Donald Trump

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For other uses, see Donald Trump (disambiguation).
Donald Trump
Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg

Trump speaking at a New Hampshire Town Hall, 2015
President-elect of the United States
Taking office
January 20, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence (elect)
Succeeding Barack Obama
Personal details
Born Donald John Trump
June 14, 1946 (age 70)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican (1987–99, 2009–11, 2012–present)
Other political
Alma mater Fordham University
University of Pennsylvania (BS)
Net worth Increase US$4.5 billion[3]
Signature Donald J Trump stylized autograph, in ink

Trump was born and raised in New York City and received a bachelor’s degreein economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. In 1971, he took control of his father Fred Trump‘s real estate and construction firm. Trump has appeared at the Miss USA pageants, which he owned from 1996 to 2015, and has made cameo appearances in films and television series. He sought the Reform Party presidential nomination in 2000, but withdrew before voting began. He hosted and co-produced The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC, from 2004 to 2015. As of 2016, he was listed by Forbes as the 324th wealthiest person in the world, and 113th in the United States, with a net worth of $4.5 billion.[3]Donald John Trump (/ˈdɒnəld ɒn trʌmp/; born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, reality television personality, politician, and President-elect of the United States. Since 1971, he has chaired The Trump Organization, the principal holding company for his real estate ventures and other business interests. During his business career, Trump has built office towers, hotels, casinos, golf courses, and other branded facilities worldwide. He was elected as the 45th U.S. president in the 2016 election on the Republican ticket, defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and is scheduled to take office on January 20, 2017.

In June 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for president as a Republican and quickly emerged as the front-runner for his party’s nomination. In May 2016, his remaining Republican rivals suspended their campaigns, and in July he was formally nominated for president at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Trump’s campaign received unprecedented media coverage and international attention. Many of his statements in interviews, on Twitter, and at campaign rallies have been controversial or false. Several rallies during the primaries were accompanied by protests. Following Trump’s victory in the general election, he began transitioning to his administration. At 70 years old, he will be the oldest person to assume the presidency.

Trump’s platform includes renegotiation of U.S.–China trade deals, opposition to particular trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, stronger enforcement of immigration laws together with building a wall along the Mexico–U.S. border, reform of veterans‘ care, repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and tax cuts. Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, which he later changed to a policy of “extreme vetting” from certain areas of the world.[4]


Early life and career

Further information: Ancestry of Donald Trump

Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Jamaica, Queens, a neighborhood in New York City.[5] He was the second youngest of five children. Of his four siblings, three are living: Maryanne, Elizabeth, and Robert. Trump’s older brother Fred Jr. died in 1981 from alcoholism, which Trump says led him to never drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.[6]

Trump is of German ancestry on his father’s side and Scottish ancestry on his mother’s side; all four of his grandparents were born in Europe. His father, Fred Trump (1905–1999), was born in Queens to parents from Kallstadt, Germany, and became one of the biggest real estate developers in New York City.[7][8] His mother, Mary Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000), was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland.[9] Fred and Mary met in New York and married in 1936, establishing their household in Queens.[9][10] His uncle John G. Trump, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1936 to 1973, was involved in radar research for the Allies in the Second World War, and helped design X-ray machines that provided additional years of life to cancer patients. In 1943, the Federal Bureau of Investigation requested John Trump to examine Nikola Tesla‘s papers and equipment when Tesla died in his room at the New Yorker Hotel.[11] Donald Trump’s grandfather was Frederick Trump who amassed a fortune operating boom-town restaurants and boarding houses in the region of Seattle and Klondike, Canada.[12]

The Trump family were originally Lutherans, but Trump’s parents belonged to the Reformed Church in America.[13] The family name was formerly spelled Drumpf or Drumpft, and later evolved to Trump during the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century.[14] Trump has said that he is proud of his German heritage; he served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.[15]

A black-and-white photograph of Donald Trump as a teenager, smiling and wearing a dark uniform with various badges and a light-colored stripe crossing his right shoulder. This image was taken while Trump was in the New York Military Academy in 1964.

Trump at age 18 at the New York Military Academy, June 30, 1964

The family had a two-story Tudor Revival home on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates, where Trump lived while attending The Kew-Forest School.[16] Trump left the school at age 13 and was enrolled in the New York Military Academy (NYMA),[17] in Cornwall, New York, where he finished eighth grade and high school. In 1983, Fred Trump told an interviewer that Donald “was a pretty rough fellow when he was small.”[18] Trump participated in marching drills, wore a uniform, and during his senior year attained the rank of captain. He was transferred from a student command position after the alleged hazing of a new freshman in his barracks by one of Trump’s subordinates; Trump describes the transfer as “a promotion”.[19] In 2015, he told a biographer that NYMA gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military”.[20]

Trump attended Fordham University in the Bronx for two years, beginning in August 1964. He then transferred to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which offered one of the few real estate studies departments in United States academia at the time.[21][22]While there, he worked at the family’s company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, named for his paternal grandmother.[23] Trump graduated from Wharton in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.[22][24][25]

Trump was not drafted during the Vietnam War.[26] While in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student deferments.[27] 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.[28] In an interview for a 2015 biography, Trump attributed his medical deferment to heel spurs.[20] In December 1969 Trump received a high number in the draft lottery, which would also have exempted him from service.[28][29][30]


Prior to graduating from college, Trump began his real estate career at his father, Fred Trump’s company,[31] Elizabeth Trump and Son,[32] which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. During his undergraduate study, Fred and Donald Trump used a $500,000 investment to successfully reopen the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio.[33]

He was given control of the company in 1971 and, in one of his first acts, renamed it to The Trump Organization.[34][35] He became the president of the organization in 1973. That year, he and his father drew wider attention when the Justice Department alleged that they were discriminating against blacks who wanted to rent apartments, rather than merely screening out people based on low income as the Trumps stated. An agreement was later signed in which the Trumps made no admission of wrongdoing, and under which qualified minority applicants would be presented by the Urban League.[36][37]

Trump’s first big deal in Manhattan was the remodeling of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in 1978 next to Grand Central Terminalfrom an older Commodore Hotel, which was largely funded by a $70 million construction loan jointly guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain.[38][39]

Family and personal life


Trump has five children by three marriages, and has eight grandchildren.[40][41] His first two marriages ended in divorces that were publicized in the tabloid media.[42]

Family tree showing Donald Trump’s children from his three marriages with Ivana Trump, Marla Maples, and Melania Trump.
At a 2016 campaign event, from left: son-in-law Jared, daughter Ivanka, Trump, wife Melania, daughter-in-law Lara, and son Eric.

Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, on April 7, 1977, at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan[43] in a ceremony performed by one of America’s most famous ministers, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale.[44] They had three children: son Donald Jr. (born December 31, 1977), daughter Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and son Eric (born January 6, 1984). Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric now serve as executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization.[45] Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988.[46]

Trump has been nicknamed “The Donald” since Ivana referred to him as such in a 1989 Spy magazine cover story.[47][48]By early 1990, Trump’s troubled marriage to Ivana and affair with actress Marla Maples had been reported in the tabloid press.[49][50][51] Ivana Trump was granted an uncontested divorce in 1990, on the grounds that Trump’s treatment of her, such as his affair with Maples, had been “cruel and inhuman”.[52][53] In 1992, he successfully sued Ivana for violating a gag clause in their divorce agreement by disclosing facts about him in her book.[54][55][56] In 2015, Ivana said that she and Donald “are the best of friends”.[57]

Maples gave birth to their daughter Tiffany, named after Tiffany & Company (Trump’s purchase of the air rights above the store in the 1980s allowed him to build Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue), on October 13, 1993.[58] They married two months later on December 20, 1993.[59] The couple formally separated in May 1997,[60] with their divorce finalized in June 1999.[61][62] Tiffany was raised by her mother in Calabasas, California, where she lived until her graduation from Viewpoint School.[63]

Donald and Melania Trump standing behind a blond-wood podium with the words "TRUMP", "TEXT 'TRUMP' TO 88022", "MANCHESTER, New Hampshire", and "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" printed in white-on-blue text from top to bottom. Donald is to the left, behind the actual podium. Melania is about three feet to his left.

With wife Melania at a 2016 campaign event

In 1998, Trump began a relationship with Slovene model Melania Knauss, who became his third wife.[64][65] They were engaged in April 2004[66] and were married on January 22, 2005, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.[67][68][69] In 2006, Melania became a naturalized United States citizen.[65] On March 20, 2006, she gave birth to their son, whom they named Barron Trump.[70][71] (Trump had previously used the pseudonym “John Baron” or “Barron” in some business deals and for other purposes.[72][73][74]) Having heard the language since his birth, Barron is fluent in Slovene.[75] In a February 2009 interview on ABC’s news program Nightline, Trump commented that his love for his business had made it difficult for his first two wives to compete with his affection for work.[76]

Trump’s brother, Fred Jr., predeceased their father Fred. Shortly after the latter died in 1999, the wife of Fred Jr.’s son gave birth to a son with serious medical problems. Trump and his family offered to pay the medical bills through Fred Sr.’s company (Fred Sr. freely provided medical coverage to his family through his company for decades).[77] Fred III then sued the family for allegedly having used “undue influence” on a dementia-stricken Fred Sr. to get Fred III and his sister Mary a reduced share from their grandfather’s will, but Trump attributed the reduced share to his father’s dislike of Fred III’s mother, and Trump stopped the aid for Fred III’s son. The aid was resumed by court order pending outcome of the lawsuit, which was then settled.[78][79]

Religious views

Trump receives blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson, September 30, 2015

Trump is a Presbyterian.[80] He has said that he began going to church at the First Presbyterian Church in the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens as a child.[81] Trump attended Sunday school and had his confirmation at that church.[81] In an April 2011 interview on The 700 Club, he commented: “I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.”[82][83] Trump told a 2015 South Carolina campaign audience he attends Marble Collegiate Church, where he married his first wife Ivana in 1977. Marble has said that, though Trump has a longstanding history with the church, he is not an active member of Marble.[81][nb 1] Trump has said that although he participates in Holy Communion, he has not asked God for forgiveness for his sins. He stated, “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.”[84]

Trump calls his own book The Art of the Deal (1987) “my second favorite book of all time,” and has told campaign audiences: “Do you know what my first is? The Bible! Nothing beats the Bible.”[85][86] Declining to name his favorite Bible verse, Trump said “I don’t like giving that out to people that you hardly know.”[81] However, his religious knowledge was questioned after a speech he gave to Liberty University, in which he referred to Second Corinthians as “Two Corinthians,” eliciting chuckles from some in the audience.[87]

Trump maintains relationships with several prominent national Evangelical Protestant and other Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins and Ralph E. Reed Jr.[88] During his 2016 presidential campaign, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodoxpriest Emmanuel Lemelson.[89] Trump has ties to the Jewish-American community.[90] At an Algemeiner Journal awards ceremony honoring him with the Algemeiner Liberty Award, he was asked about having Jewish grandchildren. In reference to daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner, Trump said: “Not only do I have Jewish grandchildren, I have a Jewish daughter; and I am very honored by that … it wasn’t in the plan but I am very glad it happened.”[91]

Controversy involving the Pope

In February 2016, while on his way home following a visit to Mexico, Pope Francis said the following when asked about Trump:

A person who thinks only about building walls—wherever they may be—and not building bridges, is not Christian … I’d just say that this man [Trump] is not Christian if he said it this way … We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.[92]

Trump responded that it was “disgraceful” for the Pope to question his faith, suggesting that the Mexican government was “using the Pope as a pawn” for political purposes, “because they want to continue to rip off the United States.”[93][94] Trump added that “if and when” Islamic State attacks the Vatican, the Pope would have “wished and prayed” Trump were President because under his leadership such an attack would not happen.[94]

The following day, Director of the Holy See Press Office Federico Lombardi insisted that the Pope was not launching an attack on Trump nor trying to sway voters by declaring that someone who advocates building walls is not Christian.[95][96]After the clarification by Lombardi, Trump downplayed his differences with the Pope, saying “I don’t think this is a fight.”[97]


A medical report by his doctor, Harold Borstein M.D., showed that Trump’s blood pressure, liver and thyroid function were in normal range.[98][99] Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or marijuana, or consumed other drugs.[100] He does not drink alcohol.[101][102][103] He also has germaphobic tendencies, and prefers not to shake hands.[104]

In September 2016, Trump discussed his health in more detail on The Dr. Oz Show, providing actual results from recent physical examinations.[105]

Business career

An analysis of Trump’s business career by The Economist in 2016, concludes 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.[106] A subsequent analysis by The Washington Post, whose reporters were denied press credentials by the Trump presidential campaign, concluded that “Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success.”[107]

Real estate
Trump Tower

a view upward toward the top of the Trump Tower, a 58-floor building with a brown-glassed facade

Trump Tower seen from the entrance on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan

In 1978, Trump finished negotiations to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 202-metre (663-foot) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, for which The New York Timesattributed his “persistence” and “skills as a negotiator”.[108] The building was completed in 1983, and houses both the primary penthouse condominiumresidence of Donald Trump and the headquarters of the Trump Organization.[109]Trump Tower was the setting of the NBC television show The Apprentice, including a fully functional television studio set.[110]

The building occupies the former site of the architecturally significant Bonwit Teller flagship store. Its demolition in 1980 was controversial due to the destruction of valuable Art Deco bas-relief sculptures on its facade,[111][112] as well as a contractor’s use of some 200 undocumented Polish immigrant workers, who were reportedly paid 4–5 dollars per hour for work in 12-hour shifts.[72][113] Trump testified in 1990 that he rarely visited the site and was unaware of the illegal workers.[114][115]


Harrah’s at Trump Plaza opened in Atlantic City in 1984. The hotel/casino was built by Trump with financing by Holiday Corp.[116] and operated by the Harrah’s gambling unit of Holiday Corp. The casino’s poor results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp.[117] Trump also acquired a partially completed building in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million. When completed in 1985, the hotel/casino became Trump Castle. Trump’s wife, Ivana, managed the property.[118]

Trump acquired the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1985 for $5 million, plus $3 million for the home’s furnishings. In addition to using the home as a winter retreat, Trump also turned it into a private club with membership fees of $150,000. At about the same time, he acquired a condominium complex in Palm Beach with Lee Iacocca that became Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches.[119]

Repairs on the Wollman Rink in Central Park, built in 1955, were started in 1980 by a general contractor unconnected to Trump, with an expected 2 12-year construction schedule, but were not completed by 1986. Trump took over the project, completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget, and then operated the rink for one year with all profits going to charity in exchange for the rink’s concession rights.[120]

Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in 1988. He paid $400 million for the property and once again tapped Ivana to manage its operation and renovation.[121]

Later in 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.[122] The casino was 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 built.[123][124] Financed with $675 million in junk bonds[125] at a 14% interest rate, the project entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year.[126] Banks and bondholders, facing potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars, opted to restructure the debt.

The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and more time to pay off the debt.[127] He also sold his financially challenged Trump Shuttle airline and his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess.[125][128][129] The property was repurchased in 1996 and consolidated into Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, which filed for bankruptcy in 2004 with $1.8 billion in debt, filing again for bankruptcy five years later with $50 million in assets and $500 million in debt. The restructuring ultimately left Trump with 10% ownership in the Trump Taj Mahal and other Trump casino properties.[129]Trump served as chairman of the organization, which was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts, from mid-1995 until early 2009, and served as CEO from mid-2000 to mid-2005.[130]

Business bankruptcies

Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but hotel and casino businesses of his have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds.[131][132] 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.[133][134]

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).[135][136][137] 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.”[126]

Inheritance and further acquisitions

Trump acquired an old, vacant office building on Wall Street in Manhattan in 1996. After a complete renovation, it became the seventy-story Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.[138] After his father died in 1999, Trump and his siblings received equal portions of his father’s estate valued at $250–300 million.[139]

In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.[140] Trump also began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. He continued to own commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle which he acquired in 1996,[141] and also continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.[142]

Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico in Manhattan in 2002. It was re-opened with 35 stories of luxury condominiums in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue.[143]

Trump has licensed his name and image for the development of a number of real estate projects including two Trump-branded real estate projects in Florida that have gone into foreclosure.[144] 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.[145]

Trump also licensed his name to son-in-law Jared Kushner‘s fifty story Trump Bay Street, a Jersey City luxury development that has raised $50 million of its $200 million capitalization largely from wealthy Chinese nationals who, after making an initial down payment of $500,000 in concert with the government’s expedited EB-5 visa program, can usually obtain United States permanent residency for themselves and their families after two years.[146] Trump is a partner with Kushner Properties only in name licensing and not in the building’s financing.[146]

Golf courses

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

A view of the Turnberry Hotel, in Ayrshire, Scotland

The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world. The number of golf courses that Trump owns or manages is about 18, according to Golfweek.[147] Trump’s personal financial disclosure with the Federal Elections Commission stated that his golf and resort revenue for the year 2015 was roughly $382 million.[148][149]

In 2006, Trump bought the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, creating a golf resort against the wishes of local residents[150] on an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[151][152] A 2011 independent documentary, You’ve Been Trumped, by British filmmaker Anthony Baxter, chronicled the golf resort’s construction and the subsequent struggles between the locals and Donald Trump.[153] Despite Trump’s promises of 6,000 jobs, in 2016, by his own admission, the golf course has created only 200 jobs.[154] In June 2015, Trump made an appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm being built within sight of the golf course,[155] which was dismissed by five justices at the UK Supreme Court in December 2015.[156]

In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota.[157][158] After extensive renovations and a remodeling of the course by golf architect Martin Ebert, Turnberry was re-opened on June 24, 2016.[159]

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 baseball game in 2009

In 1983, Trump’s New Jersey Generals became a charter member of the new United States Football League (USFL). 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 1986 schedule to the fall, directly opposite the National Football League (NFL), arguing that it would eventually force a merger with the NFL, which would supposedly increase their investment significantly.[160]

After the 1985 season, the Generals merged with the Houston Gamblers, but had continuing financial troubles. The USFL, which was down to just 7 active franchises from a high of 18, was soon forced to fold, despite winning an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.[161]

Trump attempted to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2014 but was unsuccessful. During his 2016 presidential run, he has been 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.”[162]

Trump remained involved with other sports after the Generals folded, operating golf courses in several countries.[161] 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.[161][163][164]

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.[165][166]

