

In July 1999, the Democratic[18] polling firm Schroth and Associates conducted a poll of 400 Reform Party leaders[19] and found Trump tied for third place for the Reform Party presidential nomination.[18] Both the Reform Party and Trump denied having commissioned the poll.[19] Days later, Newsweek raised speculation[19] when it cited an unnamed “close friend” of Trump who said Trump was “toying” with the idea of a presidential campaign, allegedly in response to rumors of Ventura’s courting of Weicker for a run. Trump purportedly held a grudge against Weicker for blocking his plans to build a casino in Bridgeport[20] in 1994. The two had an exchange of insults in which Weicker labeled Trump a “dirt bag” and Trump referred to Weicker as “a fat slob who couldn’t get elected dog catcher.”[18] In response to the Newsweek report, Trump sent out a press release in which he criticized the two party system, praised the Reform Party, and stated “If the Reform Party nominated me, I would probably run and probably win.” However, he added that if the party nominated him, he would ask for “an immediate recount.”[18] In an interview, he told The New York Times, “I’m honored and I’m flattered [by the speculation], but the fact is I’ve never had more fun than I’m having right now, building the most spectacular buildings in New York.”[18] Chairman Verney denied that the Reform Party had any interest in Trump, explaining that party members had “never spent one second thinking about him.” [19] A CNN-Time poll conducted later in July showed Trump with seven percent support nationally in a match up against Republican candidate George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore.[21]

Two months later, amid reports that paleoconservative political commentator and adviser Pat Buchanan was about to join the Reform Party to seek the nomination, Trump announced that he would consider running as a sign of respect for Ventura. He labeled the views of Buchanan as “prehistoric”,[22] and commented that even though he liked Pat, “I’m on the conservative side, but Buchanan is Attila the Hun.”[23] He expected that a primary battle between the two would be “nasty.”[24] According to columnist Robert Novak, Bush operatives concerned about a third party run by Buchanan contacted Ventura indirectly about preventing Buchanan’s nomination. Novak argued that Trump “seems a bad match with Perot’s party, but he may be the GOP’s last hope to stop Buchanan.”[25]When Weicker decided not to seek the party’s nomination due to internal bickering, Ventura reportedly went all in for Trump.[26] The media capitalized on a potential Trump versus Buchanan challenge,[24] and Saturday Night Live satirized it with a skit in which Darrell Hammond portraying Trump and Chris Parnell as Buchanan pitched their candidacies to Ross Perot, played by Cheri Oteri. The segment also featured an appearance by Will Ferrell as Ventura.[27][28]

Trump further increased speculation of a full-scale campaign when his publisher Renaissance Books announced a January 2000 release date for The America We Deserve. The publisher’s press release announced a book tour and teased, “Donald Trump for President? Run or not, Donald Trump’s ideas will have a major impact on the next presidential election.”[29] Trump set January also as the month on which he would decide whether to run. He expressed, “I’m not interested in being the [third-party] candidate who gets the most votes in the history of the world outside of the Democratic and Republican parties, I would only consider this if I thought I could win.”[30] On September 30, Trump wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “America Needs a President Like Me” in which he argued that he would be “the kind of president America needs in the new millennium.” He cited the “repugnant” comments of Buchanan and Ventura’s personal encouragement as factors contributing to his decision.[31] In an October 6 interview on Dateline NBC, Trump affirmed that he was “very serious” about his run.[32]

Announcement

Melania Knauss was touted as Trump’s potential First Lady.

On October 7, Trump announced on Larry King Live that he formed an exploratory committee to explore a Reform Party presidential bid. Trump planned to use the committee, not to raise money—he would personally fund his campaign—but to advise him on political matters in preparation for a run. In the interview with Larry King, Trump was optimistic about his chances indicating a “very strong possibility” of victory.[33] He referenced a non-scientific National Enquirer poll of 100 individuals, showing him in first place against his Democratic and Republican counterparts.[21] When pressed, Trump identified Oprah Winfrey as his ideal choice for a running mate,[34] describing her as “somebody that is very special,” and that if she agreed to run, “she’d be fantastic . . . she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman.”[35] Oprah’s spokesperson later responded “at this point in time . . . Oprah is not running.”[36] Trump labeled Rudy Giuliani the greatest Mayor of New York and spoke admirably of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, saying that Reagan had a demeanor that contributed to a phenomenal spirit in the nation. Trump argued that President Bill Clinton could have been a great president, but destroyed his legacy with the Lewinsky scandal. As for the Reform Party, Trump offered praise for both Perot and Ventura, and attacked potential primary opponent Buchanan as someone “enamored” with Adolf Hitler, based on Buchanan’s thesis that Hitler presented no military threat to the United States ahead of World War II.[35]

On the issues, Trump labeled himself “very conservative,” but described his views on healthcare as “quite liberal” and “getting much more liberal,” explaining “I believe in universal health care. I believe in whatever it takes to make people well and better . . . . [I]t’s an entitlement to this country if we’re going to have a great country.” He expressed opposition to NAFTA, gun control, and said he would like to see alcohol corporations sued in the same manner as tobacco corporations. For his first presidential term, he proclaimed, “I want to do the right job: straighten out Social Security, get the trade deficits in order, and lower taxes.”[35] As for the lack of a first lady, Trump said he could solve the issue “in 24 hours” by marrying his 29-year-old girlfriend, model Melania Knauss. In a later interview, Knauss said she would marry Trump under such notice.[37] In the role, she said, “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him.”[38] Trump described Knauss as “a woman of great style and elegance . . . very poised and gracious and able to get along with everyone.”[37]

After the announcement, Trump and Knauss had dinner with Ventura and were joined by actor Woody Harrelson.[36] Ventura later commented that Trump’s chances of success depended on his impression of the Reform Party.[21] Onlookers questioned Trump’s motive in running. Democratic pollster Harrison Hickman expressed doubts about the authenticity of Trump’s campaign, saying “It’s all marketing of his name.”[36]Matt Bai of Newsweek commented “Most serious-minded people think Trump’s flirtation with the Reform Party’s presidential nomination is just a publicity stunt.”[39] Ex-wife Ivana Trump doubted he would actually run.[40] Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch commented that people would likely not flock to Trump’s campaign, suggesting that Trump was merchandising his brand.[41] Trump disagreed with the critics, arguing that even though his sales had increased as a result of media coverage, he was serious about the campaign.[39]Roger Stone was hired as director of the exploratory committee.[42]

Primary campaign

October 1999[edit source]

Pat Buchanan, Trump’s main rival for the Reform Party nomination

Trump’s announcement made way for the anticipated Buchanan–Trump primary contest with Buchanan himself moving closer to mounting a Reform Party bid. Buchanan announced he would decide whether to join the race by late October. A Schroth and Associates poll of 500 people who voted for Perot in 1996, showed Buchanan with a slight edge over Trump, 32 percent to 29 percent.[41] Though Ventura wished to prevent a Buchanan nomination, he did not publicly endorse Trump. Some of Ventura’s advisers were skeptical of Trump’s campaign and wanted Ventura to leave the party if a Buchanan nomination appeared imminent.[39] Ventura’s place in the party had become a subject of controversy. Chairman Verney asked Ventura to leave the party in early October after Ventura commented in a Playboy interview that “organized religion is a sham and a crutch.”[43] Perot also decided not to make an endorsement during the primary campaign, despite Buchanan’s plea that Perot publicly support his entrance into the race.[41]

Before Trump could venture out on the campaign trail, he had to tend to some personal matters. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Marla Maples, Trump’s second ex-wife, threatened to reveal what Trump “is really like” if he chose to run for president in the general election. In response, Trump withheld $1.5 million in alimony he owed Maples, claiming she was in violation of the confidentiality agreement in the couple’s divorce decree. After a Manhattan judge refused to hear the matter, a brief conference was held, wherein the judge’s law secretary advised Trump to pay the alimony and advised Maples that further incidents would be cause for the judge to reconsider hearing the matter.[44] Trump’s attorneys were satisfied that the meeting would cause Maples to rethink making any public statements on her marriage to Trump.[45]

On October 24, Trump appeared on Meet the Press, where he announced that he would officially join the Reform Party. During the interview, Trump questioned why a politician was better suited to be president than him, commenting “I understand this stuff.” He said that the Republican Party has become “too crazy right.” Notably, he identified Buchanan as a “Hitler-lover” and mused, “I guess he’s an anti-Semite . . . He doesn’t like the blacks, he doesn’t like the gays. It’s just incredible that anybody could embrace this guy.”[46] As for his reputation as a womanizer, Trump said he would not run if he believed it would be an impediment.[46] The next day, Trump formally joined the Reform Party, changing his voter registration from Republican to Independence Party, the New York affiliate of the Reform Party. On the same day, Buchanan announced that he too would leave the Republican Party to join with the Reform Party and attempt to obtain its presidential nomination.[47] Buchanan said he refused to engage in a “name-calling” contest with Trump but made a thinly veiled attack against Trump’s wealth, arguing, “I don’t believe the Reform Party nomination can be bought, and I don’t believe the Presidency can be bought.”[46] On Face the Nation, Pat Choate, the Reform Party’s 1996 vice presidential nominee, said Trump would “make a good candidate,” but argued that Buchanan could challenge Trump “on the merits” and that Trump and the media were misrepresenting Buchanan’s views through “hate politics.” Other party members expressed reservations about Trump’s comments and personal life.[46][48] Verney wondered “what the compelling reason is for him to seek the presidency.”[49] Trump acknowledged himself as “certainly controversial” but labeled himself as “a great businessman,” who would “make the greatest treaties that this country’s seen in a long time.”[50] On Fox News Sunday, he criticized U.S. Trade RepresentativeCharlene Barshefsky and said that as president he himself would fill the position and negotiate trade deals with other countries. He identified France, Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia as nations taking advantage of badly negotiated trade deals with the United States.[51]

November 1999

In an effort speculated to implore the media to view the campaign more seriously,[52] Trump rolled out a tax proposal that became the subject of attention. In a series of telephone interviews in early November,[52] Trump proposed a one-time 14.25 percent “net worth tax” that would apply to individuals and trusts with assets greater than $10 million. The plan was meant to raise $5.7 trillion in revenue to wipe out the national debt, estimated at the time to be $5.66 trillion. The plan exempted one’s homestead from the calculation. Trump estimated that the tax would only apply to one percent of the population and that the remaining 99 percent would receive a federal income tax cut as well as an elimination of the estate tax. He projected a 35 to 40 percent increase in economic activity as a result and eliminate $200 billion in federal interest payments, half of which would be used to fund middle class tax cuts and the rest to allocate for Social Security.[53] The original plan provided only one year for taxpayers to pay the new tax, but that was later increased to 10 years. Economists predicted that enactment of the plan would “risk capital flight”[54] and “prick” the stock market bubble.[52][55]Bruce Bartlett of the National Center for Policy Analysis wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the proposed rate would fall short of its goal and that at any rate, would introduce “devastating” disruption to the economic system.[56] Tax attorney Robert L. Sommers, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, argued that many wealthy people lacked sufficient cash on hand to pay the tax and that doing so would lead to the mass liquidation of assets, “roil[ing] the stock and real estate markets.”[57] Trump defended his plan, rejecting the speculation that it would be “a shock to the system.”[52] Roger Stone noted that Trump had been thinking about the plan for a while and that he felt so strong about it that he was willing to pay $725 million of his own money in taxes under it.[57]CBS News speculated that the plan meant to appeal to middle and lower class Americans.[52] Trump’s tax plan differed significantly from the plan put forward by Reform Party rival Buchanan, who had called for a 16 percent flat tax on earnings over $35,000.[52]

I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.

Donald Trump[58]

Despite the discussion of substantive issues, the campaign’s seriousness continued to come under attack. Ed Koch elevated his criticisms of the campaign, calling it “fraudulent” and arguing that Trump is the “greatest con artist in the world when it comes to trumpeting his own name . . . . [M]y gut tells me that he knows nothing [about policy].”[59] Former White House adviser Dick Morris said “I think he’s mainly selling books.” Republican strategist Ed Rollins questioned whether Trump could “say the right things” or “be willing to let somebody put an organization together.” A New York Daily News/WNBC-TV poll showed that 74% of New Yorkers believed the campaign was being used only for Trump “to promote himself.” Roger Stone commented that the perception problem would “solve itself” once the campaign would reveal the number of petition signatures it collected.[60] By mid-November, the campaign started receiving advice from political consultant Douglas Friedline, who ran Ventura’s successful 1998 gubernatorial campaign. Upon Friedline’s advice, Trump assembled communications and campaign staff, and began planning events in strategic states.[61] As a further step in organization, Trump set up a campaign website at the domain http://www.donaldjtrump2000.com and used Ventura’s webmaster, Phil Madsen, to create an online community of supporters.[62]

On his first campaign stop, Trump traveled to Miami, Florida and spoke before the Cuban American National Foundation.[63] The foundation invited Trump after he wrote a Miami Herald article denouncing Cuban President Fidel Castro and favoring the U.S. embargo against Cuba several months earlier.[61] During the visit, Trump was met with supporters touting “Trump 2000” posters and shouting “Viva Donald Trump!” There, he delivered his first foreign policy speech, capped with the line, “I’d have, personally, two words for [Castro]: ‘Adios, amigo!'” Covering the event, columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that the fascination with Trump was the “apotheosis of our Gilded Age,” where “money, celebrity, polling, and crass behavior” warp politics and the television show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire dominates the culture.[58] Following this theme, Saturday Night Live performed a sketch in which Darrell Hammond reprised his role as Trump, holding a press conference announcing Millionaire winner John Carpenter as his running mate.[64] Soon thereafter, the actual Trump floated possible running mates and members of his presidential cabinet during a November 28 episode of Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. He identified Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, as a possible Secretary of Defense. Trump said he would consider Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and mentioned retired General Colin Powell as a possible Secretary of State. He praised General Electric CEO Jack Welch, and discussed him as either Secretary of Treasury or running mate. He again mentioned Oprah Winfrey as a possible running mate. During the interview, Trump expressed his willingness to spend $100 million to self-finance a full-scale campaign.[65] The Reform Party scheduled a debate of the candidates seeking the presidential nomination on December 3 in Portland, Oregon. When a reporter asked a Trump aide whether Trump would appear, the aide was unaware of the debate. Ultimately, Buchanan attended but Trump did not.[66]

Trump’s proposed cabinet

December 1999[edit source]

Top adviser Roger Stone was part of Trump’s campaign entourage.

