Tracking Donald Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

From Marie Claire

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The White House would like you to know it has accomplished things

Donald Trump’s team sent out an email blast this morning to the press titled “President Trump’s 100 Days of Historic Accomplishments.” The list, which includes headings such as “getting the government out of the way,” contains comparisons to what former presidents had completed at this point in their terms. The list also highlights that Trump has signed 30 executive orders since taking office in January, compared to former President Barack Obama’s 19.

WH blasting out new email this morning listing first 100 days accomplishments

Trump’s email blast comes despite criticism from the president about the concept of using the first 100 days to judge effectiveness. In the last week, Trump has called the benchmark “not very meaningful” and suggested it’s overrated as a tool of evaluating a presidency.

Key tweet of the day:

Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!

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Key tweet of the day:

The two fake news polls released yesterday, ABC & NBC, while containing some very positive info, were totally wrong in General E. Watch!

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The public weighs in

A new poll has some bad news for the president. Donald Trump’s approval rating is at 42 percent with just days left until he reaches his 100-day mark, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday. That’s the lowest for any president at this point in their term since pollsters began tracking it in the 1940s. For comparison, former President Barack Obama had a 69-percent approval rating at this juncture of his first term.

Key tweet of the day:

Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.

Key tweet of the day:

I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!

 

 

Trump unhappy with ‘100 days’ benchmark

The president has a bone to pick with the “first 100 days” benchmark used to evaluate how a presidency is going. Donald Trump criticized the standard in a tweet Friday, calling it “ridiculous” and insinuating the media would not give him credit for his successes. Trump’s main victory since entering office, which he highlighted in his post, has been the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. Many of his other notable moves, such as his travel ban or healthcare replacement, have failed to be instituted.

Key tweet of the day:

No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!

 

Key tweet of the day:

Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.

 

Patriots visit the White House

With just 10 days left of Trump’s first 100 days in office, the White House played host to the New England Patriots today. The visit is in honor of their victory earlier this year at Super Bowl LI. The president met with the team’s players and gave remarks where he singled out around seven team members for their performance. But one player not in attendance was quarterback Tom Brady, who cited personal family matters as his reason for staying home. Donald Trump has long touted his friendship with Brady, but Brady wasn’t the only player to skip. Several team members opted out of the visit due to political disagreements with the president.

Key tweet of the day:

Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th.

 

New executive order says ‘Buy American’

On Tuesday, Donald Trump signed a new executive order essentially stating “Buy American; Hire American.” The order is meant to reduce the number of low-wage foreign workers in the country and improve the amount of job opportunities for American employees. The initiative is in line with his “America First” theme for his first 100 days in office, but defies his campaign rhetoric, where he suggested it would be unfair to crack down on H1-B visa holders.

Key tweet of the day:

Just learned that Jon @Ossoff, who is running for Congress in Georgia, doesn’t even live in the district. Republicans, get out and vote!

 

Next target: Jon Ossoff

The president stepped into campaign mode once again when he got involved in the Georgia special election. The election is being held to fill Tom Price’s congressional seat, following his confirmation as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Trump began tweeting about the main Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, after polls made it clear that Ossoff was the leading character in the race. The district in question isn’t exactly a Republican stronghold; Trump won by less than 2 percent back in November. Nevertheless, it was expected that Ossoff would fall short of the 50 percent marker he needs to avoid a runoff election later this year.

Key tweet of the day:

With eleven Republican candidates running in Georgia (on Tuesday) for Congress, a runoff will be a win. Vote “R” for lower taxes & safety!

 

Key tweet of the day:

I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?

 

Trump’s White House visitor logs will be private

The White House has announced that most of the visitor logs for those stopping by the Oval Office will remain private. Citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns,” the Trump administration will not willingly disclose the names of the president’s vistors. Unless the White House amends this policy, it could take years for that information to be revealed.

 

Key tweet of the day:

 

Trump signs off on defunding Planned Parenthood

The president signed off today on a resolution that will allow states to defund family planning centers such as Planned Parenthood if they provide abortion services. The resolution overturns a late Obama-era policy that prevented the government from defunding these providers for any reason other than lack of “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”

Though Republicans have long held a stance against taxpayer money being used to pay for abortion services, it’s a solution without a problem. The Hyde Amendment has prevented tax dollars from being used for abortion services for decades.

Key tweet of the day:

Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!

 

Key tweet of the day:

Jobs are returning, illegal immigration is plummeting, law, order and justice are being restored. We are truly making America great again!

 

The president is disturbed by the United Airlines video

The White House said Tuesday that Donald Trump has seen the viral video of United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao being forcibly deplaned and that Trump is “disturbed” by the video. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing that he believes anyone would be bothered by how Dao was treated. “I don’t think anyone looks at that video and isn’t a little disturbed that another human being is treated that way,” Spicer said.

No troops in Syria… for now

In an interview set to air Wednesday morning on Fox Business, the president said that the U.S. is not putting ground troops in war-torn Syria. Literally. “We’re not going into Syria,” Trump told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. Trump’s interview comes amid questions about the White House’s next move, after he ordered missile strikes last week against a Syrian airbase. The strikes were a response to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, who is suspected of using chemical weapons against his people last week in an attack that killed dozens.

“Look, what I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it,” Trump said. “And you would have had a much better – I think Syria would be a lot better off right now than it has been.”

Key tweet of the day:

North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.

 

Trump makes his mark on SCOTUS

Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch was sworn onto the highest bench in the country Monday. His swearing in marks the president’s first landmark success with Congress since taking office. Gorsuch will serve as the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, more than a year after Scalia passed away. Gorsuch is considered very similar to Scalia in how he will decide cases, being a constitutional originalist.

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Key tweet(s) of the day:

So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great…

So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great…

…confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly.

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Key tweet of the day:

The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!

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U.S. conducts airstrike on Syria

The president ordered airstrikes on the Al-Shayrat airbase in Homs, Syria on Thursday, in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack that killed more than 100 people. The attack is suspected to be the work of Bashar Assad’s government, and these airstrikes are the first targeted U.S. action against Assad since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

The administration says the site of the strikes was chosen because U.S. officials tracked the planes that carried the chemical weapons using radar. In remarks shortly after the strikes, Trump said they were “in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Eleven weeks in, Trump says he’s had the one of the most successful 13 weeks…?

Donald Trump said Thursday that he thinks his administration has had “one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency.” There are just two problems: First, he’s had one of the most controversial terms in history to date, with multiple Cabinet picks stepping down, ongoing investigations into his campaign’s ties with Russia, a failed healthcare bill, and low poll numbers.

Second, he’s only been in office for 11 weeks.

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Bannon removed from the National Security Council

White House senior adviser Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council, according to reports. On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order reorganizing the NSC. In it, he restored the director of national intelligence, CIA director, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to full participation and removed Bannon from the panel. The White House did not announce the move publicly, so it wasn’t reported on until Wednesday. A White House source said Bannon can still attend any meeting where his expertise is needed, CNN reported.

As a reminder, Bannon has zero national security experience; rather he previously served as the publisher of alt-right white nationalist new org, Breitbart. His appointment did not require senate approval. We do not yet know why Bannon was removed, but we’re chalking it up to common sense.

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Key tweet of the day:

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Trump is *still* tweeting about Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump is not done tweeting about Hillary Clinton. On Monday morning, the president tweeted about his former Democratic rival and her campaign manager, saying “Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?” Shortly after, he followed up with a sarcastic question about whether or not Clinton apologized for an instance where she was provided questions in advance of an interview. The tweets appear to be an attempt to deflect growing criticism of his administration’s ties with Russia. Clinton has largely remained out of the spotlight since losing the election in November.

Key tweet of the day:

Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!

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Key tweet of the day:

The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.

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Key tweet of the day:

When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?

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White House financial disclosures show that everyone is rich.

The White House released its employees’ financial disclosures Friday night; and to no one’s surprise, they showed enormous wealth. According to the documents, senior adviser Steve Bannon has more than $1 million in his bank account and has made significant income from his rental properties. Bannon values his consulting business at somewhere between $5 and $25 million, the disclosures show.

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both list far higher numbers. Because Ivanka Trump was only just given an official title, her personal disclosure hasn’t been completed yet, but her assets appear on her husband’s forms. The two could be worth as much as $740 million, reports show. Much of their fortune comes from Kushner’s real estate holdings and Trump’s business.

The president’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is also a financial success. The disclosures show that she was worth as much as $40 million before she was named a White House staffer.

Key tweet of the day:

Great meeting with a wonderful woman today, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice! 🇺🇸

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Donald Trump’s new enemy is… the far-right?

The president revived his fight against the Freedom Caucus on Thursday morning, tweeting that the ultra-conservative congressional group would damage Republicans in 2018. Trump has been highly critical of the Caucus since they aligned against his replacement healthcare plan, despite the fact that many moderate Republicans were also opposed to the bill.

Key tweet of the day:

The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!

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Key tweet of the day:

.@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to stop by the Women’s Empowerment Panel this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse. http://45.wh.gov/5v2Pc1 

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Who needs the environment, anyway?

If climate change was a hoax, it won’t be for long. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing many of former President Obama’s climate change regulations. The order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation that called for the replacement of coal-powered plants with new wind and solar farms.

The order also calls into question whether Trump will abide by the landmark Paris climate change agreements that the U.S. signed just a short time ago. The U.S. has agreed to cut its emissions by 26 percent over the next decade. Experts say such measures are essential to prevent the temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature they agree spells global catastrophe down the line.

Key tweet of the day:

Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?

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Travel Ban 2.0 may get its day in court

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is reportedly considering hearing the revised travel ban case with its full bench-rather than the panel of three judges who would normally hear it. In an order on Monday, the court asked both the government and the plaintiffs to address whether the full bench should hear arguments.

If all 15 active judges hear the case, it could potentially spell good new for opponents of the ban. The 4th Circuit is made up of nine Democratic appointees, five Republicans, and one appointed by a Democratic and later confirmed under a Republican. Basically: It skews left.

Key tweet of the day:

The Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds – not long. Do not worry, we are in very good shape!

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Key tweet of the day:

General Kelly is doing a great job at the border. Numbers are way down. Many are not even trying to come in anymore.

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Key tweet of the day:

ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!

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Trumpcare crashes and burns

Donald Trump’s landmark replacement for Obamacare was shot down Friday when the House of Representatives decided not to even bother voting on it. The president and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decided to pull the bill from consideration after it became clear it would fail if it went to vote.

The American Health Care Act’s rejection means that Obamacare will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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Key tweet of the day:

Just watched the totally biased and fake news reports of the so-called Russia story on NBC and ABC. Such dishonesty!

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White House bans laptops in carry-ons for eight Muslim countries

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that people flying nonstop to the U.S. from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries would no longer be allowed to bring laptops in their carry-on luggage. Passengers are allowed to check them in with their baggage, however. The airports are spread across eight countries: Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar.

The administration has cited the need to do so for security but didn’t say there was any specific new threat or intelligence. Several hours after the announcement, the U.K. made a similar move, though their ban affects some different airports than the U.S. ban does.

Key tweet of the day:

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Today on , we honor our great American farmers & ranchers. Their hard work & dedication are ingrained in our nation’s fabric.

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Trump goes after Russia allegations… again

Donald Trump went after allegations that he has ties to the Russian government again Monday, just hours before FBI director James Comey is set to testify in front of Congress. In a series of tweets, Trump wrote that the “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign.” He added that “the real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!”

Comey is expected to testify about Russian involvement in November’s presidential election, which committees in both houses of Congress have been investigating.

Key tweet of the day:

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

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A fifth weekend in Florida

On Sunday, Donald Trump concluded his fifth weekend in Florida since taking office. Though Trump was regularly critical of former President Obama taking vacations, he has spent more than half of his weekends as president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. Trump also spent time holding meetings at his local golf club, according to his press pool, where he may have stepped out “to hit some golf balls,” the Palm Beach Post reported.