Beauty pageants

Further information: Miss USA, Miss Universe, and Miss Teen USA

From 1996 until 2015,[167] Trump owned part or all of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants. The Miss Universe pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills.[168] Trump was dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled his pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002.[169][170]

In 2006, Miss USA winner Tara Conner tested positive for cocaine, but Trump let her keep the crown, for the sake of giving her a second chance.[171] That decision by Trump was criticized by Rosie O’Donnell, which led to a very blunt and personal rebuttal by Trump criticizing O’Donnell.[172] In 2012, Trump won a $5 million arbitration award against a contestant who claimed the show was rigged.[173]

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.[174][175] Trump subsequently filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, alleging a breach of contract and defamation.[176][177]

On September 11, 2015, Trump announced that he had become the sole owner of the Miss Universe Organization by purchasing NBC’s stake, and that he had “settled” his lawsuits against the network,[178] though it was unclear whether Trump had yet filed lawsuits against NBC.[179] He sold his own interests in the pageant shortly afterwards, to WME/IMG.[167]The $500 million lawsuit against Univision was settled in February 2016, but terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[180]

Trump University

Main articles: Trump University and Cohen v. Trump

Trump University LLC[181] was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until at least 2010. After multiple lawsuits, it is now defunct. It was founded by Donald Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny.[182] The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation, charging between $1,500 and $35,000 per course.[183] In 2005 the operation was notified by New York State authorities that its use of the word “university” violated state law. After a second such notification in 2010, the name of the operation was changed to the “Trump Entrepreneurial Institute”.[184] Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.[185] In 2013 the state of New York filed a $40 million civil suit claiming that Trump University made false claims and defrauded consumers; the lawsuit is ongoing as of 2016.[184][186] In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits are pending in federal court relating to Trump University; they name Donald Trump personally as well as his companies.[187] One of the cases, Low v. Trump, is set for trial on November 28, 2016.[188]

Trump repeatedly criticized a judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, who is overseeing two of the Trump University cases. During campaign speeches and interviews up until June 2016, Trump called Curiel a “hater of Donald Trump”, saying his rulings have been unfair, and that Curiel “happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine”,[189] while suggesting that the judge’s ethnicity posed a conflict of interest in light of Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the United States–Mexican border.[188][190][191][192] Many legal experts were critical of Trump’s attacks on Curiel, often viewing them as racially charged, unfounded, and an affront to the concept of an independent judiciary.[193][194][195] On June 7, 2016, Trump issued a lengthy statement saying that his criticism of the judge had been “misconstrued” and that his concerns about Curiel’s impartiality were not based upon ethnicity alone, but also upon rulings in the case.[196][197]

Donald J. Trump Foundation

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation[198] 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.[199][200] The foundation’s funds mostly come from donors other than Trump,[201] who has not given personally to the charity since 2008.[201] The top donors to the foundation from 2004 to 2014 were Vince and Linda McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007.[201]

The foundation’s tax returns show that it has given to healthcare and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups.[202] 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).[203][204]

Starting in 2016 The Washington Post began reporting on how the foundation raised and granted money. The Postuncovered several potential legal and ethical violations, such as alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion.[205] The New York State Attorney General is investigating the foundation “to make sure it is complying with the laws governing charities in New York.”[206][207] A Trump spokesman called the investigation a “partisan hit job”.[206] On October 3, 2016, the New York 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”.[208]

Branding and licensing

Trump has marketed his name on a large number of building projects as well as commercial products and services, achieving mixed success doing so for himself, his partners, and investors in the projects.[209][210][nb 2] In 2011, Forbesfinancial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion.[229]

Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects.[230] For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name.[230] According to Forbes, this portion of Trump’s empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation. According to Forbes, there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven “condo hotels” (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments). In June 2015, Forbes pegged the Trump brand at $125 million[231] as retailers like Macy’s Inc. and Serta Mattresses began dropping Trump-branded products.[232][233]

Income and taxes

Pursuant to the FEC regulations, Trump published a 92-page financial disclosure form listing all his assets, liabilities, income sources and hundreds of business positions.[148] According to a July 2015 campaign press release, Trump’s income for the year 2014 was $362 million.[234] However, Trump has repeatedly declined to publicly release any of his full tax returns, citing a pending IRS audit.[235]

In October 2016, it was revealed that Trump had claimed a loss of $916 million on his 1995 tax returns. As net operating losses from one year can be applied to offset income from future years, this loss allowed him to reduce or eliminate his taxable income during the eighteen-year carry forward period.[236] Trump acknowledged using the deducton but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied.[237]

The New York Times found that some accountants considered Trump’s tax deduction methods in the early 1990s “legally dubious”.[238] Independent tax experts stated that “Whatever loophole existed was not ‘exploited’ here, but stretched beyond any recognition” and that it involved “sleight of hand”, further speculating that Trump’s casino bankruptcies were probably related to Trump’s 1995 reported loss.[239]

Net worth

A tall rectangular-shaped tower in Las Vegas with exterior windows shimmering with 24-karat gold. It is a sunny day and the building is higher than many of the surrounding buildings, which are also towers. There are mountains in the background. This tower is called the Trump Hotel Las Vegas.

Trump Hotel Las Vegaswhose exterior windows are gilded with 24-karat gold[240]

In 2016, Forbes estimated Trump’s net worth at $3.7 billion, and Bloomberg at $3 billion,[241][242] making him one of the richest politicians in American history. Trump himself claimed his net worth was over $10 billion,[234] with the discrepancy essentially stemming from the uncertain value of appraised property and of his personal brand.[241][243] As of 2016, Forbes ranked him the 156th wealthiest person in the U.S.[242] and the 324th wealthiest in the world.[244]

On June 16, 2015, when announcing his candidacy, Trump released a one-page financial summary stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000.[245] “I’m really rich”, he said.[246] Forbesbelieved his claim of $9 billion was “a whopper,” figuring it was actually $4.1 billion.[247] The summary statement includes $3.3 billion worth of “real estate licensing deals, brand and branded developments”, putting a figure on Trump’s estimate of his own brand value.[248]The July 2015 FEC disclosure reports assets worth above $1.4 billion and debts above $265 million. According to Bloomberg, Trump “only reported revenue for [his] golf properties in his campaign filings even though the disclosure form asks for income”, whereas independent filings showed his European golf properties to be unprofitable.[241]

Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 as having an estimated $200 million fortune, including a share of his father’s estimated $200 million net worth.[249] Trump didn’t make the list from 1990 to 1995 following losses which reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings’ trusts in 1993.[249] Trump has since told campaign audiences he began his career with “a small loan of one million dollars” from his father, which he paid back with interest.[250]

After Trump made controversial remarks about illegal immigrants in 2015, he lost business contracts with NBCUniversal, Univision, Macy’s, Serta, PVH Corporation, and Perfumania,[251] which Forbes estimated negatively impacted his net worth by $125 million. The value of the Trump brand may have fallen further during his presidential campaign, as some consumers boycotted Trump-branded products and services to protest his candidacy.[252] Bookings and foot traffic at Trump-branded properties fell off sharply in 2016,[253][254] and the release of the Access Hollywood tape recordings in October 2016 exacerbated this.[255] After Trump’s presidential win, his subjective brand value rebounded sharply.[256]

Entertainment and media

Further information: Donald Trump filmography

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. Trump is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and receives an annual pension of more than $110,000.[258][259] He has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Trump also had his own daily talk radio program called Trumped![260][261][262]

The Apprentice

Donald Trump posing with basketball personality 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 guest basketball personality 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. In 2004, Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase “You’re fired.”[2][3][4]

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.[263]In a July 2015 press release, Trump’s campaign manager claimed that NBCUniversal had paid him $213,606,575 for his 14 seasons hosting the show,[234] although the network did not verify the claim.[264] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).[210][265] The star has been targeted by vandals multiple times; the most recent case was in October 2016.[266]

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.

On February 16, 2015, NBC announced that they would be renewing The Apprentice for a 15th season.[267] On February 27, Trump stated that he was “not ready” to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run.[268]Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production.[269] 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,” apparently ending Trump’s role in The Apprentice.[270]

Trump Model Management

In 1999, Trump founded a modeling company, Trump Model Management, which operates in the SoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan.[271] Together with another Trump company, Trump Management Group LLC, Trump Model Management has brought nearly 250 foreign fashion models into the United States to work in the fashion industry since 2000.[272] In 2014, president of Trump Model Management Corrine Nicolas, other managers, and the company were sued by one of the agency’s former models, Alexia Palmer, alleging racketeering, breach of contract, mail fraud, and violating immigrant wage laws.[273] The case was dismissed from U.S. federal court in March 2016.[274]

Professional wrestling

Trump is a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) fan, and a friend of WWE owner Vince McMahon. He has hosted two WrestleMania events in the Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several of the shows.[275] Trump’s Taj Mahal in Atlantic City was host to the 1991 WBF Championship (which was owned by WWE, known at the time as the “World Wrestling Federation”). He also appeared in WrestleMania VII. He was interviewed by Jesse Ventura ringside at WrestleMania XX.[276]

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

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

Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion. He made his sixth WrestleMania appearance the next night.[277]

Political career

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Donald Trump for President
Logo for Donald Trump's 2000 presidential campaign
Campaign U.S. presidential election, 2000
Candidate Donald Trump
President of
The Trump Organization
Affiliation Reform Party
Headquarters Manhattan
Key people Roger Stone (Director)
Website (no longer functional)

Trump focused his campaign on the issues of fair trade, eliminating thenational 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 aideRoger Stone was hired as director of the exploratory committee.The Donald Trump presidential campaign of 2000 for the nomination of theReform Party began when real estate magnate Donald Trump of New Yorkannounced 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 convinced 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 presidential campaign of industrialist Ross Perot, the party’s 1996 presidential nominee. Trump’s entrance into the Reform Party race coincided with that ofpaleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan, whom Trump attacked throughout the campaign as a “Hitler-lover.”

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 even 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 and became the Republican Party’s presumptive 2016 presidential nominee.


Donald Trump with PresidentRonald 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 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 Timesdescribed 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 Wallaceasked 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.

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

Early stages

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 inBridgeport[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 andChris 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 American 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]


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 not to use the committee to raise money—he would personally fund his campaign—but wished to use the committee 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 as New York City’s greatest Mayor 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 toNAFTA, 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 deficitsin 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 26 year old model girlfriend Melania Knauss. In a later interview, Knauss said she would marry Trump under such notice.[37] In the role, she said, “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him.”[38]Trump described Knauss as “a woman of great style and elegance . . . very poised and gracious and able to get along with everyone.”[37]

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

Primary campaign

October 1999

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

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.” ANew 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 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, columnistMaureen 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 ofLate Edition with Wolf Blitzer. He identified Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, as a possibleSecretary 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

Top adviser Roger Stonewas part of Trump’s campaign entourage.

As the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations collapsed amid protests at a summit inSeattle, Trump appeared on the December 5 airing of ABC‘s This Week. He said that the WTO was not “necessarily fair” to the United States, and argued that “our best, and our smartest, and our brightest” were not being used to negotiate the deal. He renewed his attack on the negotiation skills of Barshefsky, saying that both she and Secretary of CommerceWilliam M. Daley did not know how to negotiate.[67] Next, Trump embarked on a two-day campaign stop in California, which the media covered extensively. During the stop, Trump held a press conference, appearing with his campaign entourage that included his girlfriend Melania, Roger Stone, and bodyguard Matt Calamari. Aides made hand sanitizer readily available for reporters, presumably due to Trump’s alleged germaphobia.[66] The Associated Press (AP) noted that Trump “made little attempt to appear statesman-like” at the press conference with responses that seemed “tailored more to entertain his listeners than establish his credibility.”[68] In Burbank, Trump appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno where he attacked Buchanan as “having a love affair with Adolf Hitler” and discussed his upcoming book, The America We Deserve. The Weekly Standard reported that though the release date was only a month away, the book had yet to be written.[66] After the Tonight Showappearance, 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 Robbinsmotivational conference.[68] Robbins and Trump had made an agreement that would pay Trump $1 million for showing up at ten of Robbins’ events. Trump planned to make campaign stops to coincide with Robbins’ shows, speculating that he “could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”[69] At the event, Trump received what the AP called a “moderately enthusiastic applause”[68] after asking the 21,000 people in attendance[66] whether he should run for president.[68] He received a large ovation when he proclaimed, “people want to hear straight talk. We’re tired of being bullied by these moron politicians.” Overall, The Weekly Standard praised Trump for his candor on the campaign trail.[66]

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

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

January 2000

The America We Deservebook 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 moneycontributions to political parties and full disclosure of campaign donations to political candidates, but calls for the removal of limits on the amount of donations, arguing, “[i]f you want to give your life savings to Al Gore, that should be between you, Al Gore and your psychiatrist.” In addition, it raises concerns about terrorism, proposing the creation of a national lottery to raise funds for anti-terrorism programs,[79] and offers a choice to North Korea to disarm or face military strikes.[17] The America We Deserve also includes praise for former boxer Muhammad Ali, Teamsters leader James P. Hoffa, as well as Trump’s future political opponents Florida governor Jeb Bush and New York governor George Pataki, among others.[80] It cites friendships with baseball player Sammy Sosa and entertainer Sean Combs as making Trump more understanding of racial diversity. Trump later backpedaled his book’s praise of Combs after Combs was charged with violating gun laws following a shooting at a New York nightclub. Trump said he did not “know [Combs] really well.”[81] The book condemns Congressman Jerrold Nadler as a “hack” for opposing Trump’s development of waterfront real estate in Manhattan, and describes Senator Bob Smith as “the dumbest guy in the U.S. Senate” after he grilled Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry on abortion when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1999 upon her nomination to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. It criticizes Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley as a “phony” for his Senate sponsorship of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 that purportedly hurt Trump financially. It also notes the hypocrisy of both an unnamed Senator and an unnamed conservative columnist who each engaged in extramarital affairs at Trump’s hotels and resorts while they attacked President Clinton for the Lewinsky scandal.[80] In a scathing review, New York Magazine described the book as inadvertently satirical.[82] Booklist pondered whether Trump was “the only man ever to run for president in order to promote a book.”[83] Dave Saltonstall of the New York Daily News, labeled it as autobiographical and reported that it contains “enough details to paint a fairly comprehensive picture of what a Trump presidency might look like.”[79]

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

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

February 2000

Despite Trump’s efforts, the conflict within the Reform Party escalated. A special Reform Party meeting was planned forNashville 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 Partyfrom 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]


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]


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


  No votes


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’sThe 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 candidateRalph 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 has styled himself as the candidate of anti-establishment Republicans and has received praise from former rival Pat Buchanan, who compares 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 favor the purported honesty of Trump’s message and his abrasive approach,[142] which eschews 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. By May 2016, after winning multiple Republican primaries, Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee.

In early 2011, presidential speculation reached its highest point and Trump began to take a lead in polls among Republican candidates in the 2012 election.[citation needed] At the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said he is “pro-life” and “against gun control”.[40][41][42] He also spoke before Tea Party supporters.[43][44][45]

Early polls for the 2012 election had Trump among the leading candidates.[46][47][48][49] In December 2011, Trump placed sixth in the “ten most admired men and women living of 2011” USA Today/Gallup telephone survey.[50] However, Trump announced in May 2011 that he would not be a candidate for the office.[51][52]

In 2013, Trump researched a possible run for President of the United States in 2016.[53] In October 2013, some New York Republicans suggested Trump should insteadrun for governor of the state in 2014,[54] including Joseph Borelli and Carl Paladino who later served as New York State Co-Chairmen for the presidential campaign.[55] In February 2015, Trump did not renew his television contract for The Apprentice, which raised speculation of his candidacy for President of the United States in 2016.[56] Later that year, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference.[57]



Trump at an early campaign event in New Hampshire on July 16, 2015

Trump formally announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, with a campaign rally and speech at Trump Tower in New York City. In his speech, Trump drew attention to domestic issues such as illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism. The campaign slogan was announced as “Make America Great Again“.[63] Trump declared that he would self-fund his presidential campaign, and would refuse any money from donors and lobbyists.[64]

Following the announcement, most of the media’s attention focused on Trump’s comment on illegal immigration: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”[65][66] Trump’s statement was controversial and led several businesses and organizations—including NBC, Macy’s, Univision, and NASCAR—to cut ties with Trump.[82] Reactions from other presidential candidates were mixed, with some Republican candidates disagreeing with the tone of Trump’s remarks yet supporting the core idea that illegal immigration is an important campaign issue, while other Republican candidates, along with the leading Democratic candidates, condemning Trump’s remarks and his policy stances as offensive or inflammatory.[88]

After the public backlash, Trump stood by his comments, citing news articles to back his claims. Trump clarified that he intended his comments to be aimed solely at the government of Mexico, specifically for using the insecure border as a means of transferring criminals into the United States and said he did not intend his comments to refer to immigrants themselves.[92]

Early campaign

Trump signs the Republican loyalty pledge promising to support the candidate nominated by the party and to not run as a third-party candidate,[a] if he failed to clinch the nomination.

Following his June 2015 announcement, Trump traveled to several early primary states including Iowa and New Hampshire to campaign ahead of the 2016 Republican primaries.[96] By early July 2015, Trump was campaigning in the West, giving rallies and speeches in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.[97][98] On July 23, he visited the Mexican border and planned to meet with border guards. The meeting did not take place due to the intervention of the national border guard union.[99]

In July, the Federal Election Commission released details of Trump’s wealth and financial holdings that he submitted when he became a Republican presidential candidate. The report showed assets above $1.4 billion and outstanding debts of at least $265 million.[100][101] Shortly afterwards, Trump’s campaign released a statement stating that his net worth is over $10 billion,[102] although Forbesestimated it to be $4 billion[citation needed]. On August 6, 2015, the first Republican primary debate took place on Fox News. During the debate, Trump refused to rule out a third-party candidacy.[103] Eventually, in September 2015, Trump signed a pledge promising his allegiance to the Republican Party.[104]

On August 21, 2015, the Federal Election Commission released a list of filings from super PACs backing candidates in the 2016 presidential race, which revealed Trump to be the only major presidential candidate among the Republican candidates who appeared not to have a super PAC supporting his candidacy.[105] Two months later, the Make America Great Again PAC, which had collected $1.74 million and spent around $500,000 on polling, consulting, and other activities,[106] was shut down after The Washington Post revealed multiple connections to the Trump campaign.[107][108]

Border wall and illegal immigration

In his announcement speech, Trump promised that he would build “a great, great wall” on the United States–Mexico border, and emphasized that proposal throughout his campaign, further stating that the construction of the wall would be paid for by Mexico.[65][109] Trump proposed a broader crackdown on illegal immigration, and, in a July 6 statement, claimed that the Mexican government is “forcing their most unwanted people into the United States”—”in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”[110] In his first town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire on August 19, 2015, Trump stated: “Day 1 of my presidency, they’re getting out and getting out fast.”[111] Trump’s Republican rival Jeb Bush stated that “Trump is wrong on this” and “to make these extraordinarily kind of ugly comments is not reflective of the Republican Party”.[112]Trump acknowledged that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus asked him to tone down his rhetoric on immigration reform and stated that his conversations with the Republican National Committee were “congratulatory” as well.[113]

Trump and supporters attend a rally in Muscatine, Iowa, in January 2016.