As the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations collapsed amid protests at a summit in Seattle, Trump appeared on the December 5 airing of ABC‘s This Week. He said that the WTO was not “necessarily fair” to the United States, and argued that “our best, and our smartest, and our brightest” were not being used to negotiate the deal. He renewed his attack on the negotiation skills of Barshefsky, saying that both she and Secretary of CommerceWilliam M. Daley did not know how to negotiate.[67] Next, Trump embarked on a two-day campaign stop in California, which the media covered extensively. During the stop, Trump held a press conference, appearing with his campaign entourage that included his girlfriend Melania, Roger Stone, and bodyguard Matt Calamari. Aides made hand sanitizer readily available for reporters, presumably due to Trump’s alleged germaphobia.[66] The Associated Press (AP) noted that Trump “made little attempt to appear statesman-like” at the press conference with responses that seemed “tailored more to entertain his listeners than establish his credibility.”[68] In Burbank, Trump appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno where he attacked Buchanan as “having a love affair with Adolf Hitler” and discussed his upcoming book, The America We Deserve. The Weekly Standard reported that though the release date was only a month away, the book had yet to be written.[66] After the Tonight Show appearance, Trump attended a meeting of one hundred Southern California Reform Party members, to whom he delivered a speech and answered questions. Crowds cheered Trump when he discussed his opposition to NAFTA, but some were offended[68] when he questioned the existence of a Reform Party platform and, after receiving a copy, left it on the podium when he exited. On the final day, Trump visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center‘s Museum of Tolerance and walked through an exhibit of The Holocaust. He delivered a speech and held another press conference at the museum atrium, where he denounced Buchanan’s views on Nazis. Afterwards, Trump boarded his jet for Long Beach.[66] During an on-jet interview, Trump placed his odds of waging a full-scale campaign at “50/50,” but “edging closer,” believing there to be a “fervor” among the public about his campaign. The AP evaluated the California response as more “warm” than fervent, but described Trump’s treatment as that of a “high profile dignitary.” At Trump’s final event, he spoke at a Tony Robbins motivational conference.[68] Robbins and Trump had made an agreement that would pay Trump $1 million for showing up at ten of Robbins’ events. Trump planned to make campaign stops to coincide with Robbins’ shows, speculating that he “could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”[69] At the event, Trump received what the AP called a “moderately enthusiastic applause”[68] after asking the 21,000 people in attendance[66] whether he should run for president.[68] He received a large ovation when he proclaimed, “people want to hear straight talk. We’re tired of being bullied by these moron politicians.” Overall, The Weekly Standard praised Trump for his candor on the campaign trail.[66]

In discussing his campaign strategy with The Los Angeles Times, Trump proclaimed, “the only strategy is, I’ll be on television a lot.” Responding to a poll of probable Reform Party voters that showed him with only 14% support, fourth place behind Ventura (20%), Perot (25%), and Buchanan (30%), Trump pointed to the spike in ratings each television network received whenever he appeared on air. He admitted, “whether or not TV ratings can transfer into votes is an interesting question.” The Times characterized Trump’s campaign as “Political Science 101 on how far politics is devolving into pure entertainment.”[70] Nevertheless, Trump contemporaneously delved into the politics of third party campaigns when he wrote a letter to Commission on Presidential Debates asking the body to review its standard for third party candidate inclusion in the general election debates. His letter included a veiled threat of litigation if the body enacted a standard preventing his participation. At this time, Trump announced that he would make his decision on whether to wage a full-scale campaign by early February.[70] In addition, he retained two signature collection agencies in order to secure ballot access.[71]

As 1999 drew to a close, the conflict within the Reform Party escalated. To the chagrin of the Perot faction, chairman-elect Jack Gargan pushed through a motion to move headquarters from Perot’s home in Dallas to Florida.[72] Shortly thereafter, the Perot faction incorporated the Reform Leadership Council as an entity separate from the main party to preserve the vision of Perot. They also moved the National Convention from Ventura’s home in Minneapolis to Long Beach.[73] The Ventura faction filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Perot faction and threatened to bolt the party, prompting chairman Verney to instruct, “don’t let the door hit them when they leave.”[74] As the conflict unfolded, Ventura publicly expressed that he could never support Buchanan as the party’s nominee, describing him as “very shallow.” Ventura said that in a head-to-head against Buchanan, he favored Trump. Ventura and Trump planned a campaign event together in Minnesota to begin the new year.[75]

January 2000

The America We Deserve book cover

Trump officially released his book The America We Deserve on January 1. Dave Shiflett received credit as co-writer.[76] To promote the book, Trump held a January 5 press conference at Trump Tower, which aired on C-SPAN. He signed books and answered questions from reporters, once asserting, “I may be too honest to be a politician.”[77] Trump’s book, consisting of 286 pages,[76] covers Trump’s political positions and policy proposals, including strict anti-crime measures, increased pressure on China, fair trade, border control, increased military spending, support for public capital punishment, and the implementation of single-payer health care.[78] It advocates eliminating soft money contributions to political parties and full disclosure of campaign donations to political candidates, but calls for the removal of limits on the amount of donations, arguing, “[i]f you want to give your life savings to Al Gore, that should be between you, Al Gore and your psychiatrist.” In addition, it raises concerns about terrorism, proposing the creation of a national lottery to raise funds for anti-terrorism programs,[79] and offers a choice to North Korea to disarm or face military strikes.[17]The America We Deserve also includes praise for former boxer Muhammad Ali, Teamsters leader James P. Hoffa, as well as Trump’s future political opponents Florida governor Jeb Bush and New York governor George Pataki, among others.[80] It cites friendships with baseball player Sammy Sosa and entertainer Sean Combs as making Trump more understanding of racial diversity. Trump later backpedaled his book’s praise of Combs after Combs was charged with violating gun laws following a shooting at a New York nightclub. Trump said he did not “know [Combs] really well.”[81] The book condemns Congressman Jerrold Nadler as a “hack” for opposing Trump’s development of waterfront real estate in Manhattan, and describes Senator Bob Smith as “the dumbest guy in the U.S. Senate” after he grilled Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry on abortion when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1999 upon her nomination to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. It criticizes Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley as a “phony” for his Senate sponsorship of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 that purportedly hurt Trump financially. It also notes the hypocrisy of both an unnamed Senator and an unnamed conservative columnist who each engaged in extramarital affairs at Trump’s hotels and resorts while they attacked President Clinton for the Lewinsky scandal.[80] In a scathing review, New York Magazine described the book as inadvertently satirical.[82]Booklist pondered whether Trump was “the only man ever to run for president in order to promote a book.”[83] Dave Saltonstall of the New York Daily News, labeled it as autobiographical and reported that it contains “enough details to paint a fairly comprehensive picture of what a Trump presidency might look like.”[79]

On January 7, Trump appeared in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, where he spoke before the Chamber of Commerce, attended a Reform Party fundraiser, and held a joint press conference with Ventura. At the fundraiser, Trump identified North Korea as the nation’s greatest foreign policy threat, blasted Japan for “ripping us off” for the last 25 years, and ripped Russia as being “totally mixed up” for placing “people nobody ever even heard of” in charge of missiles.[84] At the press conference, Trump claimed he had yet to decide whether to run officially and so had not asked for Ventura’s endorsement. Ventura said that if Trump decided to run, he would give his “full consideration.” Trump asserted it would be “disaster for the Reform Party” if Pat Buchanan received the presidential nomination.[85] Describing himself and Ventura as self-made and not part of the “lucky sperm club,” Trump made an indirect jab at both the Republican front-runner George W. Bush, the son of former President Bush, and Democratic front-runner Al Gore, son of the late Senator Albert Gore, Sr..[86] Trump and Ventura released a written statement opposing the Commission on Presidential Debates’ decision to limit debate participation to candidates polling above 15 percent in the general election and urging the Federal Election Commission to take action.[87]

Trump ended his relationship with Melania Knauss in January 2000, removing a key figure of the campaign entourage.[88] According to the New York Daily News, an associate of Trump said the move was meant to appease Reform Party leaders. Roger Stone denied the suggestion.[89] In addressing the matter, Trump complimented Knauss and commented, “she will be missed.”[90] Shortly thereafter, in an attempt to bring the two Reform Party factions together, Trump invited party leaders to the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Addressing the 170 party members, who attended the event (including former chairman Russ Verney), Trump proclaimed “I’m very proud to be in the party of Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura.” Verney appreciated the gesture and in shifting from his once-chilly reception to the Trump candidacy, he welcomed Trump into the race. After opening the event to questions, one attendee asked Trump whether he would appear at the Florida Reform Party‘s state convention. Trump said he would consider it “very seriously.” Concerning Buchanan, Trump repeated he could not support Buchanan as the party’s nominee.[91] Despite the retreat, the intra-party dispute over the location of the convention continued.[92] Citing scheduling conflicts, Trump did not attend the Florida Reform Party’s state convention. Reports suggested that Trump insiders believed Buchanan had packed the convention with supporters and would embarrass Trump by winning all the state’s delegates. There were also growing indications Trump was considering withdrawing from the race, commenting that he was “deeply concerned” about the conflict within the party.[93] In another attempt to unite the party’s factions, Trump wrote letters to Ventura and Perot, requesting the two make peace.[94] Trump believed the instability of the party would hinder his chances of presidential success. Stone commented that “the [Reform] party is melting down before our very eyes.”[92] On the final day of January, Trump was removed from the New York primary ballot after a judge determined that Trump’s supporters had failed to obtain the required 5,000 signatures from registered Reform Party members. This marked a victory for Buchanan’s supporters, including leftist activist Lenora Fulani, who had hoped to prevent Trump from appearing on the ballot in his home state.[95]

February 2000

Despite Trump’s efforts, the conflict within the Reform Party escalated. A special Reform Party meeting was planned for Nashville at which the Perot faction was expected to vacate the national chairmanship of Ventura-ally Jack Gargan.[96] Both Trump and Ventura expressed disgust with the national party. Ventura desired to disassociate the Minnesota Reform Party from the national party. An unnamed official within the party told the AP that Ventura and Trump discussed a scenario where Ventura would run as the presidential nominee of the disaffiliated party with Trump as his running mate. The chairman of the Minnesota Reform Party denied Ventura would be part of any presidential ticket.[97] After privately notifying Trump of his intentions and seeking his blessing,[98] Ventura held a press conference on February 12 and officially left the national Reform Party, remaining a member of his state party, which he urged to disaffiliate and return to its original name, the Independence Party of Minnesota. He voiced dissatisfaction with the presidential contest, explaining that Pat Buchanan was running “virtually unopposed” and receiving support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke; something with which Ventura could not associate. Ventura invited Trump to run for the presidential nomination of the Independence Party, which Ventura believed could become a national entity.[99] At the party’s next meeting, it disaffiliated.[100] Trump considered Ventura’s invitation but had concerns, particularly the question of whether other state parties would affiliate with the new party.[101] Minnesota political scientist Steve Schier doubted the party could become a national entity, arguing that it was far too small to make an impact on the national level.[99] Ventura’s move came just ahead of the Nashville meeting where, with the rationale of failing to “faithfully perform and execute the duties of his office,” Gargan was removed by a 109 to 31 committee vote.[102] The chaotic meeting, dominated by Perot-faction members, featured shoving matches and physical squabbles as the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department intervened to restore order. Gargan charged that the meeting was illegal due to insufficient notice, though a quorum was present.[103]

Withdrawal

So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman—Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi—Mr. Buchanan, and a Communist—Ms. Fulani.
This is not company I wish to keep.

Donald Trump[104]

On February 14, Trump withdrew from the race.[105] In a press release, he cited infighting in the Reform Party as not “conducive to victory,” concluding he could not win the election as the party’s nominee and so, as pledged, would not continue his campaign. He expressed concerns about the direction of the party, particularly its membership, referring to David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani as a Klansman, a Neo-Nazi, and a Communist, respectively. However, he lauded party members Russ Verney, Jack Gargan, and others as “wonderful people” he was honored to meet. Trump lamented the exit of Jesse Ventura from the party, arguing “without Jesse, the Reform Party is just an extremist shell and cannot be a force or even a factor in 2000.” Trump declined to seek the nomination of Ventura’s new Independence Party, finding it “healthy” but too young to win. He expressly kept open the possibility of running for president in 2004.[104]Trump publicly announced his withdrawal on The Today Show in an interview with Matt Lauer. He explained that though he still could have won the Reform Party nomination, he believed he would only win 20 percent in the general election, which he did not want. He claimed the party was on the verge of “self-destructing” and referred to it as a “total mess.”[98] In response, Pat Choate, who became the new Reform Party chairman after the unseating of Gargan, disputed Trump’s claim about the party[106] and said Trump’s campaign was meant only “to smear Pat Buchanan.”[107] He declared Trump “unwelcome” to seek the party’s 2004 presidential nomination.[106] Choate later remarked that he believed Trump’s campaign was a “Republican dirty trick” orchestrated by Roger Stone “to disgust people and drive them away from the Reform Party.”[108] Stone argued that John McCain “running on Trump’s message” and surging in the polls signaled an end to the Trump campaign.[69]

Several days after withdrawing, Trump reflected on his campaign in an editorial published in The New York Times titled “What I Saw at the Revolution.” Disputing the claim that he ran for the publicity, Trump countered that he felt the nation was ready for a non-establishment “businessman president” who offered “straight talk.” He cited three reasons for dropping out: (1) the criteria of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which would have made it “impossible” for him to qualify for general election debates; (2) the rise of the presidential campaign of John McCain, whose similar message would have made a contrast difficult; and (3) the exit of Ventura from the Reform Party. Trump called his run the “greatest civics lesson that a private citizen can have,” but said it was “enormous fun” and a “great life experience,” though it “doesn’t compare with completing one of the great skyscrapers of Manhattan.”[109]

Results[edit source]

During the campaign, Trump qualified for the Michigan and California Reform Party presidential primaries. Both of these elections were held after Trump exited the race.[110] On February 22, Trump won the Michigan Primary with 2,164 votes defeating uncommitted with 948 votes.[111] Trump won the California primary on March 7 with 15,311 votes (44.28%) defeating perennial candidate George D. Weber who received 9,390 votes (27.16%), former Director of Advanced Space Programs Development Robert M. Bowman who received 4,879 (14.11%), former Congressman John B. Anderson who received 3,158 (9.13%), and political activist Charles E. Collins who received 1,837 (5.31%).[112] Pat Buchanan was not listed on either ballot. A slate of Trump supporters petitioned to list Trump on the New York Independence Party presidential primary ballot but were denied on a technicality.[113]

Pat Buchanan eventually won the Reform Party presidential nomination at a chaotic[114] National Convention in Long Beach in August 2000.[115] Buchanan had lost the support of the Perot faction, which accused Buchanan of fraud and held a counter-convention, nominating Buchanan’s only major opponent physicist John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party.[116] According to Russ Verney, the Perot faction lost faith in Buchanan when he emphasized pro-life and anti-homosexual issue positions after promising to respect the party’s neutral stance on social issues.[117] After the filing of a complaint over the party’s matching funds, the FEC ruled against the Perot faction and invalided the Hagelin selection.[118] The decision was affirmed on appeal. On Election Day, Buchanan appeared on the ballot in all 50 states and received 448,895 votes, 0.42% of the popular vote. George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in a close contest[119] that required a recount and Supreme Court intervention.[120] The Bush campaign recruited Roger Stone to oversee the recount.[121]

Reform Party presidential primary results by county

Michigan

  Uncommitted
  Tie
  No votes

Aftermath[edit source]

Trump speaks at a campaign event in 2016.