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Key tweets of the day:

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..

…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

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Key tweet of the day:

North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years. China has done little to help!

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Sooo, Trump’s budget is cool if you don’t like PBS or the environment

Donald Trump released his budget plan Thursday, and it cuts pretty much everything people expected. Among the agencies that would take hits are the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and many more. Almost no departments are spared from cuts-the only ones without any cuts are Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. But Trump did manage to find $2 billion for a down payment on the wall.

Key tweet of the day:

A budget that puts must make safety its no. 1 priority—without safety there can be no prosperity: http://45.wh.gov/NF9wr4 

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Second ban suspended

A federal judge in Hawaii blocked Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Wednesday evening, just one night before it was set to take effect. The new ban was a watered-down version of the first, excluding some of the more controversial policies-like the ban on green card holders. The Trump administration argued that the new executive order addressed all the legal criticism of the first, but Judge Derrick Watson was unimpressed. Watson wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would still view the ban as an attempt to discriminate against members of one religion (despite Trump’s statements to the contrary.)

A second judge ruled similarly in Maryland just hours later.

Key tweet of the day:

Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!

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White House responds to Trumpcare estimates

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released it’s official estimates on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan today, and the news wasn’t good. According to the report, it’s projected that 14 million people would lose coverage next year under the new House bill. The number of uninsured would grow to 24 million by 2026.

The White House pushed back hard on the report, saying it disagrees “strenuously.” Health Secretary Tom Price said it will cover more individuals and lower costs. As for the estimate that 14 million people would lose coverage, he said, “It’s just not believable is what we would suggest.”

Trump endorsed the plan last week, despite the fact that, back in January, Trump told the Washington Post his health-care law would include “insurance for everybody.”

Key tweet of the day:

It is amazing how rude much of the media is to my very hard working representatives. Be nice, you will do much better!

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Trump absent from Twitter

Red alert! The president went an entire day without tweeting on Sunday, capping off a contentious weekend with radio silence. That may not seem notable; but as The Hill reported, Trump has tweeted more than 260 times since his inauguration, meaning he averages more than five per day.

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The first thing we do, let’s fire all the lawyers

Over the weekend, the Trump administration asked for the immediate resignation of 26 U.S. attorneys from the Obama era. That’s pretty normal for a new administration, but Trump is drawing rebuke from Democrats for his handling of one specific case. Preet Bharara, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to resign from his post and was fired-even though Trump had reportedly personally asked him to stay in his role. Bharara announced that he was fired on Twitter:

I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.

Key tweet of the day:

We are making great progress with healthcare. ObamaCare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get job done!

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It’s halftime

Friday marked the halfway point in Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, the time period generally used to determine how effective a new administration has been. In that time, Trump has signed 16 executive orders, which is on pace with former President Barack Obama. But unlike Obama, Trump’s first 50 days have been marred with controversy. Protests and court battles derailed his first travel ban, the replacement plan for Obamacare has been almost universally panned, and several members of his administration are under investigation for ties to Russian officials.

Trump has made strides toward keeping some of his more realistic campaign promises. His administration has caused either the repeal or delay of more than 90 Obama-era federal regulations, and he withdrew the U.S. from the TPP trade deal. An executive order he signed allowed work to recommence on the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite ongoing protests in North Dakota.

One thing Trump has not accomplished is a major legislative victory. At this point in his presidency, Obama had passed an $800 billion economic stimulus package through Congress as well as a law making it easier for women to sue over equal pay discrepancies. Trump is looking to make a repeal of the Affordable Care Act his first landmark achievement in Congress, but he has so far been unsuccessful.

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Key tweet of the day:

Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!

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Trump picks Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia

Donald Trump has chosen Jon Huntsman, a Republican who ran for president in 2012, as his ambassador to Russia. This will be Huntsman’s third ambassadorship: He represented the United States to Singapore under George H.W. Bush, and to China under Barack Obama. It will also likely be his most heavily scrutinized role, as the Trump administration is investigated for alleged ties to Russian officials during his presidential campaign. Huntsman originally endorsed Trump for office, but had called on him to drop out after the release of a vulgar tape where Trump described grabbing women to Billy Bush.

Key tweet of the day:

I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.

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Sean Spicer tries to explain what Trump is talking about

Donald Trump has “no regrets” about accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him, at least, not according to Sean Spicer. The White House press secretary gave a news conference on Tuesday where he attempted to explain some of the president’s more controversial recent statements. Spicer said the president is waiting for the results of an investigation into his claims, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support his accusations.

Spicer also touched on Trump’s claim that Obama released 122 “vicious” Guantanamo Bay inmates that have since returned to fighting. In reality, Obama released just nine of those prisoners; the other 113 were released by George W. Bush’s administration. Spicer acknowledged that Trump’s comments were incorrect.

Key tweet of the day:

Don’t let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin. We are getting along great, and getting major things done!

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Travel Ban 2.0

Donald Trump signed a new executive order today banning people from six Muslim-majority countries from applying for visas to the United States. The new ban, which no longer includes Iraq, bars citizens from those six countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. It will also slash the number of refugee admissions for this year from 110,000 to 50,000.

The new ban comes as a response to legal criticism of the first version, which argued that Trump’s ban amounted to little more than religious discrimination. It also opens the door to adding more countries. Trump will ask the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to determine whether any other countries should be included in future travel bans, the Daily Beast reported.

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Key tweet of the day:

Is it true the DNC would not allow the FBI access to check server or other equipment after learning it was hacked? Can that be possible?

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Key tweet of the day:

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

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“Witch hunts,” everywhere

Donald Trump and a Russian official’s rejection of the Jeff Sessions allegations are weirdly similar.

Trump went off on Twitter on Thursday night. In his tweet-storm, the POTUS attacked Democrats for what he called their “witch hunt” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The tweets came several hours after Sessions held a news conference recusing himself from any investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.

Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not….

…intentional. This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed…..

…to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality. The real story…

…is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total “witch hunt!”

Then, Friday morning, a Russian official seemed to agree with Trump’s assessment. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov borrowed a phrase from Trump and told a Russian state media outlet that the investigation was a “witch hunt,” Reuters reported.

Key tweet of the day:

We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!

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Trump is pretty much ignoring Sessions allegations

UPDATE (4:52 PM EST): Jeff Sessions held a news conference Thiursday afternoon where he announced that he would recuse himself from any investigation into Russia’s actions during election season. In the conference, Sessions said “that since [he] had involvement with the campaign, [he] should not be involved in any campaign investigation.”

UPDATE (2:38 PM EST): The president has spoken out. On Thursday, Trump reportedly said he has “total confidence” in Jeff Sessions and that he “doesn’t think” the attorney general should recuse himself from the investigation into possible Russian activity.

ORIGINAL STORY: On Wednesday night, reports broke claiming that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador twice before the November election, despite saying he didn’t during his confirmation hearing. Democrats are up in arms, demanding Sessions’ resignation from his post. Even some Republicans are saying Sessions must, at a minimum, recuse himself from investigations into whether Russia attempted to interfere in the election.

One person not demanding answers, however, appears to be the president. In a statement Thursday morning, the White House denounced the allegations, saying “This is the latest attack against the Trump Administration by partisan Democrats. General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony.”

And Trump hasn’t spoken out on Twitter, either. His only tweet (so far) since the news broke was an early-morning message about the stock market.

Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!

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(Only) tweet of the day:

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Trump signs two women-focused bills

The president signed two bills Tuesday to “empower women.” The bills are H.R. 321, which “directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science technology engineering, mathematics, and aerospace” and H.R. 255, which “authorizes the National Science Foundation to use existing entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women.”

Trump’s daughter Ivanka reportedly has been pushing for women-focused legislation. She released a statement about the bills, saying she “[looks] forward to working alongside [her] father to champion the economic empowerment of women and girls and encouraging gender diversity in STEM fields is critical to that mission.”

Trump gives a presidential speech

Donald Trump gave a speech Tuesday night in front of a joint session of Congress, where he took a much more conciliatory tone than any speech to date. In his speech, Trump discussed a healthcare overhaul, rebuilding the military and asked both sides of the aisle to put aside their fights and work together.

One of the most emotional parts of his speech came as he addressed Carryn Owens, the wife of Ryan Owens, who died in a raid in Yemen shortly after Trump took office.

But the speech was not devoid of his usual rhetoric: Trump also made some of his frequent claims, suggesting immigration enforcement makes us safer (studies show it drives crime up), saying 94 million people are unemployed (a misleading statistic), and claiming most terrorists are foreign-born (that’s false).

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White House will no longer contest Texas voter ID law

A lawyer for a voting rights group said Monday that the Justice Department told them it will no longer challenge Texas’ voter ID law in court, the Associated Press reported. The move represents an about-face from the Obama administration’s stance; in 2013, former President Obama’s government joined a lawsuit challenging the statute.

Last summer, a federal appeals court found that the law discriminates against minorities and the poor and ordered changes before the presidential election. The Trump administration’s position under new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not necessarily surprising. Voter ID laws generally are divided on strict party lines.

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Another one bites the dust

The president lost yet another one of his Cabinet appointees Sunday when Philip Bildren, his nominee for Secretary of the Navy, withdrew from consideration. Bilden cited difficulties meeting the government’s ethics guidelines and the financial sacrifice he would have to make as his reason for withdrawing. Bilden isn’t the first Trump nominee to remove themself from the running; Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, also dropped out over business interests earlier this month.

Rumors that Bilden would quit were first reported February 18 by CBS, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed on Twitter at the time that the report was false.

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Trump breaks up with the Correspondent’s Dinner

Donald Trump is following in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps by becoming the first president since to skip the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Of course, when Reagan bailed on the press, he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Trump announced his plans via Twitter on Saturday, writing “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”

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The White House tries to literally stop the presses

The New York Times, CNN and Politico were among the news outlets banned from attending today’s White House press briefing-an escalation of the already historically poor relations between the media and the Trump administration. Press secretary Sean Spicer handpicked which outlets would be allowed to attend an off-camera media huddle. NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News were allowed to attend, along with conservative outlets like the Washington Times and Breitbart, but other outlets chose to boycott the event.

The White House Correspondents Association released a statement condemning the action, saying “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”

Trump’s CPAC speech, in a nutshell

The president spoke today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, and repeated some of his favorite talking points.

Trump used a large chunk of his speech to continue his attacks on the “mainstream media,” to criticize NAFTA, suggest that Sweden’s crime rate is going up (it’s not), and claim that intelligence agency leaks are made up.

He also discussed the Affordable Care Act, saying that “Obamacare covers very few people” and claiming that many Americans had their healthcare taken away from them. In reality, roughly 20 million Americans became insured under the Affordable Care Act, and there are no reliable studies suggesting that “many” people lost their healthcare plans.

Trump also spoke about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, once again claiming that the agency endorsed him for president. Numerous outlets have debunked that claim; federal agencies cannot endorse political candidates. A union representing ICE employees did endorse Trump, but not the agency itself.

White House wants the FBI to help them handle the press… Sad!

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is in hot water after asking a top FBI official to dispute reports that Trump’s campaign advisers were talking to Russian intelligence agents during the election. A White House official reportedly said Priebus made the request after hearing from the FBI that it believed a New York Times report detailing the allegations was inaccurate. The FBI has not taken a public stance on this issue.

Democrats are angry about the request, arguing that the contact was inappropriate. “The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers,” said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the AP reported.

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Trump makes it one whole (work) day without Twitter

Stop the presses. For the first time since taking office, Donald Trump made it a whole day without tweeting… sort of. The president was noticeably absent from Twitter until 5:53 PM on Thursday, when he broke his nearly 34-hour silence to tweet out a link to a Fox Business report about the stock market.