At a July 2015 rally in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump was welcomed by the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, turning over the lectern for part of his speech to a supporter whose child was killed in Los Angeles in 2008 by a Mexican-born gang member.[114] The brother of Kate Steinle, who was murdered in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant, criticized Trump for politicizing his sister’s death.[115][116]

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz praised Trump for giving attention to illegal immigration, while Congressman Steve King also defended Trump’s remarks about illegal immigration and crime.[85][117][118]

Univision announced it would no longer carry broadcasts of the Miss USA Pageant.[119] In response, Trump indicated the matter would be handled by legal action, and followed through by filing a $500 million lawsuit against Univision. The complaint asserted that Univision was attempting to suppress Trump’s First Amendment rights by putting pressure on his business ventures.[120] NBC announced it would not air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageant.[121][122] Afterwards, the multinational media company Grupo Televisa severed ties with Trump,[123] as did Ora TV,[124] a television network partly owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.[125] Trump gave the rights to broadcast the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants to the Reelz Channel.[126]Mexico,[127] Panama,[128] and Costa Rica[129] did not send representatives to the 2015 Miss Universe competition.[130]

Macy’s announced it would phase out its Trump-branded merchandise.[131] Serta, a mattress manufacturer, also decided to drop their business relationship with Trump.[132] NASCAR ended sponsorship with Trump by announcing it would not hold its post-season awards banquet at the Trump National Doral Miami.[133]

Among the American public, reactions to Trump’s border-wall proposal were polarized by party, with a large majority of Republicans supporting the proposal and a large majority of Democrats against it; overall, a September 2015 poll showed 48 percent of U.S. adults supporting Trump’s proposal, while a March 2016 poll showed 34 percent of U.S. adults supporting it.[134][135]

Temporary Muslim ban proposal

In remarks made following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump stated that he would support a database for tracking Muslims in the United States and expanded surveillance of mosques.[136][137] Trump’s support for an American Muslim database “drew sharp rebukes from his Republican presidential rivals and disbelief from legal experts.”[138]

On December 7, 2015, in response to the 2015 San Bernardino attack, Trump further called for a temporary ban on any Muslims entering the country. He issued a written statement saying, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” which he repeated at subsequent political rallies.[139][140][141]

The next day, December 8, 2015, the Pentagon issued a statement of concern, stating Trump’s remarks could strengthen the resolve of ISIL.[142] The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, and the Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, both issued statements in response to Trump’s press release condemning him.[143][144] However, Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing Party for Freedom in the Netherlands applauded his remarks calling them “brave” and “good for Europe”.[145] Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party called it “perhaps a political mistake too far”[146] and even Marine Le Pen of the far-right French National Front distanced herself from the idea.[147] Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu also rejected Trump’s proposal, prompting Trump to “postpone” a planned trip to Israel.[148] Trump was also criticized by leading Republican Party figures, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.[149]

Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled “thousands and thousands of people … cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001.[136][150] A blog called PolitiFacto claimed that this claim was false and was based on debunked and unproven rumors.[138][151][152]

Following Trump’s controversial comments on Muslim immigration, a petition[153] was begun on the British Parliament‘s e-petition website, calling on the UK government’s Home Secretary to bar him from entering the country. The total number of signatures exceeded the required half-million threshold to trigger a parliamentary debate.[154][155] On January 18, the UK’s House of Commons debated whether to ban Trump from the country; however, while some in the House condemned Trump’s remarks and described them as “crazy” and “offensive”, most were opposed to intervening in the electoral process of another country, and a vote was not taken.[156][157]

Trump later appeared to modify his position on Muslims. In May he stated that his proposed ban was “just a suggestion”. In June he stated that the temporary ban would apply to people originating from countries with a proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies.[158] He also commented that it “wouldn’t bother me” if Muslims from Scotland entered the United States.[159]

Trump caused further controversy when he recounted an apocryphal story about how U.S. general John J. Pershing shot Muslim terrorists with pig’s blood-dipped bullets in order to deter them during the Moro Rebellion. His comments were strongly denounced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.[160][161][162][163]

Primary front-runner

Trump had high poll numbers during the primaries.[164][165] A survey conducted by The Economist/YouGov released July 9, 2015, was the first major nationwide poll to show Trump as the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner.[166] A Suffolk/USA Today poll released on July 14, 2015, showed Trump with 17 percent support among Republican voters, with Jeb Bush at 14 percent.[167] A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken on July 16–19, showed Trump had 24 percent Republican support, over Scott Walker at 13 percent.[168] A CNN/ORC poll showed Trump in the lead at 18 percent support among Republican voters, over Jeb Bush at 15 percent,[169][170] and a CBS News poll from show of August 4ed Trump with 24 percent support, Bush second at 13 percent, and Walker third at 10 percent.[171]

A CNN/ORC poll taken August 13–16, 2015, in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania showed Trump ahead of, or narrowly trailing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in direct match-ups in those states.[172] In Florida, Trump led by two points, and in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, he was within five points of Clinton.[173]

Trump had a persistently high popularity among Republican and leaning-Republican minority voters.[174][175][176][177]Surveys taken in late 2015 showed Trump polling unfavorably among women and non-white voters, with 64 percent of women viewing Trump unfavorably and 74 percent of non-white voters having a negative view of the candidate, according to a November 2015 ABC News/Washington Post poll.[178] A Public Religion Research Institute survey in November 2015 found that many of his supporters were working class voters with negative feelings towards migrants, as well as strong financial concerns.[179][180]

Trump’s status as the consistent front-runner for the Republican nomination led to him being featured on the cover of Timemagazine in August 2015, with the caption: “Deal with it.”[181]

Caucuses and primaries

Trump campaign logo during the primaries and prior to selection of Mike Pence as running mate

In the lead-up to the Iowa caucus, poll averages showed Trump as the front-runner with a roughly four percent lead.[182] Ted Cruz came in first in the vote count, ahead of Trump. Cruz, who campaigned strongly among evangelical Christians,[183] was supported by church pastors that coordinated a volunteer campaign to get out the vote.[184] Before the Iowa vote, an email from the Cruz campaign falsely implied that Ben Carson was about to quit the race, encouraging Carson’s supporters to vote for Cruz instead.[185][186] Trump later posted on Twitter, “Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud”, and wrote, “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it.”[187]

Following his loss in Iowa, Trump rebounded in the New Hampshire primary, coming in first place with 35 percent of the vote, the biggest victory in a New Hampshire Republican primary since at least 2000.[188][189] Trump “tapped into a deep well of anxiety among Republicans and independents in New Hampshire, according to exit polling data”, running strongest among voters who feared “illegal immigrants, incipient economic turmoil and the threat of a terrorist attack in the United States”.[188] Trump commented that in the run-up to the primary, his campaign had “learned a lot about ground games in a week”.[190]

This was followed by another wide victory in South Carolina, furthering his lead among the Republican candidates.[191][192]He won the Nevada caucus on February 24 with a landslide 45.9 percent of the vote, his biggest victory yet; Marco Rubioplaced second with 23.9 percent.[193][194]

By May 2016, Trump held a commanding lead in the number of state contests won and in the delegate count. After Trump won the Indiana contest, Cruz dropped out of the race.[195] He had called Indiana a pivotal opportunity to stop Trump from clinching the nomination. Following Trump’s Indiana win, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, among others, called Trump the party’s presumptive nominee, though he noted that Trump still needed more delegates to clinch the nomination.[196]

Rallies and crowds

Trump held large rallies during his campaign,[197][198][199] routinely packing arenas and high school gymnasiums with crowds.[200]

A Trump rally on July 11, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona, “drew several thousand people to the Phoenix Convention Center, making it one of the largest events for any candidate so far, though short of the crowd of 10,000 predicted by the Trump campaign”.[201][202] Trump was introduced by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. During his speech, Trump invoked Richard Nixon‘s “silent majority” speech, saying “The silent majority is back.”[201]

On August 21, Trump held a campaign rally at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, with approximately 30,000 people in attendance.[203]

Trump’s campaign released approximately 20,000 tickets for a 1,400-person venue for a January 7 rally in Burlington, Vermont. Ultimately, 2,000 people lined up at the door, and the campaign imposed a loyalty test at the door, admitting only Trump loyalists.[204][205]

On March 16, 2016, a group calling itself the “Lion Guard” was formed to offer additional security at Trump rallies. The group was quickly condemned by most mainstream political activists as a paramilitary fringe organization.[206]

In the final month of his campaign, Donald Trump used the phrase “drain the swamp” in his rallies, pledging his supporters to “make our government honest once again.”[207][208][209]

Violence and expulsions at rallies

File:3 11 2016 Trump Rally at UIC Pavillion - Right after news of Trump's Postponement.webm

Trump rally at UIC Pavilion in Chicago on March 11, 2016, immediately after news of Trump’s cancellation of attendance of the event

Anti-Trump protesters outside arena as Chicago rally is shut down on March 11, 2016

There were verbal and physical confrontations between Trump supporters and protesters at Trump’s campaign events, some committed by Trump supporters and others by anti-Trump demonstrators. A number of protesters were asked to leave, removed by security, or arrested for trespassing at Trump’s campaign events.[210][211] There also were incidents near Trump properties related to the campaign.[212][213][214][215]

On several occasions in late 2015 and early 2016, Trump was accused of encouraging violence and escalating tension at campaign events.[216][217][218] Prior to November he used to tell his rallies “Get ’em (protesters) out, but don’t hurt ’em.”[219] But in November 2015, Trump said of a protester in Birmingham, Alabama, “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”[219] On February 1 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he told the crowd there might be tomato-throwing protesters, and urged his audience to “knock the crap out of ’em” if anyone should try. “I promise you, I will pay the legal fees”, he added.[220] On February 23, 2016, at a rally in Las Vegas, Trump reacted to a protester by saying “I love the old days—you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks”, adding “I’d like to punch him in the face.”[221][222][223] On March 9 a Trump supporter was charged with assault after he sucker-punched a protester who was being led out of the event.[224] When Trump was asked if he would pay the man’s legal fees, Trump said he was “looking into it”, although he “doesn’t condone violence in any shape”.[225] The local sheriff’s office considered filing charges against Trump for “inciting a riot” at that event, but concluded there was not sufficient evidence to charge him.[226]

Presumptive nominee and party reaction

On May 3, Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party after his victory in Indiana and the withdrawal of the last competitors, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, from the race.[227]

Some Republicans declined to support Trump’s candidacy, including former primary rival Jeb Bush (who announced that he would not vote for Trump) and Bush’s father and brother, former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush (who announced that they would not endorse Trump).[228] Paul Ryan announced that he was “not ready” to endorse Trump for the presidency.[229] On May 8, Trump’s campaign said that he would not rule out a bid to remove Ryan from his post as chairman of the 2016 Republican National Convention,[230] and the following day, Ryan said that he would step down as convention chairman if asked by Trump to do so.[231] On June 2, Ryan announced that he would vote for Trump.[232]

Senator Jeff Sessions was the first sitting U.S. senator to endorse Trump.[233] Other prominent Republicans, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, governors Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry, and former senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, announced that they will support Trump’s candidacy.[228][234][235] McConnell stated, “The right-of-center world needs to respect the fact that the primary voters have spoken.”[236]

On May 26, Trump secured his 1,238th delegate, achieving a majority of the available delegates.[237]

In June 2016, two groups of Republican delegates opposed to Trump emerged. Free the Delegates sought to change the convention rules to include a ‘conscience clause’ that would allow delegates bound to Trump to vote against him.[238][239]Delegates Unbound engaged in “an effort to convince delegates that they have the authority and the ability to vote for whomever they want”.[240][241] According to the group, “There is no language supporting binding in the temporary rules of the convention, which are the only rules that matter” and “barring any rules changes at the convention, delegates can vote their conscience on the first ballot.”[240][241]

General election campaign staff

On May 9, Trump named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to head a team to plan the transition of the Presidency in the event of a Trump victory.[242] In November 2016, after calls for his impeachment as Governor and felony convictions in U.S. federal court for high-ranking members of his staff in the Bridgegate scandal, Christie was dropped by Trump as leader of the transition team, in favor of Mike Pence.[243][244]

On June 20, 2016, Trump fired his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, reportedly in response to lagging fund raising and campaign infrastructure, as well as power struggles within the campaign, according to multiple GOP sources. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, who was brought in during the primary to prepare for a contested convention, assumed the role of chief strategist.[245][246]

Kevin Kellems, a veteran GOP strategist and former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, resigned from Trump’s staff after he was appointed to help inspect the campaign’s surrogate operations.[247] Erica Freeman, another aide to Trump who worked with surrogates, also resigned.[247]

In June 2016, Trump hired Jason Miller to assist the communications operation.[247] On July 1, 2016, Trump announced he hired Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP strategist and canvasser, for a senior advisory position.[247] Conway, who formerly backed Cruz, was expected to advise Trump on how to better appeal to female voters.[247] Conway had headed a pro–Cruz super PAC funded by hedge-fund tycoon Robert Mercer. After Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, the PAC morphed into the “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC”. When the Trump campaign hired Conway, it referred to her as “widely regarded as an expert on female consumers and voters.”[248] Conway became the first woman to run a Republican general election presidential campaign.[249]

On August 17, 2016, Trump announced Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon as the campaign chief executive and promoted Conway to campaign manager, replacing Paul Manafort who had been handling those duties unofficially. Manafort had been criticized in the media for connections to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich[250]and other dictators.[251] Although Manafort initially retained the title of campaign chairman,[252][253] he resigned as campaign chairman on August 19, 2016.[254][255]

In September 2016, Trump hired David Bossie, longtime president of the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, to be his new deputy campaign manager.[256]

Selection of running mate

Pence’s first campaign stop in Waukesha, Wisconsin

From early to mid-July, various media outlets widely reported that Trump’s short listfor his pick as vice president and running mate had narrowed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and former Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrich.[257][258][259]

On July 15, 2016, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had chosen Mike Pence to be his running mate.[260] Pence was introduced as the running mate the next day.[261] Pence formally accepted the nomination on July 20 at the Republican National Convention.

On October 27, 2016, Pence’s Boeing 737-700 airplane fishtailed off the runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York during landing. There were no injuries reported among those on board, which included members of the press in the back of the plane. As a result of the accident, Pence cancelled a campaign event that night, though said on Twitter that he would be back campaigning the next day on October 28.[262][263][264]

Political positions

Trump has stated that he is a “conservative Republican”.[265] Commentators Norman Ornstein and William Kristol labeled his collective political positions as “Trumpism”.[266][267] The Wall Street Journal used the term in drawing parallels with populist movements in China and the Philippines.[268] From an external political perspective, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel termed Trump a right-wing populist similar to Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders or Silvio Berlusconi.[269] In 1988 at the Republican National Convention Donald Trump was asked by Larry King on CNN, “You might be classified as an Eastern Republican, Rockefeller Republican. Fair?” To which Donald Trump replied, “I guess you can say that”. When Mr. Trump was considering to run against Andrew Cuomo for Governor of New York, Trump was dubbed as a “Conservative Rockefeller Republican”.[270]

Campaign branding

The initial campaign wordmark was featured extensively in campaign merchandise.

The campaign draws heavily on Trump’s personal image, enhanced by his previous media exposure. Prior to his presidential bid, The Trump Organization also relied on the ‘Trump’ surname as a key part of its marketing strategy. Consequently, the ‘Trump’ name was in widespread use in the U.S. well before the presidential campaign itself started. Due to successful branding and media coverage, Trump soon gained a leverage in the race despite spending comparatively little on advertising himself.[271][272]

Initial updated Trump campaign logo reflecting the adoption of Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s vice-presidential candidate, but later replaced[273]

Before the announcement of Mike Pence as running mate in July 2016, the campaign relied on a wordmark of the ‘Trump’ surname capitalised and set in the bold Akzidenz-Grotesk typeface. Following the announcement, the campaign unveiled a new logo combining the names of the two candidates by featuring an interlocking ‘T’ and ‘P’, formed to create the image of the American flag.[274] The logo became the subject of parodies that interpreted the symbol as being sexually suggestive; the campaign revised the logo shortly afterward to remove the flag and interlocking symbol, leaving the wordmark.[275][276]

Make America Great Again slogan worn by Trump supporter

The primary slogan of the Trump campaign, extensively used on campaign merchandise, is Make America Great Again. The red baseball cap with the slogan emblazoned on the front became a symbol of the campaign, and is frequently donned by Trump and his supporters.[277]

In addition, UK big data voter opinion influencer Cambridge Analytics was hired by the Trump campaign in 2016.[278]

Ground game

In October 2016, the Trump campaign had 178 field offices compared to Clinton’s 489.[279] The Trump campaign’s number of field offices lag far behind those Romney and Obama in 2012.[279] Political science research showed that field offices had a modest positive effect on a candidate’s vote share.[279][280] The Trump campaign is reportedly almost fully reliant on the Republican National Committee for field offices in swing states.[279] As the field offices are organized by state and local Republican parties, they may not be strategically located in terms of boosting turnout for the Republican presidential candidate.[279]

Media coverage

Trump spent only a modest amount on advertising during the primary—$10 million through February 2016, far behind opponents such as Jeb Bush ($82 million), Marco Rubio ($55 million), and Ted Cruz ($22 million).[281] Trump benefited from free media more than any other candidate. From the beginning of his campaign through February 2016, Trump received almost $2 billion in free media attention, twice the amount that Hillary Clinton received.[281] Trump earned $400 million alone in the month of February.[281] According to data from the Tyndall Report, which tracks nightly news content, through February 2016, Trump alone accounted for more than a quarter of all 2016 election coverage on the evening newscasts of NBC, CBS and ABC, more than all the Democratic campaigns combined.[282][283][284] Observers noted Trump’s ability to garner constant mainstream media coverage “almost at will”.[285]

In response, a petition to “Stop promoting Donald Trump” accused the media of giving Trump endless airtime for the purpose of increasing viewership and ratings and quickly amassed over 200,000 signatures.[286] The media’s coverage of Trump generated some disagreement as to its effect on his campaign.[287] John Sides of The Washington Post argued that Trump’s success was because of the mass news coverage,[288] yet a later article in The Washington Post stated that he remained successful in spite of the drop in media attention.[289] On September 21, 2015, Politico said, “blaming the press for the Trump surge neglects the salient fact that so much of the coverage of him has been darkly negative.”[290] However, Barry Bennett—senior adviser to Trump—said in response to the high amount of interviews Trump has given:

Well the demand is pretty high so it’s hard not to do them. And it’s free media. And we’ve literally gotten hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free media. No other candidate can talk when everybody is talking about you. So there’s some strategic benefit to it.[291]

Trump speaks at an Arizona rally in March 2016.