After the election, Trump returned to his real estate business, rekindled his relationship with Melania Knauss, whom he married in 2005,[122] and hosted NBC’s The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice for 14 seasons from 2004 to 2015, acquiring the catchphrase, “You’re fired!”.[123] In addition, he continued an involvement in politics. He changed his voter registration from the New York Independence Party (Reform Party affiliate) to the Democratic Party in August 2001[2] as the Reform Party continued its decline. By 2004, the party had lost ballot access in all but seven states, which it gave to Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.[124] Trump was critical of the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War[125] and publicly endorsed Bush’s impeachment.[126] He considered challenging Bush in the 2004 Republican presidential primaries, but ultimately decided against it.[127] Jesse Ventura, who chose not to run for re-election as Governor of Minnesota in 2002,[128] also considered a 2004 presidential run and publicly asked for and received Trump’s support at WrestleMania XX.[129] However, Ventura did not run.

In 2009, Trump changed his voter registration from Democrat back to Republican.[2] He seriously considered running for president as a Republican in 2012 and led in an April 2011 Rasmussen Reports survey.[130] While considering a run, Trump emphasized China’s currency manipulation and criticized the trade policies of the Barack Obama administration.[131] Additionally, he questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship and birth certificate.[132] He decided not to run in May 2011,[133]but proclaimed “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election.”[134] After reports that a group in Texas was attempting to create the “Make America Great Again Party” with the intention of running Trump as a candidate,[135] Trump briefly considered a 2012 Independent bid and changed his voter registration from Republican to “I do not wish to enroll in a party.”[2][136] Trump said he would run if the Republicans selected the “wrong candidate.”[135]Ultimately, he again decided against running. Trump re-registered as a Republican in 2012[2] and publicly endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for president.[137]

After much speculation, Trump officially decided to run for president as a Republican in 2016, using the motto “Make America Great Again.” In his announcement speech in June 2015, Trump took a tough stance against illegal immigration and promised to build a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border if elected president.[138] After announcing, Trump became the front-runner for the nomination, taking the lead in nearly every national poll, ahead of his rivals for the Republican nomination including Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.[139] Trump styled himself as the candidate of anti-establishment Republicans and received praise from former rival Pat Buchanan, who compared Trump’s run to Buchanan’s 1992 and 1996 campaigns.[140] His attacks on the Republican establishment included a slight against the war hero status of John McCain, whom Trump complimented during his 2000 campaign.[141] Republican voters favored the purported honesty of Trump’s message and his abrasive approach,[142] which eschewed political correctness.[143] Roger Stone, who headed Trump’s 2000 presidential committee, served as an adviser for the 2016 campaign until a much publicized split in August 2015.[144] The campaign generated major media attention and attracted large crowds to campaign events. Trump won multiple Republican primaries, receiving more votes than any previous Republican candidate, and earned the party’s presidential nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention. In the general election, Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to be elected the 45th President of the United States.

2016 presidential campaign

Trump speaking behind a brown wooden podium, wearing a dark blue suit and a red tie. The podium sports a blue "TRUMP" sign.

Trump campaigning in Laconia, New Hampshire, on July 16, 2015

On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Trump Tower in Manhattan. In the speech, Trump drew attention to domestic issues such as 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“.[340]

In his campaign, Trump said that he disdained political correctness; he also stated that the media had intentionally misinterpreted his words, and he made other claims of adverse media bias.[341][342][343] In part due to his fame, Trump received an unprecedented amount of unpaid coverage from the media during his run for the presidency; this elevated his standing in the Republican primaries.[344]

Republican leaders such as House SpeakerPaul Ryan were hesitant to support him during his early quest for the presidency. They doubted his chances of winning the general election and feared that he could harm the image of the Republican Party.[345][346]

The alt-right movement coalesced around Trump’s candidacy,[347] due in part to its opposition to multiculturalism and immigration.[348][349]The connection of this group to the Trump campaign is controversial; writers such as Jon Ronson have suggested that the link between Trump and right-wing figures such as Alex Jones and Roger Stone is a marriage of convenience.[350]

During the campaign, Trump was accused of pandering to white nationalists,[351] especially in his initial refusal to condemn the support of David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper. He had previously criticized Duke in 1991, disavowed the 2000 Reform Party due to the support of Duke and others, and condemned Duke on the campaign trail both before and after the interview.[352] In August, he appointed Steve Bannon—the executive chairman of Breitbart News—as his campaign CEO; the website was described by Bannon as “the platform for the alt-right.”[353] However, Bannon later told the Wall Street Journal that he was an “economic nationalist” but not “a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”[354]

Some rallies during the primary season were accompanied by protests or violence, including attacks on protesters inside the rallies, and clashes between protesters and Trump supporters outside the venues.[355][356][357]

Fact-checking organizations have denounced Trump for making a record number of false statements compared to other candidates.[358][359][360] At least four major publications – Politico, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times – have pointed out lies or falsehoods in his campaign statements.[361] Trump’s penchant for hyperbole is believed to have roots in the New York real estate scene, where Trump established his wealth and where puffery abounds. Trump has called his public speaking “truthful hyperbole”, though online media outlets such as Yahoo! believed Trump’s “truthful hyperbole” to be a political tactic.[362][363] Lucas Graves, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication,[364] opined, of Trump’s speaking, that Trump “often speaks in a suggestive way that makes it unclear what exactly he meant, so that fact-checkers “have to be really careful when you pick claims to check to pick things … that reflect what the speaker was clearly trying to communicate.”[365] Other sources, such as NPR, also said that Trump’s statements during the campaign were often opaque or suggestive.[366]

Republican primaries

Trump rally in the U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 13, 2016

Trump entered a field of 16 candidates who were vying for the 2016 Republican nomination; this was the largest presidential field in American history.[367] Trump participated in eleven of the twelve Republican debates, skipping only the seventh debate on January 28 (that was the last debate before primary voting began on February 1). The debates received historically high television ratings, which increased the visibility of Trump’s campaign.[368]

By early 2016, the race had mostly centered on Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.[369] On Super Tuesday, Trump won the plurality of the vote and remained the front-runner throughout the remainder of the primaries. By March 2016, Trump became poised to win the Republican nomination.[370] After a landslide win in Indiana on May 3, 2016, which prompted the remaining candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their presidential campaigns, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.[371] With nearly 14 million votes, Trump broke the all-time record for winning the most primary votes in the history of the Republican Party. He also set the record for the largest number of votes against the front runner.[372]

General election campaign

Donald Trump and his running mate for vice president, Mike Pence, at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. They appear to be standing in front of a huge screen with the colors of the American flag displayed on it. Trump is at left, facing toward the viewer and making "thumbs-up" gestures with both hands. Pence is at right, facing toward Trump and clapping.

Trump with his running mate Mike Pence at the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016

Trump–Pence 2016 campaign logo

After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump’s focus shifted to the general election, urging remaining primary voters to “save [their] vote for the general election.”[373] Trump began targeting Hillary Clinton, who became the presumptive Democratic nominee on June 6, 2016, and continued to campaign across the country. One month before the Republican National Convention, Secret Service agents thwarted an assassination attempt on Trump during one of his rallies in Las Vegas; they seized a 20-year-old British man who was illegally residing in the U.S.[374]

Clinton had established a significant lead in national polls over Trump throughout most of 2016. In early July, Clinton’s lead narrowed in national polling averages following the FBI‘s re-opening of its investigation into her ongoing email controversy.[375][376][377] In reference to the matter, FBI DirectorJames Comey opined Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified government material.[378]

On July 15, 2016, Trump announced his selection of IndianaGovernorMike Pence as his running mate.[379] Trump and Pence were officially nominated by the Republican Party on July 19, 2016, at the Republican National Convention.[380] The list of convention speakers and attendees included former presidential nominee Bob Dole, but the other prior nominees did not attend, though John McCain endorsed Trump prior to the convention.[381][382]

Two days later, Trump officially accepted the nomination in a 76-minute speech inspired by Richard Nixon‘s 1968 acceptance speech.[383]The historically long speech was watched by nearly 35 million people and received mixed reviews, with net negative viewer reactions according to CNN and Gallup polls.[384][385][386]

In late July, Trump came close to Clinton in national polls following a 3 to 4 percentage point convention bounce, in line with the average bounce in conventions since 2004, although it was toward the small side by historical standards.[387] Following Clinton’s 7 percent convention bounce, she significantly extended her lead over Trump in national polls at the start of August.[388][389]

Presidential debates

On September 26, 2016, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Lester Holt, an anchor with NBC News, was the moderator.[390] This was the most watched presidential debate in United States history.[391] The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. The beginning narrative of that debate was dominated by a leaked tape of Trump making lewd comments, and counter-accusations by Trump of sexual misconduct by Bill Clinton. Trump had invited four women who had accused Clinton of impropriety to a press conference prior to the debate. The final presidential debate was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on October 19. Trump’s refusal to say whether he would accept the result of the election, regardless of the outcome, drew particular press attention.

Platform

Trump’s platform in a nutshell.[136]

“”They don’t really know or care what he stands for, only that he’s an extended middle finger at the hated political class and the national GOP. He FIGHTS!… His appeal to them isn’t so much ideological as it is nihilistic.
—Rick Wilson, GOP strategist[137]

So the thing about Donald Trump is, he’s full of shit. So the error you’ve made, as a sane human being, is giving any consideration to his idiotic ideas. The people are being conned and misled, as is so characteristic of Trump’s schemes. He has a whole AOTD chapter dedicated to making promises, no matter how grand, by drawing on the emotional side of a person. Because this is when you can start working them.[138]

Issue “Solution”
National Security As with most of Trump’s positions, the answer is “all of the above”.(America can’t afford to be the world’s policeman. We need to expand the military.[139])

  • Trump thinks we should “close up” the internet to stop ISIS. Just like that! Which likely means, Whatever I don’t like will be shut down.[140]
  • In what Tricky Dick on a bender might mistake for a foreign policy strategy, Trump said that the way to defeat ISIS was to “bomb the shit out of them”, then send [Exxon]Mobil to suck out all the oil.[141]
  • He advocates for civilian deaths in war, saying we should “take out their families.” Further, he’s talking the whole family: grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, half-siblings, children, siblings-in-law, and their children. Whoever has a familial connection to the terrorist, he wants to wipe them out, regardless of their culpability.[142][143] (Clue Brick: It’s also a war crime under Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention.)
  • He’ll bring back torture, though he knows it doesn’t work, since “they deserve it anyway.”[144] He’d also “go much further” than waterboarding suspected terrorists, and thinks that dipping the bullets in pigs’ blood before shooting Muslim prisoners is a cool way to deter terrorism, and certainty not a recruiting bonanza.[145]
  • Trump supports the ability of the NSA to be able to collect bulk metadata and has enjoyed himself at the idea of the surveillance of mosques.[146][147]
Border security Hispanic people are lazy and come here to get welfare and commit crime. Also they’re stealing all our jobs.[148]

  • The monorail wall Trump proposes to stop illegal Mexican immigrants is a non-starter. Mexico will not pay, and Pew research suggests more Mexicans are returning to Mexico than are emigrating to the United States.[149] Moreover, the majority of US construction workers are undocumented Mexican immigrants. D’oh.[150]
  • He’s talked about the materials the wall will be built of. He’s talked about putting his name on it. Metaphorically, of course.[151] The wall is about his only concrete idea (pun intended) that he has consistently campaigned on, and he’s already waffling on it.
  • He has since doubled down, explicitly calling for a national database that registers and identifies all Muslim Americans. (We really need more Inquisitions.[152][153]) In a rally in Wisconsin, he clarified to Chris Matthews that the register wouldn’t apply to wealthy Muslims. That the policy only applies to poorer Muslims might make them more disposed to fight ISIS and help MAGA![154][155] He’s like the kid that just read the back of the book before writing a book report, and will literally fight you if you tell him he got the whole general plot wrong.
Foreign policy It’s abundantly clear he doesn’t know anything about foreign policy.[156]

  • You get a nuke! You get a nuke! Everybody gets a nuke![157]
  • In response to further military provocations by North Korea that apparently failed to alert him to the fact that North Korea probably wanted him to overreact like this, Trump gave a speech at the United Nations on September 19th, 2017 that can be considered quite batshit with some justice, especially considering a singularly odd reference to a mid-70’s song by Elton John.[158]
  • Trump has begun to pivot away from his earlier statements[159](“sorta neutral”) about Israel. But that’s just evidence of his famous “flexibility.”[160][161]
  • Trump also wants to Mafia-ize the U.S.’s national security posture. (It’d be a sad sight if Russia invaded you next week.) The military is oversized because of their own military adventures, and he has the gall to chastise Europe for not chipping in.[162]
  • Trump has hinted he may go to war if Mexico refuses to pay for nonsensical building projects.[163]
  • Trump said, in interviews with The Atlantic[164] and the New York Times,[165] that he would ignore NATO‘s defense policy if NATO members do not pay their membership fees. This completely goes against NATO’s longstanding policy of providing security to all of its members, and its pledge to defend their members if those members are attacked. He hashowever stopped short of saying the US should actually leave NATO;[166] in effect, he wants to extort NATO allies for money.
  • Trump does “not so much” trust intelligence (presumably because he doesn’t have any of his own), because Iraq.[167]
Economic plan Get rid of NAFTA, NATO, NASA, the NAACP, and anything with an N.[168][169]

  • It’s dizzying how quickly Trump has hitched himself to the Brexit campaign (right down to NAFTA’s equivalent of “Article 50”). He argued that Hillary Clinton is “100% wrong” because her view of the referendum differed from the outcome, whereas Trump wisely chose the side that “won.” Trump is doing the media’s work for them by branding Brexit a dry run of what a Trump presidency would be like.[170] He has even gone so far as to call himself “Mr. Brexit”, claiming that as the crooked media kept skewering those damn polls for the remoaners, the crooked media is skewering these damn polls over in the US for Clinton.[5]
  • What is his position on jobs? He’s going to “bring them back!”[171] Republicans and Democrats have already dropped the ball on helping those most affected by outsourcing; Trump wants to roll back free trade and raise tariffs, but that won’t necessarily fix the problem.[172][173] On the contrary, it’s a threat to eliminate hundreds and thousands of American jobs.[174] Their paychecks wouldn’t even keep up with inflation if they get what they want.[175] But the average voter won’t look a whole lot deeper than that free trade is “killing us!”
  • His economic plan sounds like the work of a businessman who’s made strategic use of bankruptcy.[176] It would wreak havoc on the dollar and turn US Treasury Bonds from the safest place to put your money into a risky proposition which investors would stay away from. You can’t unring the bell on his plan; just ask any country that ruined their currency long-term for a short-term benefit.[177]
  • The Trump Tax Cuts aren’t just right-wing, they’re crazy-wing. They’ve been criticized by conservatives for the huge deficits that would result, and by liberals since the main beneficiaries of his cuts are the very wealthy.[178][179][180]
Environment

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Jerry Brown tends to be frugal with his endorsements. Hearing Trump say asinine things regarding climate[181][182] (“there is no drought!”[183]) must have pushed him over the edge.But when it affects Trump’s golf course, then climate change IS real, it IS happening, and urgent action must be taken.[184]
Energy Trump wants to pull out of all climate agreements[185], get rid of environmental regulations, and increase the use of coal (which is not surprising, given his statement that “I have friends that own [coal] mines”.[186][187] Standard GOP pandering.[188] He also states that he wants energy independence. He dislikes renewable energy, saying that “wind [turbines] kill all your birds” (a patently false claim — cats kill many times more birds) and that solar power doesn’t work well (another absurd statement).[186]Wait… is he still using “America First”?[189] (He’s going with the Third Reich’s “worker’s party” thing too.[190]) Can’t tell if he is intentionally fucking with us, or is actually adopting Goebbels‘ playbook.[note 12]
Healthcare So, pretty much Obamacare except that the insurance cartelscompanies can headquarter in whichever states have the weakest consumer protection laws and force their plans on everyone else.[191]For all of Trump’s macho-man image, this is a remarkably pusillanimous plan. Trump’s candidacy is based on ditching GOP orthodoxy, but this healthcare plan is a standard Republican nothingburger that is indistinguishable from what a lot of others have offered up. This indicates that Trump does not feel secure about his position in the nomination process, and is trying to signal to the establishment that he can adopt some of their stances, too.[192]
First Amendment It’s becoming of a bit of a running gag how Trump keeps threatening to sue people who are critical of him.[193][194][195] (As you may have guessed, Trump rallies tend to be a gold mine for muckraking reporters.) So of course he wants to “open up the libel laws,” which would completely undo the First Amendment, making it easier to sue media outlets that dare to criticize him.[196][197]Since actions speak loudest, especially where Trump is concerned, what has he done in the meantime? Ejected journalists at his rallies simply for being journalists.[198] No person, no problem!