‘S&P 500 Edges Higher After Trump Renews Jobs Pledge’ http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/02/23/s-p-500-edges-higher-after-trump-renews-jobs-pledge.html 

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S&P 500 Edges Higher After Trump Renews Jobs Pledge

U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by energy stocks and a renewed pledge by President Donald Trump to chief executives of major U.S. companies to bring back millions of jobs to the United…

foxbusiness.com

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Spicer says Trump will lift transgender bathroom protections

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today that Donald Trump will rescind federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. This would be a major reversal of an Obama administration policy that trans advocates say is necessary to protect transgender students. In a press conference, Spicer said “The president has made it clear throughout the campaign that he is a firm believer in states’ rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reportedly resisted the idea at first, until Trump sided with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked her to drop her objection. In addition to its impact on schools throughout the country, the new guidance could affect future Supreme Court cases, particularly one scheduled to be heard next month that involves a transgender student from Virginia who was denied bathroom access.

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Trump administration drastically expands deportation rules

The White House released expanded immigration guidelines today that will dramatically increase the number of people targeted for deportation. Under former President Obama, immigration officials focused their efforts of undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of violent crimes. The new directives target people who have been convicted of any crime, including those who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” reported The New York Times.

Bizarrely, administration officials reportedly confirmed that the U.S. plans to deport anyone who enters the country illegally from Mexico back there, even if they are not actually from Mexico. The new guidelines will not affect people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but the new policy is likely to result in a major increase in deportations.

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One month down

Monday marked the end of the chaotic first month of Donald Trump’s presidency. In his first month in office, Trump has signed 23 executive orders, the most notable being his Muslim travel ban, which is currently mired in court proceedings. He faced his first staff shakeup just 24 days in when his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned over controversial dealings with Russia. So far, he has spent one-quarter of his presidency in Florida, where he raised eyebrows for receiving a classified security briefing at a public dinner table at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and his campaign is under investigation by intelligence agencies for alleged collusion with Russia to hack the Democratic National Committee and influence the outcome of last year’s election.

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#LastNightInSweden

The Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C. is asking the State Department for an explanation over comments Donald Trump made yesterday suggesting there was a terror attack in Sweden. During his rally in Florida, Trump discussed national security and said, “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.”

The only problem is that nothing happened Thursday night in Sweden. After the rally, the hashtag “#LastNightInSweden” went viral, and former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”

The White House has not yet clarified Trump’s remarks.

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Trump begins campaigning for 2020, because that’s a good use of his time

Although Donald Trump has been in office for less than a month, he’s already kicked off his re-election campaign. Despite a difficult week in the White House, Trump held a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, where he doubled down on his feud with the media-at-large and reiterated his campaign promises. The rally drew roughly 9,000 to see Trump speak but garnered criticism for taking precious time away from his duties when the White House is in flux. Trump has not yet nominated a replacement for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The event was hosted by his campaign group rather than the White House, which is highly unusual this early in a presidency. Trump filed paperwork for his re-election bid shortly after taking office. In contrast, it took former President Obama more than two years to file for his own re-election campaign.

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Key tweet(s) of the day:

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

Thank you for all of the nice statements on the Press Conference yesterday. Rush Limbaugh said one of greatest ever. Fake media not happy!

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Trump tried to appoint Bob Harward, but he said no, no, no

Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down an offer Thursday from the Trump administration to become the new national security adviser. Harward was considered a top pick for Michael Flynn’s vacated post, and had previously served as Defense Secretary Mattis’ deputy when Mattis was in charge of U.S. Central Command. The White House said Friday that Harward turned down the offer because of the time commitment, but severalnews outlets are reporting that Harward was concerned about not being allowed to form his own team. The national security adviser role is often a highly sought-after position, so Harward’s rejection is notable.

Today’s news conference was… interesting

Donald Trump held a news conference this afternoon where he attacked the media (again), falsely claimed that he won the election in a landslide (again), asked a veteran black reporter if she was friends with the Congressional Black Caucus and criticized intelligence agencies for their “absolutely real [leaks]” of fake news.

He also made bizarre comments about uranium, asking reporters: “You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”

Trump’s conference was impromptu and puzzling, perhaps a harbinger of new media practices from the White House.

Trump set to announce new labor secretary pick

Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump’s labor secretary pick Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination, Trump is set to name a new one. He is expected to nominate Alexander Acosta, dean of Florida International University Law School. Acosta served as assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush, where he worked in the civil rights division. If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet.

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Trump picks the option “both parties like” to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Donald Trump threw away decades of diplomatic policy on Wednesday when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a joint conference, Trump said he was “looking at two-state and one-state” options to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before adding “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.”

Of course, there is not really an option that “both parties like,” which is part of the reason the conflict has lasted more than 50 years. The Palestinians are unlikely to accept any deal that doesn’t give them a sovereign state, and Netanyahu is facing pressure from far-right members of his government to annex parts of the West Bank. Trump, for his part, did tell Netanyahu during the conference that he wants Israel to stop expanding settlements while they work on a deal and emphasized that both sides will need to compromise. But this message is somewhat undercut by Trump’s refusal to commit to a two-state solution.

Intelligence agencies reportedly withholding intel from Trump

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials have withheld information from Donald Trump because “they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.” The report cites anonymous current and former officials and underscores that none of the sources know of an instance where information about security threats was withheld. This is not unheard of; intelligence agencies have withheld information from past presidents when they deemed it necessary to protect sources. What makes this instance different is the officials citing the president’s discretion as their reason for withholding.

Andrew Puzder withdraws his labor secretary nomination

Donald Trump’s secretary of labor nominee Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination today, just one day before he was scheduled to appear before the Senate. Puzder, a fast-food executive, had been facing growing pushback from Senate Democrats and Republicans alike after several scandals. Among them: that his family once employed an undocumented immigrant and past abuse allegations that rocketed into the public sphere after Politico obtained tape from an episode of Oprah where his ex-wife accused Puzder of leaving “permanent” damage from physical abuse.

Puzder’s withdrawal is the latest blow to the Trump administration, after a chaotic week that saw the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn less than one month into his tenure.

It wasn’t just Michael Flynn

Several of Donald Trump’s allies, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, were speaking with Russian officials during the election season, the New York Times reports. The “repeated contacts” between Trump allies and Russia were leaked by four current and former American officials, who intercepted the communications last year. Intelligence agencies have not yet found anything to suggest that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to interfere with the election, but the agencies were reportedly worried because of the amount of contact that came while Trump was speaking highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail.

Manafort strongly rejected these claims. “I have no idea what this is referring to” he said in a statement. “I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.” He then added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.'”

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PSA: Do not shine cell phones at classified documents

Donald Trump is facing criticism from Democrats and security analysts after reports broke that he read sensitive documents in public at his Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend. A member of the resort, Richard Agazio (who has since deleted his Facebook), posted photos online of Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviewing the documents at a dinner table while staff shined cell phones lights on them. As many have pointed out, aiming an internet-connected cell phone at classified documents is extremely inappropriate, as these devices’ cameras and audio can be hacked. Furthermore, it’s troublesome that Trump chose to receive classified information in a room full of his resort guests, most of whom likely do not have security clearances.

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*Mike drop*

UPDATE (11:21 PM EST): National security adviser Michael Flynn abruptly resigned from office Monday night after the Justice Department told the White House it believed he could be subject to blackmail by Russian entities. Flynn was in office for less than a month when reports began to circulate that he had deliberately misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration. Keith Kellogg will reportedly serve as the interim national security adviser until President Trump selects a new nominee.

Trump loves Flynn, loves him not

No one really knows where President Trump stands on his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Late last week, reports surfaced suggesting Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with Russia’s ambassador about lifting sanctions. Since then, Trump’s response-and the responses from his administration-have been mixed. Trump first suggested Friday that he was unaware of the controversy. Since then, several prominent members of his Cabinet have hedged, refusing to give a direct answer on whether Trump is considering replacing Flynn. Such an early staff shakeup would be very unusual, particularly because Trump has left the National Security Council with an unprecedented amount of vacant positions.

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Key tweet of the day:

Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!

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Hundreds arrested in immigration raids around the U.S.

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants were arrested this week in raids across the country, marking the first major move toward enforcing President Trump’s campaign promise to deport the 11 million people living in the U.S. without visas. The raids, which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) called “routine,” targeted people living in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and the Carolinas.

Similar raids during the Obama administration targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal records. The new raids are different, because ICE officials also rounded up immigrants with no convictions. In January, Trump broadened the criteria the Department of Homeland Security can use to target undocumented immigrants, allowing them to include people with minor or no criminal records.

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Key tweet of the day:

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Ninth Circuit says no to Trump’s travel ban

The 9th Circuit Court is not here for Donald Trump’s travel ban. In a unanimous decision released Thursday evening, the appeals court ruled againstthe government, meaning Trump’s ban will remain suspended. The court’s decision said that the government “had not shown a likelihood of success on its merits,” or, in other words, the appeals court doesn’t believe the law will be upheld in court. Although this is a setback for Trump’s travel ban, it is not expected to be the end of the legal battle over the executive order. The government is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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The president has strong opinions about Nordstrom

Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s fashion label, tweeting “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person-always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” (The official POTUS account then retweeted it.) His attack on the company raised eyebrows over the ethics of the president using his platform to criticize a company over a deal with his daughter.

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Trump’s legal battle with Washington State continues

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday night over Donald Trump’s immigration ban. The government is appealing a decision handed down by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who ruled last Friday that the ban was temporarily suspended nationwide. The three-judge appeals court panel is expected to rule in the next few days on whether the ban should be “immediately” reinstated or if the lower court’s suspension should remain in place. If they choose not to reinstate the ban, then it’s possible that the case would move forward with Robart. However, it’s more likely that the government will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Trump gives out fake news to the National Sheriffs Association

Donald Trump was criticized by media Tuesday for once again citing inaccurate murder rate statistics-this time, during a speech at the National Sheriffs Association. During his speech, Trump said “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” This is patently wrong; the murder rate in the U.S. is actually at its lowest, according to FBI crime data. Trump has been repeatedly critiqued in the past for claiming the murder rate is up but appears to be sticking with his claim.

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Trump escalates his feud with the media

President Trump continued his attacks on the media Monday, accusing the New York Times of “making up stories [and] sources” and later accusing the press of intentionally covering up terrorist attacks in Europe. Though Trump has called the Times a “failing” newspaper regularly since he began campaigning in 2015, today’s unsubstantiated accusations are an escalation of his feud with the outlet.

In the afternoon, Trump gave a speech at United States Central Command, where he suggested the media is refusing to report on terrorism in Europe. He did not specify what attacks he is referring to and offered no evidence to support this claim, but said “In many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” It’s troubling that Trump continues to attack the legitimacy of any news company that publishes negative coverage about him; earlier in the day, he called “any” negative polls about his immigration ban illegitimate.

Russia wants an apology over Putin being called a “killer”

Russia is asking for an apology over comments Fox News host Bill O’Reilly made in an interview with Donald Trump that aired Sunday. In the interview, O’Reilly called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer,” and Trump did not disagree. He instead responded that “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized Trump for his refusal to condemn Putin and his authoritarian style of governing.

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Trump says Obamacare replacement could take a year

Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that a replacement for Obamacare could take “till sometime into next year,” a notable walk-back from his earlier promises to have the Affordable Care Act repealed quickly. As recently as January 11th, Trump was suggesting that former President Obama’s landmark healthcare act would be overturned as soon as his pick for secretary of health and human services was confirmed. The walk-back suggests that the protests from Americans nationwide-as well as some members of Congress-who argue that repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan would be disastrous are having an effect.

Appeals court delivers a blow to Trump’s immigration ban

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused early Sunday morning to immediately reinstate Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban, delivering a blow to the administration. Instead, the appeals court asked both sides-the Department of Justice and the State of Washington-to file legal briefs by Monday afternoon before the court makes its final decision. What this means is that the ban will remain suspended until at least Monday, and anyone affected by it can continue to enter the country. But regardless of how the appellate court rules, it is likely this case will quickly make its way to the Supreme Court.