In a January 2016 interview with CBS, Trump said of his campaign’s plans to purchase advertising; “I think I’m probably wasting the money. But I’m $35 million under budget. Look, I was going to have 35 or 40 million spent by now. I haven’t spent anything. I almost feel guilty … I’m leading by, as you all say, a lot. You can take the CBS poll. You can take any poll and I’m winning by a lot. I don’t think I need the ads. But I’m doing them. I almost feel guilty.”[292][293][294]

In February 2016, in response to complaints from Trump that Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly would be unfair to him in a Republican primary debate preceding the Iowa caucuses, Fox released a sarcastic statement about Trump, saying they were “surprised he’s willing to show that much fear”, regarding Kelly.[295] Trump responded by criticizing the “wise-guy press release” and withdrew from the debate, instead hosting a competing event in the state designed to raise money for wounded veterans on the day of the debate.[296][297]

Trump frequently criticized the media for writing what he alleged to be false stories about him and referred to them as being the “worst people”[298] and he has called upon his supporters to be “the silent majority”, apparently referencing the media.[201] At a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, in February 2016, Trump stated that if elected he would “open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money”. Trump specifically alleged that reporting about him by The New York Times and The Washington Post has included falsehoods.[299][300] Trump says the media “put false meaning into the words I say”, and says he does not mind being criticized by the media as long as they are honest about it.[301][302]

General election TV ads

The Trump campaign released its first general election TV ad in August 2016.[303] The Washington Post fact-checker found it to be factually inaccurate, giving the ad “four Pinocchios”, its lowest rating for truthfulness.[303]

Relationships with people and groups

Black communities

According to some polling data, it appeared that Trump was receiving little support from African Americans. In a Morning Consult national poll in August 2016, only five percent of black voters said they intend to vote for Trump.[304] However, Trump ended up receiving 8% of the African-American vote (about half a million more votes than Mitt Romney received in 2012).[305] Starting in July and August, in an effort to improve his appeal to black Americans and make a direct appeal for their votes, Trump was vocal in expressing concern for their situations. Speaking in Virginia on August 23, 2016, Trump said, “You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed – what the hell do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?” He further said, “Look. It is a disaster the way African-Americans are living…We’ll get rid of the crime…You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot.”[306] On September 3, Trump visited a black congregation in Detroit, Michigan, the Great Faith Ministries International Church, accompanied by former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, and attended a church service. Trump was interviewed afterward by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson for later broadcast on the church’s cable channel.[307] He also visited Dr. Carson’s childhood home.[308]

On September 15, as Trump was addressing a small assembly at Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan, the pastor, Faith Green Timmmons, interrupted him as he criticized Clinton, asking him not to “give a political speech”. Trump complied.[309]

Omarosa, the director of African-American outreach for Trump’s presidential campaign,[310] said in a Frontline special that “Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”[311]

Business community

No Fortune 100 CEO donated to Trump’s presidential campaign. Eleven donated to Trump’s rival Clinton, and 89 contributed to neither candidate. This represents a substantial shift from the 2012 presidential election, in which Republican nominee Mitt Romney received major support from top American business executives.[312][313]

In May 2016, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce commented that the business community is cautious about both Trump and Clinton, adding that there “hasn’t been much support from the business community for either of them.”[314]Members of the business community who endorsed Trump include investors T. Boone Pickens, Carl Icahn and Wilbur Ross, Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, and entrepreneur and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.[315][316][317] As of January 2016, small and mid-size business owners and officers were second to retirees as the most common donors to Trump’s campaign. Reasons cited for their support of Trump included opposition to Obamacare and immigration, as well as feeling “fed up with politicians”.[318] In a survey conducted in late January 2016, 38 percent of small business owners indicated that they believed Trump would be the best president for small business, while 21 percent selected Hillary Clinton.[319]

Other members of the business community were critical of Trump. In June 2016, the Clinton campaign released a list of endorsements from more than 50 current and former business leaders, including several longtime Republicans.[320] The group included longtime Democrats and Clinton supporters, like Warren Buffett and Marc Benioff, as well as independents or Republicans who had recently switched sides, like Daniel Akerson and Hamid R. Moghadam.[315][321]

Conservative movement

Trump delivering a speech in August 2016

Trump’s right-wing populist positions—nativist, protectionist, and semi-isolationist—differ in many ways from traditional conservatism.[322] He opposes many free trade deals and military interventionist policies that conservatives generally support, and opposes cuts in Medicare and Social Security benefits. While insisting that Washington is “broken” and can only be fixed by an outsider,[11][323][324] Washington-based conservatives were surprised by the popular support for his positions.[322]

Trump polled well with Tea Party voters, and politicians with strong tea party ties, such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, similarly endorsed Trump.[325][326][327][328]

Some prominent conservatives praised Trump. Newt Gingrich described him as the latest incarnation of the Reagan Revolution, and had said that his election would be “very healthy for America”.[329] In the aftermath of Trump’s statements regarding the Khan’s, Gingrich later said that Trump was making himself a less acceptable candidate for the presidency than Hillary Clinton, but that “Trump is vastly better than Hillary as President”.[330][331] Rush Limbaugh, while clearly favoring Ted Cruz, relished the degree to which Trump exposed the conservative establishment as an elitist self-interested clique.[332][333] Sean Hannity was an unapologetic advocate for Trump and endorsed him.[334][335]David Horowitz praised Trump for courage and for rejecting political correctness, and he attacked “Never Trump” Republicans as reckless and blind.[336][337]

Other conservative commentators were strongly opposed to him. National Review released a January 2016 special issue called “Against Trump”, in opposition to Trump’s bid for the presidency.[338][339][340] William Kristol, publisher of The Weekly Standard, was highly critical of Trump and carried on a public search for an independent candidate to run against Trump and Clinton in the general election, citing a “patriotic obligation to try and offer the American people a third way”.[341][342]Columnist George Will, who often had been critical of Trump, quit the Republican party in June 2016 because of Trump’s impending nomination, saying: “This is not my party”.[343] Michael A. Needham, CEO of the conservative advocacy organization Heritage Action, was deeply critical of Trump. “Donald Trump’s a clown. He needs to be out of the race,” Needham said on Fox News Sunday.[344]


On November 1, 2016, the Wall Street Journal published an open letter signed by 370 economists, including eight Nobel laureates, who stated that Trump would be a “dangerous, destructive” choice for president and which encouraged voters to vote for some other candidate. The letter stated that Trump “misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality”; that “If elected, he poses a unique danger (…) to the prosperity of the country”; and that he “promotes magical thinking and conspiracy theories over sober assessments of feasible economic policy options”.[345][346]

Peter Navarro of the University of California, Irvine, one of Trump’s senior economic advisers, called the letter “an embarrassment to the corporate offshoring wing of the economist profession who continues to insist bad trade deals are good for America.” He pointed to a letter signed in September by another group of economists, 305 in total, including one Nobel laureate and two former directors of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office which stated “Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda is wrong for America.”[347][348]

Fox News and Megyn Kelly

Trump was one of ten candidates in the main Fox News debate on August 6, 2015. Bret Baier questioned Trump about Obamacare,[349] Chris Wallace asked him about Mexican illegal immigrants,[350] and Megyn Kelly asked about how he would respond to the Clinton campaign saying that he was waging a “war on women“.[351] Trump replied, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.”[352]

In a later interview with Don Lemon on CNN Tonight, Trump said that Kelly is a “lightweight” and had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.”[353][354] Trump tweeted that his remark referred to Kelly’s nose but was interpreted by critics as a reference to menstruation.[355]

Trump retained his first place standing after the debate, with an NBC News poll showing him at 23 percent support[356] and a Reuters/Ipsos poll at 24 percent,[357] followed by Ted Cruz at 13 percent and Ben Carson at 11 percent.[358]

Following the Megyn Kelly incident, Roger Stone, Trump’s veteran political adviser, left the campaign, citing “controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights”.[359] Despite this, Stone remained a Trump confidant[360] and said in an interview with National Review that he is “the ultimate Trump loyalist”.[361]

In March 2016, Trump resumed his feud with Fox News and Kelly in a number of Twitter messages disparaging Kelly and calling for a boycott of her show. Fox News responded with a statement saying that Trump’s behavior was an “extreme, sick obsession” beneath the dignity of a presidential nominee.[362][363]

In April 2016, Kelly met with Trump at Trump Tower at her request to “clear the air”. Following the meeting, Trump stated that Kelly was “very, very nice” and regarding the meeting: “Maybe it was time… By the way, in all fairness, I give her a lot of credit” for requesting it.[364]

Hispanic and Latino Americans

Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona

Trump’s popularity among Hispanic and Latino Americans was low according to polling data; a nationwide survey conducted in February 2016 showed that some 80 percent of Hispanic voters had an unfavorable view of Trump (including 70 percent who had a “very unfavorable” view), more than double the percentage of any other Republican candidate.[365] These low rankings are attributed to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.[365][366][367] Alarm at Trump’s rise prompted an increase in the number of eligible Latino immigrants who have chosen to naturalize to vote against him.[367] Despite his poor national standing with Hispanic and Latino Americans, he had constantly garnered higher numbers from them than each of his Republican rivals, along with other minority groups.[174][175] At the same time, Trump received pockets of Hispanic support, winning around 45 percent (plus or minus 10 percentage points) of the Hispanic Republican vote in the Nevada Republican caucuses (where about 8 percent of Republican caucus-goers were Hispanic),[368][369] and receiving some support among Cuban Americans in Florida.[370] Despite expectations of low Latino support, Trump received about 29% of the Hispanic vote, slightly more than Romney received in 2012.[371]

In August 2016, Trump created and met with a Hispanic advisory council.[372] He also hinted publicly that he might soften his call for the deportation of all undocumented immigrants.[373][374] On August 31, 2016, he made a visit to Mexico and met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, saying he wanted to build relations in the country.[375] However, in a major speech later that night, Trump laid out a 10-step plan reaffirming his hardline positions, and used harsh rhetoric to portray many illegal immigrants as a danger to Americans.[376][377] In reaction, one member of Trump’s Hispanic advisory council resigned, and several other Hispanic supporters said they were reconsidering their support.[378][379]

Jeb Bush

The Jeb Bush–Trump dynamic was one of the more contentious relationships among the Republican contenders.[380][381]Bush’s campaign spent tens of millions of dollars on anti-Trump ads,[382][383][384] while in response Trump mocked Jeb Bush with the epithet that he was “low energy”.[385][386][387] During an exchange with Jeb Bush in the ninth Republican primary debate, the audience (most favoring Bush) repeatedly booed Trump.[388][389][390][391] Trump scoffed that the audience was made up of “Jeb’s special interests and lobbyists“.[388][392]

According to The Washington Post, the most telling aspect of the Bush–Trump duel may have been the fact that, “No candidate in the race was prepared for GOP voters’ opposition to immigration, with the exception of Trump”, and the anti-illegal immigration sentiment that Trump tapped into throughout the campaign, and with the Act of Love advertisement.[393]

Bush did not attend the 2016 Republican National Convention and said he will not be voting for either Trump or Clinton, but will focus on Congressional elections. Bush’s father George H. W. Bush and his brother George W. Bush also did not attend the convention and stated that they would avoid involvement in the campaign.[394]

John McCain

In July and August 2015, U.S. Senator John McCain (former presidential candidate, Vietnam War naval veteran, and prisoner of war) and Trump criticized each other on several occasions, primarily over their differing positions on immigration.[395] At a July 18, 2015, event Trump described McCain as a “loser” and added, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”[396][397] His comments were heavily criticized; some of his primary rivals said he should withdraw from the race because of them.[396][398] At a later press availability Trump denied having said McCain is not a war hero, saying “If somebody’s a prisoner, I consider them a war hero.” At the same time, he criticized McCain for not having done enough for veterans.[395] McCain said Trump should apologize, not to him personally, but to former American prisoners of war and “the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict”.[399][400]Trump declined to issue any apology.[401]

McCain continued to criticize Trump. In March 2016 he said he agreed with Mitt Romney‘s strong opposition to Trump and expressed concern about Trump’s “uninformed and indeed dangerous statements” on national security issues.[402] In August he issued a lengthy statement denouncing Trump for criticizing the Muslim parents of a fallen American soldier and saying “I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.”[403]

Eventually, McCain endorsed Trump because he was the nominee of the Republican party.[404] On August 2, Trump stated that he was not endorsing McCain in his campaign for the Republican nomination for his existing Senate seat.[405] Three days later, however, he did endorse him, saying in prepared remarks, “I hold in the highest esteem Sen. John McCain for his service to our country in uniform and in public office and I fully support and endorse his reelection.”[406] McCain later withdrew his endorsement following the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording controversy in October 2016.[407]

Lindsey Graham

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a primary rival, was “one of Trump’s fiercest critics”. He called Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” and asserted that Trump doesn’t have the temperament or judgment to be president.[408] After Trump attacked a federal judge for his Mexican heritage, Graham urged people who had endorsed Trump to rescind their endorsements, saying “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy.”[409] Graham stated that he would vote for neither Trump nor Clinton.[410]

On July 21, 2015, Trump publicly gave out Graham’s phone number during a speech in South Carolina as a response to Graham calling him a “jackass”.[411][412] Graham released a statement on Twitter that he would “probably [be] getting a new phone”[411] and later released a video in which he destroyed his phone.[413] Gawker subsequently released a phone number belonging to Trump,[414] and he responded by setting the phone number to play a campaign message.[415][416]


Support from top former U.S. military leaders is split between Clinton and Trump, and “[a]mong prominent ex-military and national-security leaders, the edge clearly belongs to Clinton.”[417] Among ex-military leaders, Trump’s most prominent supporter is retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn.[417] An open letter endorsing Trump, signed by 88 retired generals and admirals (led by Sidney Shachnow), was released in September 2016.[418] This number is fewer than the 500 retired military officers who endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.[417]

Trump led in polling of military veterans and military households in September 2016,[417][419] although his performance with this group “trails well behind that of other recent Republican candidates”.[417]

Commander-in-Chief Forum

A live televised event hosted by IAVA[420] was presented on September 7, 2016, by NBC News and MSNBC. The candidates responded to questions from the audience in separate 1/2 hour segments: Clinton first followed by Trump. The objective was to focus exclusively on issues pertaining to defense, foreign policy, and veterans. The audience consisted of mostly retired veterans and active duty service members.[421]

Mitt Romney

On February 24, 2016, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney called on Trump to release his tax returns, suggesting they contain a “bombshell”.[422][423] On March 3, Romney expanded his criticisms in a widely reported speech in which he said that Trump’s economic plans would cause profound recession, criticized his foreign policy proposals as reckless and dangerous, and called him a “con man”, a “fake”, and a “phony”, joking that Trump’s promises are “as worthless as a degree from Trump University“.[424][425] In June he expressed concern that some of the things Trump says could legitimize racism, and that Trump as president could cause “trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things (that) are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America”.[426]

Unlike many other Republican critics who came around after Trump was confirmed as the presumptive nominee, Romney continued his “increasingly lonely” challenge to Trump. He explained, “I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world.”[427] He hinted that he might vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.[426]

In contrast, while Romney was running for president in 2012, he praised Trump and sought his endorsement.[428][429][430]

Organized opposition

Stop Trump movement

Main article: Stop Trump movement

A concerted effort by some Republicans and other prominent conservatives to prevent Trump from obtaining the Republican Party presidential nomination gained momentum following Trump’s wins in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 15, 2016.[431][432][433][434]

On March 17, 2016, several dozen conservatives led by Erick Erickson met at the Army and Navy Club in Washington discuss strategies for preventing Trump from securing the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July. Among the strategies discussed were a “unity ticket”,[435] a possible third-party candidate and a contested convention, especially if Trump does not gain the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the nomination.[436]

In June 2016, activists Eric O’Keefe and Dane Waters formed a group called Delegates Unbound, attempting to convince delegates to vote for whomever they want.[240][241][437] By June 19, hundreds of delegates to the Republican National Convention calling themselves Free the Delegates had begun raising funds and recruiting members in support of an effort to change Party convention rules to free delegates to vote however they want – instead of according to the results of state caucuses and primaries.[438] However, the convention’s Rules Committee voted down, by a vote of 84–21, a move to send a “minority report” to the floor allowing the unbinding of delegates, thereby defeating the “Stop Trump” activists and guaranteeing Trump’s nomination. The committee then endorsed the opposite option, voting 87–12 to include rules language specifically stating that delegates were required to vote based on their states’ primary and caucus results.[439]

Opposition PACs

Our Principles PAC and the Club for Growth tried during the primary season to prevent Trump’s nomination. Our Principles Pac spent more than $13 million on advertising attacking Trump.[440][441] The Club for Growth spent $11 million in an effort to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican Party’s nominee.[442]

On March 7, 2016, Henry Kraemer founded the Trump Has Tiny Hands PAC.[443] A week later, he was forced to change the name because of FEC rules governing the use of a candidate’s name in the names of PACs. Kraemer changed the name to Americans Against Insecure Billionaires with Tiny Hands.[444][445][446][447]

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, was initially critical of Trump on multiple occasions. In December 2015 when Trump called for a ban on foreign Muslims entering the country, Ryan said “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”[448] Even after endorsing Trump, Ryan continued to criticize Trump’s religion-based immigration proposals.[449] In early March 2016 Ryan condemned Trump’s failure to repudiate the support of white supremacists,[450] and in mid March he strongly objected to Trump’s suggestion that there could be “riots” at the Republican convention if he is not the nominee.[451] In June when Trump said the judge hearing a lawsuit against him was biased because he was of Mexican extraction, Ryan said Trump’s remarks were “absolutely unacceptable” and “the textbook definition of a racist comment”.[452]