Khizr Khan’s claims at the 2016 Democratic National Convention that Trump had not read the US Constitution seemed to be reinforced by Trump’s comments that Khan “had no right” to claim that he had not read the Constitution – clearly not reading the First Amendment, giving him the right to free speech.[199]

Is someone protesting in a way Trump doesn’t approve of, such as burning an American flag? The solution is simple: lock them up for a year or strip them of their citizenship – although the Supreme Court might take issue with the legality of such a move.[200] Come to think of it, Trump took issue with this strategy until he got elected King of the Universe President.[201]

Abortion It sounds like the main takeaway from Paul Ryan‘s sit-down was that Trump agreed to nominate pro-lifers to the Supreme Court.[202] In 1999, Trump said that while he hated the concept of abortion, he viewed himself as “very pro-choice.”[203]At that aforementioned event in Wisconsin, Trump floated an idea to punish women who seek abortions. While speaking with MSNBC host Chris Matthews about how he would enforce it, he very quickly reversed the statement to say that he would make the procedure illegal and punish doctors who do so. The best part was when he said that penalties for abortion should not apply to men.[204] Shhhhh… Trump is pointing out the inherent contradiction in the conservative platform.
LGBT rights

polygamous relationship gone wrong

While lukewarm on LGBT people getting married and serving openly in the military,[203] in 2000 he concluded that “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has clearly failed,” and even blasted Pat Buchanan for engaging in the sort of chicanery which Trump is now.[205] Flash-forward:

  • Now he’s touting “traditional marriage”—a concept he grudgingly admits is totally alien to him.[206] He has promised to appoint judges to overturn same-sex marriage if need be,[207] despite dismissing traditional marriage as a “dead issue” in the past,[208] and attending the wedding of David Furnish and Elton John.[209]
  • In the Prime Universe, Trump opposed the transgender “bathroom bill,” saying trans people should be free to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.”[210] Mirror!Trump, on the other hand, says it should be up to the states.[211]
  • He’s stated that he “wouldn’t block laws” that permit discrimination based on sexual orientation.[212] But at least he won’t behead anybody.[213]
Second Amendment In the course of a single convoluted sentence, he managed to say we shouldn’t have guns in classrooms, we should have guns in classrooms, switched back to we shouldn’t, and then finally wound up saying we should.[214] The secret service had a word with Trump after he claimed that “the second amendment people” should go out and shoot Hillary Clinton.[215]Trump and Obama/Hillary at least agree on one point: he is against allowing people on the no-fly list to buy guns, even if they have not been convicted of a crime.[216] Weakness on guns combined with anti-Latino rhetoric could possibly open up Texas, so expect this to be backtracked in a few days or hours.[217]
IRS With Trump cratering in the polls, he suggested that we repeal the Johnson Amendment of 1954, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations (namely churches) from purchasing and running political ads. Nobody seriously expects the IRS to enforce the law, but it’s meat that Trump is throwing to the evangelical wing and they’re eating up like fools.[218][219] He needs them now, because a lot of them are threatening to sit out the election. Voting for a thrice-married adulterer isn’t their thing.[220][221]Trump wouldn’t be able to change the law via executive action (tax law is Congress’s domain), but he could order the IRS not to enforce the ban, which would amount to the same thing. That being said, it would be hilarious if American mosques started electing more Muslims to public office.

… and that, boys and girls, is how a pro-choice liberal in a shitty toupee stole the Republican Presidential Nomination.

Political positions

Trump’s campaign platform emphasized renegotiating U.S.–China relations and free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strongly enforcing immigration laws, and building a new wall along the U.S.–Mexico border. His other campaign positions included pursuing energy independence while opposing climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, modernizing and expediting services for veterans, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, abolishing Common Core education standards, investing in infrastructure, simplifying the tax code while reducing taxes for all economic classes, and imposing tariffs on imports by companies that offshore jobs. During the campaign, he also advocated a largely non-interventionist approach to foreign policy while increasing military spending, extreme vetting of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries to pre-empt domestic Islamic terrorism, and aggressive military action against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or IS).

Media have described Trump’s political positions as “populist“,[394][395] and some of his views cross party lines. For example, his economic campaign plan calls for large reductions in income taxes and deregulation,[396] consistent with Republican Party policies, along with significant infrastructure investment,[397] usually considered a liberal (Democratic Party) policy.[398][399] According to political writer Jack Shafer, Trump may be a “fairly conventional American populist when it comes to his policy views”, but he attracts free media attention, sometimes by making outrageous comments.[400][401]

Trump has supported or leaned toward varying political positions over time.[402][403][404]Politico has described his positions as “eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory”,[404] while NBC News counted “141 distinct shifts on 23 major issues” during his campaign.[405]

Foreign interference in election

There has been intensive media scrutiny of Trump’s relationship to Russia.[406][407] During the campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin as a strong leader.[408] Several of Trump’s advisers, including former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, have been connected to Russian or Ukrainian officials.[191][409] The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine released information that helped to force Manafort’s resignation as campaign manager.[410]American intelligence sources stated with “high confidence”[411] that the Russian government attempted to intervene in the 2016 presidential election to favor the election of Trump by hacking into computers of Trumps’ opponents,[412] and that members of Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian government officials both before and after the presidential election.[413]

Sexual misconduct allegations

Two days before the second presidential debate, a 2005 recording surfaced in which Trump was heard bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women.[414][415][416] The hot mic recording was captured on a studio bus in which Trump and Billy Bush were preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood. “I just start kissing them,” Trump said, “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything … grab them by the pussy.”[417] During the recording, Trump also spoke of his efforts to seduce a married woman, saying he “moved on her very heavily.”[417] These statements were recorded several months after Trump married his third and current wife, Melania, who was pregnant at the time.[417][418]

Trump’s language on the tape was described by the media as “vulgar”, “sexist”, and descriptive of sexual assault. The incident prompted him to make his first public apology during the campaign,[419][420] and caused outrage across the political spectrum,[421][422] with many Republicans withdrawing their endorsements of his candidacy and some urging him to quit the race.[423] A number of Trump supporters worldwide also withdrew their support following release of the tape, including many Conservatives in Britain.[424]Subsequently, at least 15 women[425] came forward with new accusations of sexual misconduct, including unwanted kissing and groping, resulting in widespread media coverage.[426][427]

Trump and his campaign have denied all of the sexual misconduct accusations, which Trump has called “false smears”, and alleged a conspiracy against him.[428][429][430] In his two public statements in response to the controversy, Trump responded by alleging that Bill Clinton, former President of the United States and husband of Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, had “abused women” and that Hillary had bullied her husband’s victims.

Trust me with donated campaign money

Trump gave $35,000 to an advertising company called Draper-Sterling. Like, from Mad Men.[131] The firm doesn’t exist, and this is their address in New Hampshire. So far he has paid $4 million to himself for flying in his own plane, $200K to Trump Tower, and $400K to his country club campaign headquarters in Palm Beach. Most hilarious is $1.8 million paid to the company making/distributing Trump hats, which is owned indirectly by Trump’s son Eric.[132] Suspiciously much money ($6 million estimate) goes to Trump owned companies and Trump’s family.[133] Hillary Clinton joked, “What is Trump spending his meager campaign resources on? Why, himself, of course.”[134]

It’s like Trump is skimming off the top, except his fundraising is so bad that the “top” is the whole thing. It’s also unheard-of for a major party convention to be begging for $6 million at the last minute. These should be huge yuge red flags to anyone.[135]

 

Where did we go right?

Trump accumulates a few nuggets of cocktail party knowledge about political topics (7-11 was an inside job![222]) and sort of freewheels through it while trying to steer the conversation back to the main talking points, which are Building Stuff and Making America White Great Again®. On Baltimore, he knows that people torched a Rite-Aid.[223] On climate change, he knows the difference between climate and weather, kind of.[224] Someone back at headquarters didn’t know there were two different organizations called “La Raza” and sent out orders to use that defense in the Trump U. case.[225] Trump was endorsed by the National Enquirer and has parroted their “journalism” as fact, like the thing about Cruz’s father and JFK.[226](Also, the only person directly quoted in the Enquirer hit piece is Roger Stone, who also wrote a book on how he thinks LBJkilled JFK and regularly makes appearances on Infowars.) His responses on China actually betray a sort of thought process: what he’s advocating sounds like an intentional invocation of Nixon’s Madman Theory, and Nixon went to China, so we guess in Trump’s head those things are somehow directly related.[227] His wife Melania’s speech to the Republican National Convention was supposed to cap the RNC with a sincere defense of her husband. Instead, part of it was grabbed from Michelle Obama.[228]

There’s actually considerable biographical evidence that Trump is serious about Building Stuff: sources close to him claim that he was deadly serious about the wall; the reason he likes it is that it gives him a physical thing to focus his imagination on, and he is not generally interested in abstractions.[229][230] As you’ll note below, interviewers can get Trump to agree to pretty much anything, as long as they frame it as something novel.[231] He genuinely has no clue how the Executive Branch is run.

Situations keep arising for him to show what kind of leader he would make, and he keeps fumbling them; he lives in the moment and doesn’t seem capable of long-term planning. The way he handled the Orlando situation is probably the best example of this.[232][233][234][235][236] Any credible Republican would spit-roast Clinton over the e-mail server and coast to the White House. Trump, instead, will posit that Bill had a bathroom quickie with Coney while the pair of them giggled about how they faked the moon landing and poisoned the populace with fluoride.[237][238] Any legitimate criticism of Clinton just gets lumped in with his never-ending miasma of conspiracy theory horseshit (“people are talking about” and “I’m just asking”).

Adults in the room

Trump’s “short list” for vice president included Ben CarsonChris ChristieNewt Gingrich, Ivanka Trump,[No, not The Onion] Joni Ernst, Bob Corker,[Who?] Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, John Kasich, Nikki Haley, Joe Scarborough, and Jan Brewer. On July 15, he announced that Governor Mike Pence of Indiana would be the nominee.[239][240][241][242][243]

Meanwhile he’s been assembling a team of the worst politicians you can imagine. Corrupt shit-bags like Chris Christie and Newt Gingrichratfuckers like Roger Stone,[244] and now Rick Scott[245]—though really none of these people made it to the White House.

Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind

“”They’ve been tailoring the suit for years. It just happens to fit Trump perfectly.
—Sam Seder, The Majority Report
“”I’ve got to mow my lawn.
—Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ) on skipping the Republican National Convention[246]

Bircher tactics work. If this election is a litmus test, then the entire Republican party failed it.[247] And that really gets to the heart of the problem: The “Silent Majority” has always held these beliefs under the surface. They’ve not been very politically active; they’re too busy hating the world for changing to even bother voting. But now, Trump has re-activated that base. This is right in Trump’s own wheelhouse anyway. People forget that Trump joined the Reform Party back in 1999.[248]

So now, left with no Bush or Cruz, they’ve swallowed hard and endorsed Trump. But you can tell their endorsements are half-hearted. Trump might be a big player in New York real estate, but he’s not a team player—the dressage crowd who somehow manage all to be related to one another (yep, even Obama is related to some of our famous political leaders). Adding to that, this is a guy who flaunts his wealth like someone who just won the lottery and has a gold-plated stroller for his kid. It’s taking everything the party holds dear—capitalism, family values—and turning it into a reality TV joke.

It was expected to have down-ticket effects that the GOP are not happy with. Not only was Trump capable of fumbling the presidency right into Clinton’s hands, he was thought to cost the GOP significantly in the legislature. Polls had Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson getting creamed by Russ Feingold in no small part because Johnson can’t step out of the shadow of Trump.[249] And Trump’s poisoning of the GOP won’t stop after the election. Nobody knows how Paul Ryan is going to rebuild his image after an hour or more of accumulated footage where he weakly endorses Trump while simultaneously disavowing everything he says. And Christie… wow. Where to even start? He went from a contender for the White House to the guy who fetches McDonald’s[250] for the blowhard who claims he saw radical Muslims in Christie’s own state cheering on 9/11.[251]

The party is already fissured, and if enough people voted Trump in, career politicians would have to adopt platforms more in line with Joe Sixpack if they want to be electorally successful. And with Antonin Scalia‘s death, the stakes were just too high to let the presidency slip away. But when they thought that they’re going to lose the presidency—and suffer serious losses in the fall—the party is finally ready to take their medicine. Like a gangrenous leg you must amputate.[252][253][254][255] They are in for a very unpleasant time in Cleveland (As long as everyone is armed, we’ll be fine![256][257]), and Trump will run as a zombie, but the party will emerge more-or-less intact.

Some were openly calling for the Republican Party to refuse funding to Trump and give money to other vulnerable candidates instead.[258] Serious.

Trump embodies every stereotype the left has tried to stick Republicans with for years. It will be impossible to deny your party is sexist and racist when he is the standard bearer for it. Actually, not impossible. There are plenty who still deny it. Republican talking heads are half-entertaining rumors that Trump, a longtime friend of the Clintons, is actually one of the most successful political double agents ever planted.[259] It’s easy to see the appeal of this theory: it’s painful for conservatives to admit the party is getting its just deserts for pandering to cretins; they’d rather just pretend that it’s due to Hillary’s witchcraft.[260]

“I am the most militaristic person ever.”

They so proudly wear this insignia.

In July 2015, Trump set the tone for the race with an attack on John McCain‘s military record, declaring:

“”He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.[261]

Trump’s Vietnam-era record was one of a series of draft deferments (including studying real estate at the University of Pennsylvania). This was parallelled by a seemingly unusual conversion of his fitness to serve from 1-A (available to serve) before college to 1-Y (only in time of emergency) to 4-F (unfit to serve) after college, citing a bone spur in the foot, though he no longer recalls which foot.[262][263] Trump doubled down on his comments,[264] causing Rupert Murdoch to disavow him, although Roger Ailes hadn’t let up (until he was fired). McCain eventually had to apologize to Trump (!) for calling his supporters crazies, which provoked this entire exchange.[265] Whoever bought his soul is going to be disappointed at how tiny it is.