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Federal judge puts a stop to Trump’s immigration ban

The Department of Homeland Security announced this morning that they are suspending “any and all actions implementing…the Executive Order” after a Republican-appointed federal judge suspended the ban nationwide. The State Department also announced this morning that they have begun re-issuing visas to travelers from the seven countries affected by Trump’s ban, and have notified Customs & Border Protection that approved refugees, travelers with valid visas, and green card holders are to be admitted. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has already announced that the Department of Justice will appeal the court’s order.

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Trump rolls back financial regulations because his friends “can’t borrow money”

President Trump signed an executive order Friday that scales back large portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which were designed after the recession to prevent banks from speculating with consumers’ money. Trump-and the financial industry-have been critical of Dodd-Frank for a long time, with Trump promising on the campaign trail to overturn it.

At a meeting with business leaders Friday, Trump said, “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that had nice businesses, they can’t borrow money.” Though people commonly disagree over how much the financial industry should be regulated, it is noteworthy that the president has openly stated that he’s making policy to help his friends.

States plan to sue the president over the immigration ban

Hawaii has reportedly joined the growing number of states suing Donald Trump over his immigration ban. The state’s attorney general, Doug Chin, announced at a press conference that they would file paperwork in court today to challenge the ban. Several other states-Washington, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts-have already filed a suit, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. Current legal challenges against the ban surround everything from due process to the establishment clause, which prohibits laws that favor specific religions. If these challenges are successful in district court, it is likely they will be appealed and potentially make their way up to the Supreme Court.

House Republicans repeal a ban on mentally ill people buying guns

The House GOP has overturned an Obama-era gun control regulation that would have helped prevent people with documented mental illnesses from buying guns. The policy meant that people who can’t manage their finances because of a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder would be reported to the FBI so their names would appear during background checks. The National Rifle Association, as well as some disability advocacy groups, opposed the measure for being discriminatory-and now it’s off the table.

Kellyanne Conway makes up a massacre on MSNBC

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s immigration in a TV interview Thursday by saying that people didn’t know “that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. It didn’t get covered.” That’s true; it didn’t get covered-because it didn’t happen.

First of all, former President Obama never banned Iraqi refugees. Instead, he ordered a re-vetting of more than 57,000 Iraqi refugees, which caused a temporary delay in admitting new ones.

Second, there was no massacre at Bowling Green. Conway later clarified that she meant “Bowling Green terrorists,” but the two men she’s referring to-Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, who settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky-never carried out (or even planned) an attack on U.S. soil. They were arrested for trying to get weapons to Al Qaeda in Iraq.

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Spicer uses attack Iran didn’t carry out to justify putting them “on notice”

At a press conference Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that Iran attacked a U.S. naval ship, which would be an act of war. In reality, the attack was carried out by Houthi rebels on a Saudi Arabian ship, the Intercept reported. Spicer’s comments were an attempt to justify the White House putting Iran “on notice” several days before, and he has not yet addressed his false statement that Iran was behind the attack.

Trump wants to build a bridge between church and state

Donald Trump said at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast that he wants to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that prevents tax-exempt churches from engaging in political activity. Trump had promised evangelical voters that he would overturn the amendment during his campaign, but to do so as president would require approval from Congress. It also would mark a serious move away from the separation of church and state that has been a traditional hallmark of American democracy.

Trump prays for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings

Trump is now feuding with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, the president referenced leaving The Apprentice and how “the ratings went right down the tubes.” He then said he wanted to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger, “for those ratings.” Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, fired back on Twitter, saying “Hey Donald. I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, cause you’re such an expert in ratings. And I take over your job, so that people can finally sleep comfortably again.” Trump’s comments may have been a joke, but they represent a departure from how former presidents have addressed the breakfast.

Republicans suddenly care about having a full Supreme Court

The New York Times reported yesterday that President Trump is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “go nuclear” with the Supreme Court vote if Democrats try to stall his pick. The so-called nuclear option would allow Republicans to approve Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch by simple majority, rather than with the traditional 60 votes. This would be an expansion of an action Democrats took in November 2013, when they used the nuclear option to eliminate filibusters on executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments other than the Supreme Court. But Democrats are furious that Republicans are asking for a smooth confirmation process after stalling action on Obama nominee Merrick Garland for almost a full year.

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U.S.-Australia relations go down under

On Wednesday, Donald Trump threatened to break an international deal on Twitter.

Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!

The tweet was the latest in a new dispute between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after Trump shouted at Turnbull during a scheduled call, told Turnbull it was “the worst call by far” that he’d had with a foreign leader, and then hung up 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hourlong talk. Australia is one of the United States’ staunchest allies, so Trump’s treatment of Turnbull raised some eyebrows, and some worry this could cause a rift in the countries’ relationship.

Republicans push Trump nominees through without Democrats present

The Republican-run Senate Finance Committee approved two of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks-Steve Mnuchin for the treasury and Tom Price for the department of health and human services-by overriding a rule that requires at least one Democrat to be present. (Democrats were boycotting the committee meeting for a second straight day.) The move is an unusual about-face from normal procedures-and will likely increase tensions between the parties.

Trump’s Black History Month speech is about everything but black history

Donald Trump gave a speech today in honor of Black History Month, but spent most of it talking about himself, how he did with black voters in the election, and why CNN is “fake news.” Although Trump referenced several African-American heroes, most mentions were brief. He also seemed to claim during his speech that he got “substantially more [black votes] than other candidates who had run in the past years.” This is false; exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton won around 88 percent of the black vote.

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Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

In a primetime livestream, Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s nearly year-long vacant seat on the Supreme Court. He’s very much in the mold of Scalia, a “textualist” conservative who many believe-based in part on his famous decision to allow Hobby Lobby to deny employees contraception coverage for religious reasons-could put women’s reproductive rights in jeopardy if confirmed. (Read 10 key takeaways about Gorusch here.)

Now, the confirmation process begins in the Senate, where Gorsuch needs 60 votes-eight of which must come from Democrats-to be confirmed.

Trump meets with his potential Supreme Court nominees ahead of announcement

The New York Times reports that Trump is meeting with his top two choices for Supreme Court nominee today ahead of his official announcement, which will take place at 8 p.m. The two judges are Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman.

Trump won’t touch LGBT rights

Despite rumors that the Trump administration had drafted a new executive order that would affect federal benefits, adoption rights, and access to services for LGBT citizens, the White House issued a statement this morning saying the president would let Obama’s protections stand. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the statement said.

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Trump fires acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Just over two hours after she told the DOJ not to defend Trump’s immigration ban, he fired her. In a press release, he claimed that Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to enact the order. His administration swore in Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, as her replacement.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells Department of Justice not to defend the immigration ban

Because she doesn’t believe it’s lawful, Obama-appointed Attorney General Sally Yates-who will be replaced by Jeff Sessions if and when he’s confirmed by the Senate-told the Department of Justice not to make legal arguments defending President Trump’s immigration ban.

Trump says the media is “the opposition party”

In a tweet, the president referred to the mainstream media as “the opposition party,” an idea introduced by Steve Bannon last week in an interview with the New York Times. Trump’s ongoing feud with the media is unusual; though most presidents conflict with media outlets at some point, Trump’s statements about what the press’ role is, comments about holding reporters “accountable” for treating him “unfairly” (which is to say reporting on his actions), and repeated attacks on the legitimacy of certain legacy news outlets are a notable escalation.

Trump announces that he’ll announce his Supreme Court nominee tomorrow

In a bit of reality-TV flair, President Trump teased that he will announce his Supreme Court pick tomorrow at 8 p.m. (two days earlier than originally planned, which may be an attempt to shift the news narrative away from the immigration ban). Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley also announced today that Democrats will filibuster any pick other than Merrick Garland, who was Obama’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago, and who Republicans have actively resisted confirming so Trump could make the pick instead.

Trump institutes new federal regulation swap

Trump signed an executive order this morning that for every new federal regulation, two must be revoked.

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The White House softens the immigration ban-but only for green card holders and permanent residents

Senior White House official Reince Priebus appeared to reverse the administration’s position on green card holders Sunday. In an interview, Priebus said that the immigration and travel ban would not apply to permanent residents “moving forward.” But he also added that people traveling to and from the listed countries-potentially including U.S. citizens-could be subject to extra questioning if Customs officials deem them “suspicious.

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People continue to be detained at airports

Customs and Border Protection is reportedly ignoring the court order and continuing to detain people with valid visas at airports across the country.

A federal judge assists detained refugees and requests further legal review of the ban

A federal judge ruled around 9 p.m. that the government could not return refugees to their country of origin until further legal review of the ban. Several other judges have since ruled along similar lines.

Steve Bannon gets unprecedented power on the National Security Council

The Trump administration downgraded the national director of intelligence and joint chiefs of staff from their permanent positions on the National Security Council and replaced them with White House senior adviser Steve Bannon, the former publisher of alt-right white nationalist news hub Breitbart. Restructuring the National Security Council this way puts the controversial Bannon-whose appointment to Trump’s administration did not require Senate confirmation-in a key decision-making position about war and other critical threats to the country.

Protests erupt amid refugee ban outrage

Thousands of protesters demonstrated across the country in reaction to what Democrats-and Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani-are referring to as the “Muslim ban,” the implementation of which has resulted in the detention of refugees and green card and visa holders at airports across the U.S. Because the executive order was drafted without the input of various government agencies, it took officials by surprise, and they’re struggling to determine who can enter the country and who, now, cannot.

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Trump signs a monumental executive order preventing citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States

President Trump signed a controversial refugee ban that, under the auspices of preventing radical Islamic terrorists from committing crimes against our citizens, bars all Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely, halts the remaining refugee program for 120 days, and blocks any entry by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen for 90 days, regardless of visa status. It’s worth noting that the ban excludes countries where Trump has business ties.

The White House shows unprecedented support for the March For Life demonstration

President Trump tweeted out his support for the anti-abortion March For Life, saying their demonstration is “so important.” Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the rally, making him the highest ranked public official to ever speak at the annual March For Life event.

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancels his meeting with President Trump

President Trump tweeted Thursday that if Mexico is unwilling to pay for his proposed border wall-one of his campaign promises-that they should cancel the planned meeting between the two countries. Following this announcement, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto did cancel the meeting, saying “This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS.”

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Trump does his first White House interview

The president’s first interview-with ABC’s David Muir-aired tonight. He doubled down on false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd and the amount of voter fraud in the United States. See the interview’s five most talked-about moments here.

Trump orders the construction of the wall

He’s making good on what is perhaps his most notorious campaign promise: to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Today he signed an executive order that directs the government to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control…”

What remains to be seen-but is hotly contested-is who will pay for it.

Trump orders an immigrations and customs enforcement hiring increase

The president directed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to hire 10,000 additional officers.

Trump orders large-scale investigation into voter fraud

Despite all evidence to the contrary, President Trump remains convinced that millions of Americans voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election-and maintains that none of these alleged illegal voters cast ballots for him. After reporters point out that if it were true, it would be a massive blow to democracy (and suggest that he put his money where his mouth is and investigate if he truly believes it), he announced that he will, in fact, order an investigation.

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Trump orders approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction project

Trump released a memorandum restarting construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which the Obama administration had effectively squashed. The Dakota Access Pipeline has faced significant opposition from environmentalists and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe because the pipeline crosses through the Tribe’s sacred land and could impact the quality of their drinking water.

Trump signals that the Keystone XL pipeline will resume construction again

President Trump released a memorandum allowing TransCanada to re-submit its petition to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which has faced serious opposition from environmental activists.

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Trump signs a federal hiring freeze

Donald Trump signed a presidential memo freezing hiring on all federal government roles, excluding military and national security positions.

Trump reinstates an international abortion gag order

The president has implemented a Reagan-era policy preventing foreign NGOs from receiving U.S. funds if they perform or promote abortions. This policy has flip-flopped with every recent president-Bill Clinton revoked the rule during his time in office, George W. Bush reinstated it, and Barack Obama revoked it again in 2009.