In May when Trump was declared the presumptive nominee, Ryan told CNN that he was not ready to endorse Trump, saying “I’m not there right now.” He questioned Trump’s commitment to conservative values but added he hoped to back him eventually.[453] Trump and Ryan met once during May, and on June 2 Ryan published an op-ed piece endorsing Trump and stressing the need to prevent Hillary Clinton’s election.[454] Ryan later explained that as Majority Leader he feels obligated to support the Republican nominee in the interest of party unity.[455]

On August 2, 2016, one week before Ryan faced a primary for re-election to his house seat, Trump declined to endorse him, saying “I’m just not quite there yet.” He also praised Ryan’s primary opponent.[456] Trump’s comments infuriated Republican officials, particularly GOP chairman Reince Priebus.[457] Three days later Trump endorsed Ryan, reading from a prepared statement, “So in our shared mission, to make America great again, I support and endorse our speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.”[458]

In October 2016, following the Donald Trump Access Hollywood controversy, Ryan disinvited Trump from a scheduled campaign rally,[459] announced that he would no longer defend or support Trump’s presidential campaign, and in a highly unusual move he freed down-ticket congressional members to use their own judgment, saying “you all need to do what’s best for you and your district.”[460] In the final weeks of the campaign, Trump went on the attack against Ryan, accusing him and other “disloyal” Republicans of deliberately undermining his candidacy as part of “a whole sinister deal”.[461][462] Despite his reluctance to publicly support Trump, Ryan ultimately announced that he cast his vote for Donald Trump a week before election day.[463]

Religious community

Trump receives blessing from Greek Orthodox priest Emmanuel Lemelson, September 30, 2015

Trump is a Presbyterian and says he attends Marble Collegiate Church, although the church said in a statement that he is “not an active member”.[464] In campaign speeches, he had routinely praised the Bible and sometimes carried it, often saying that his own book Trump: The Art of the Deal is his “second-favorite book after the Bible”.[465] On occasion, Trump “reflected a degree of indifference” to religion, causing unease among some social conservatives.[466]

Trump solicited the support of religious leaders, inviting dozens of Christian and Jewish leaders to his New York City offices for a meeting and laying on of handsprayer gathering in September 2015.[467] Trump praised prominent national evangelical leaders of the Christian right, including Tony Perkins and Ralph Reed,[468] and received a blessing and endorsement from Greek Orthodox priest and hedge fund manager Emmanuel Lemelson.[469] In January 2016, Trump received the endorsement of Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical leader.[470]

Trump drew high levels of evangelical support despite holding political views and religious commitments at odds with many evangelicals.[471][472] In July 2016, 78 percent of white evangelicals said that they would vote for Trump according to Pew Research Center.[473] After the revelation of the “Access Hollywood” recording, members of Trump’s “evangelical advisory council” compared their link to Trump to Jesus who had befriended sinners.[474]

Conversely, some Christian religious leaders criticized Trump. After finishing a trip to the U.S.–Mexico border, Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, said in response to a question about Trump’s border-wall proposal: “A person who thinks only about building walls—wherever they may be—and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel.”[475]Trump then called the pope’s comments “disgraceful”.[475]

Other figures made more direct religious-based critiques of Trump, including from the American Christian right. Russell D. Moore, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention‘s public-policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is a prominent Trump critic and argued that Christians should vote for a conservative third party.[476][477] Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who has served in the last three Republican presidential administrations, said that Trump “embodies a Nietzschean morality rather than a Christian one”, writing that Trump is “characterized by indifference to objective truth (there are no facts, only interpretations), the repudiation of Christian concern for the poor and the weak, and disdain for the powerless”.[478] On the Christian left, a number of commentators, including preacher and New York Daily News columnist Shaun King, criticized Trump’s racially charged rhetoric as inconsistent with Christianity.[479]

Trump struggled with Mormon voters, affecting his party’s grip on Utah, where Mormons constitute a majority, and Nevada, where they are a significant minority. Reasons for this include Trump’s rhetoric concerning Muslims, which Mormons see as a parallel to their own historic persecution.[480][481][482][483][484] Following the release of the 2016 Access Hollywood tape, several high-profile Mormon political leaders from Utah, including Utah governor Gary Herbert and representative Jason Chaffetz, withdrew their endorsements for Trump.[485] Deseret News, a media outlet owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, broke with an 80-year tradition of refraining from presidential endorsements to publish an editorial calling on Trump to step aside.[485]

Right Side Broadcasting Network

At over 210,000 subscribers,[486] Right Side Broadcasting Network was best known for live streaming Trump’s campaign rallies on YouTube.[487] Since the third presidential debate,[488][489] Trump had collaborated with the network to launch a nightly newscast on his Facebook page.[490][491] Several commentators wondered whether the network may collaborate with Trump to form “Trump TV.”[486][491] Joe Seales, the founder of the network, told Business Insider that the speculation was unfounded.[487] Meanwhile, Trump told WLW that he was not interested in setting up the network after the end of the election.[492][493]

Tea Party movement

Trump praised the U.S. Tea Party movement throughout his 2016 campaign.[494] In August 2015, he told a Tea Party gathering in Nashville that “The tea party people are incredible people. These are people who work hard and love the country and they get beat up all the time by the media.”[494] In a January 2016 CNN poll at the beginning of the 2016 Republican primary, Trump led all Republican candidates modestly among self-identified Tea Party voters with 37 percent supporting Trump and 34 percent supporting Ted Cruz.[495]

Trump’s candidacy was met with varying reactions by the Tea Party movement’s founders and organizations. National Tea Party movement co-founder and leader Michael Johns endorsed Trump immediately following Trump’s June 2015 announcement of his candidacy and defended Trump throughout the contentious Republican primary.[496][497][498] However, Tea Party Patriots, a national Tea Party organization, endorsed Cruz in the presidential primary.[499]

Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was a primary rival for the Republican nomination. In the early days of the primary Cruz showered praise on Trump. But as the primary season went on, Cruz went on the attack, calling Trump a “bully” and a “pathological liar”, and Trump took to referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted”.[500] Trump repeatedly claimed Cruz was not eligible to be president because he was born in Canada.[501]

In March 2016 a pro-Cruz super PAC used a picture of Melania Trump posing nude for GQ in a Facebook advertisement. Trump tweeted a threat to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife Heidi, and later posted pictures comparing Heidi Cruz unfavorably to Melania Trump.[502] In response, Cruz called Trump a “sniveling coward” and told him to “leave Heidi the hell alone.”[503]

In May 2016 Trump cited a National Enquirer article which suggested that Senator Cruz’s father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, might have been involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy. Trump asked, “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible.”[504] The claim was described by experts as “outlandish” and “wild and unfounded”.[505][506][507] Trump later stated that he did not actually believe the story.[508] But he returned to the claim on July 22, saying that the National Enquirer would not have run the story if it was wasn’t true, and falsely stating that the Cruz camp never denied it.[509]

At the Republican National Convention, Cruz was given a prime time speaking slot. He enraged attendees by urging them to “vote your conscience” instead of the expected endorsement of Trump.[510] The next day he defended his refusal to endorse Trump, saying “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”[511] Trump scoffed that he wouldn’t accept Cruz’s endorsement even if offered.[512] The next month, on September 23, 2016, Cruz publicly endorsed Trump for president.[513]

Trump family

Trump called his wife Melania “my pollster” and had said that she supported his presidential run.[514] Melania appeared at her husband’s June 2015 campaign announcement and at the Fox News debate in Cleveland.[514] She has also conducted several televised interviews and appeared at a Trump rally in South Carolina along with other family members.[515] Trump’s adult children Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric, as well as Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, are all involved in his campaign and are regarded as key advisers. They were reportedly influential in persuading Trump to fire his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in June 2016.[516][517] Melania, Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka were “Headliner” speakers on successive nights of the Republican National Convention.[518] If elected president, Trump said that he would hand over control of his company to his children instead of placing it in a blind trust.[519]

Veterans of Foreign Wars

The 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars released a statement by its national commander stating, “Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression” and “There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed.” The statement followed Trump’s attack on the family of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed by a suicide car bomb after ordering his subordinates away from the vehicle.[520][521]


There was a large gender gap in support for Trump, with women significantly less likely to express support than men.[522][523] A March 2016 poll showed that half of U.S. women had a “very unfavorable” view of Trump.[524][525] A separate March 2016 poll showed women favoring Hillary Clinton 55 percent to 35 percent over Trump, “twice the gender gap of the 2012 presidential election”,[526] while a Gallup poll showed a 70 percent unfavorable rating.[527][528] A May 2016 NPR article, citing a poll that showed Clinton leading Trump among women by 17 percentage points while Trump led among men by 5 points – a 22 point gender gap – suggested that “the Trump–Clinton gender gap could be the largest in more than 60 years”.[529] By mid-October 2016 an average among 12 polls showed Trump trailing by 15 percentage points among women but ahead by 5 points among men.[530] Both before and during his presidential campaign, Trump made a number of comments about women that some viewed as sexist,[531][532][533] or misogynistic.[534][535] Donald Trump ended up winning almost twice as many non-college educated white women than Hillary Clinton, although Clinton outperformed Trump with votes from college-educated white women.[536]

White nationalists and white supremacists

From the outset of his campaign, Trump was endorsed by various white nationalist and white supremacist movements and leaders.[537][538] On February 24, 2016, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, expressed vocal support for Trump’s campaign on his radio show.[539][540][541][542] Shortly thereafter in an interview with Jake Tapper, Trump repeatedly claimed to be ignorant of Duke and his support. Republican presidential rivals were quick to respond on his wavering, and Senator Marco Rubio stated the Duke endorsement made Trump un-electable.[543] Others questioned his professed ignorance of Duke by pointing out that in 2000, Trump called him a “Klansman”.[544][545] Trump later blamed the incident on a poor earpiece he was given by CNN. Later the same day Trump stated that he had previously disavowed Duke in a tweet posted with a video on his Twitter account.[546] On March 3, 2016, Trump stated: “David Duke is a bad person, who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years. I disavowed him. I disavowed the KKK.”[547]

On July 22, 2016 (the day after Trump’s nomination), Duke announced that he will be a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Louisiana. He commented, “I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years.” A spokesperson for the Trump campaign said Trump “has disavowed David Duke and will continue to do so.”[548]

On August 25, 2016, Clinton gave a speech saying that Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.”[549] She identified this radical fringe with the “Alt-right“, a largely online variation of American far-right that embraces white nationalism and is anti-immigration. During the election season, the Alt-right movement “evangelized” online in support of racist and anti-semitic ideologies.[550] Clinton noted that Trump’s campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon described his Breitbart News Network as “the platform for the alt-right.”[549] On September 9, 2016, several leaders of the alt-right community held a press conference, described by one reporter as the “coming-out party” of the little-known movement, to explain their goals.[551] They affirmed their racialist beliefs, stating “Race is real, race matters, and race is the foundation of identity.”[552] Speakers called for a “White Homeland” and expounded on racial differences in intelligence. They also confirmed their support of Trump, saying “This is what a leader looks like.”[552]

Richard Spencer, who runs the white nationalist National Policy Institute, said, “Before Trump, our identity ideas, national ideas, they had no place to go”. The editor of the Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer stated, “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”[553] Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party said that although Trump “isn’t one of us,”[554] his election would be a “real opportunity” for the white nationalist movement.[555]

The Southern Poverty Law Center monitored Trump’s campaign throughout the election and noted several instances where Trump and lower-level surrogates either used white nationalist rhetoric or engaged with figures in the white nationalist movement.[556]

/r/The_Donald subreddit

Main article: /r/The_Donald

At over 300,000 subscribers,[557] the subreddit “/r/The_Donald” on Reddit faced controversy since its inception.[558] Trump hosted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on the subreddit during the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2016 and answered thirteen of the thousands of questions posted on the subreddit.[559][560]

The subreddit was criticized by Vice as being anti-choice, pro-Russia, authoritarian, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic, a hypocritical “free speech” rallying point, and censoring any differing opinion.[561][562] The publication Slatedescribed The_Donald as a “hate speech forum“.[563] According to the New York Times, “Members respond to accusations of bigotry with defiant claims of persecution at the hands of critics. It is an article of faith among posters that anti-racists are the real bigots, feminists are the actual sexists, and progressive politics are, in effect, regressive.”[564]

Supporter demographics

Trump support was high among working and middle-class white male voters with annual incomes of less than $50,000 and no college degree.[565] This group, particularly those with less than a high-school education, suffered a decline in their income in recent years.[566] According to The Washington Post, support for Trump is higher in areas with a higher mortality rate for middle-age white people.[567] A sample of interviews with more than 11,000 Republican-leaning respondents from August to December 2015 found that Trump at that time found his strongest support among Republicans in West Virginia, followed by New York, and then followed by six Southern states.[568]

Surveys showed that significant proportions of Trump supporters hold negative views of immigrants, Muslims, and African-Americans. The Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of Trump supporters viewed immigrants as a burden, rather than a benefit, to the US, and 64 percent believed that American Muslims should be subject to greater scrutiny solely on the basis of their religion.[569] Reuters found that Trump supporters were more than twice as likely as Clinton supporters to view Islam negatively.[570] Trump supporters were also more likely than supporters of other candidates to hold negative views of African-Americans. Reuters reported that 40–50 percent of Trump supporters viewed African-Americans as being more “lazy”, “rude”, “violent”, or “criminal” than whites, compared to 25–30 percent for Clinton supporters; while 32 percent of Trump supporters believed that African-Americans were less intelligent than whites, compared to 22 percent of Clinton supporters.[571]

University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers, analyzing a national survey of likely Republican primary voters from December 2015, found that having an authoritarian personality and a fear of terrorism were the only two variables among those tested that were statistically significant predictors of Trump support.[572][573] Another study based on a different survey, conducted by professors at the University of Chicago and University of Minnesota, concluded that Trump supporters were no more authoritarian than supporters of other Republican candidates, but rather were characterized primarily by a strong nationalist identity and a mistrust of experts, intellectuals, and perceived elites.[574]

Campaign finances

Primary campaign

As of January 31, 2016, the Trump campaign had received $7.5 million in donations from individuals, $250,318 donated directly by Trump himself, and a $17.78-million loan from the candidate.[575] The loaned amount can be repaid to Trump as other donations arrive.[575] According to reports to the FEC, the campaign had $1.9 million on hand as of February 20.[576]

As of March 31, he had raised $48.4 million, spent $46.3 million, and had $2.1 million cash on hand. His total spending including $3.2 million by outside groups, total $49.5 million.[577] As of May 31, he had raised $63.1 million, spent $61.8 million, and had $1.3 million cash on hand. His total spending including $3.0 million by outside groups, total $64.7 million.[578] As of June 30, he had raised $89.0 million, spent $68.8 million, and had $20.2 million cash on hand. His total spending including $7.6 million by outside groups, total $76.4 million.[579][580]

On June 23, Trump announced that he was forgiving $50 million in loans that he had made to his campaign for the primary.[581] His campaign refused to release evidence to the press that would prove that he had forgiven these loans.[582]

In October 2015 Trump had said: “I am self-funding my campaign and therefore I will not be controlled by the donors, special interests and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long. I have disavowed all super PACs, requested the return of all donations made to said PACs, and I am calling on all presidential candidates to do the same.”[583][584][585] Politifact reports that Trump’s claims that he is “self-funding” his campaign are “half-true.” By the end of 2015, Trump’s campaign had raised $19.4 million, with almost $13 million (about 66 percent) coming in the form of a loan from Trump himself and the remainder (34 percent) coming from others’ contributions.[586] The announcement came a day after a main super PAC backing Trump closed amid scrutiny about its relationship to the campaign itself.[107][108] Although Trump attended at least two Make America Great Again Super PAC fundraising events, including one at the home of his daughter Ivanka’s in-laws,[107] he later said he never gave his endorsement to the super PAC or any of the other eight super PACs supporting his run.[587][588] In addition to a $100,000 donation from Ivanka Trump’s mother-in-law, the Make America Great Again super PAC accepted $1 million in seed money from casino mogul and longtime Trump business partner Phil Ruffin who, according to FEC filings, gave the money just two weeks after the super PAC was established; the super PAC spent about $500,000 on polling, consulting, and legal expenses before shutting down in the wake of The Washington Posts coverage.[106][108]

General election campaign

According to Bloomberg News, Trump’s general election campaign raised over $500 million, roughly half the sum raised by the Clinton campaign. By October 19, Trump had “put $56.2 million of his own [money] into the campaign, leaving him with scant time to put in the rest of the $100 million he’s pledged to spend.”[589]

After becoming the presumptive nominee in early May, the Trump campaign announced that it would be seeking large donations for the general election,[590] and that Trump would not be self-funding his campaign in the general election.[591]By the end of May, Trump was reported to have had $1.3 million available for his campaign, while Clinton had $42 million.[592]

Wall Street banker Steven Mnuchin was named finance chair of the Trump campaign in May 2016.[593] In May 2016, the campaign established the Trump Victory Committee to enable joint fundraising with the Republican National Committee and eleven state parties; longtime Republican financiers Diane Hendricks, Woody Johnson, Mel Sembler, Ray Washburne, and Ron Weiser (all of whom backed other candidates during the Republican primary) agreed to serve as vice chairs of the committee.[594][595]

In May 2016, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson announced that he would spend $100 million in support of Trump’s election.[596][597] As of late August 2016, the Federal Election Commission had not reported any donations to the Trump campaign by Adelson.[598] While a number of large-dollar donors who previously backed other candidates[595] and were once mocked by Trump joined his campaign,[594] other prominent Republican megadonors oppose Trump and opted to “sit out” the election, withholding their support and financial backing. These include Norman Braman, Paul Singer, Seth Klarman,[599] and the Koch Brothers[600]

Several Super PACs were founded in support of Trump’s campaign in the general election, including Great America PAC, Committee for American Sovereignty, and Rebuilding America Now.[601] Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both endorsed Rebuilding America Now,[602] and Trump agreed to headline fundraising events for the organization.[603]


Supporters and protesters outside the August 9, 2016, campaign event at UNC-Wilmington’s Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, North Carolina

Comment about Second Amendment and Hillary Clinton

At a campaign stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, on August 9, Donald Trump said that Hillary Clinton wanted to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment” because of her support for gun control. He said if she nominates judges to the Supreme Court, there would be nothing that could be done about it, and then added, “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know”.