So, according to Republican voters, a Vietnam vet with multiple purple hearts gets swiftboated, but a trust fund kid who mocks prisoners of war for getting caught gets a pass.

Stop and frisk

Nowhere was Trump’s ineptitude on greater display then in the first debate when Trump argued in support of New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk ordinance. In his rambling policy proposal, Trump showed he didn’t understand the difference between local, state, and regional issues, and the limits of federal and presidential power. New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk law was an anti-gun measure based on the idea that people don’t kill people, guns do. Trump vehemently argued in support of this entirely local issue while campaigning for federal office, after having secured the backing of the National Rifle Association.[citation needed]

Then, in an effort to show understanding of African Americans’ issues and concerns, Trump made the statement that Obama’s hometown of Chicago had 4000 shootings since Obama came to Washington. In fact, Chicago had 4000 shootings in just the past year, and Trump was arguing for federal legislation to disarm law abiding citizens.[citation needed]

Trump’s fellow RINO Rudy Guilliani, who evidently advised Trump on these alleged “facts”, defended the stupidity while displaying his own total ignorance of America outside the New York media bubble and the New York City political milleu.[citation needed]

Assassinate Hillary Clinton

Trump made an ambiguous statement which has been interpreted as a call to assassinate Hillary Clinton.

“””If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people… maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”
Actually not The Onion[266]

Another day! Another Trump gaffe! As expected, the usual cadre of Trump sycophants were on-hand to explain why a man who speaks his mind and says what every one is really thinking didn’t actually mean what he said.[267][268]

“”I fear that an unbalanced person hears that in this inflamed environment and, God forbid, thinks that was a threat. I certainly take it as a threat, I really do, and Trump needs to apologise
—Tony Schwartz, author of [Trump’s book] The Art of the Deal[269]

And he did it again! Mirroring a Tweet he’d made all the way back in January,[270] Trump once more implied that Hillary Clinton’s bodyguards should be disarmed and that she should see what happens to her:[271]

“”She’s very much against the Second Amendment. She wants to destroy your Second Amendment. Guns, guns, guns, right? I think what we should do is, she goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons, they should disarm. I think they should disarm immediately. Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, OK, it would be very dangerous.

The above quote is also a great example of the way Donald Trump talks.

Rhetoric begets reaction

“”I’ve got black accountants… Black guys counting my money! I hate that. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.
—A former-Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino executive quoting Trump[272][273]

Trump’s problem is his rhetoric. He is continually pushing the Overton windowWikipedia's W.svg to his advantage, while exhibiting an “alarming willingness to use fascist themes and styles,” according to the father of fascism studies.[274] (Most infamously, he retweeted and endorsed a quotation from Benito Mussolini, and when confronted about it, said “What difference does it make?”) Extreme rhetoric has consequences: In general, Trump’s rallies have inspired, or outright incited, an uptick in violence from his supporters all over the nation, including from his own security guards and campaign staffers. Protesters and journalists are often the intended targets.[275][276] Even when there’s no violence, he expresses disappointment at the peace.[277][278] It’s gotten so bad, Trump actually entertained political assassination of Hillary Clinton to keep her from appointing Supreme Court Justices, prompting the Secret Service to host a private meeting with him over his remarks.[279][280]

The earliest signs of Trump’s racism can be found with his father Fred’s management of The Trump Management Corporation (TMC), including violating the Fair Housing Act by preventing African Americans from renting at his properties; for Donald, this began at the time he took control of TMC from his father.[281][282] When and if this discrimination ceased is a bit murky, but lasted at least until at least 1975, and possibly as late as 1983.[281]

Guys like Marco Rubio are unable to court Trump supporters, because Rubio would never come out and refuse to condemn the KKK—even though he knows that Klansmen vote Republican. Trump can somehow not condemn the KKK and condemn them in the same day and not alienate anybody in his base:

I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about… Did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.[283]

Remember, a Mexican guy was beaten nearly to death in Boston last year by folks who said they did it because of Trump. Trump didn’t denounce that behavior, he just said his supporters were passionate.[284] Just as he has an “out” when people question him about his comments on Mexicans (I’m just talking about the illegals!) and Muslims (I’ll only ban Muslim visitors temporarily!). The general election is months away. Trump will refute these allegations for a week or so, and then people will be tired of talking about it.

My demeaning comments towards women were just show business

“”In the future, if you’re wondering: “Hillary can’t satisfy her husband,” is when I decided to kick your ass.
Bartlet Clinton

Tear rolls down William F. Buckley‘s eye

In the course of the GOP debates, he openly insulted the looks of his party’s sole female contender, Carly Fiorina,[285] the menstrual cycle of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly,[286] and suggested Hillary Clinton got “schlonged” in her 2008 Democratic primary loss to Barack Obama.[287] In response, voters live-tweeted their periods to him.[288]

His followers harassed Kelly with unoriginal and sexist slurs after Trump decided not to partake in the Fox News debate.[289] Even the media have their role to play: when Kelly cut her hair, everyone knew it was in preparation for her rematch with The Don.[290] Bill Maher was right on the money when he said that if Republicans were smart, they would be running Megyn Kelly.[291]

In response to an ad that slut-shamed his wife, that the Make America Awesome Super-PAC released, Trump proceeded to attack Ted Cruz’s wife.[292] Yes, Trump attacked someone who had nothing to do with the ad. Yes, he couldn’t be bothered to read the fine print on the ad that clearly said “not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.”

“”The thing about the Republican’s words isn’t that they’re explicit or graphic. It’s that they’re misogynistic, coercive, abusive, and dehumanizing. And as my colleague David Graham notes, illegal: The candidate is describing forcing himself on women, bragging that they’re disinclined to object because of a power structure on which he knowingly capitalizes. Framing this as lewd, even extremely so, is a reminder of the frequent reluctance to name sexual assault.[293]
“”So Trump’s position is “I boast about sexually assaulting women, but when women confirm that is true, they are liars, because I was just lying all those times, and you must believe I am telling the truth, because whatever is convenient for me to say in this very moment weighs much more than what they say with witnesses, confirmation, etc., just as I weigh much more than the people I assault.”[294]

One of the women who complained that Trump groped her is suing for defamation and insists she is not a liar.[295] As of 2016, 16 women have accused Trump of sexually assaulting them.[296] How will Americans succeed in respecting the office of president?

“Hispanics love me!”

During his speech in which Trump announced his bid for the presidency, Trump gained notoriety for saying (among other things):[297]

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems … When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

Naturally, such comments produced outrage among most decent people worldwide. When asked to retract his statements following protests against him at the US-Mexico border,[note 13] Trump refused, saying that “the Hispanics love me!” and that “they were chanting for me at the airport!”[298] Like the Muslims dancing on 9/11 that Trump keeps talking about, this did not happen.

Ivanka Trump later wrote a letter to Trump in private to “clarify” his position, claiming that “When Mexico sends its people” was referring to illegal immigration and not all Mexicans. When asked what the statement said, Ivanka said that:[299]

… my father has a tremendous relationship with people of Hispanic descent. You know, this is — this is something that personally was very hard for me because I know how many friends my father has who are Hispanicshow many people work at our company who are Hispanic … He said that, you know, how many Hispanic friends he has and how many — how fortunate we are to have so many great Hispanic people working for us.

Trump was invoked by the perpetrators of a hate crime in Boston, in which two brothers assaulted a Hispanic homeless man and urinated on him before leaving him to die. While Trump’s first tweet condemned the action, he followed it up with:[284]

I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.

His campaign manager followed up in an interview:[300]

We would never condone violence. If that’s what happened in Boston, by no means would that be acceptable in any nature. However, we should not be ashamed to be Americans. We should be proud of our country, proud of our heritage, and continue to be the greatest country in the world.

“Look at my African-American over here!”

Trump uses made-up statistics from a neo-Nazi group suggesting that a high proportion of murders involve black people killing white people. Trump also cited unfounded statistics based on answers to loaded questions from “a virulently anti-Muslim organization” called the Center for Security Policy to suggest that American Muslims are more violent and more accepting of Sharia than they really are.[301]

Nope, not done yet. During a rally, when his supporters beat up a black protester while chanting “USA!” Trump can be heard demanding “Get him out of here!” while later insisting that the protester “should have been roughed up.”[302] True to his word, when Trump next sent his security guards to rough up another protester, one of his stormtroopers supporters let his excitement get the best of him and belted a “Sieg Heil!” as the uppity negro was dragged away. (You could also hear another one say “Light the motherfucker on fire!”)[303]

At another rally, Trump kicked out thirty black students… for being black. Literally no reason other than being black attendees at his rally; they weren’t even protesting this time![304]

“I love the Muslims!”

Trump repeatedly claims without much evidence that American Muslims celebrated 9/11,[305] but what Trump advocates would be much worse. Trump argues we should ban all Muslims from heading to America, including Muslim American citizens,[306] something even Dick Cheney (“Here’s a guy who did a rotten job as Vice-President…”[307]) would not advocate.[308] Joe Scarborough had to cut him off on his show.[309]

“Beautiful Jewish Baby!”

Even Bibi Netanyahu thinks Trump is out of his tree?[310] It’s beautiful that Muslims and Jews can come together in their shared opposition to Donald Trump.[311] Maybe Trump is what we need to achieve peace in the Middle East, sort of like Ozymandias’ squid creature in Watchmen.

Trump supports a mandatory identification database for Muslim Americans. When asked about the parallel of requiring registration of, well, Jews, Trump’s ambiguous answer/non-denial was, “What do you think?”[312] For what it’s worth, Trump’s daughter has converted to Judaism, so file this one with “Dick Cheney puts votes ahead of his gay daughter”.

“I don’t know who David Duke is.”

Trump’s press events and rallies are magnets for cranks of all varieties. The great thing about Trump is he can be whatever you want him to be: Ronald Reagan for the normal republicans, Pinochet for the libertarians, Hitler for the fascists, Jefferson Davis for the paleocons, and a Prussian despot for the NRx!

  • Take Jim Sherota of Alabama, a Walter Mitty-type who stumbled into the spotlight at a rally when he told the press that he hoped President Trump would turn the border into a hunting resort and offer citizens a $50 prize for every illegal immigrant they could kill.[313]
  • American ayatollah Pat Buchanan, 2000 Reform Party presidential nominee, has been consistently bullish on Trump’s campaign.[314] Oddly, in 2000 Trump refused a nomination from the Reform Party, singling out the presence of “neo-Nazi” Buchanan as a reason for his refusal.[315]
  • Jim Gilchrist, head of the Minutemen border posse, has also jumped Trump’s bones, thrilled to have finally found a candidate as anti-immigrant as himself.[316]
  • Janusz Korwin-Mikke, the Polish politician who supports Brexit and thinks the Holocaust would have been preventable if every Jew had a gun(?), also offers his support for Trump because “Clinton is supported by the Jews.”[317]
  • Marine Le Pen: Leading French racist endorses leading American racist. Read all about it. (She took offense at being compared to him last Autumn.[318] Wonder what changed her mind.)

But it’s not just the crypto-fascists who love him: Real Neo-Nazis of the swastika-waving, Jew-baiting, race war-daydreaming variety have jumped onboard, too![319] In a one-week analysis by Twitter analysis firm Little Bird has found out that a whopping 62% of Trump’s retweets have been from accounts which believe in white genocide alone, and 58% of the top white supremacist accounts on Twitter follow Donald Trump.[320]

  • The chairman of the American Nazi Party loves Trump’s racist proposals, but dismisses him as a candidate because he doesn’t believe Trump could actually accomplish any of them.[321]
  • He has retweeted user @keksec_org, a white supremacist who quotes such wonderful people as Geert Wilders just as often as he does Trump, and frequently refers to “the feeble mind of the American Negro” when he is criticised on Twitter.[322]
  • KKK Grand Wizard Emeritus David Duke has praised Trump’s supposed fight against “Jewish domination of the media“, despite the fact that Trump is professedly pro-Israel and has no problems at all with his daughter converting to Judaism. (Trump disavowed Duke, but didn’t seem to think association with an actual Brownshirt was that big a deal.)[323]
  • Representatives of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an unreconstructed segregationist outfit that helped to incite the 2015 terrorist attack in Charleston, have also endorsed Trump.[324]
  • According Andrew Anglin on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, “The Donald has once again proven … that ‘make America great again’ is code word for ‘race war.'”[325] Stormfront founder Don Black has publicly credited him with reviving white nationalism in America, and pledges that the machine set in motion by Trump 2016 will outlast the businessman’s candidacy even if he drops out.[326] Thanks, asshole. The Anti-Defamation League also thinks Trump stirred up racismand made ugly types of racism more acceptable.[327]
  • Ironically, although Trump has compared his rival Ben Carson to a child molester,[328] he himself has won the coveted endorsement of neo-Nazi child molester (and erstwhile al Qaeda supporter) August Kreis III.[329][330]
  • A segment of PBS Newshour showing first-time voter Grace Tilly and her family failed to report on some interesting tattoos on their hands: an 88 tattoo (numerical code for “Heil Hitler” in the neo-Nazi community) and Odin’s Cross, a white nationalist symbol.[331] Both symbols are listed as neo-Nazi hate symbols by the Anti-Defamation League.[332][333]
  • Birgitt Peterson, a 69-year-old woman from Yorkville, Illinois, appeared in the Chicago Tribune doing a Nazi salute.[334]Peterson, born in West Berlin, alleged that she took offense to counterprotestors calling her a Nazi; therefore, she said “If you want to do it right, you do it right” and did a Nazi salute. Remarkably, this stunt backfired, with the image circulating on the internet showing alleged neo-Nazis at Trump’s rallies (an allegation Peterson denies).[335] Donald Trump, Jr., decided to weigh in on the debate, retweeting an allegation that this was the work of Bernie Sanders supporter Portia Boulger (despite Peterson being identified in the original Chicago Tribune report[334]) and alleging that this was part of a vast left wing conspiracy against Trump, Sr., deleting his tweet without apologizing or even acknowledging his mistake. This has led to the hashtag #ApologizeTrumpJr.[336] Trump immediately apologized for his mistake… two weeks after he had posted the picture up originally.[337]
  • Trump tweeted a picture of Hillary Clinton with what appeared to be a Star of David and a giant pile of cash, accusing Clinton of being the most corrupt politician ever. Trump decided to counter allegations of antisemitism, blaming the “dishonest Jewish-run media” for distortion,[338] and describing the star used as a “basic star”, a sheriff’s badge,[339] or a label from a Frozen coloring book.[340] The fact that the image originally appeared on 8chan‘s version of /pol/, and contained the watermark of @FishBoneHead1—whose racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic tweets on geopolitics have been in plain sight on Twitter until recently—was just a coincidence.[341]
  • To top off the above; as of November 2nd, the official KKK rag newspaper — The Crusader — openly endorses Trump for president.[342]

“I will never, ever forgive [the voters]”

“”Can you imagine how badly I’ll feel, if I spent all of that money, all of this energy, all of this time — and LOST?
—Trump, explorer of the impossible[343]

On August 13th, 2016, Trump coldly stated that he would “never, ever forgive” the voters of ConnecticutFloridaPennsylvaniaand Ohio if they didn’t pull the right levers for him on election day. Sensing the changing mood in the crowd, he quickly blurted out that he loved them anyways and changed the topic; a move that was met with prolonged booing.[343]

“If I lose, the election must be rigged!”