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Kellyanne Conway says the White House’s crowd size claims are “alternative facts”

Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and told Chuck Todd that President Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s false claims about the size of President Trump’s inaugural crowd are “alternative facts.” Shortly afterward, #alternativefacts went viral online.

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Trump speaks about his crowd size and the media at the CIA

President Trump visited the CIA and, in front of the Memorial Wall commemorating fallen agents, gave a seemingly unscripted and wide-ranging speech. He said the media is to blame for making it sound like he “had a feud” with the agencies, although Trump personally criticized the intelligence community several times prior to the meeting.

Women protest Trump with the March on Washington

Far more than the originally estimated 200,000 people flooded the streets of the capitol (and cities around the globe) for the Women’s March, a protest of Trump’s anti-woman rhetoric and policy plans, causing the inevitable comparisons between today’s crowd and yesterday’s.

Press secretary Sean Spicer rails against the media in first briefing

At his first press briefing after the inauguration, in his first official capacity as journalists’ liaison to the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer lambasted the media for what he claims is unfair reporting about the inauguration crowd size. Watch here.

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Trump waives rules that would prevent cabinet members from serving

Among his other day-one moves: a regulatory freeze asking agencies not to submit any new regulations and signing waivers allowing certain members of his Cabinet-such as Secretary of Defense James Mattis-to serve in his administration despite conflicts.

And the Executive Orders begin

Donald Trump’s first executive order suspends a planned decrease in mortgage rates for first-time home buyers that was announced in the final weeks of former President Obama’s term. While Republicans say the move is an effort to prevent another taxpayer bailout of Wall Street, Democrats argue that it only raises costs for low-income and middle-class home buyers.

The administration also releases an executive order directing federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of any part of the Affordable Care Act that creates an “economic burden” for states.

Inauguration Day gets a special name

Among his first official actions is to declare January 20, 2017, the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” Other presidents have named their inaugural days; historically, the names are chosen to mark an American value. Former President Obama, for example, named his 2009 inauguration the “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation.”

Trump takes office

Today Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. In his speech, he promises to end “American carnage” and says that his administration will prioritize “America first.”

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Caught On Tape: Trump Crashes Mar-A-Lago Wedding With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Trump’s weekend golf getaway with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-A-Lago (a.k.a. “The Winter White House”) is getting increasingly bizarre by the second.  Earlier today we wrote about Richard DeAgazio, a 72-year-old Palm Beach businessman, Trump supporter, actor and Mar-A-Lago member, who decided post selfies to Facebook with the “Nuclear Football” then proceeded to effectively live blog Trump and Prime Minister Abe’s reaction to an international crisis involving a North Korean missile launch (see “Random Mar-A-Lago Guest Posts Selfie With “Nuclear Football” Briefcase“).

But, in the midst of entertaining a foreign leader and addressing an international crisis with a rogue state, Trump apparently also found time to crash the wedding of Vanessa Jane Falk (36) and Carl Henry Lindner IV (33) at his signature resort.  And, lest you think we’re joking, here is a picture of Trump with the happy couple:

WEdding Crasher

And, of course, the obligatory picture with the bridesmaids…no doubt that kisses were given all around.

WEdding Crasher

 

Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t end there as the President decided to deliver a personal toast to the bride and groom at their reception.  Everything started off just fine with the customary congratulatory remarks but turned back to the slightly bizarre when Trump decided to thank the couple of being long-time members of Mar-A-Lago, a membership for which he noted they had “paid him a fortune.”  Per CNN:

“I saw them out on the lawn today,” Trump said of the bride and groom Saturday, who were standing nearby. “I said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, ‘C’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello.’

 

“They’ve been members of this club for a long time,” Trump said of the newlyweds. “They’ve paid me a fortune.”

Of course, with Democrats already calling for impeachment proceedings over “conflicts of interest” related to Trump’s business interests, we just can’t wait for Nancy Pelosi’s response to this one…

Random Mar-A-Lago Guest Posts Selfie With “Nuclear Football” Briefcase

Richard DeAgazio, a 72-year-old Palm Beach businessman, Trump supporter and actor, raised some eyebrows over the weekend after he essentially live blogged Trump’s Mar-A-Lago golf outing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Among other misguided posts, DeAgazio thought it would be a really good idea to pose with, and publicly identify, “Rick”, the service man responsible for carrying the “nuclear football.”

DeAgazio has since deleted his Facebook account, but as parents have been warning their teenagers for nearly a decade now, it’s almost impossible to erase something from the internet once it hits social media.  Unfortunately for Richard, this was no exception:

Nuke Football

Of course, this type of aloof behavior from Mar-A-Lago guests who pay annual membership dues of $200,000 to Trump’s business interests, will be exploited to the maximum extent possible by outraged Democrats.  We’re awaiting an impeachment motion from Nancy Pelosi which should be forthcoming at any moment.

While the picture above was likely plenty to get him “Fired” from the club, DeAgazio was far from finished.  Here is a lovely picture with Steve Bannon…

Nuke Football

 

…and another with Trump standing in front of a glorious portrait of himself.

Nuke Football

 

But he still wasn’t done, at 1:35AM DeAgazio posted the following pics of Prime Minister Abe and Trump reacting after news broke that North Korea had “launched a missile in the direction of Japan”….”HOLY MOLY!!!”

Nuke Football

 

Something tells us that Richard just earned himself a lifetime ban from Mar-A-Lago…

Donald Trump

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Donald Trump
Donald Trump official portrait.jpg
45th President 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 Decrease US$3.5 billion (March 2017)[1]
Signature Donald J Trump stylized autograph, in ink
Website

Trump was born and raised in Queens, New York City, and earned an economics degree from the Wharton School. He then took charge of The Trump Organization, the real estate and construction firm founded by his paternal grandmother, which he ran for 45 years until 2016. During his real estate career, Trump built, renovated, and managed numerous office towers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Besides real estate, he started several side ventures and has licensed the use of his name for the branding of various products and properties. He owned the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants from 1996 to 2015, and he produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC, from 2004 to 2015. His net worth was estimated to be $3.5 billion as of 2017, making him the 544th richest person in the world.Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current President of the United States. Before entering politics he was a businessman and television personality.

Trump first publicly expressed interest in running for political office in 1987. He won two Reform Party presidential primaries in 2000, but withdrew his candidacy early on. In June 2015, he launched his campaign for the 2016 presidential election and quickly emerged as the front-runner among seventeen candidates in the Republican primaries. His remaining opponents suspended their campaigns in May 2016, and in July he was formally nominated at the Republican National Convention along with Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Many of his campaign statements were controversial or false, generating much free media coverage.

Trump won the general election on November 8, 2016, in a surprise victory against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, and the fifth to have won a presidential election while receiving a smaller share of the popular vote than his opponent. His political positions have been described by scholars and commentators as populist, protectionist, and nationalist.

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.

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 Bornstein M.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.”[103][104]

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 penthouse condominium 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.[172]

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 Trump cycling 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.[221]

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.[243]

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.”[256]

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 show The 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 Governor Arnold 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.[277]

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 Organization Donald 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, Minnesota Governor Jesse 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[edit source]

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 governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.. He then turned to friend and wrestling aficionado Donald Trump.

Early stages[edit source]

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.[17]

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[edit source]

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[edit source]

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 Representative Charlene 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[edit source]

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 Commerce William 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[edit source]

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[edit source]

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[edit source]

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 Speaker Paul 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 Director James Comey opined Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified government material.[378]

On July 15, 2016, Trump announced his selection of Indiana Governor Mike 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.[392][393]

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.[431]

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%

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 ExxonMobil Rex 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 Health David 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 Times Person 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 intelligence dossier 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.[605]

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

Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Republican presidential primaries, 2012
United States


2008 ← January 3 to July 14, 2012 → 2016

Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Candidate Mitt Romney Rick Santorum
Home state Massachusetts Pennsylvania
States carried 37+DC+PR+GU+AS+MP[1] 11[1]
Popular vote 10,031,336[2] 3,932,069[2]
Percentage 52.13% 20.43%

Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg Ron Paul by Gage Skidmore 3 crop.jpg
Candidate Newt Gingrich Ron Paul
Home state Georgia Texas
States carried 2[1] 0+VI[1]
Popular vote 2,734,570[2] 2,095,795[2]
Percentage 14.21% 10.89%

20140526005342!Republican Party presidential primaries results, 2012.svg

First place finishes by popular vote

  Mitt Romney (42)
  Rick Santorum (11)
  Newt Gingrich (2)
  Ron Paul (1)

Republican Party presidential primaries results, 2012 by plurality.svg

First place finishes by plurality of delegates

  Mitt Romney (45)
  Rick Santorum (6)
  Ron Paul (4)
  Newt Gingrich (2)

Republican Party presidential primaries results, roll call 2012.png

First place finishes by convention roll call

  Mitt Romney (53)
  Ron Paul (3)

Previous Republican nominee before election
John McCain
Republican nominee
Mitt Romney

The primary contest began in 2011 with a fairly wide field.Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and the runner-up in the 2008 primaries, had been preparing to run for president ever since the 2008 election,[5] and was from early on the favorite to win the nomination. However, he lacked support from the party’s conservative wing and the media narrative became: “Who will be the anti-Romney candidate?”[6] Several candidates rose in the polls throughout the year. However, the field was down to four candidates by February 2012: Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, former Governor Romney and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. It was the first presidential primary to be affected by a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unlimited independent expenditures to support or oppose candidates through super PACs.The 2012 Republican presidential primaries were the selection processes in which voters of the Republican Partyelected state delegations to the Republican National Convention. The national convention then selected their nominee to run for President of the United States in the2012 presidential election. There were 2,286 delegates chosen,[3] and a candidate needed to accumulate 1,144 delegate votes at the convention to win the nomination.[4]The caucuses allocated delegates to the respective state delegations to the national convention, but the actual election of the delegates were many times at a later date. Delegates were elected in different ways that vary from state to state. They could be elected at local conventions, selected from slates submitted by the candidates, selected at committee meetings, or elected directly at the caucuses and primaries.

Three different candidates won the first three contests. Santorum, who had been running a one-state campaign inIowa, narrowly won in that state’s caucuses by a handful of votes over Romney (who was thought to have won the caucuses before a recount). Romney went on to win New Hampshire, but lost South Carolina to Gingrich. From there, Romney regained his momentum by winning the crucial state of Florida, while Santorum took his campaign national and carried three more states before Super Tuesday, while Romney carried seven.

Super Tuesday primaries took place on March 6. With ten states voting and 391 delegates being allocated, it had less than half the potential impact of its 2008 predecessor. Romney carried six states and Santorum three, while Gingrich won his home state of Georgia. Twelve more events were held in March, including all of the territorial contests and the first local conventions that allocated delegates (Wyoming’s county conventions). Santorum wonKansas and three Southern primaries, but was unable to make any significant gains on Romney, who maintained a solid lead over all other contenders after securing more than half of the delegates allocated in the month of March.

Santorum suspended his campaign on April 10, a week after losing Wisconsin and two other primaries to Romney. Gingrich followed suit on May 2, after the RNC had declared Romney the presumptive nominee on April 25 and put its resources behind him. On May 14, Paul announced that he would skip funding the remaining primary contests and devote his resources to winning delegates at state conventions, and subsequently won majorities in delegations of three states whose non-binding primaries were initially in favor of other candidates.[7] On May 29, Romney reached the nominating threshold of 1,144 delegates by most projected counts following his primary win in Texas[8] and was congratulated by RNC ChairmanReince Priebus for “securing the delegates needed to be our party’s official nominee at our convention in Tampa.”[9]With his subsequent victories in California and several smaller states, Romney surpassed a majority of bound delegates on June 5.