Trump’s comment sparked condemnation from various Democrats and Republicans for being perceived as suggesting violence against Clinton or liberal jurists, instead of suggesting political action. Clinton Campaign spokesman Robby Mook released a statement that said, “… what Trump is saying is dangerous”, and that a person seeking the presidency “should not suggest violence in any way.”[604] General Michael Hayden, who is the former head of the CIA, stated that “If someone else had said that outside the hall, he’d be in the back of a police wagon now with the Secret Service questioning him.”[605] Secret Service spokesperson Cathy Milhoan said in a statement that the U.S. Secret Service was aware of Trump’s comments.[606] The New York Times opinion writer Thomas Friedman condemned Trump’s comment, saying “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated.”[607][608][609]

Politifact noted that some people saw it as a joke about assassination or a reference to political action, while others took it as a threat. Politifact also noted that the premise behind Trump’s remark—that Clinton wants to “abolish the Second Amendment”—was factually false.[610] The Trump campaign responded with a statement that attributed the comment to the great political power that Second Amendment people have.[611] House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump should clarify what seemed to him a joke gone wrong.[612] Hillary Clinton responded to Trump’s comments by saying, “words matter”, and that Trump’s comments were part of a long line of casual comments from Trump that had “crossed a line.”[606]

In September, Trump repeated the false statement that Clinton wanted to abolish the Second Amendment and suggested that Clinton’s Secret Service detail disarm themselves and “let’s see what happens”.[613] The comments were interpreted by many commentators as an incitement to violence.[614]

Khizr and Ghazala Khan

During the 2016 Democratic National Convention, one of the speakers was Khizr Khan, a Muslim U.S. citizen who immigrated from Pakistan in 1980. Khan is the father of Captain Humayun Khan, a U.S. soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004 by a suicide bomber, and later awarded the Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart. Khan spoke about his son and criticized Trump for his Muslim ban proposals, asking if Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution, and offering to give him a copy. He stated that Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one.”[615]

The following Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Trump was asked about Khan. Trump replied that Khan was, “you know, very emotional and probably looked like a nice guy to me.”[616] Trump went on to wonder why Khizr Khan’s wife Ghazala, who stood silently by her husband’s side during his speech, did not speak and speculated that she might not have been allowed to speak. (Ghazala later responded by stating that at the time she was too emotional to speak.) When Trump was asked what he had sacrificed for his country, he told Stephanopoulos, “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.” Trump also cited his work on behalf of veterans, including helping build a Vietnam War memorial in Manhattan and raising “millions of dollars” for veterans.[616]

Trump’s comments touched off a firestorm of controversy by appearing to belittle the Khans, with public officials and commentators from all sides of the political spectrum arguing that he should show more respect to the parents of a fallen soldier.[617][618] A Fox News poll found that 69 percent of respondents who were familiar with Trump’s comments, including 41 percent of Republicans, felt that Trump’s response was “out of bounds”.[619] The Khan controversy, along with Trump’s initial refusal to endorse Majority Leader Paul Ryan for re-election, contributed to significant drops in Trump’s poll numbers that week.[620]

Trump responded to the criticism on Twitter, stating that Khazir Khan “viciously attacked me” and tweeting: “This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!”[621] Later, Trump released a written statement saying “Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe”, adding “While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution (which is false), and say many other inaccurate things.”[622]

When questioned about the Khans during the second presidential debate, Trump claimed that Humayun Khan would be alive if he was the president of the United States in 2004 and referred to him as an “American hero”. The Khans responded by saying that they know that their son is an American hero.[623]

Campaign misstatements

In December 2015, Politifact named “the many campaign misstatements of Donald Trump” as its “2015 Lie of the Year”, noting at the time that 76 percent of Trump statements rated by the factchecking website were rated “Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire”, more than any other politician.[624][625] Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said that “Trump came into an environment that was ripe for bombastic, inflammatory, outrageous statements without having to suffer the consequences”, citing the rise of partisan media, popular desensitization to inflammatory rhetoric, and “the assault on science and expertise” as contributing factors.[624]

In March 2016, Politico Magazine analyzed 4.6 hours of Trump stump speeches and press conferences over a five-day period and found “more than five dozen statements deemed mischaracterizations, exaggerations, or simply false.”[626]Trump’s penchant for exaggerating to voters has roots in the world of New York real estate where he made his fortune, and where hyperbole is a way of life.[627][628] According to Lucas Graves, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Trump often speaks in a suggestive way that makes it unclear what exactly he meant, and Graves says that fact-checkers “have to be really careful when you pick claims to check to pick things that can be factually investigated and that reflect what the speaker was clearly trying to communicate.”[629]

Praise for authoritarian foreign leaders

Trump’s frequent praise for foreign leaders alleged of being either authoritarian or totalitarian prompted significant criticism from members of both major political parties.[630][631][632]

Trump frequently praised Russia’s Vladimir Putin, calling him a strong leader, “unlike what we have in this country,”[633] “a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond,”[634] and wondered if “he will become my new best friend.”[635]He continued to praise Putin throughout the campaign, comparing him favorably to Obama, hailing Russia as an ally in fighting ISIS, and downplaying any suggestion that Russia had behaved aggressively in the world.[636] He also dismissed the assertion by U.S. intelligence officials that Russia is responsible for the computer hacking of Democratic party organizations and individuals.[637] Trump called for closer relations with Russia and “has surrounded himself with a team of advisers who have had financial ties to Russia.”[638]

In January 2016, Trump commented on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, first saying he’s a “maniac”, but then stating “you gotta give him credit” for the “incredible” way he eliminated his opponents to take charge of the country.[639]

During the Republican debate on March 10, 2016, Trump stirred controversy by saying that the Chinese government’s 1989 massacre of unarmed civilians in Tiananmen Square was “horrible” and “vicious” but also “shows you the power of strength.” When challenged, he said he was not endorsing the massacre and proceeded to characterize the protest as a riot: “I was not endorsing it. I said that is a strong, powerful government that put it down with strength. And then they kept down the riot. It was a horrible thing. It doesn’t mean at all I was endorsing it.”[640]

At a July 5 campaign rally, Trump again raised controversy by praising Saddam Hussein for being good at killing terrorists, saying Hussein was “a really bad guy” but “you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over.” The New York Times said that Trump’s descriptions “are not grounded in fact”, noting that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq itself had been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.[641][642]Terrorism expert Peter Bergen defended Trump: “Saddam Hussein repressed terrorist groups, as he did all forms of rebellion and dissent … Trump’s claim that following the fall of Saddam, Iraq has emerged as the ‘Harvard’ of terrorism is correct because Zarqawi in 2004 merged his terrorist group with al Qaeda to create “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” which is the parent organization of today’s ISIS.”[643] In October Trump said that both Iraq and Libya would be better off if their deposed dictators, Saddam and Muammar Gaddafi, were still in power, and in December he described Saddam’s use of poison gas against civilians as “throwing a little gas”.[644][645] His July 5 comments were widely criticized. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan dissociated himself from the remarks, and a spokesman for Hillary Clinton said “Donald Trump’s praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds.”[646]

Asked about the failed 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt, Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying, “I give great credit to him for being able to turn that around.”[647]

Support for fringe or conspiracy theories

During his campaign, Trump frequently given voice to fringe or conspiracy theories.[505][506][648][649] Professor Joseph E. Uscinski, the co-author of American Conspiracy Theories, writes that Trump made “unabashed” and “deft and almost daily use of … conspiracy narratives” on the campaign trail.[506]

According to political writer Steve Benen, unlike past political leaders, Trump did not keep fringe theories and their supporters at arm’s length.[650][651][652]

Trump, for example, promoted the discredited belief that vaccines can cause autism unless administered according to a lengthened schedule.[b] He also alluded to the unfounded notion that President Obama is secretly a Muslim, for example stating that Obama might have attended a particular funeral “if it were held in a Mosque” and saying that “some people” think a Muslim already had been elected president.[648][649] Trump also speculated that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia‘s death by natural causes, was in truth caused by murder.[c] Additionally, Trump “suggested a cover-up at San Bernardino, flirted with 9/11 conspiracy theories, [and] proposed conspiracy theories about Syrian refugees.”[506]

Veterans for a Strong America event

The Veterans for a Strong America organized an event for Trump on September 15, 2015.[655] According to the Associated Press, the IRS had revoked the nonprofit status of the organization, and its endorsement of Trump raised campaign finance questions as corporations are restricted to donating up to $2,700 to a campaign, but the event exceeded that amount.[655]Other concerns raised include reports that the Veterans for a Strong America did not appear to have any members or relation with veterans.[656] According to CNN, the group “sounds like a charity” and “touted having more than a half-million supporters” but is in fact a political action group; CNN “found scant evidence” of the number of supporters stated by the group. The group’s tax-exempt status had been revoked before the event; the group is appealing.[657]

Refusal to release tax returns

A protester holding a sign toward Trump supporters asking for Trump to publicly release his tax returns, at an August 9, 2016, campaign event in Wilmington, North Carolina

Trump did not release his personal income tax returns, as nominees traditionally do, and said he does not plan to do so before the November election.[658] Historians say he would be the first major party nominee since 1976 not to make his tax returns public. Before declaring for president he said he would “absolutely” release them if he decided to run for office.[659] Early in the 2016 primary process he promised to put out “very big, very beautiful” returns.[659] He offered various reasons for not giving out the information. He says his lawyers told him not to release the returns because they are being audited. He contends that voters are not interested and “there’s nothing to learn from them”. He told one interviewer that his tax rate is “none of your business”.[659]

Trump was criticized for his refusal to release tax information. Experts say being audited is no bar to releasing the information.[660] The current top IRS official, Commissioner John Koskinen, said that it would be fine for Trump to release his returns during an audit.[661][662]

2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that, “It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters.” Romney speculated, “There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them.”[663] John Fund of the National Review said that Republican convention delegates should abstain from voting for Trump if he does not release the information, fearing that the returns could contain an electoral “time bomb”.[664]

There is no requirement that presidential candidates release their tax returns but candidates are legally free to do so even when under audit.[665][666] Tax lawyers differ as to whether releasing tax returns is legally advisable for someone like Trump who is under audit.[666][667] According to NPR, tax experts such as New York University Law School professor Daniel Shaviro say that “Trump’s lawyers may advise him not to release the returns for legal strategy purposes.”[668]

On October 1, 2016, the New York Times reported that the Times had been given three pages of certain state tax returns for Trump for the year 1995. The materials indicated that Trump incurred a $916 million net operating loss which, for Federal income tax purposes, could potentially have prevented Trump from owing any Federal income taxes for up to 18 years.[669]

Use of Twitter

Donald Trump’s prolific use of Twitter earned him millions of followers. His almost daily use of social media as a vehicle for connecting to his audience is unprecedented as a campaign tool. On November 22, 2015, Trump retweeted an image containing racially charged and inaccurate crime data between blacks and whites, cited to a non-existent group.[670][671][672]According to Newsweek, the image appeared to originate with a neo-Nazi Twitter account.[673] When later asked by Bill O’Reilly about his sharing of the image, Trump confirmed that he had personally retweeted the image and said that it came from “sources that are very credible.”[670] The Annenberg Public Policy Center‘s reported that the image was a “bogus graphic.”[670]

On February 28, Trump re-tweeted a Mussolini quote that had been posted from a parody bot created by Gawker: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep”.[674] When informed that the source of the quote was 20th century Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Trump responded that the origin of the quote made no difference because “it’s a very good quote.”[675]

On July 2, 2016, Trump tweeted a picture originally created as a meme by white supremacists.[676][677][678] The tweet featured a photo of Clinton next to a star-shaped badge saying “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” with a background of $100 bills. The six-pointed star was interpreted as a Star of David and the tweet denounced as “blatantly anti-semitic” by many observers, ranging from the Hillary Clinton campaign to the Anti-Defamation League to House Speaker Paul Ryan.[679][680]However, Trump’s former campaign director Corey Lewandowski dismissed the attacks as “political correctness run amok” and compared the star to a sheriff’s badge.[681][682] The Trump campaign took down the image, then re-uploaded it with a circle replacing the star. However, the re-uploading of the image included the hashtag “#AmericaFirst”, and so was criticized by many pundits as evoking the name of the America First Committee, the name of a fascist organization in the United States that urged appeasement with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in the Second World War.[683][684]

Opposition from Republicans

An open letter from 120[685] conservative foreign-policy and national-security leaders, released in March 2016, condemned Trump as “fundamentally dishonest” and unfit to be president.[686][687] Signatories to the letter included a number of former high-level George W. Bush administration figures, and others, including Eliot A. Cohen, Max Boot, and Daniel W. Drezner.[685][686][688] Critics noted that the signers of the letter are “the exact type of establishment Republicans against whom Trump has been railing.”[686]

Also in March 2016, another group of foreign policy experts published a letter in Foreign Policy magazine, entitled “Defending the Honor of the U.S. Military from Donald Trump”, against Trump’s statements that he would direct the military to torture suspected terrorists and their families and target the families of terrorists and other civilians, stating that “every reputable legal expert we know has deemed [these activities] illegal.”[689] The letter was signed by both neoconservativesand prominent realists, such as Andrew J. Bacevich and Richard K. Betts.[690]

Several incumbent Republican members of Congress announced they would not vote for Trump. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says he will not vote for either Trump or Clinton in the fall and urged other Republicans to “un-endorse” Trump.[691][692] Illinois Senator Mark Kirk said he plans to write in a name, possibly David Petraeus or Colin Powell.[693] New York Rep. Richard Hanna, who is retiring at the end of this term, was the first Republican to say he will vote for Hillary Clinton.[694] Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Trump “for me is beginning to cross a lot of red lines in the unforgivable on politics” and he will vote for a write-in candidate or not vote.[695] Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent said Trump crossed “a bridge too far”; he plans to vote for a write-in candidate.[696] Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, also retiring at the end of this term, said he will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.[697]

A letter from 50 Republican national security officials was published on August 8. The senior officials, who included former White House officials and Cabinet secretaries, said Trump “lacks the character, values, and experience” to be President.[698][699] Trump responded the same day, saying “The names on this letter are the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess, and we thank them for coming forward so everyone in this country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place.”[700]

Trump University

Main articles: Trump University and Cohen v. Trump

Trump University, and Trump himself, were involved during the campaign in three ongoing lawsuits alleging fraudulent business practices. One of the suits was scheduled to be heard in San Diego in November, three weeks after the general election. In late July, the judge hearing that case denied a motion to dismiss it.[701] 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.[702][703]

The lawsuits were active throughout the campaign and were invoked by Trump’s rivals in Republican primary debates.[704]Hillary Clinton used the Trump University allegations against Trump in speeches and campaign ads.[705] Trump repeatedly criticized Gonzalo P. Curiel, the presiding judge in two of the cases, stating that his Mexican heritage serves as a conflict of interest.[706][707] During a June 3, 2016, interview with Jake Tapper of CNN, Tapper asked Trump what Curiel’s rulings have to do with his heritage. Trump answered, “I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall.”[708] Trump also suggested that Curiel is a friend of a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, to which the lawyer responded that they had not been friends in any “social” setting.[709]

Legal experts criticized Trump’s comments,[710] and Paul Ryan, who had endorsed Trump for president, disavowed the comments, saying that they were racist.[711] Meanwhile, Governor Chris Christie defended Trump’s comments, saying that Trump was not a “pre-programmed robotic politician”.[712][713]

Trump also accused Curiel of bias because of his membership in La Raza Lawyers of California, a professional associationof Hispanic attorneys.[714][715] Former United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote on June 4 that some of Trump’s aides alleged a link between the La Raza Lawyers of California and an advocacy organization called the National Council of La Raza, which had organized protests at Trump rallies: “The two groups are unaffiliated, and Curiel is not a member of NCLR. But Trump may be concerned that the lawyers’ association or its members represent or support the other advocacy organization”.[716]

On June 7, 2016, Trump said that his criticism of the judge had been “misconstrued” and that his concerns about Curiel’s impartiality were not based on ethnicity alone, but rather on rulings in the case.[717] He said that he was not categorically attacking people of Mexican heritage.[718]

In 2013 Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi requested a political donation from Trump while her office was “currently reviewing the allegations” in a New York class action suit. The Donald J. Trump Foundation sent her re-election campaign $25,000. Bondi’s office decided not to pursue action.[719] The Washington Post reported in September 2016 that foundation was fined $2,500 by the IRS for using the funds to make a political contribution to Bondi’s PAC.[720]

2005 Access Hollywood video tape

Video and accompanying audio were released by The Washington Post on October 7, 2016, in which Trump referred obscenely to women in a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush while they were preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood. Trump said that he could grab women “by the pussy” and get away with it, because he is a “star”. The audio was met with a reaction of disbelief and disgust from the media.[721][722][723] Following the revelation, Trump’s campaign issued an apology, stating that the video was of a private conversation from “many years ago”.[724]

External video
Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005, The Washington Post, 12:44, October 8, 2016[722]
Donald Trump apologizes for sexist comments about groping women, Trump campaign video via PBS Newshour, 1:15, October 7, 2016[725]

The incident was condemned by numerous prominent Republicans. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.” Mitt Romney tweeted “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.” John Kasich called the remarks “indefensible.” Jeb Bush called them “reprehensible.”[726] Speaker of the House Paul Ryan disinvited Trump to participate in a campaign event for Ryan in Wisconsin, saying that he was “sickened” by Trump’s comments.[727] Three days later Ryan indicated that he would no longer defend or support Trump’s presidential campaign, and in a highly unusual move he freed down-ticket congressional members to use their own judgement, saying “you all need to do what’s best for you and your district.”[728] Trump’s wife Melania called Trump’s words “offensive” and “inappropriate.”[729] By October 8 several dozen Republicans had called for Trump to withdraw from the campaign and let Pence head the ticket.[730] Trump insisted he would never drop out.[731]

Several hours after the initial report by The Washington Post, the Trump campaign released a video statement in response to the controversy, in which Trump apologized, stating that “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”[722][732] Towards the end of the statement Trump also said that “there is a big difference between the words and actions”, and then went on to say that “Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims”.[722][732] This apology was criticized severely by the media and members of the public as being insincere and attempting to divert the problem at hand with unsubstantiated accusations against his political opponents.[733][734][735] Trump replied that “thousands and thousands” of supporters sent him letters after the controversial video was published.[731]

Sexual misconduct accusations

Following the October 7, 2016, revelation of Trump’s 2005 remarks during a filming of an Access Hollywood episode and his denial that he had ever actually engaged in the behaviors he described, multiple women came forward with new stories of sexual misconduct, including unwanted kissing and groping. Sources for the stories included The New York Times and People magazine. The stories received widespread national media coverage.[736][737] Also, previous allegations and statements from other women resurfaced. In 1997, Jill Harth filed a lawsuit alleging Trump groped her in “intimate” parts and engaged in “relentless” sexual harassment.[738] Trump and his campaign denied all of these charges, and Trump claimed to have begun drafting a lawsuit against The New York Times alleging libel.[739][740] On October 13, Trump denied all of the allegations, referring to them as “false smears” and alleging “a conspiracy against … the American people”.[741]

Trump was also been reported to have walked in on Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA contestants in varying stages of undress without prior notice of his arrival. Some of the Miss Teen USA contestants were as young as 15.[742]Trump has said in an interview with Howard Stern in 2005, “no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it… Is everyone OK? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that. […] I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else.”[743]

Uncertainty over accepting the election results

File:Trump Reluntance To Accept Election Results Campaign Rally.webm

Trump at a campaign rally on October 20, 2016, stating that, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win”.