“”If Mr. Trump is suggesting that a conspiracy theory is being propagated across the country, including in places like Texas, where typically it’s not Democrats who are in charge of voting booths, that’s ridiculous. That doesn’t make any sense, and I don’t think anyone takes that seriously.
Obama, on Trump’s accusation that the election is one big scam[344]

Trump refused to say one way or the other if he would concede the election if he lost. Rick Hasen of the University of California described Trump’s comments as, “appalling and unprecedented” and fears there could be “violence in the streets from his supporters if Trump loses.”[345][346]

Election to the presidency

2016 electoral vote results

On Election Day, November 8, 2016, Trump received 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232 votes. The counts were later adjusted to 304 and 227 respectively, after defections on both sides, formalizing Trump’s election to the presidency.[432] In the early hours of November 9, Clinton called Trump to concede the election. Trump then delivered his victory speech before hundreds of supporters in the New York Hilton hotel. The speech was in contrast with some of his previous rhetoric, with Trump promising to heal the division caused by the election, thanking Clinton for her service to the country, and promising to be a president to all Americans.[433][434]

Trump received a smaller share of the popular vote than Clinton, making him the fifth person to be elected president after losing the popular vote. Records on this matter date from the year 1824.[435][nb 1] Clinton finished ahead by 2.86 million votes or 2.1 percentage points, 48.04% to 45.95%, with neither candidate reaching a majority nationwide.[438][439]

Trump’s victory was considered a stunning political upset, as polls consistently showed Hillary Clinton leading nationwide (where she did win) and in most battleground states, while Trump’s support had been underestimated throughout his campaign.[440] The errors in some state polls were later partially attributed to pollsters overestimating Clinton’s support among well-educated and nonwhite voters, while underestimating Trump’s support among white working-class voters.[441] Trump won the perennial swing states of Florida, Iowa and Ohio, and flipped Clinton’s “blue wall” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which had been Democratic strongholds since the 1990s. Trump’s victory marked the return of a Republican White House combined with control of both chambers of Congress, as was the case during parts of George W. Bush‘s presidency from 2003 to 2007.

Trump became the first president without prior governmental or military experience.[442][443][444] Of the 44 previous presidents, 39 had held prior elective office; two had not held elective office but had served in the Cabinet; and three had never held public office but had been commanding generals.[444] He is the first Republican since the 1980s to win the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He lost his home state of New York, becoming only the fourth candidate to win the presidency without his home state. The others were James Polk (Tennessee) in 1844, Woodrow Wilson (New Jersey) in 1916, and Richard Nixon (New York) in 1968.[445]

Protests

Trump’s victory sparked protests across the United States. Trump opponents took to the streets to amplify their opposition to Trump’s views and denounce his inflammatory statements. Some argued that Clinton’s popular vote victory meant Trump was not the democratically elected president and should be considered illegitimate.[446] Trump initially said on Twitter that the protests consisted of “professional protesters, incited by the media”, and were “unfair”, but he later stated that he loves their passion for the country.[447][448] In contrast, after Obama’s re-election in 2012, Trump had tweeted “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”[449]

On the Saturday following Trump’s inauguration there were massive demonstrations protesting Trump in the United States and worldwide, with approximately 2,600,000 taking part in Women’s Marches worldwide.[450] The most notable of these marches was the Women’s March on Washington (in Washington, D.C.), where over 500,000 people marched in opposition to Trump.[451] This was more than three times the number of people who were at Trump’s inaugural speech, according to crowd scientists at the Manchester Metropolitan University.[452]

Electoral history

Republican Party presidential primaries, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Donald Trump 14,015,993 votes
1,441 delegates
(41 contests)
Votes: 44.9%
Delegates: 58.3%
Republican Ted Cruz 7,822,100 votes
551 delegates
(11 contests)
Votes: 25.1%
Delegates: 22.3%
Republican Marco Rubio 3,515,576 votes
173 delegates
(3 contests)
Votes: 11.3%
Delegates: 7%
Republican John Kasich 4,290,448 votes
161 delegates
(1 contest)
Votes: 13.8%
Delegates: 6.5%
United States presidential election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Donald Trump 62,979,879 votes
304 electors
(30 states + ME-02)
Votes: 46.0%
Electors: 56.5%
Democratic Hillary Clinton 65,844,954 votes
227 electors
(20 states + DC)
Votes: 48.1%
Electors: 42.2%

The victory parade

After a win that contradicted most pre-election polls, the celebrants include a motley crew of dictators, theocrats, and extremists (horseshoe theory anyone?):[347]

Indications of 2020 presidential campaign

Trump signaled his intent to run for a second term by filing with the FEC within hours of assuming the presidency.[453][454] This transformed his 2016 election committee into a 2020 reelection one.[455] The early timing of the beginning of the campaign was highly unorthodox. Trump marked the official start of the campaign with a campaign rally in Melbourne, Florida on February 18, 2017, less than a month after taking office.[456] By February 1, 2017, the campaign had already raised over $7 million.[457]

Presidency

Transition

President Obama and President-elect Trump meet in the Oval Office on November 10, 2016, two days after the election.

On November 10, President-elect Trump had his first ever meeting with President Obama to discuss plans for a peaceful transition of power. The New York Times stated that “It was an extraordinary show of cordiality and respect between two men who have been political enemies and are stylistic opposites.”[458] The BBC stated that “their antipathy was barely concealed” in “awkward photos” of the meeting.[459]

White House appointments

Trump’s transition team was led by Chris Christie until November 11, 2016, when Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over.[460] Since then, Trump has chosen RNC chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff[461] and businessman and media executive Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist.[462]

Cabinet-level nominations

Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General,[463] retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor,[464] education reform activist Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education,[465] Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations,[466] former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation,[467]U.S. Representative Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services,[468] former campaign rival Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development,[469]financier Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury,[470] billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce,[471] retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense,[472] retired Marine Corps General John F. Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security,[473] businessman Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor[474] (later withdrawn, replaced by attorney and law school dean Alexander Acosta),[475] CEO of ExxonMobilRex Tillerson as Secretary of State,[476] former Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy,[477] U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior,[478] and Under Secretary for HealthDavid Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[479]

Despite being nominated promptly during the transition period, most cabinet members were unable to take office on Inauguration Day because of delays in the formal confirmation process. By February 8, 2017, President Trump had fewer cabinet nominees confirmed than any prior president two weeks into their mandate, except George Washington.[480][481] Part of the lateness was ascribed to delays in submitting background-check paperwork, part to obstructionism by Senate Democrats.[482]

Pre-inauguration events

On November 22, Trump outlined his plan for his first 100 days in office in a video posted on YouTube. The plan included the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and asking the Department of Defense to develop a plan to protect the U.S. from cyber-attack.[483][484]

On December 7, Time named Trump as its “Person of the Year“.[485] In an interview on The Today Show, he said he was honored by the award, but he took issue with the magazine for referring to him as the “President of the Divided States of America.”[486][487] He also opposed Time‘s decision to change its “Man of the Year” title to “Person of the Year” in 1999, describing the action as too “politically correct”.[488] On December 13 he was named Financial TimesPerson of the Year.[489] In December 2016, Forbes ranked Trump the second most powerful person in the world, after Vladimir Putin and before Angela Merkel.[490]

Based on intelligence reports issued from October 2016 to January 2017, the Obama administration accused the Russian government of trying to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump, by supplying the DNC emails to WikiLeaks for publication.[491] Trump,[492] WikiLeaks[493] and Russian officials[494] have denied the allegations.

In January 2017, Trump was briefed on a private intelligencedossier containing “potentially compromising personal and financial information” about his activities in Russia,[495]which he denied.[496] The dossier was also leaked to the press and published.[497] Media evaluation of the dossier ranged from “garbage”[498] to “partially corroborated”.[499]

First 100 days

Trump taking the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts

Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States was held on Friday, January 20, 2017. In his first week as president, Trump signed six executive orders. His first order as president set out interim procedures in anticipation of repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That same week, Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, re-instated the Mexico City Policy, reopened the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction projects and launched the process[clarification needed] to build a new Mexico border wall and reinforce border security.[500]

Immigration order

Trump signing Executive Order 13769 at the Pentagon as the Vice President and Secretary of Defense look on

On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order that 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 about terrorism. The following day, thousands of protesters gathered at airports and other locations throughout the United States to protest the signing of the order and detainment of the foreign nationals.[501] Later, the administration seemed to reverse a portion of part of the order, effectively exempting visitors with a green card.[502][503] Two Iraqi nationals detained upon arrival filed a complaint.[504] Several federal judges issued rulings that curtailed parts of the immigration order, stopping the federal government from deporting visitors already affected.[503]

On March 6, 2017, Trump issued a revised executive order, that, among other differences with the original order, excluded Iraq, visa-holders, and permanent residents from the temporary suspension and did not differentiate Syrian refugees from refugees from other countries.[505]

Supreme Court nomination

On January 31, Trump nominated U.S. Appeals Court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.[506] An invocation of the “nuclear option” was prompted by Trump.[507] The Senate confirmed the nomination of Gorsuch on April 7, with a 54–45 vote.[508] Gorsuch was sworn in the next day.[509]

Domestic policy

Energy and climate

Trump’s energy policy advocates domestic industrial support for both fossil and renewable energy sources in order to curb reliance on Middle-Eastern oil and possibly turn the U.S. into a net energy exporter.[510]His appointed advisers favor a less regulated energy market and, because they do not consider climate change a threat, see no need for immediate action.[511]

Trump does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change.[512][513] In 2012, he said that global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese, but later said that he was joking.[514][515] He has called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a “disgrace” and has threatened to cut its budget.[516] Trump has pledged to eliminate the Clean Power Plan[517] and withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for reductions in carbon emissions in more than 170 countries.[518] After winning the presidency, Trump admitted “some connectivity” between human activity and climate variability and said he has an “open mind” towards the Paris agreement.[519]

Immigration

Trump speaking with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly on January 25, 2017

Trump’s immigration policies were intensely discussed during the campaign. Trump vowed to build a more substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants, a wall which Trump promised Mexico would pay for.[520][521][522] He pledged to massively deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States,[523] and criticized birthright citizenship as it creates “anchor babies“.[524]He said the focus of deportation would be criminals, those who have overstayed their visas, and other “security threats”.[525]

Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump made a controversial proposal to completely ban Muslim non-citizens from entering the United States until stronger vetting systems could be implemented.[526][527][528] Later in 2016 he stated that the ban would apply only to people originating from countries with a “proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies”, or countries “compromised by terrorism”.[529][530][531]

In late January 2017, Trump issued an executive order banning the admission of immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.[532] The order was imposed without warning and took effect immediately;[533] the measure caused chaos at many airports, with consecutive days of mass protest afflicting major airports in the United States.[534] Multiple legal challenges were filed against the order, and a federal court blocked its implementation.[533] In early March 2017, Trump issued a revised order into law, which excluded Iraq, gave specific exemptions for permanent residents, no priorities for religious minorities (e.g. Christian refugees) and a week was given to implement legislation.[505][533]

Social issues

Trump is conservative, describes himself as pro-life and generally opposes abortion; exceptions are made in cases of rape, incest, and circumstances endangering the health of the mother.[535] He has said that he is committed to appointing justices who would try to overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade.[536] He personally supports “traditional marriage”[514]but considers the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage a “settled” issue.[536]

Trump supports a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment and says he is opposed to gun control in general,[537][538] although his views have shifted over time.[539] Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana.[540] He favors capital punishment,[541][542] as well as the use of waterboarding.[543][544]

Health care

In 1999, Trump told Larry King Live that “I believe in universal healthcare.”[545] Trump’s 2000 book, The America We Deserve, argued strongly for a single-payer healthcare system based on the Canadian model,[546] and has voiced admiration for the Scottish National Health Service.[545][547][548]

However, Trump has repeatedly vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare.[549][550] In March 2016, Trump’s campaign released a platform summary which included a variety of free-market health reforms including provisions to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, enable individuals to deduct health insurance premiums, expand health savings accounts, and give more control of Medicaid to the states.[551][552]

Trump aims to streamline the Department of Veterans Affairs, getting rid of backlogs and waitlists, and upgrading relevant facilities.[553] On his first Monday in office, Trump issued a federal hiring freeze on the VA.[554]

Education

Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools.[555] He opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative for primary and secondary schools,[556] and has called Common Core “a disaster” that must be ended.[557] He has stated he would abolish all or part of the Department of Education.[558]

Economy and trade

Trump speaking to automobile workers in Michigan in March 2017

Trump’s campaign tax plan called for levelling the corporate tax rate to 15%, eliminating various business loopholes and deductions,[396] and reducing the number of brackets for personal income tax: the top rate would be reduced from 39.6% to 25%, a large “zero bracket” would be created, and the alternative minimum tax and estate tax (which currently applies to individual estates over $5.45 million or $10.9 million per married couple) would both be eliminated.[559] His comments about the minimum wage have been inconsistent.[560][561][562]

Trump identifies as a “free trader“, but says that trade must be “reasonably fair”.[563] He has often been called a “protectionist“,[564][565][566] because of his criticism of NAFTA,[567][568] the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),[569] and his proposal to raise tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports to the United States significantly.[570][571] He has also been critical of the World Trade Organization, threatening to leave unless his proposed tariffs are accepted.[572][573] However, Trump has been very keen to support a “fair” post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom,[574] which Trump says would be “good for both sides”.[575]

Government size and deregulation

Trump’s early policies have favored far-reaching deregulation and a smaller federal government. He became the first president in sixteen years to sign a Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution; the law had been used only once before.[576] During his first six weeks in office, he abolished ninety federal regulations.[577][578]

On January 23, 2017, Trump ordered a temporary government-wide hiring freeze.[579][580] The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office told a House committee that hiring freezes have not proven to be effective in reducing costs.[581] Unlike some past freezes, the current freeze bars agencies from adding contractors to make up for employees leaving.[581]

A week later Trump signed Executive Order 13771, directing administrative agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation they issue.[582][583]Harvard Law professor Jody Freeman said that the order would do no more than slow the regulatory process, because it did not block rules required by statute.[584]

On February 24, 2017, Trump ordered the agencies to create task forces to determine which regulations are deemed burdensome to the U.S. economy.[585] Agency defenders expressed opposition to Trump’s attacks, saying that the bureaucracy exists to protect people against well-organized, well-funded interest groups.[586]

Foreign policy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Trump meeting in Washington, D.C., on February 10, 2017

Trump has been described as non-interventionist[587][588] and nationalist.[589] Trump repeatedly stated that he supports “America First” foreign policy.[590] He supports increasing United States military defense spending,[589] but favors decreasing United States spending on NATO and in the Pacific region.[591] He says America should look inward, stop “nation building”, and re-orient its resources toward domestic needs.[588] As a candidate he questioned whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members,[592] and suggested that he might leave NATO unless changes are made to the alliance.[593] But as president he has re-affirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO.[594]