Primaries and state conventions[edit]

Five states had delegate nomination rules reverse the popular vote
  • Iowa, Maine, and Minnesota went to Ron Paul at conventions
  • Missouri and Colorado went to Romney at state conventions
  • Montana voters voted most for Romney—delegation not finalized by July 14
  • Louisiana voters voted most for Santorum—delegation not finalized by July 14
States with a majority of their delegates still uncommitted in July
  • Louisiana had 28 outstanding delegates to assign
  • Montana had 23 uncommitted delegates
  • Also, Pennsylvania had 32 uncommitted delegates
  • Nine other states have small numbers of uncommitted delegates.
Candidate Campaign logo Delegate
Hard Count
Delegate
Soft Count
Delegations with plurality[1]
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg
Mitt Romney Paul Ryan logo.svg
1,462 1,524 43
Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona,Arkansas, California, Colorado,Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho,Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland,Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri,Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio,Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia,Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin,Wyoming
Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Rick Santorum 2012 logo.png
234 261 6
Alabama, Kansas, North Dakota,Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee
Ron Paul by Gage Skidmore 3 crop.jpg
Ron Paul presidential campaign, 2012 logo.png
154 190 4
Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Louisiana
Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg
Newt Gingrich 2012 logo.png
137 142 2
Georgia, South Carolina
  • Delegate Hard Count: This only includes bound delegates that have to vote for a candidate even if they support another candidate.[2]
  • Delegate Soft Count: This only includes delegates allocated at the primaries and unallocated delegates that are (s)elected at their local conventions or committees. It does not included any projections on future local conventions or the 117 unbound RNC delegates that are not a part of the primary election process. A breakdown of this count and its sources can be found in the Primary Schedule below.
  • Plurality: A candidate secures a delegation when he has the highest number of delegates that can vote for him on thefirst ballot in the nomination at the National Convention. According to the current RNC rules it takes plurality in five delegations to be on the first ballot at the National Convention, and it takes 1,144 delegates at the roll call of the ballots to become the Republican nominee.[10]

Timeline of the race[edit]

The primary contests took place from January 3 to July 14 and elected and allocated 2,286 voting delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in the week of August 27. To become the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2012 presidential election a candidate needed a majority of 1,144 delegates to vote for him and plurality in five state delegations. The 2012 race was significantly different from earlier races. Many states switched from their old winner-take-all allocation to proportional allocation. Many remaining winner-take-all states allocated delegates to both the winner of each congressional district and the winner of the state. The change was made to prolong the race, giving lesser known candidates a chance and making it harder for a frontrunner to secure the majority early. It was also hoped that this change in the election system would energize the base of the party.[11][12]

Most of the candidates started their campaigns in the summer of 2011, but after the first two primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, only four well-funded campaigns (Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul) remained for the Republican Party nomination; Gary Johnson had withdrawn to run on the Libertarian ticket, and Buddy Roemer sought the American Elect nomination. At the beginning of May, Gingrich and Santorum suspended their campaigns; Romney was widely reported as the presumptive nominee, with Paul the only other major candidate running an active campaign.

Tim Pawlenty presidential campaign, 2012 Thaddeus McCotter presidential campaign, 2012 Herman Cain presidential campaign, 2012 Gary Johnson presidential campaign, 2012 Gary Johnson presidential campaign, 2012 Michele Bachmann presidential campaign, 2012 Jon Huntsman presidential campaign, 2012 Rick Perry presidential campaign, 2012 Buddy Roemer presidential campaign, 2012 Buddy Roemer presidential campaign, 2012 Rick Santorum presidential campaign, 2012 Newt Gingrich presidential campaign, 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign, 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign, 2012

The beginning (2011)[edit]

Tim Pawlenty (left) and Thaddeus McCotter (right) both dropped out early in the race.

Herman Cain suspended his campaign on December 3 after media reports of alleged sexual misconduct.

The 2008 Republican National Convention decided that the 2012 primary schedule generally would be subject to the same rules as the 2008 delegate selection contests,[13] but on August 6, 2010, the Republican National Committee (RNC) adopted new rules for the timing of elections, with 103 votes in favor out of 144.[14] Under this plan, allocation of delegates to the national convention were to be divided into three periods:[15]

  • February 1 – March 5, 2012: Contests of traditional early states Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina,
  • March 6–31, 2012: Contests that proportionally allocate delegates,
  • April 1, 2012, and onward: All other contests including winner-take-all elections.

Several states, most notably Florida, scheduled their allocating contests earlier than prescribed, and in response every traditional early state except Nevada pushed their contests back into January. As a result of their violation of RNC rules, these states were penalized with a loss of half their delegates, including voting right for RNC delegates. Despite having early caucuses, Iowa, Maine,Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri were not penalized because their contests did not allocate national delegates.[16]

The start of the 2012 Republican race for president was shaped by the 13 presidential debates of 2011, which began on May 5. Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer, both former Governors, were left out of most of the debates, leading to complaints of bias.[17] On December 28, 2011, Johnson withdrew to seek the Libertarian Party nomination and on February 23, 2012, Roemer withdrew to seek theReform Party and the Americans Elect nomination.

Two candidates from the 2008 presidential primaries, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, ran again in the 2012 primary campaign. Mitt Romney was the early frontrunner, and he maintained a careful, strategic campaign that centered on being an establishment candidate. In the summer of 2011, Romney had a lead in polls and the support of much of the Republican leadership and electorate.[18] However, his lead over the Republican field was precarious, and the entry of new candidates drew considerable media attention. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann started her campaign in June and surged in the polls after winning the Ames, Iowa, straw poll in August, knocking out former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, who both withdrew after their poor showings in the non-binding Straw Poll failed to revive their struggling campaigns. Bachmann’s momentum was short-lived. The same day that the Ames Straw Poll was being held, Texas Governor Rick Perry was drafted by strong national Republican support. He performed strongly in polls, immediately becoming a serious contender, and soon displaced Bachmann as Romney’s major opponent.[19] Perry in turn lost the momentum following poor performances in the September debates, and the third major opponent to Romney’s lead, Herman Cain, surged after the sixth debate on September 22. In November, Cain’s viability as a candidate was seriously jeopardized after several allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in the media. Although Cain denied the allegations, the fallout from the controversy forced him to suspend his campaign on December 3, 2011.

In November, as Herman Cain’s campaign was stumbling, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich rose in the polls and asserted himself as the fourth major opponent to Romney.[20] Gingrich had come back from serious staff problems in his campaign just weeks after he had entered the race in May that had seemingly derailed his campaign for the nomination.[21]But in the weeks before the Iowa caucus, Gingrich’s new-found lead began to quickly evaporate as super PACs sympathetic to Mitt Romney and others spent over $4.4 million in negative advertising targeting the former Speaker.[22][23] For a brief time, Ron Paul surged to the lead in Iowa but questions regarding racially insensitive material included in newsletters he published earlier in his career materialized, reducing this lead. On the eve of the Iowa Caucus, the first real contest of the primary season, Paul, Santorum and Romney were all viewed as possible winners.

Early states (January to March)[edit]

  • Six delegations had primary elections allocating 174 delegates
  • Seven delegations had caucuses starting the process of electing 182 unallocated delegates
Gary Johnson (left) withdrew on December 28 and Buddy Roemer (right) on February 23, both to run for nomination by other parties.

In 2012 there were 13 state contests before Super Tuesday, seven caucuses and 5 primaries. Missouri had a nonbinding straw poll in the form of a primary. Santorum spent months in Iowa, traveling to all 99 counties and holding some 381 town hall meetings.[24] This one state campaign succeeded when he tied with Romney in the Iowa Caucuses on January 3. This first in the nation caucus propelled him into a national campaign while it ended Michele Bachmann’s campaign. On the night of the caucuses, Romney was reported the winner of Iowa by only eight votes over Santorum,[25] but after the results were certified, Santorum was declared the winner, beating Romney by 34 votes, despite the results from 8 districts being lost.[26] Newt Gingrich said after Iowa that his positive campaign had been a weakness, and had allowed his rivals to gain the upper hand through negative attacks paid by super PACs supporting them.[27]

Mitt Romney easily won the next contest, New Hampshire, his win seen as a given. Romney had persistently shown popularity in that state, but rivals were intensely fighting for a second-place finish there.[28] Jon Huntsman, Jr., a moderate, had staked his candidacy on New Hampshire and invested heavily in at least a strong second place showing, but after 150 campaign events in the state he ended third after Paul. Both he and Rick Perry dropped out of the race shortly before voting day in South Carolina and the two delegates allocated to Huntsman became unbound.[29]

Romney was expected to virtually clinch the nomination with a win in South Carolina, but Gingrich, from neighboring Georgia, waged an aggressive and successful campaign winning all but one of the state’s congressional districts.[30] The Gingrich victory in South Carolina, together with two strong debate performances, gave him a second surge, opening the race to a longer and more unpredictable campaign.

Romney did regain some of his momentum in the next two weeks and won the Florida primary and the Nevada caucuses. However, the race shifted again on February 7, when Santorum swept all three Midwestern states voting that day. By doing so he made a case for himself as the ‘Not-Romney’ candidate and disrupted Romney’s narrative as the unstoppable frontrunner.[31]

Following his victories on February 7, Santorum received a huge boost in momentum as conservatives seeking an alternative to Romney began leaving Gingrich for Santorum. Numerous polls taken after Santorum’s victories showed him either leading Romney nationally or close behind.[32][33][34][35][36] To regain momentum Romney shelved his “no straw polls” policy and actively campaigned to win the CPAC straw poll, which he won with 38 percent to Santorum’s 31 percent.[37] He also campaigned in Maine, beating Ron Paul by only three percentage points.

Regaining momentum Romney won the remaining four states. The candidates campaigned heavily in Michigan, and even though Romney won the state vote, he won only 7 out of 14 congressional districts, the rest going to Santorum. The allocation of two at-large delegates in the state was before the election was reported to be given proportionally. After the election Michigan GOP officials announced there had been an error in the memo published and that the two delegates would be given to the winner, sparking accusations of Romney rigging the results from Santorum’s team.[38] After thirteen contests the GOP field for the presidential nomination was still wide open.

Michele Bachmann suspended her campaign on January 4 after ending up sixth in the Iowa caucus.

Jon Huntsman, Jr. invested heavily in New Hampshire. After finishing third, he suspended his campaign on January 16.

Rick Perry suspended his campaign on January 19 after getting fifth place in Iowa and last in New Hampshire.

 % Can show a plurality of delegates
 % Straw poll won, but can not show a plurality of delegates
  • The numbers for delegates, states, and districts won in these tables include results from local conventions held in states which did not allocate their delegates at the precinct caucuses or primary election. These conventions were generally held on dates later than the table indicates.
Early states results
Candidates: Newt
Gingrich
Ron
Paul
Mitt
Romney
Rick
Santorum
Rick
Perry
Jon
Huntsman
Michele
Bachmann
Delegates won 29 72 155 27 0 2 0
Popular vote 990,989
(21.8%)
511,547
(11.2%)
1,854,670
(40.7%)
1,099,596
(24.1%)
30,067
(0.7%)
52,896
(1.2%)
14,324
(0.3%)
States won 1 3 7 0 0 0 0
Districts won (Delegate awarding only) 6 9 10 9 0 0 0
Jan. 3 Iowa 13% 21% 25% 25% 10% 1% 5%
Jan. 10 New Hampshire 9% 23% 39% 9% 1% 17%
Jan. 21 South Carolina 40% 13% 28% 17%
Jan. 31 Florida 32% 7% 46% 13%
Feb. 4 Nevada 21% 19% 50% 10%
Feb. 7 Colorado 13% 12% 35% 40%
Missouri 12% 25% 55%
Minnesota 11% 27% 17% 45%
Feb. 4–11 Maine 6% 36% 38% 18%
Feb. 28 Arizona 16% 8% 47% 27%
Michigan 7% 12% 41% 38%
Feb. 11–29 Wyoming 8% 21% 39% 32%
Mar. 3 Washington 10% 25% 38% 24%

† The state did not allocate any delegates at its primary election, they were elected later.