In order to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Trump in 2015 called for seizing the oil in ISIS-occupied areas, using U.S. air power and ground troops.[595] In 2016, Trump advocated sending 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops to the region,[596][597] a position he later retracted.[598] Regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Trump has stated the importance of being a neutral party during potential negotiations, while also having stated that he is “a big fan of Israel”.[599] During the campaign he said he would relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from its current location, Tel Aviv, although he has not pursued that proposal as president.[600]

Both as a candidate and as president, Trump repeatedly said he wants a good relationship with Russia.[601][602] Trump has pledged to hold a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin.[603] He added that Russia could help the U.S. in fighting ISIS militants.[604] On April 7, 2017, Trump ordered the Shayrat missile strike in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Your Mind Is My Puppet

“”Never has more ignorance been stuffed inside one head.
—Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School[355]

Trump’s near-total disdain for the truth has been characterized as either gaslighting everyone he speaks to,[356] or as pathological lying,[357][358] though not in a clinical sense.[359]

The alarming nature of Trump’s continuing behavior has gotten so bad since the election that psychologists have been breaking the so-called Goldwater rule in the American Psychiatric Association’s code of ethics against giving a clinical analysis of someone who is not their patient. John D. Gartner, a psychotherapist who formerly taught at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, has explicitly broken the rule without caveat in order to warn the public of Trump’s dangerousness.[360]Gartner said, “Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president.”[360] Gartner diagnosed that Trump has “malignant narcissism”,Wikipedia's W.svg an extreme mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression, and sadism.[360] Many other mental health professionals have also expressed their concern over Trump’s mental state.[361][362][363] Dr. Allen Frances, The chair of the DSM-IV taskforce, the one that wrote the definition of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), stated that while Trump “may be a world-class narcissist”, he does not have NPD.[364][365] Dr. Allen went further to state, “He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.”[364]

In February of 2017, New Republic even (admittedly speculatively) noted that Trump appears to meet certain behavioral signs associated with neurosyphilis.[366]

HS quarterback

“”He’s like that right-wing uncle you dread seeing at Thanksgiving, just with a national media profile—and your uncle couldn’t be happier about it.
—Paul Waldman[367]

The biggest Overton shift this year has been anyone believing that Donald Trump is “anti-establishment.”[note 14] Liberals and conservatives are just wired differently. Republicans generally respond better to displays of strength and forthrightness, whereas Democrats generally respond better to bipartisanship and compassion.[368] For better or worse, Trump looks at life like buying a used car. You go in with bluster and threaten to walk if they don’t give you what you want.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the candidate with the best “tell it like it is” game on Twitter and in debates is pulling ahead. It’s a strategy in touch with the perceptions of the GOP base. Many still think that Romney had the general election sealed up, but choked. It’s why Don’s portrayal of his opponents as boring, dumb, nerdy,[369] losers,[370] low-energy,[371]chokers[372] or “choke artists”[373] have been so effective.

In the minds of the base, it’s never been the case that the country has become more progressive, or that 12 years of Bushes was more regime change and Reaganomics than voters ever wanted. Nope, the perception is that McCain, Romney, Bush, Rubio—these candidates all “choked,” in concert with the American people wanting them all to be President but just not knowing it yet. They’re all presumed guilty of giving the country two more Democratic terms based on supposed personal and strategic failures, never on a disconnect between what voters wanted and what these candidates were selling. The RNC propping up Romney (again!) in opposition to Trump shows that they can’t even grasp this basic fact about their own voters.

In Trump’s defense however, Trump saved us from another Bush presidency whom Hillary probably would have had more trouble with.

Sound and fury, signifying nothing

Make America Hate Great Again

“”Somewhere, in the brimstone-caked cave where the universe weaves the threads of American politics, someone decided to give a Republican base hungry for a return to the 1980s a candidate born of and longing for that decade.
—Phillip Bump[374]

The slogan “Make America Great Again” can mean entirely different things for two people who agree on most issues, let alone for millions of people with much more varied views.

It’s a fantastic slogan, because “Make America Great” doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s like “support our troops”. What’s the converse of that? How do you rebuke a statement like that? You can’t. (That’s the whole point of a slogan.)

Trump’s basically inviting you to pick your own evidence as to how it “isn’t great” (tacit agreement) and then to fix your own temporal horizon as to when it was “great.” Naturally, people will focus on a time in their own lives when things were great, and so someone who promises to restore them to that position generates a positive reception. Nostalgia is a powerful sales tool; look how many advertisers plug into it.

It’s difficult to argue against that sentiment. What’s the alternative? A campaign based on Let’s Not Make America Great Again. If you confront it directly, you end up having to embrace it as Trump’s opponents are doing. “Make America Whole” and “Make America Awesome” don’t have quite the same ring, though.[375][292]

Idiocracy

See the main article on this topic: Idiocracy
“”We won with the poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.
—The Donald, immediately after winning Nevada[376]

According to Rolling Stone, the guy-at-the-end-of-the-bar theory of Trump is increasingly true,[22] in that he will say whatever is the opinion of Ordinary Americans—you know, idiots—sitting in a sports bar. His followers on Facebook were rated as the least grammatical of any candidate (12.6 mistakes per 100 words), barely edging out Rick Santorum (11.5 per 100).[377]

Everyone knows politicians speak in shorthand. Newspapers seldom print whole speeches these days, so speeches are typically anchored around vacuous sound bites. Trump goes one step further by talking at a third-grade reading level.[378]Everything is “terrible”, “terrific”, “fantastic”, “horrible”, “loser”, “yuge”, i.e., pure hyperboles. This is coming from a man who literally uttered the words “I have a very good brain” and “I went to an Ivy League school, I know so many words, I have the best words.” In a statement bragging about his vocabulary, he used the word “words” instead of “vocabulary”. (Palin again. I read all the best newspapers!) He tends to use a particular set of words or one simple talking point which he repeats mostly unchanged multiple times during the same thought:

The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terroristsyou have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their livesyou have to take out their families.[142]

I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border.[379]

I’m a very smart guy, I went to the best college, I had good marks. I was a very smart guygood student. […] I was a really good student at the best school. I’m like a smart guy […] If I were a liberal Democrat, people would say I’m the super genius of all time. The super genius of all time.[380]

My whole life is about winning. I always win. I win at golf. I’m a club champion many times at different clubs. I win at golf. I can sink the three-footer on the 18th hole when others can’t. My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose.[381]

This sort of stuff is outlined in Art of the Deal, not to mention they are well-known persuasive techniques (repetition persuasionsocial proof persuasion, anecdotes persuasion[382]).

Trollpublicanism

See the main article on this topic: Proll
“”“I’m not saying that’s a good thing, and in truth it probably says something perverse about the culture we live in. But I’m a businessman, and I learned a lesson from that experience: good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.”
The Art of the Deal (1987)

Trump has mastered the technique of False Conviction: you can get away with parodying ultra right-wing opinions if you remain absolutely committed to it. Donald will say things where it’s clear he’s being deliberately contrarian, but he will sell it as if it’s his own full name.

The fact of the matter is that the media blew their load too early. Trump laid the bait and they could not resist: Illegal immigrant rapists, John McCain, disabled reporter, KKK disavowal, Lewandowski, Taco bowl,[note 15] John Miller, history with women, and so much more. He has systematically made the media attack him on issues which the public sees as minor or deceiving. He’s built the armor himself. A great example of this was when he said more British Muslims join ISIS than the British military. The Guardian, in its rush to Stump Trump, reported[383] that 640 Muslims joined the military but only 440 have joined ISIS (if you don’t count the ones that died or came back). While they’re back-slapping each other for stumping that plastic American celebrity, everyone who reads that is seeing Trump’s actual point being reinforced with hard numbers from a paper that clearly hates him, “so it must be true”. This is part of why voters like him and think he “speaks truth to power.”

We shall overcomb

“”He’s always been that guy, and you denied it and ignored it and hand-waved it away and made excuses every step of the way because you were convinced that you were so much smarter than the rest of us. You were so certain that you had received some superior wavelength giving you special insight into the Donald; only you could tell that it was all an act. Only you could grasp that his constant courting of controversy was just to get attention from the media. Only you could instinctively sense that his style would play brilliantly in the general election and win over working-class Democrats. (SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t.) You insisted that you could “coach him”.
—Jim Geraghty[384]

Trump’s ability to blow up Republican sacred cows is pretty remarkable e.g. staunch conservative and shock value until the spotlight hits him, then he switches back to southpaw and blows the right-wingers away. Trump doesn’t have a voting record. And human beings are really, really bad at processing information that falls outside of their heuristics and reconciling information that on its surface seems contradictory.

Therefore, if a candidate does not fall squarely into one of the two buckets we associate with politics — “conservatism” and “liberalism” — then he must be in the middle, despite not logically fitting as a “moderate” in any sense. And because many people subconsciously believe in the golden mean, Trump is using the same strategy almost every authoritarian populist has used to craft a successful coalition: pair extreme ideas from one end of the spectrum with ones that either come from the other extreme end or are appealing for their “moderation.” For example, pair your extreme views on immigration with opposition to trade, or rhetoric opposing “hedge fund guys” and other selected rich capitalists who are unpopular across the board. This becomes a net win for Trump. He “tells it like it is” or “calls out both sides.” Donald is an empty suit and he invites us all to try him on:

Debate Trump: Taxes too high, wages too high. We’re not going to be able to compete against the world.[385]

Gasbag Trump-on-the-stump: The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working-class Americans . . . to earn a middle-class wage.[386]

Subtext: To those of you working 2-3 jobs at $8.00 per hour, once I deport all the illegals you’re still going to be making $8.00 per hour. F**k you very much.

stopped clock on Iraq?

In 2002, Trump appeared on Howard Stern’s show and voiced his support (such as it was) for the Iraq War based on the “business opportunity” in the region (as Clinton put it) in 2011. However, Trump personally had a financial interest in opposing the war in Iraq, and expressed concerns about the war soon after it had started: by 2004, it was well-known that Trump was an opponent of the Iraq War.[387] In Las Vegas, Trump swerved the entire Republican Party, blasting the war louder than any Democrat would have:

Thousands and thousands of lives, we have nothing. Wounded warriors all over the place who I love, we have nothing for it.[388]

Now, Trump uses the Iraq War as one of the most common sticks to beat Clinton with, even going to far as to suggest Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton were the “founders” of Daesh for leaving a power vacuum in the region: a power vacuum Trump also would have left, as he was calling for the immediate withdrawal of the US from Iraq as early as 2007.[389] When asked about running mate Mike Pence‘s decision to vote in favor of the Iraq War, Trump rather patronizingly said that Pence was “entitled to a mistake”, and as for Hillary, “she’s not”.[390]

It’s like Vietnam. Even though it was an obvious boondoggle by 1969, it wasn’t until the late 70s-early 80s that criticizing the war was socially acceptable. And we’re going through the same motions now that we did back then: People are claiming Iraqwas a fault of execution, not the original decision to go in, which Trump is basically echoing with his We need to go in and take their oil. Even though he now talks as if it was a mistake from the beginning, because we didn’t immediately pillage all the oil and their wealth.

So what are we to believe? This is not a multiverse. You have to do one or the other. Trump’s seductive technique is that he establishes himself as a huckster from Day 1, but then winks and nudges you into believing that you and you alone are the one who understands his “true” positions and values. It’s a little bit like the playboy who sleeps with a bunch of different girls. They let him get away with it because each of them is convinced that she’s the one he really loves and the other girls are just tramps who are easily lured by such a charming guy. And, of course, each one is convinced that in the end he’ll come around to his one true love. This is why his supporters cherry-pick through the heaps of manure to prove that he’s not really X-Y-Z.[note 16]

Feud with HBO and Last Week Tonight

In March of 2013, Trump attacked Jon Stewart on Twitter for changing his name from Liebowitz to Stewart, tweeting:[391]

“”If Jon Stewart is so above it all & legit, why did he change his name from Jonathan Leibowitz? He should be proud of his heritage!

Two years later (in 2015), while spending a portion of May 31 embarrassingly trying too hard to flame Stewart,[392] Trump also insisted that the original tweet quoted above never took place while repeating the accusation, tweeting:[393]

“”All the haters and losers must admit that, unlike others, I never attacked dopey Jon Stewart for his phony last name. Would never do that!

Trump then proceeded to weave the tale that John OliverWikipedia's W.svg (Stewart being the former boss and colleague of Oliver) had tried to get Trump to appear on Last Week Tonight,[394] something which Oliver maintains has never happened.[395] Oliver even checked to make sure nobody had accidentally invited him, and nobody had.

In response to all of this, on February 28 of 2016, Oliver started the #makedonalddrumpfagain campaign, explaining:[396]

“Trump” does sound rich — it’s almost onomatopoeicWikipedia's W.svg. “Trump!” is the sound produced when a mouthy servant is slapped across the face with a wad of thousand-dollar bills. “Trump!” is the sound of a cork popping on a couple’s champagnniversary, the day the renovations in the wine cellar were finally completed.The very name “Trump” is the cornerstone of his brand. If only there were a way to uncouple that magical word from the man he really is. Well, guess what — there is! Because it turns out, the name “Trump” was not always his family’s name. One biographer found that a prescient ancestor had changed it from — and this is true — Drumpf. Yes; fucking Drumpf!And “Drumpf!” is much less magical.

It’s the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of the foreclosed Old Navy. “Drumpf!” It’s the sound of a bottle of store brand root beer falling off the shelf in a gas station mini-mart. And it may seem weird to bring up his ancestral name, but to quote Donald Trump, “he should be proud of his heritage” — because Drumpf is much more reflective of who he actually is.

So if you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to make America great again, stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf. A litigious serial liar, with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can’t decide whether or not to condemn. Would you think he would make a good president, or is the spell now somewhat broken? And that is why tonight, I am asking America to make Donald Drumpf again!

Oliver also revealed that HBO had even officially filed paperwork to trademark the name “Drumpf.” HBO has also purchased the domain donaldjdrumpf.com and released an official Chrome browser plugin called the “Drumpfinator,” which changes every instance of “Trump” to “Drumpf” in the browser.[397]

Now, for people who don’t know about that little spat, the Drumpf meme might come across as Stewart making fun of Trump’s German ancestry. Crucially however, the serious thought underlying the (quite overtly satirical) relabeling of Trump to Drumpf is that Trump’s image and persona is based on the Trump brand — and thus, if people instead knew him as Donald Drumpf (the way his family’s name was spelled before the Thirty Years’ War),[398] then hopefully people would stop automatically knee-jerk associating him with the fame and fortune attached to the Trump brand, and instead see the man — Donald — for who he really is as a person.[399]

The Russian connection

“”Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?
—Donald Trump, June 18, 2013. Putin didn’t go.[400]
“”In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.
—Michael J. Morell, former director of the CIA[401]

Following Trump’s harsh criticisms of NATO[166] and calls for Russia to hack into opponent Hillary Clinton‘s email server,[402]and his belief that all Crimeans really wanted to be with Mother Russia,[403] many news outlets have been questioning further the links Trump has with Vladimir Putin and Russia.