Super Tuesday (March 6)[edit]

Main article: Super Tuesday, 2012
  • Nine delegations had primary elections allocating 391 delegates
  • North Dakota’s delegation had caucuses starting the process of electing 25 unallocated delegates

The ten Super Tuesday states

Super Tuesday 2012 was the name for March 6, the day on which the largest simultaneous number of state presidential primary elections was held in the United States. This election cycle’s edition of Super Tuesday, where 17.1 percent of all delegates was allocated, was considerably smaller than the 2008 edition, where 41.5 percent of all delegates was allocated (twenty-one states with 901 delegates).[39] In 2012 delegates were allocated in primaries in seven states and their sixty five congressional districts together with binding caucuses in two states.[40]

North Dakota did not allocate any delegates at their caucuses, but had a consultative straw poll that the NDGOP leadership was required to use as a basic for making a party recommended slate of delegates. The persons on this slate was elected delegates at the April 1 state convention. According to Santorum and Paul supporters the slate was not as required based on the straw poll, but gave Romney a large majority of the delegates. The elected delegates have stated that they will divide up in such a way they reflect the caucus result, even if that means to vote for a candidate other than the one they support.[41]

Romney secured more than half of the delegates available on Super Tuesday but did not secure his status as the inevitable nominee. Gingrich pursued a “southern strategy”, winning his home state of Georgia, and even though Santorum carried 3 states, he did not win them with a large enough margin to secure his status as the Not-Romney candidate. In the weeks leading up to March 6, both Gingrich and Santorum experienced ballot problems, failing to appear on the Virginia primary ballot, leaving that race to Romney and Paul. With only two candidates on the ballot, Paul won 40 percent of the votes and carried one of Virginia’s eleven congressional districts.

Santorum had also failed to submit full or any delegate slates in nine of Ohio’s congressional districts[42] making him unable to win all delegates in those districts. The state became the big battleground of Super Tuesday and its delegates were split between Romney and Santorum, who won three congressional districts where he didn’t have a full slate. This created four unallocated delegates, whose status was to be determined later. But Santorum suspended his campaign before the meeting in the Ohio GOP central committee deciding on the delegates took place and Romney dropped the dispute on May 4 in the interest of party unity.[43]

Super Tuesday results
Candidates: Newt
Gingrich
Ron
Paul
Mitt
Romney
Rick
Santorum
Delegates won 79 21 238 85
Popular vote 836,903
(23%)
419,800
(11%)
1,406,599
(38%)
998,762
(27%)
States won 1 0 6 3
Districts won (Delegate awarding only) 12 1 34 18
Alaska 14% 24% 33% 29%
Georgia 47% 6% 26% 20%
Idaho 2% 18% 62% 18%
Massachusetts 5% 10% 72% 12%
North Dakota 8% 28% 24% 40%
Ohio 15% 9% 38% 37%
Oklahoma 27% 10% 28% 34%
Tennessee 24% 9% 28% 37%
Vermont 8% 25% 40% 24%
Virginia 40% 60%

Mid-March[edit]

  • Seven delegations had primary election allocating 230 delegates
  • Four smaller territories elected 24 delegates directly at their caucuses
  • Two delegation had caucuses starting the process of electing 61 unallocated delegates

Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.

After Super Tuesday all five territories had their contests. Puerto Rico held a primary and the four smaller insular areas (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands,American Samoa and U.S. Virgin Islands) had convention style caucuses where no straw polls were taken, therefore our table does not show popular vote percentages in these rows but the number of delegates committed to each candidate. Romney secured all but two delegates from the territories. Of the six selected delegates from the Virgin Islands, one was elected as uncommitted, and another bound to Paul. On the Virgin Islands every caucus goer had six votes that he or her could cast for six different delegates. Every person wanting to be a delegate needed to pledge to a candidate or declare to be ‘uncommitted’ before the voting started. The six persons with the most votes became National Convention delegates. Only four persons ran as delegates pledge to Romney and they all got elected. The persons that ran as delegates pledge to Paul got a plurality of the votes, but only one of them was elected.

Missouri began its process of selecting national delegates with its caucuses from March 17 to April 10. The February primary was non-binding and as such nothing more than a non-binding strawpoll. Santorum won The Louisiana delegation securing 10 delegates for himself, but the election process for the major part of the delegates started at the caucuses on April 28.

As the first state with non-binding caucuses Wyoming elected delegates in the week of March 5. At the county conventions one delegate was elected as uncommitted,[44] while eight delegates was committed to Romney, two to Santorum and one to Paul.

By winning three primaries in the South, Santorum disrupted Gingrich’s “Southern Strategy” and took the lead as the ‘Not-Romney’ candidate. Gingrich won one congressional district and secured only 25 delegates in March. Three days after the Louisiana primary he announced a new “National Convention strategy”, which includes laying off one-third of the campaign staff and spending less time on the road campaigning.[45] He was at this point running out of money, having more campaign debt than cash on hand.

Romney maintained a solid lead over all other contenders by securing more than half of the delegates allocated or elected in the month of March. He carried all five territories and two states. And even though he did not secure the nomination in March he continued to be the clear and strong front-runner.

Santorum cruised to victory in Louisiana on March 24, reinforcing the narrative of the race thus far that the underdog Santorum could take the fight to the much more deep-pocketed and organized Romney.[46]

Mid-March results
Candidates: Newt
Gingrich
Ron
Paul
Mitt
Romney
Rick
Santorum
Delegates won 25 7 223 112
Popular vote 311,230
(27%)
37,181
(3%)
399,550
(35%)
393,447
(35%)
States won 0 0 7 3
Districts won (Delegate awarding only) 1 0 20 14
Mar. 10 Kansas 14% 13% 21% 51%
Guam 6
N. Mariana Islands 6
U.S. Virgin Islands 1 4
Mar. 13 Alabama 29% 5% 29% 35%
Hawaii 11% 19% 45% 25%
Mississippi 31% 4% 31% 33%
American Samoa 6
Mar. 18 Puerto Rico 2% 2% 83% 8%
Mar. 20 Illinois 8% 9% 47% 35%
Mar. 24 Louisiana 16% 6% 27% 49%

† The state did not allocated all its delegates at its primary election, some will be elected later.

April[edit]

  • Eight state delegations had primary elections allocating 314 delegates
  • Louisiana’s delegation had caucuses starting the process of electing 28 unallocated delegates

Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on April 10 after losing the Wisconsin primary

Newt Gingrich scaled down his campaign on March 27 after losing the Louisiana primary and suspended it on May 2 after losing the Delaware primary

In the last days of March, Romney received many endorsements as party leaders and establishment Republicans started to unite behind him.[47] Most notable were the endorsement of former president George H. W. Bush[48] and the endorsement of Paul Ryan, U.S. representative from Wisconsin and Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget.[49]

Ryan, and U.S. Senator from Wisconsin Ron Johnson, campaigned with Romney before the April 3 primaries.[50] The Super PACs supporting Romney also helped him to win the state using more than 3 million USD, almost four times more than spend by the Super PAC supporting Santorum in Wisconsin.[51] Santorum only won three districts in Wisconsin with Romney winning the other five and all eight districts in Maryland along with the federalDistrict of Columbia where Santorum was not even on the ballot.[52]

With momentum building for Romney, Santorum interrupted campaigning (as did Romney) for the Easter holiday to give his campaign staff a chance to be with their families. He used the opportunity to meet with “movement conservatives” to strategize.[53] Former Family Research Council chief Gary Bauer, who was present at the sit-down with Santorum, called it a strategy meeting.[54] Four days later, on April 10, 2012, Rick Santorum suspended his campaign without endorsing any other candidate.[55] He was at this point running out of money, having more campaign debt than cash on hand. Santorum won eleven contests (six states that allocated delegates and five non-binding caucus states) and forty-two delegate allocating congressional districts. More than 3.2 million people voted for him and he secured a total of 202 delegates before suspending his campaign. He can show a plurality in six states and that secures him the opportunity of a place on the first ballot nominating the Republican candidate for president at the National Convention.

With Santorum suspending his campaign, Gingrich saw a new hope of reasserting himself as the conservative alternative to Romney. His campaign had been scaling down since his March 24 defeat in the Louisiana primary and was $4.3 million in debt by the end of March.[56] But now it began concentrating on the Delaware primary hoping a win there would be a game changer.[57] The Adelson family that had already supported Gingrich heavily through the “Winning Our Future” super PAC gave another $5 million in late march bringing the PAC’s cash on hand up to $5.8 million.[58] But even with all the resources of the Gingrich campaign concentrated in Delaware he still lost the state with 29.4 percent to Romney. On May 2 he officially suspended his campaign.[59] Gingrich won two contest (South Carolina and Georgia) nineteen delegate allocating congressional districts. More than 2.4 million people voted for him and he secured a total of 131 delegates before suspending his campaign. He could only show plurality in two states and was therefore not going to appear on the first ballot nominating the Republican candidate for president at the National Convention.

Four states that didn’t allocate delegates at their earlier caucses had conventions in April. At the Wyoming state convention (April 12–14), just after Santorum had suspended his campaign, the state delegates united behind Romney and all 14 at-large delegates pledged to him. The same did not happen the same weekend at Colorado’s state and district conventions. Santorum and Paul supporters came together to form the “Conservative Unity Slate” in an attempt to stop all the National Convention delegates from Colorado from supporting Romney. However, Romney won a narrow plurality in the state delegation despite this opposing slate.[60] Missouri had its district conventions a week after (April 21). Santorum had carried every county at the nonbinding primary in February and many of his supporters threw their support to Romney who got half of the delegates. Paul won one out of the eight district conventions.[61] Minnesota’s district conventions were spread out over most of April and they were all but one won by Paul who secured a plurality in the state delegation even before the state convention in May.

Romney won all eight primaries of the month and on April 25 the RNC declared Romney the presumptive nominee, putting resources behind him.[62]

April results
Candidates: Newt
Gingrich
Ron
Paul
Mitt
Romney
Rick
Santorum
Delegates won 3 9 258 12
Popular vote 191,778
(9%)
255,925
(12%)
1,099,696
(53%)
526,185
(25%)
States won 0 0 8 0
Districts won (Delegate awarding only) 0 0 51 1
Apr. 3 Washington D.C. 11% 12% 70%
Maryland 11% 10% 49% 29%
Wisconsin 6% 12% 43% 38%
Apr. 24 Connecticut 10% 13% 67% 7%
Delaware 27% 11% 56% 6%
New York 13% 15% 63% 9%
Pennsylvania 10% 13% 58% 19%
Rhode Island 6% 24% 63% 6%

May[edit]

  • Twelve delegations had primary elections allocating 679 delegates
  • Two delegations had caucuses starting the process of electing 55 unallocated delegates

Ron Paul won a plurality of delegates at several state conventions even though he did not win the popular vote in those states

On May 2, 2012, Newt Gingrich “mothballed” his campaign saying that a second term of president Obama would be disastrous. Gingrich mentioned Republican front-runner Mitt Romney during his press speech, but did not endorse him. He intended to officially endorse Mr. Romney at a “to-be-scheduled event” featuring both Republican leaders. “Today I am suspending the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” Gingrich said, with his wife Callista at his side.[63][64]

On May 7, 2012, after Romney visited him, Santorum urged his supporters to back Romney’s campaign and said, “You can be sure that I will work with the governor to help him in this task to ensure he has a strong team that will support him in his conservative policy initiatives.”[65] “We both agree that President Obama must be defeated,” Santorum, 53, said in a e-mailed statement last night, “[Romney] clearly understands that having pro-family initiatives are not only the morally and economically right thing to do, but that the family is the basic building block of our society.”[66]

On May 14, Paul announced that he would halt campaigning in states that had not yet at that point held their primaries, citing a lack of money needed to do so. Instead, the Paul campaign sought more delegates in state conventions in states that already held primaries.[67]

Continuing on May 15, Romney won the primaries in Oregon and Nebraska with Paul second in Oregon and Santorum second in Nebraska.[68] On May 22, Romney swept Kentucky and Arkansas primaries.[69][70] He claimed to have exceeded the nominating threshold in Texas, May 29.[71] In fourth, Ron Paul worked behind the scenes to secure delegates in local caucuses following state primary elections. He later surpassed Gingrich, but not Santorum, behind front-runner Romney.