There are even suspicions that Russia may have enough information to blackmail Trump.[404][405] Impeachment is technically possible, but — considering Republicans control both houses of Congress — unlikely.[406]

However, some analysts believe that Russian influence on Trump is easily misoverestimated, and pointing fingers at Russia is intended to provide a convenient black-and-white image of nefarious external machinations and therefore obscure the disturbing internal processes of the US that actually led to his election.[407]

Policy advisers

“”He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that […] He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.
Vladimir Putin on Donald Trump, before he became the official GOP nominee[408]
“”He said Donald Trump is a genius and he is going to be the leader of the party and he’s going to be the leader of the world or something […] These characters that I’m running against said, ‘We want you to disavow that statement.’ I said, ‘What, he called me a genius, I’m going to disavow it? Are you crazy?’ […] I think I’d have a good relationship with Putin.
—Donald Trump, gracefully embellishing his praise[409]

Trump’s Russia adviser Carter Page has made a business on dealings with Russia. Page has had a lifelong fascination of Russia from the days of the Soviet Union, and supported Putin in his writings for a while as a staunch defender of Russian intentions, and has accused the U.S. of red-baiting and adopting a Cold War mindset with regards to Russia – that, and the fact that the economic sanctions imposed on Russia affected his business dealings with GazpromWikipedia's W.svg and other Russian businesses.[410]

And after hiring recruiting Paul ManafortWikipedia's W.svg as a volunteer,[411] former consultant to the pro-Kremlin Victor YanukovichWikipedia's W.svg[412] as his campaign chairman, Trump changed his position on Crimea from demanding stronger western intervention from “weak”, “ineffective”, “worst president” B. Hussein Obama.[413] Manafort’s lobbying firm (Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly) worked for a number of unsavory dictators and human rights-abusing regimes, earning them a top 5 spot in fees earned from the so-called torturers‘ lobby in 1991-1992.[414]

Another Trump foreign policy advisor, retired army Lt. General Michael FlynnWikipedia's W.svg, flew to Moscow in 2015 in order to attend a gala banquet in honor of RT (a channel which he has appeared on regularly[415][416][417]), and was seated the head table, two seats away from Putin.[417] Michael Flynn, now the shortest-serving NSA director in history, was forced to resign after being accused of lying about never talking to the Russians during the election. Since then, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Jared Kushner, and several other Trump administration officials are receiving flak for their own connections to Russian oligarchs.

Business connections

Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov in 2011

“”Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.
—Donald Trump, excitedly reminiscing about his 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow[418]

While a large number of the Russian oligarchs aren’t actually ethnic Russians, this fact does not diminish their close connection to Russia and Putin. Many were born in now-independent former Soviet States, and/or are ethnically Jewish.[419] Many of them wield the power of mobsters — for one, a person could easily end up getting iced having a most unfortunate accident heart attack, simply by reporting something previously unpublished about an oligarch. In fact, this happens quite a lot.[420]

According to TIME magazine, the most obvious example of Trump and his Russian satellite business’ interests is Trump SoHoWikipedia's W.svgTIME writes:

A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.

Bayrock went on to be involved with a number of Trump projects globally.[421] Tevfik Arif,Wikipedia's W.svg born in Kazakhstan, was the founder of Bayrock Group.[422] Arif was accused of running an underage prostitution ring on his yacht, the Savarona, in 2010 by Turkish authorities; he was acquitted of all charges in 2011.[423][424] “Turkey deported nine Russian and Ukrainian women, including two under the legal age of consent, after authorities said they broke a prostitution ring aboard the Savarona…”[424]

The other development for Bayrock was the Sapir Organization, whose founder, Tamir Sapir,Wikipedia's W.svg was from Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the state). A Bayrock official also “brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians ‘in favor with’ President Vladimir V. Putin”, according to The New York Times.[425] The suspicion surrounding the project meant that Bayrock’s finance chief, Jody Kiss, sued Trump for fraud.[425] Russian-born Felix Sater, another important Bayrock figure has deep business connections to Trump; in 2010 he was a “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump”.[426] Sater has two felony convictions (assault and racketeering) and organized crime ties (Genovese and Bonanno crime families).[426][427]

Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Tokhtakhounov,Wikipedia's W.svg an ethnic Uyghur from Uzbekistan, has been accused of running an illegal gamblingoperation out of Trump Tower.[428][429] Tokhtakhounov was also indicted for rigging the 2002 Olympics.[428][429]Tokhtakhounov was a VIP attendee at Trump’s Miss Universe 2013 pagent held in Moscow.[428][429] He is reportedly now living in Russia and is still wanted by the FBI,[429] at least until January 20, 2016. Aras Agalarov, an ethnic Azeri, was reportedly Trump’s liaison to Putin during the 2013 pageant, for which Agalarov and others paid Trump US$14 million.[430]

Trump’s first real estate venture in Toronto was a partnership with two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. “The hotel’s developer, Talon International, is run by Val Levitan and Alex Shnaider,Wikipedia's W.svg two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. Levitan made his fortune manufacturing slot machines and creating bank note validation technology, and Shnaider earned his in the post-glasnost steel trade,” wrote Toronto Life in 2013.[431]

When Trump Sr. built a tower in Panama in 2008, Trump Jr. said at a real estate conference: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia”.[432]

Decline of democracy

“”[Blaming Russia for Trump] may be an Iraq-sized mistake, leading to a dangerous failure to recognize that Donald Trump’s victory was an American phenomenon, not a Russian-made one.
—Leonid Bershidsky, Russian-born political analyst and prominent critic of Putin’s regime[407]

Democratic backsliding is how democracies become authoritarian states.[433]

How to destroy a democracy

  • Attack the watchdogs ☑
  • Attack the media ☑
  • Attack the law ☑
  • Post-truth alt-right rhetoric ☑

Democracy watch dog Freedom House’s report states that Trump’s victory was a destabilizing threat to democracy.[434] In 2017, The Democracy Index listed the U.S. as a flawed democracy but the reduced rank was not caused by Trump.[435] The lower rank was instead caused by the same factors that won Trump the election and contribute to the rise of far-right parties in Europe.[435] That factor is the decline of trust in government.[435]

Russia often has a hand in democratic backsliding.[436]

Melania Trump plagiarism controversy

Nothing to see here, folks…

“”You know, the president told me to stop whining, but I really have to say, the media is even more biased this year than ever before — ever. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it — it’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech — and people get on her case.
—Donald Trump, roasting his wife at the 71st Al Smith dinnerWikipedia's W.svg in New York[437]

On July 18, 2016, the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump’s (current) wife, Melania, gave a speech to talk about why the Donald would be the racially superior United States presidential candidate. The speech contained a paragraph that was pretty much identical to a paragraph of Michelle Obama‘s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[438][439][440]

Following Melania’s speech, various media outlets reported the similarities, stating that the speech was “awkward”, “embarrassing” and “an act of plagiarism“.[441][442] Although it took the Trump campaign a while to do so, and whilst they procrastinated 24 hours in either avoiding the subject altogether[443] or claiming that Melania’s speech wasn’t really plagiarism[444] (although the fact that it was plagiarism was pretty much obvious to anyone listening to or reading the speech), someone high up essentially said “You’re Fired” to Melania’s scriptwriters, and that was the end of that one.[445]

Becoming the Swamp

He ran on a populist platform, pledging to “Drain the swamp,” meaning prevent Wall Street from controlling government. Now that he won, that means all of his supporters (and some former detractors) are lining up for sweet positions in his administration, including Wall Street.

  • Steve Bannon (aka, the Grim Reaper[446]) worked as an investment banker in the 1980s in the Murders and Executions[447] Mergers and Acquisitions Department of Goldman Sachs,[448] CEO of Breitbart, and Trump campaign chief, as Chief Strategist to the President.
  • Kellyanne Conway, former Frank Luntz propagandist and Trump campaign manager, as Counselor to the President.
  • Reince Priebus, Chairman of the RNC, as White House Chief of Staff.
  • Wilbur Ross, a Wall Street banker and Trump campaign donor, as Secretary of Commerce.
  • Steven Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs banker and Trump campaign finance chief, as Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Jeff Sessions for United States Attorney GeneralWikipedia's W.svg (Confirmed as nominee).[449]
  • James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a retired general (I thought you knew more than the generals, Donnie?), as Secretary for Defense.
  • Mike PompeoWikipedia's W.svg for Director of the CIA (Confirmed as nominee).[450]
  • Rex TillersonWikipedia's W.svg, the Exxon Mobile CEO, for Secretary of State (Confirmed as nominee).[451]
  • Betsy DeVosWikipedia's W.svg, billionaire creationist sister to Erik Prince (the head of Blackwater), for Secretary of Education (Confirmed as nominee).[452] Also a Trump donor.
  • Ryan ZinkeWikipedia's W.svg as Interior Secretary. [453]
  • John F Kelly, a retired general, as Secretary of Homeland Security.[450]
  • Ben Carson — Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: To his credit (if nothing else), Carson atleast admits to being a terrible pick for the job.[454] (Confirmed as nominee)
  • Andrew Puzder, CEO of CFK Restaurants and supporter of automation, as Secretary of Labor.

More on this story as it develops. This marks the single wealthiest Cabinet in American history, in addition to having the least experience in government.

Trumpocalypse

In just the first week of his presidency, Trump dismantled Obama’s legacy and turned himself into the worst president in history. For starters, he actually enacted the Muslim ban in his first week in office.[455] When Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, refused to comply, Trump immediately had her fired, leading to the incident being dubbed Monday Night Massacre, after the Sunday Night Massacre when Nixon fired people for not investigating the Watergate investigator. In addition, when six different judges, some of whom were Republican-appointed, ruled against the Muslim travel ban, Trump simply ignored them and ordered his government to keep enforcing the ban anyway. Eventually, he had to back down, and is in the process of revising the Muslim ban. But atheist refugees may jump a few queues to get into the U.S. if they qualify as members of “religious minorities”.[456]

Trump Mania

Well, let’s give Denny his due: when has he ever given us any bad advice or led us in the wrong direction?[457]

La Familia Trump consists of the usual suspects; a pack of shit-stirrers, talent-vacuums, bigots, and media whores as unfit to hold office as the man himself. We have dossiers on most of them:

  • Joe Arpaio: Cartoonishly-corrupt sheriff of Maricopa County. Arpaio, whose department has been sued multiple times for racist policing practices by the federal government, declared “I’m with him to the bitter end.”[458]
  • Anti-PC crusader Ann Coulter: Hopped on the Trump Train early[459] but appeared to sour on his ‘half-baked tweets at midnight’. What’s that old saying about a speck in your neighbor’s eye?
  • George Galloway: Here’s a tricky one: Who would be a more terrible president, Donald Trump or George Galloway?[460][461] Fellow BrexiteerNigel Farage appears to agree with Galloway on this one.[462]
  • Sean Hannity: His inner construction worker cannot resist.[463] Compared Trump to King David, who “had five hundred concubines”, ffs.[464]
  • Alex Jones: Vaunted anti-government loon, is spreading the Trump Gospel—in essence, becoming a cheerleader for torture, the surveillance state, deportations, and zero-percent corporate taxes—all in exchange for a plug from Donald on his show.[118]
  • Arthur Laffer: Trickle-down needs to be brutally murdered, because it won’t fucking die on its own.[465] (Shouldn’t you be wrecking Australia’s economy right now?)
  • Michelle Malkin: Sees which way the wind is blowing and announced she would be “pulling the lever for Donald Trump.” This from the woman who called him a “conservafraud” two years before. Others might have taken offense at Trump calling them “born stupid,” but not Malkin: she couldn’t Stump The Trump, and hopefully gained “wisdom” from the experience.[466]
  • Ted Nugent: Of course, no collection of wingnuts would be complete without Nugent.[467] Political life lessons from him are like filling the seats at the BET awards with KKK members.
  • Mehmet Oz – He looks healthy to me! What do you think, studio audience?
  • Dennis Prager: Admits he only supports Trump out of hate for the left. One of the most adamantly anti-Trump talk show hosts of the past year was, in fact… Dennis Prager.[468]
  • Dan Quayle: The people who know what the job actually entails want nothing to do with Trump.[469] That should tell you everything you need to know. Dan Quayle does, so there’s that.[470]
  • Donald Rumsfeld: Trump’s not doing so well in endorsements; he’ll take what he can get.[471] Let’s speculate on other stupid endorsements he may get. Lynndie England? Ollie North? Is G. Gordon Liddy dead yet?
  • Michael Savage: Called Trump “the Winston Churchill of our time.”[472]
  • Phyllis SchlaflyMarital rape supporter stay-at-home mom and Equal Rights Amendment opponent.[473]
  • Ben Stein: Once a flack, always a flack. “He wants a peaceful, calm America.”[474]
  • Milo Yiannopoulos: Refers to Trump as “Daddy.”[475] As the official spokesman for the Internet’s sewer, Yiannopoulos half-jokingly yearns for a God-Emperor Trump to transform America into some sort of a fascist monarchy.[476]

Patient Zeroes

  • The Harvard Republican Club refused to endorse Trump which is the first time in 128 years they would not endorse the Republican candidate. “He isn’t eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency.”[477]
  • Silvio Berlusconi: Il Trump italiano. Just subtract a foot of height and add underage Moroccan prostitutes.
  • Nigel Farage: Has compared himself to The Don. Take a seat, Enoch. (Trump is UKIP turned up to 11.)
  • Geert Wilders: Completely adrift from reality. Screams anything necessary to get more votes. Dat hair, tho.
  • Boris Johnson: “Wait, I have dumb hair, too! Vote for me!”
  • Pauline Hanson: Australia’s Most Honest Politician. “I don’t believe in halal” is the kind of bilge they can look forward to.
  • Rob FordWikipedia's W.svg: R.I.P. He reminded us a lot of Bender when he temporarily became human.
  • Michele FioreWikipedia's W.svg: Rule 63 is an Internet rule which states “For any given male character, there is a female version of that character.” Gold-plated AKs, cigar-chomping, word salad (“ocular cavity”), quack supplements, fraud, shitposting, /pol/ following, this woman’s got it all!
  • Rodrigo DuterteWikipedia's W.svg: President of the Philippines, known for being as inflammatory and authoritarian as Trump; he dominates the media and parades the same kind of “lemme clean up the establishment” (while ignoring the law) populism as Trump. His nickname is even “The Trump of the East.”
  • Filip DewinterWikipedia's W.svg: The Flemish equivalent and one that endorsed religious fundamentalists such as Staf De ClerqWikipedia's W.svg. He however is rather special in the sense that he went and participated in a meeting organized by Golden Dawn, something even Trump himself or anyone on this list for that matter wouldn’t even dare to contemplate.

Awards, honors, and distinctions

A ceremony in which Trump receiving the 2015 Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation's annual Commandant's Leadership Award. Four men are standing, all wearing black suits; Trump is second from the right. The two center men (Trump and another man) are holding the award.

Trump receiving the 2015 Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation’s annual Commandant’s Leadership Award in recognition of his contributions to American military education programs

Goat

External links

Trump language

Videos