June[edit]

  • Seven state delegations held primary elections or caucuses and allocated 586 delegates

On June 5, California, New Jersey, South Dakota, and New Mexico added 264 delegates to the Romney count, bringing his total to 1,480 pledged delegates, exceeding the requisite 1,144 delegates for nomination at the Republican National Convention.[72] Despite this, the following week 123 mostly Paul-aligned delegates, currently legally bound to support Romney at the convention, brought an ongoing federal lawsuit against the RNC and its chairman to instead be able to vote “in accordance with the free exercise of their conscience.”[73][74] Paul adviser Jesse Benton commented, “We have nothing to do with it and do not support it.”[75]

Also in June, the three remaining states voting in primaries, Utah, Nebraska, and Montana, added the final 101 delegates to attend the Republican National Convention.

July[edit]

On Saturday, July 14, the Nebraska State Republican Convention selected 32 at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention. In addition, three party leaders attend: Nebraska’s National Committeeman, Nebraska’s National Committeewoman, and chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party, who are unpledged delegates by virtue of their position. The prospective delegates indicated their presidential preference (and were bound to vote for that candidate for the first two ballots at the Republican National Convention). This was the last state Republican convention[76] and Romney garnered support of 30 Nebraska delegates; and Ron Paul, the support of two Nebraska delegates.[77][78][79]

All 2,286 delegates were to be finalized before the vote at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27–31.[80]

August[edit]

The Tampa Bay Times Forum hosted the 2012 Republican National Convention.

On August 11, 2012, Romney announced the selection of Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice-presidential running mate. In front of the battleship USS Wisconsin in Virginia, Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnellintroduced Romney to make his announcement to a cheering and supportive crowd. The announcement came two weeks before the Republican National Convention and led immediately into a bus tour to battleground states.[81][82]

Ron Paul led a rally in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Sunday, the day before the Republican National Convention was to begin. “No matter the outcome of the national convention, Constitutional Conservatism will benefit the nation”, a Paul spokesperson said.[83]

Leading into the national convention, preliminary delegate counts {soft, firm} were: Romney{1,545, 1,399}; Paul{173,100}; Santorum{248,251}; Gingrich{142,143}; Others{1,3}; Available{147,63}; and Uncommitted{30,327}. These totals changed as delegates switched their support to Romney or Paul at the convention.[84] A simple majority of 1,144 delegate votes were needed to win nomination.

Within the first hours of convention, each state declared their delegation vote to the nation—Romney won the nomination with 2,061 delegate votes.[85] Other candidates, including Bachmann, Santorum, and mainly Ron Paul, garnered 202 votes, with 23 delegates abstaining. The Romney-Ryan ticket was formalized.

The final official votes for the Republican nominees for president and vice president took place at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida—the three-day convention from Tuesday, August 28, to Thursday, August 30. The 2012 Democratic National Convention followed in the first week of September in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Schedule and process[edit]

The primary elections take place from January 3 to July 14 and will allocate and elect 2,286 voting delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates in 56 delegations to the 2012 Republican National Convention in the week of August 27.[86]

The total base number of delegates allocated to each of the 50 U.S. states is 10 at-large delegates, plus 3 delegates per congressional district. In addition, fixed numbers of at-large delegates are allocated to Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico,American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands under the party’s delegate selection rules.[87] States are awarded bonus delegates based on the following factors:

  • Bonus delegates to each state that cast a majority of their Electoral College votes for the Grand Old Party (GOP) candidate in the 2008 presidential election
  • One bonus delegate for each GOP senator
  • One bonus delegate to each state that has a GOP majority in their delegation to the House of Representatives
  • One bonus delegate for each state that has a GOP governor
  • Bonus delegates for majorities in one or all of the chambers in their state legislature.

The two Republican National Committee members from each state and territory and the chairperson of the state’s Republican Party are delegates unless the state is penalized for violating the RNC’s scheduling rules. The individual states decide whether these delegates are bound or unbound.

A candidate must have a plurality in five state delegations in order to be on the first ballot at national convention. For the purposes of these primaries, the five territories and D.C. are counted as states (Rule 27). This five-state rule is Rule No. 40 of the rules of the Republican Party as adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention and amended by the Republican National Committee on August 6, 2010.[10] It is the rule outlining the way the convention will nominate the Republican candidate for president.

RULE NO. 40: Nominations
(a) In making the nominations for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States and voting thereon, the roll of the states shall be called separately in each case; provided, however, that if there is only one candidate for nomination for Vice President of the United States who has demonstrated the support required by paragraph (b) of this rule, a motion to nominate for such office by acclamation shall be in order and no calling of the roll with respect to such office shall be required.
(b) Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a plurality of the delegates from each of five (5) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination.
(c) The total time of the nominating speech and seconding speeches for any candidate for nomination for President of the United States or Vice President of the United States shall not exceed fifteen (15) minutes.
(d) When at the close of a roll call any candidate for nomination for President of the United States or Vice President of the United States has received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention, the chairman of the convention shall declare that the candidate has been nominated.
(e) If no candidate shall have received such majority, the chairman of the convention shall direct the roll of the states be called again and shall repeat the calling of the roll until a candidate shall have received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention.

The primary election table below shows how and when the National Convention delegates are allocated and elected. This means it do not include straw polls, primary or other kinds. And it do not include the dates for different local conventions where delegates are already allocated are elected.[88][89]

  • Dates: The first date column is the date of primary or caucuses where the election process for the delegation starts. This event can allocated delegate or let them stay unallocated. But two more dates are important in the process, the date when congressional district delegates are (s)elected and the date when state delegates are (s)elected. Some event stretches for more than one day, if so the date stated in the table is the end day of the event. This is done for technical reasons.
  • State Delegation Each delegation are made up of up to three kinds of delegates. Party members, delegates from the congressional districts and delegates from the state at-large. They can either be bound, meaning that they are legally or morally bound to vote for a candidate for at least the first ballot at the National Convention, or they can be unbound, meaning that they are free to vote for any candidate at the National Convention. Some delegates are only morally bound, meaning that they are allocated to a candidate or elected on his ticket but are not legally bound to vote for him. Some delegates are unbound but are elected at their local conventions because they are strong supporters of a candidate. This means that the binding status of a delegate only become of importance if no candidate have reached an majority of delegates before the National Convention. If a candidate suspends his campaign the delegates allocated and/or elected to him may become unbound depending on state rules. Five delegations (#) have been penalized for breaking RNC election guidelines, meaning that their number of delegates have been cut in half and their party leaders have been banned from voting. Ten delegations (†) have chosen to bind their party leaders to the result of the allocating event instead of leaving them unbound.
RNC Party Leaders
AL State At-Large
CD Congressional District
U Unbound delegates
B Bound delegates
G Newt Gingrich
P Ron Paul
R Mitt Romney
S Rick Santorum
Un Uncommitted
  • Allocation: Delegates can either be allocated or unallocated at the starting primary or caucuses. The contests that allocated delegates on state and district levels uses following allocating systems:
    • Winner-take-all. The candidate receiving the most votes are allocated all the delegates.
    • Proportional. Most states that allocated proportionally have thresholds ranging from 10 to 25 percent of the vote.
  • Election All delegates allocated as unallocated are (s)elected. In the race to get a majority of the delegates the events electing unallocated delegates naturally receive most attention. The methods are:
    • Convention. Except from Wyoming county conventions all these conventions are at the state and district level.
    • Direct election. Instead of voting for a candidate at the primary or caucuses the voters elect the delegates directly. The delegates can state their presidential preference and in that way be elected on a candidates “ticket”
    • Slate. Before the primary or caucuses each candidate submits a slate with prospective delegates. The allocated delegates are then selected from these slates.
    • Committee. The state GOP executive committee or its chairman selects the delegates.
  • Secured delegates: These columns do not list the 117 unbound RNC delegates that are not a part of the primary election process. Five candidates secured delegates, they are listed in a candidates’ column when they are allocated to him or when they after or at their election have pledge to him. Huntsman’s (the fifth candidate) two New Hampshire delegates are listed as uncommitted. These are numbers that the candidates have actually secured for themselves, not projected counts or counts after a candidate has suspended his campaign and released his candidates. The uncommitted column (last) lists both elected delegates that are still uncommitted and unallocated delegates.

This is a sortable table — links provide quick paths to more information on the different state primaries:

  • By clicking on the link in the ‘State’ column you will go to the state or territory article.
  • By clicking on the link in the ‘Contest’ column you will go to the state or territory primary or caucuses article.
  • Click the triangles to sort any column. Click twice to bring the largest numbers to the top.

Primary schedule[edit]

Delegate counts during the primaries. This is not the convention roll call and does not included the 117 unbound RNC delegates.

State Delegation (only voting delegates) Allocation Election (CD) Election (AL) Secured delegates
Date State RNC AL CD Total U B Contest AL CD Date Type Date Type G P R S Un
Jan. 3 Iowa 3 13 12 28 28 0 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Jun. 16 Convention Jun. 16 Committee 0 21 1 0 3
Jan. 10 New Hampshire# 0 12 0 12 2 10 Primary(open) Proportional N/A N/A N/A Jan. 10 Slate 0 3 7 0 2
Jan. 21 South Carolina# 0 11 14 25 0 25 Primary(open) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all April Convention May 19 Convention 23 0 2 0
Jan. 31 Florida# 0 50 0 50 0 50 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A TBD Committee 0 0 50 0
Feb. 4 Nevada 3 25 0 28 0 28 Caucus(closed) Proportional N/A N/A N/A May 6 Convention 0 8 20 0
Feb. 7 Colorado 3 12 21 36 16 20 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Apr. 13 Convention Apr. 14 Convention 0 2 14 6 14
Minnesota 3 13 24 40 5 35 Caucus(open) (No allocation) (No allocation) Apr. 21 Convention May 19 Convention 0 32 1 2 2
Feb. 28 Arizona# 0 29 0 29 0 29 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A May 12 Convention 0 0 29 0
Michigan# 0 2 28 30 14 16 Primary(open) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all May 19 Convention May 19 Convention 0 6 24 0
Feb. 29 Wyoming 3 14 12 29 4 25 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Mar. 10 Conventionb Apr. 14 Convention 0 1 22 2 1
Mar. 3 Maine 3 15 6 24 24 0 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) May 6 Convention May 6 Convention 0 21 0 0
Washington 3 10 30 43 3 40 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Jun. 2 Convention Jun. 2 Convention 0 5 34 1
Mar. 6 Alaska 3 24 0 27 3 24 Caucus(closed) Proportional N/A N/A N/A Apr. 28 Convention 2 6 8 8
Georgia 3 31 42 76 0 76 Primary(open) Proportional Proportional Apr. 14 Convention May 19 Convention 52 0 21 3
Idaho 3 29 0 32 0 32 Caucus(closed) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A Jun. 23 Convention 0 0 32 0
Massachusetts 3 11 27 41 3 38 Primary(semi-closed) Proportional Proportional Apr. 28 Convention Jun. 19 Committee 0 0 38 0
North Dakotag 3 25 0 28 0 28 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) N/A N/A N/A Apr. 1 Convention 2 8 7 11
Ohio 3 15 48 66 3 63a Primary(semi-closed) Proportional Winner-take-all Mar. 6 Slatec Mar. 6 Slate 0 0 38 25
Oklahoma 3 25 15 43 3 40