Trump repeatedly suggested that the election is “rigged” against him, and in the final debate he cast doubt on whether he would accept the results of the election should he lose, saying “I’ll keep you in suspense”.[744] His comment touched off a media and political uproar, in which he was accused of “threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of American democracy” and “rais(ing) the prospect that millions of his supporters may not accept the results on Nov. 8 if he loses”.[745]Rick Hasen of University of California, Irvine School of Law described Trump’s comments as, “appalling and unprecedented” and fears there could be “violence in the streets from his supporters if Trump loses.”[746] The next day Trump modified his stance by saying, “Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” He also stated that he would “totally” accept the election results “if I win.”[747]

Allegations of promoting voter intimidation

In the weeks before the election, Trump urged his supporters to volunteer as poll watchers on Election Day, saying they were needed to guard against “voter fraud” and a “rigged” outcome. The rhetoric was seen as a call to intimidate minority voters or challenge their credentials to prevent them from voting.[748][749]

Democratic Party officials sued Trump in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, accusing him of voter intimidation, in violation of the 1965 Voters Rights Act and the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, with his calls for supporters to monitor polling stations in minority neighborhoods. The Ohio Democratic Party wrote in a legal filing, “Trump has sought to advance his campaign’s goal of ‘voter suppression’ by using the loudest microphone in the nation to implore his supporters to engage in unlawful intimidation,” Other lawsuits used similar language.[750] A separate lawsuit in New Jersey accuses the Republican National Committee of cooperating with Trump’s “ballot security” activities, which the RNC is prohibited from doing by a 1982 consent decree.[751]

A federal District Court judge in Nevada ordered Trump campaigners to make available any training materials they provided for “poll watchers, poll observers, exit pollsters or any other similarly tasked individuals.”[752] A District Court judge in Pennsylvania denied a request by the state Republican Party to allow poll watching by people from outside the immediate area, which is forbidden by the state election code.[753]

Presidential debates

The first of three presidential debates took place on Monday evening, September 26, at New York’s Hofstra University. The moderator was Lester Holt of NBC.[754] A live-TV audience of 84 million viewers set a viewership record for presidential debates.[755] Scientific polls showed that most voters thought Hillary Clinton performed better than Donald Trump in the debate.[756][757] The second debate was held on Sunday, October 9, at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.[758] The co-moderators were CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. Republican nominee Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that “every poll” declared him the winner.[759] The final debate took place on the campus of the University of Las Vegas on Wednesday evening, October 19. The moderator was Chris Wallace of Fox News[760]


The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first and only major newspaper to endorse Donald Trump’s campaign.[761][762]Many Republican-leaning papers endorsed Clinton or urged readers not to vote for Trump while declining to endorse any other candidate.[763][764]

The Houston Chronicle, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Dallas Morning News, and The Arizona Republic editorial boards, which normally endorse Republican candidates, endorsed Hillary Clinton.[763][764] The New Hampshire Union Leader, which had endorsed the Republican in every election for the last 100 years, endorsed Gary Johnson.[765] Several news reports, including one by Chris Cillizza, political reporter for The Washington Post, compared the 2016 Donald Trump political campaign to The Waldo Moment, a 2013 episode of the Black Mirror TV series;[766][767] later, in September 2016, episode writer Charlie Brooker also compared the Trump campaign to the episode and predicted Trump would win the 2016 election.[768][769]

USA Today, which never had endorsed any candidate in its 34-year history, broke the tradition and took sides in the race with an editorial that had declared Trump to be “erratic”, described his business career as “checkered”, and called him a “serial liar” and “unfit for the presidency”. The newspaper, however, said the “editorial does not represent unqualified support for Hillary Clinton.”[770][771][772]


As the results came in on election night, November 8, 2016, Trump won in multiple states that had been predicted to go to Clinton. In the early morning hours of November 9, media sources declared Trump the winner of the presidency, crediting him with 279 electoral college votes where 270 were needed to win.[773][774] Clinton then phoned Trump to concede and to congratulate him on his victory, whereupon Trump gave a victory speech.[775] His victory was widely described as a “stunning upset”, since most pre-election polling had predicted a Clinton win.[776][777]

As of November 28, Trump is credited with 306 electoral votes compared to 232 for Clinton.[778][779][780] The nationwide popular vote count shows Clinton leading by more than 2.5 million votes, with many votes still remaining to be counted.[778][781][782] Trump is the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history to win the election but lose the popular vote.[783]This is the biggest-ever loss in the popular vote for a candidate who won the election.

Trump Approval rating

20% Strong Approval




74% Week Approval


American and world leaders

President Barack Obama congratulated Trump on winning the election and stated that although he and Trump had differences of opinion, it is his goal to ensure a smooth transition for the incoming president.[785] Trump also received congratulations from Republican primary rivals including Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor John Kasich. In addition Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bushcongratulated him.[786]

Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico offered his congratulations and stated that Mexico will continue to have positive working relationships with the United States.[787] Leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Rwanda, Israel, Palestine, and other countries voiced similar messages.[787][785][788]

Vladimir Putin of Russia “expressed confidence that the dialogue between Moscow and Washington, in keeping with each other’s views, meets the interests of both Russia and the U.S.” After stating that the relationships between the United States and Russia had degenerated over time, “Russia is ready and wants to restore the fully fledged relations with the U.S.”,[787]which must be “based on principles of equality, mutual respect and a real accounting each other’s positions.”[788]

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National party, sent her congratulations and exclaimed, peuple américain, libre!(French for “free American people!”)[787][789] Nigel Farage, the outgoing leader of the UK Independence Party and Brexiter, said he was handing his “mantle” over to Trump.[787][789] Pro-Trump videos were made with neo-Nazis by the Golden Dawnparty of Greece. Trump was supported by other far-right leaders in Serbia, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy.[789]

The strategic partnership between the European Union and the United States is rooted in our shared values of freedom, human rights, democracy and a belief in the market economy… Today, it is more important than ever to strengthen transatlantic relations… when dealing with unprecedented challenges such as Da’esh, the threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, climate change and migration… We should spare no effort to ensure that the ties that bind us remain strong and durable.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council[787]

President Xi Jinping of China stated to Trump that he placed “great importance on the China-U.S. relationship, and look[s] forward to working with you to uphold the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”[787] Shinzō Abe, the prime minister of Japan, said “The stability of the Asia-Pacific region, which is a driving force of the global economy, brings peace and prosperity to the United States. Japan and the United States are unwavering allies tied firmly with the bond of universal values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law.”[789]

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, expressed that it was “difficult to bear” some of the confrontations during the Trump campaign. She expressed her interest in working with President-elect on shared values, like respect for individuals despite their religion, gender, or heritage.[787] Merkel stated that the relationship with the U.S. is “a foundation stone of German foreign policy.”[787] “The world won’t end, but things will get more crazy”, was a tweet from German Justice Minister Heiko Maas. Germany’s Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, wanted to know if the U.S. would maintain its NATO commitments,[787]since Trump had suggested during his campaign that the U.S. should consider NATO allies’ level of military commitment before coming to their aid.[785] Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, offered his congratulations and welcomed him to the NATO Summit in 2017 to discuss how to respond to the “challenging new security environment, including hybrid warfare, cyberattacks, the threat of terrorism.” He further stated that continuing to build a strong NATO presence is good for the United States and for Europe.[785] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, said that he hoped that the Trump presidency would be a “beneficial” step towards world-wide democracy, liberty, and fundamental rights.[787] François Hollande, president of France, said that his country would need to be strong in the face of an upcoming “period of uncertainty… What is at stake is peace, the fight against terrorism, the Middle East and the preservation of the planet.”[787]


a protest sign in New York city[790][791]

In cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people protested Trump.[792][793] They carried signs such as “Not My President,” “Trump Puts My Life In Danger,” “Not Usually A Sign Guy, But Geez,” “Fuck Trump,”[794][795] and “No To Bigotry.”[793]

Students walked out of classes in schools across the country—like Washington, D.C., Denver, Omaha, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle and other cities—beginning November 9, the day after the election, and continued into the following week.[792][793] Concerned about the views that Trump had expressed of minorities and what he might do to the country, the protesters carried signs that said messages like “Love Trumps Hate”[796][797][798](which was a slogan of the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign), “Make Racists Scared Again”, and “You Can’t Divide Us.”[792]

Trump said that some of the protesters are “professional protesters” and that they are protesting him because they do not know him. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, had called the protesters “spoiled crybabies”.[792]

School children

The Atlantic began a series to explore how schools are responding to the election of Donald Trump. In their first installment, they spoke with about 40 counselors and teachers in several locations around the country about the reactions that they are receiving in school, and how the teachers are handling feedback from children about the elections. They prefaced that most teachers are Democrats and are women. Only about 20% of teachers are Republicans. The concerns that children raised included fear that their family would be deported, that their parents would be deported, and they would be deported, even if they were born in the United States. There were also fears that they were unsafe, even afraid that there would be a bomb that would kill everyone.[799]

On the other hand, there were children that expressed that they were happy that Trump won the election, and if they were able, they would have voted for him. A teacher from Phoenix tried to help children see the issues in a non-threatening way. Patricia Farley, a former Marine in Phoenix, said said that Trump doesn’t hate Mexicans; he simply believes that “people need to go through the proper channels to legally immigrate”. Meria Castarphen, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, said that although one day was spent allowing children’s feelings, the next day the teachers went back to their normal routines, so that issues would not “stew” in the children’s minds. Sophie, a woman of color in New Orleans, used it as an opportunity to express her fears and encourage children to talk about their feelings, like the boy who said he would have voted for Trump, and the Muslim girl that said, “This is a hijab. It’s really hot. I don’t sleep in it. If you have questions, ask me—don’t say terrible things.”[799]

Appearances in popular culture

Even before Trump’s very highly publicized presidential campaign that began in 2015, he had appeared many times in popular culture.


Since 1986, he has been depicted in the Doonesbury comic strip by Garry Trudeau[565][566] prompting an unfavorable response from Trump.[567]


Trump played himself as the Plaza Hotel owner in a cameo appearance in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York(1992).[568]

You’ve Been Trumped (2011), a documentary film by Anthony Baxter, follows Trump’s efforts to develop a Scottish golf resort.[569][570][571] When it was announced that the documentary was to premiere on BBC Two television in the UK, on October 21, 2012,[572] Trump’s lawyers contacted the BBC to demand that the film should not be shown, claiming it was defamatory and misleading. The screening went ahead, with the BBC defending the decision and stating that Trump had refused the opportunity to take part in the film.[573]

Funny or Die released a parody film called Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie (2016).[574]


Andrew Shaffer‘s satirical book, The Day of the Donald (2016), imagines Trump winning the election and discusses his second year as America’s 45th president.[575]


Since the 1980s, Donald Trump’s wealth and lifestyle have been a fixture of hip hop lyrics,[576] his name being quoted by more than 50 artists.[577]

In 2011, rapper Mac Miller released his “Donald Trump” song about rising to Trump-level riches, which became a Billboardhit.[576] The billionaire subsequently requested royalties for using his name, starting a feud with Miller.[578]


On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel featured Trump’s two Dr. Seuss-like books, Winners Aren’t Losers and its sequel Winners Still Aren’t Losers, when Trump was the guest star. On both occasions, Kimmel read the books out loud to Trump and had Trump read the last word.[579]

In the February 28, 2016, episode of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver referred to Trump as “Donald Drumpf“.[580][581]

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Colbert frequently features a caricature of Trump, called “Cartoon Donald Trump”.[582]

Describing the March 2000 The Simpsons episode Bart to the Future as “a warning to America”, writer Dan Greaney said in March 2016: “What we needed was for Lisa to have problems beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that’s why we had Trump be president before her. That just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was consistent with the vision of America going insane”.[583]

Since 1988, Trump and members of his family have been parodied on Saturday Night Live, and he hosted the show twice, in April 2004 and November 2015.[584][585]

Trump’s trademark comb-over hairstyle


Trump’s iconic comb over hair style has been mentioned frequently by the media. In 2004, the Chicago Tribune wrote that Trump is “known for his gaudy casinos and unusual mane of copper hair.”[586] During a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “I get a lot of credit for comb-overs. But it’s not really a comb-over. It’s sort of a little bit forward and back. I’ve combed it the same way for years. Same thing, every time.”[587] In various late-night talk shows and interviews, Trump’s hair has humorously been suggested to be a wig, so he has let the interviewers touch his hair to verify its authenticity.[588][589]

In a June 2015 speech for his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said he would change his hair style if he were elected.[590]

Legal matters

Further information: Legal affairs of Donald Trump

An analysis by USA Today, published in June 2016, found that over the previous three decades, Trump and his businesses had been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. federal courts and state courts, an unprecedented number for a U.S. presidential candidate.[591] Of the 3,500 suits, mostly in the casino industry, Trump or one of his companies was the plaintiff in 1,900; defendant in 1,450; and third party, filer of bankruptcy, or other in 150.[591] Trump was named in at least 169 suits in federal court.[592] Although litigation over contract disputes and other matters is common in the real estate industry,[593]USA Todays 2016 analysis found that Trump had been involved in more legal disputes than Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., Donald Bren, Stephen M. Ross, Sam Zell, and Larry Silverstein combined. In about 500 cases, judges dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against Trump. In hundreds more, cases ended with the available public record unclear about the resolution.[591]Where there was a clear resolution, he has won 451 times, and lost 38, but in many cases “the public records available were unclear about the resolution”.[594]


In 1985, Trump was sued for allegedly trying to force out tenants to enable demolition.[595] The matter was settled and the demolition canceled.[596] In 1988, Trump paid $750,000 to settle the civil penalties in an antitrust lawsuit stemming from stock purchases.[597]


In 1991, a business analyst predicted that the Trump Taj Mahal would soon fail, and he then lost his job; the analyst sued Trump for allegedly having an unlawful role in the firing, and that matter was settled confidentially out of court.[598] After a helicopter crashed, killing three executives of his New Jersey hotel casino business, Trump sued the manufacturers,[599]and that case was dismissed.[600] Trump Plaza was fined $200,000 for moving African-American and female employees away from a racist and sexist gambler to accommodate him, but Trump was not evidently investigated, nor held personally liable, and said he would not even recognize that gambler.[601] In 1991, Trump’s father, Fred Trump, made an unlawful loan to Trump’s Castle to help it make a mortgage payment, and the casino was required to pay a $30,000 fine, but his son was not penalized.[602]

In 1993, Trump sued his business partner Jay Pritzker for allegedly collecting excessive fees, and the matter was settled.[603][604][605] Boarding house owner Vera Coking sued for damage during construction of an adjacent casino, and later dropped the suit against Trump while settling with his contractor; she also prevailed against Trump and other developers in an eminent domain case.[606][607][608]

In 1997, Donald Trump and rival Atlantic City casino owner Stephen Wynn engaged in an extended legal conflict during the planning phase of new casinos Wynn had proposed to build, and the cases were settled.[609][610][611]


In 2000, Trump was charged with lobbying for government rejection of proposed casinos that would compete with his casinos, and he paid $250,000 to settle resulting fines.[612][613] The charges related to a proposed Native American-run casino in the Catskills, New York, which would have competed with three of Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City.[614]

When the Securities and Exchange Commission charged one of his companies with poor financial reporting, Trump’s attorney said the culprit had been dismissed, and that Trump had personally been unaware of the matter.[615][616][617]Following litigation with Leona Helmsley that started in the 1990s regarding control of the Empire State Building,[618][619]Trump in 2002 sold his share in that building to rivals of Helmsley’s.[620][621]

In 2004 Trump sued former business partner Richard Fields for allegedly saying he still consulted for Trump. Fields counter-sued,[622][623][624][625] and the lawsuit was dismissed.[626]

The town of Palm Beach, Florida, fined Trump for building an 80-foot (24-meter) pole for the American flag at his Mar-a-Lago property. Trump then sued, and a settlement required him to donate $100,000 to veterans’ charities, while the town agreed to let him enroll out-of-towners in his social club and permitted a 10-foot shorter flagpole elsewhere on his lawn.[627]

When the California city of Rancho Palos Verdes thwarted luxury home development on a landslide-prone area owned by Trump, he sued,[628] and the city agreed to permit extensions for 20 more proposed luxury homes.[629][630]

Trump sued a law firm he had used, Morrison Cohen, for using his name, for providing news links at its website, and for charging excessive fees,[133] after which the firm halved the fees, and the court ruled that the links were allowable.[631]

In 2009, Trump was sued by investors in the canceled Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico;[632] Trump said he had merely been a spokesperson,[632][633] and he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.[634]

the Trump International Hotel and Tower, a tall steel Chicago skyscraper with aquamarine windows, as seen on a sunny day

Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago

In 2004, the Trump Organization licensed the Trump brand to a hotel and condo project in Fort Lauderdale scheduled to open in 2007,[209] but delays in construction and the bursting of the U.S. real estate bubble led Trump to withdraw his name from the deal in 2009,[209]after which the project defaulted, investors sued,[635] and Trump was caught in the ongoing lawsuits because he had participated in advertising.[209][636]

Trump personally guaranteed $40 million to secure a $640 million loan for Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. When Deutsche Bank tried to collect it, Trump sued the bank for harming the project and his reputation,[637] and the bank then agreed to extend the loan term by five years.[638]


In 2015, Trump’s claim that the Scottish Government improperly approved a wind-farm project near his golf course and planned hotel was rejected by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, following a lengthy legal battle.[639]

In July 2015, Trump sued the former Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, after she alleged that the Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged.[640] A federal judge upheld the settlement, obliging her to pay Trump $5 million.[640][641][642]

Trump sued Palm Beach County, alleging that the county had pressured the FAA to direct air traffic over Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and estate.[643] He also sued chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés; the latter said there was no merit in Trump’s allegation that the chef backed out of a deal at the Old Post Office Pavilion.[644][645][646][647]

Trump sued the town of Ossining, New York, over the property tax valuation on his golf course there,[648][649] after separately being sued for modifying a drainage system that allegedly damaged a library, public pool, and park facilities.[649]

In connection with a Trump presidential campaign event at Trump Tower in New York City, five men sued Trump, whose security staff allegedly punched one of them.[650][651]

In 2016 the Democrats sued Trump accusing him of voter intimidation because he called on his supporters to “watch” polling stations in inner-city neighborhoods. The Ohio Democratic Party wrote in a legal filing, “Trump has sought to advance his campaign’s goal of ‘voter suppression’ by using the loudest microphone in the nation to implore his supporters to engage in unlawful intimidation.”[652] Ruling on this case, a judge in Ohio ordered Trump to refrain from voter intimidation.[653]

Awards and accolades

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

A red five-pointed star surrounded by a brass bezel set in black sidewalk. The words "DONALD TRUMP", and the symbol of a television with antennae, are set into the star in bronze.

Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Rand Paul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Paul Rand.
Rand Paul
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate.jpg
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Mitch McConnell
Preceded by Jim Bunning
Personal details
Born Randal Howard Paul
January 7, 1963 (age 52)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelley Ashby (1990–present)
Relations Ron Paul (Father)
Children 3
Alma mater Baylor University (no degree)
Duke University School of Medicine (M.D.)
Religion Presbyterianism[1]
Website Senate website
Campaign website

Dr. Randal HowardRandPaul (born January 7, 1963) is an American politician and physician. Since 2011, Paul has served in theUnited States Senate as a member of the Republican Party representing Kentucky. He is the son of former U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paul attended Baylor University and is a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine. Paul began practicing ophthalmology in 1993 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and established his own clinic in December 2007. Throughout Paul’s life, he volunteered for his father’s campaigns. In 2010, Paul entered politics by running for a seat in the United States Senate. Paul has described himself as a Constitutional conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement, and has advocated for a balanced budget amendment, term limits, and privacy reform.

On April 7, 2015, Paul officially announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Early life

Randal Howard Paul was born on January 7, 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Carol (née Wells) and Ron Paul, who is also a politician and physician. The elder Paul was a U.S. Representative from Texas and ran for President three times.[2] The middle child of five, his siblings are Ronald “Ronnie” Paul Jr., Lori Paul Pyeatt, Robert Paul, and Joy Paul-LeBlanc.[3] Paul was baptized in the Episcopal Church[4] and identified as a practicing Christian as a teenager.[5] Despite his father’s libertarian views and strong support for individual rights,[5][6] the novelist Ayn Rand was not the inspiration for his first name. Growing up, he went by “Randy”,[7] but his wife shortened it to “Rand.”[5][8][9]

The Paul family moved to Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1968,[7][10] where he was raised[11][12] and where his father began a medical practice and for an extent of time was the onlyobstetrician in Brazoria County.[7][10] When he was 13, his father was elected to the United States House of Representatives.[13] That same year, Paul attended the 1976 Republican National Convention, where his father headed Ronald Reagan‘s Texas delegation.[14] The younger Paul often spent summer vacations interning in his father’s congressional office.[15] In his teenage years, Paul studied the Austrian economists that his father respected, as well as the writings of Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand.[7] Paul went to Brazoswood High School and was on the swimming team and played defensive back on the football team.[5][11] Paul attended Baylor University from fall 1981 to summer 1984 and was enrolled in the honors program. During the time he spent at Baylor, he was involved in the swim team and the Young Conservatives of Texas and was a member of a secret organization known as the NoZe Brotherhood.[16] Paul also regularly contributed to The Baylor Lariat.[14] Paul dropped out of Baylor without completing his Bachelor’s degree in either biology or English,[17] when he was accepted into his father’s alma mater, the Duke University School of Medicine. At the time, Duke did not require an undergraduate degree for admission to its graduate school. He earned a M.D. degree in 1988 and completed his residency in 1993.[18]

Medical career

After completing his residency in ophthalmology, Paul moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky. He has held a state-issued medical license since moving there in 1993.[19] He received his first job from John Downing of Downing McPeak Vision Centers, which brought him to Bowling Green after completing his residency. Paul worked for Downing for about five years before parting ways. Afterwards, he went to work at the Graves Gilbert Clinic, a private medical group in Bowling Green, for 10 years before creating his own practice in a converted one-story house across the street from Downing’s office.[20] After his election to the U.S. Senate, he merged his practice with Downing’s medical practice.[21] Paul has faced two malpractice lawsuits between 1993 and 2010; he was cleared in one case while the other was settled for $50,000.[20] His medical work has been praised by Downing and he has medical privileges at two Bowling Green hospitals.[19][20] Paul specializes in cataract and glaucoma surgeries, LASIK procedures, and corneal transplants.[8] As a member of the Bowling Green Noon Lions Club, Paul founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic in 2009 to help provide eye surgery and exams for those who cannot afford to pay.[22] Paul won the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for Dedicated Humanitarian Services from the Lions Club International Foundation for his work establishing the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic.[23]

National Board of Ophthalmology

In 1995, Paul passed the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) boards on his first attempt and earned board-certification under the ABO for 10 years.

Prior to this, in 1992, the ABO had changed their certification program, which had previously awarded lifetime certifications, instead requiring doctors to recertify every 10 years. Those who had already been given lifetime certification were allowed to keep it (according to the ABO, they would not legally have been able to rescind these certifications).[24]Shortly after this change, Paul began a campaign to protest it. This effort culminated in 1997 with him creating, “along with 200 other young ophthalmologists”, the National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO) to offer an alternative certification system, at a cost substantially lower than that of the ABO.[24][25][26] Its certification exam, an open book take-home test, was described by one taker as “probably harder” and “more clinically relevant” than the ABO’s exam.[24]

Named board members were Paul, his wife, and his father-in-law.[27] The NBO was never itself accepted as an accrediting entity by organizations such as the American Board of Medical Specialities,[19] and its certification was considered invalid by many hospitals and insurance companies.[24] Paul let his own ABO certification lapse in 2005, which did not affect his practice in Kentucky, since the state does not require board certification.[24]

By Paul’s estimate, about 50 or 60 doctors were certified by the NBO.[24] The NBO was incorporated in 1999, but Paul allowed it to be dissolved in 2000 when he did not file the required paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. He later recreated the board in 2005, but it was again dissolved in 2011.[28]

Political activism

Paul served as the head of the local chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas during his time at Baylor University.[14] In 1984, Paul took a semester off to aid his father’s primary challenge to Republican Senator Phil Gramm.[14] While attending Duke Medical School, Paul volunteered for his father’s 1988 Libertarian presidential campaign.[15] In response to President Bush breaking his election promise to not raise taxes, Paul founded the North Carolina Taxpayers Union in 1991.[15] In 1994, Paul founded the anti-tax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United (KTU), serving as chair of the organization from its inception. He has often cited his involvement with KTU as the foundation of his involvement with state politics.[29] Described as “ideological and conservative” by the Lexington Herald-Leader, the group considered itself nonpartisan,[30][31] examining Kentucky legislators’ records on taxation and spending and encouraging politicians to publicly pledge to vote uniformly against tax increases.[32][33] Paul managed his father’s successful1996 Congressional campaign, in which the elder Paul returned to the House after a twelve-year absence.[14] The elder Paul defeated incumbent Democrat-turned-RepublicanGreg Laughlin in the Republican primary, despite Laughlin’s support from the NRCC and Republican leaders such as Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush.[14]

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 that although Paul had told a Kentucky television audience as recently as September 2009 that KTU published ratings each year on state legislators’ tax positions and that “we’ve done that for about 15 years”, the group had stopped issuing its ratings and report cards after 2002 and had been legally dissolved by the state in 2000 after failing to file registration documents.[29]

Paul spoke on his father’s behalf when his father was campaigning for office,[34] including throughout the elder Paul’s run in the 2008 presidential election, during which Rand campaigned door-to-door in New Hampshire[35] and spoke in Boston at a fundraising rally for his father on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.[36]

In February 2014, Paul joined the Tea Party-affiliated conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks in filing a class-action lawsuit charging that the federal government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records metadata is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.[37][38][39] Commenting on the lawsuit at a press conference, Paul said, “I’m not against the NSA, I’m not against spying, I’m not against looking at phone records…. I just want you to go to a judge, have an individual’s name and [get] a warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says.”[37] He also said there was no evidence the surveillance of phone metadata had stopped terrorism.[37] Critics, including Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz[40] and Steven Aftergood, the director of the American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy,[39] called the lawsuit a political “stunt”. Paul’s political campaign organization said that the names of members of the public who went to Paul’s websites and signed on as potential class-action participants would be available in the organization’s database for future campaign use.[37][41] On the announcement of the filing of the lawsuit, Mattie Fein, the spokeswoman for and former wife of attorney Bruce Fein, complained that Fein’s intellectual contribution to the lawsuit had been stolen and that he had not been properly paid for his work.[42] Paul’s representatives denied the charge, and Fein issued a statement saying that Mattie Fein had not been authorized to speak for him on the matter and that he had in fact been paid for his work on the lawsuit.[42]

Paul is co-author of a book entitled The Tea Party Goes to Washington (2011)[43][44] and also the author of Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds (2012).[45] Paul was included in Time magazine’s world’s 100 most influential people, for 2013 and 2014.[46][47]

Election to U.S. Senate

Primary campaign

Then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul speaking at a Tea Party rally in Hawesville, Kentucky, on November 21, 2009

Then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul greeting supporters at Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky on November 1, 2010.

At the beginning of 2009, there was movement by political supporters of his father to draft Paul in a bid to replace beleaguered Republican Kentucky senator Jim Bunning. Paul’s potential candidacy was discussed in the Los Angeles Times[48] and locally in the Kentucky press.[49] Paul’s father said, “Should Senator Bunning decide not to run, I think Rand would make a great U.S. Senator.”[50] On April 15, 2009, Paul gave his first political speech as a potential candidate at a Tea Party rally held in his town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, where more than 700 people had gathered in support of the Tea Party movement.[51]

On May 1, 2009, Paul officially confirmed that if Bunning, whose fundraising in 2009 matched his poor numbers in opinion polling for the 2010 election,[52] declined to seek a third term, he would almost certainly run in the Republican Party primary to succeed him,[53] and formed an exploratory committee soon after, while still promising to stay out of the race if Bunning ultimately decided to run for reelection. Paul made this announcement on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, though a Kentucky news site first broke the news.[54]

On July 28, 2009, Bunning announced that he would not run for reelection in the face of insufficient fundraising. The announcement left only Paul and Secretary of State Trey Grayson as the remaining candidates for the Republican nomination,[55] with Paul announcing on August 5, 2009, that he would officially run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. The announcement was made through a series of national TV events, radio, and other programs, as well as newspapers in Kentucky.[56][57][58]

On August 20, 2009, Paul’s supporters planned a moneybomb to kick off his campaign. The official campaign took in $433,509 in 24 hours. His website reported that this set a new record in Kentucky’s political fundraising history in a 24-hour period.[59] A second “moneybomb” was held on September 23, 2009, to counter a D.C. fundraiser being held for primary opponent Trey Grayson, by 23 Republican United States Senators.[60] The theme was a UFC “fight” between “We the People” and the “D.C. Insiders”.[61] Later in the campaign, Paul claimed his pledge to not take money from lobbyists and Senators who had voted for the bailout was only a “primary pledge”;[62] he subsequently held a DC fundraiser with the same Senators who had been the target of the September 23, 2009, “moneybomb”. Paul ended up raising some $3 million during the primary period. Paul’s fundraising was aided by his father’s network of supporters.[14]

Although Grayson was considered the frontrunner in July 2009,[63] Paul found success characterizing Grayson as a “career politician” and challenging Grayson’s conservatism. Paul ran an ad in February that made an issue out of Grayson’s September 2008 admission that he voted for Bill Clinton when he was 20 years old.[64] James Dobson, a Christian evangelical figure, endorsed Grayson on April 26 based on the advice of what Dobson described as “senior members of the GOP”, but on May 3 the Paul campaign announced that Dobson had changed his endorsement to Paul[65] after Paul and some Paul supporters had lobbied Dobson insisting on Paul’s social conservative bona fides.[66]

On May 18, Paul won the Republican Senatorial primary by a 23% margin,[67][68] meaning he would face the Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, in the November 2 general election.[69]

General campaign

In the 2010 general election, Paul faced Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. The campaign attracted $8.5 million in contributions from outside groups, of which $6 million was spent to help Paul and $2.5 million to help Conway. This money influx was in addition to the money spent by the candidates themselves: $6 million by Paul and $4.7 million by Conway.[70][71] On June 28, 2010, Paul supporters held their first post-primary online fundraising drive, this time promoted as a “money blast”.[72][73]

Paul’s campaign got off to a rough start after his comments on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stirred controversy.[74] Paul stated that he favored 9 out of 10 titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that had he been a senator during the 1960s, he would have raised some questions on the constitutionality of Title II of the Act.[75] Paul said that he abhors racism, and that he would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to repeal Jim Crow Laws. He later released a statement declaring that he would have voted for the Act and stated “unequivocally … that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964”.[76][77] Later he generated more controversy by characterizing statements made byObama Administration officials regarding the BP oil spill cleanup as sounding “un-American”.[78]

Paul defeated Conway in the general election with 56% of the vote to 44% for Conway.

U.S. Senate career

112th Congress (2011–13)

Rand Paul being sworn in as a senator by Vice President Joe Biden, along with his family, in the Old Senate Chamber in the United States Capitolbuilding

Paul was sworn in on January 5, 2011, along with his father, who simultaneously served in the House of Representatives.[79]

Paul was assigned to serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees.[80] Paul also formed the Senate Tea Party Caucus with Jim DeMint and Mike Lee as its inaugural members.[81] His first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. This proposal included cutting the Department of Education by 83 percent and the Department of Homeland Security by 43 percent, as well as folding theDepartment of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated and food stamps would be cut by 30 percent. Under Paul’s proposal, defense spending would be reduced by 6.5 percent and international aid would be eliminated.[82] He later proposed a five-year budget plan intended to balance the budget.[83]

In February, Paul was one of two Republicans to vote against extending three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals not linked to terrorist groups).[84][85]

On March 2, Paul was one of nine senators to vote against a stopgap bill that cut $4 billion from the budget and temporarily prevent agovernment shutdown, saying that it did not cut enough from the budget.[86] One week later, he voted against the Democratic and Republican budget proposals to keep funding the federal government, saying that both bills did not cut enough spending. Both bills failed to pass the Senate.[87] He later voted against stopgap measures on March 17 and April 8, both of which passed the senate.[88] On April 14, He was one of 19 senators to vote against a budget that cut $38.5 billion from the budget and fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.[89] Paul voiced opposition to U.S. intervention in the Libyan civil war and has criticized President Obama for not gaining congressional consent forOperation Odyssey Dawn.[90] During the debt ceiling crisis, the Senator stated that he would only support raising the debt ceiling if a balanced budget amendment was enacted.[91] Paul was a supporter of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was tabled by Democratic opposition.[92] On August 3, Paul voted against a bill that would raise the debt ceiling.[93]

On September 7, Paul called for a vote of no confidence in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.[94] Later that month, Paul blocked legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines because he stated the bill was not strong enough.[95] In October, Paul blocked a bill that would provide $36 million in benefits for elderly and disabled refugees, saying that he was concerned that it could be used to aid domestic terrorists. This was in response to two alleged terrorists who came to the United States through a refugee program and were receiving welfare benefits when they were arrested in 2011 in Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green.[96] Paul lifted his hold on the bill after Democratic leaders promised to hold a Congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation on how the two suspects were admitted in the country through a refugee program.[97]

113th Congress (2013–15)

For the 113th Congress, Paul was added to the Foreign Relations committee and retained his spot on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees.[98]

On March 6–7, 2013, Paul engaged in a filibuster to delay voting on the nomination of John O. Brennan as the Director of the CIA. Paul questioned the Obama administration’suse of drones and the stated legal justification for their potential use within the United States. Paul held the floor for 12 hours and 52 minutes.[99] He ceded to several Republican senators and Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, who generally also questioned drone usage.[100][101] Paul said his purpose was to challenge drone policy in general and specifically as it related to noncombatants on U.S. soil. He requested a pledge from the Administration that noncombatants would not be targeted on U.S. soil.[102] Attorney General Eric Holder responded that the President is not authorized to deploy extrajudicial punishment without due process, against non-combatant citizens. Paul answered that he was “quite happy” with the response.[103] The filibuster was ended with a cloture vote of 81 to 16, and Brennan was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 63 to 34.[104]

Rand Paul speaking during his filibuster on the Senate floor on March 6, 2013.

In March 2013, Paul, with Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, threatened another filibuster, this one opposing any legislative proposals to expand federal gun control measures.[105] The filibuster was attempted on April 11, 2013, but was dismissed by cloture, in a 68–31 vote.[106] Also in March 2013, Paul endorsed fellow Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell‘s 2014 re-election campaign.[107] McConnell had previously hired Paul’s 2010 campaign manager, Jesse Benton, as his own campaign manager.[108] Paul’s endorsement was seen as a major win for McConnell in avoiding a challenge in the Republican primary.[107]

In response to Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy, Paul stated he would not allow the government to attempt to bail out Detroit. In a phone interview with on July 19, 2013, Paul said, “I basically say he is bailing them out over my dead body because we don’t have any money in Washington.” Paul said he thought a federal bailout would send the wrong message to other cities with financial problems.[109]

In September, Paul stated that the United States should avoid military intervention in the ongoing Syrian civil war.[110] In an op-ed, Paul disputed the Obama administration’s claims that the threat of military force caused Syria’s government to consider turning over its chemical weapons, instead arguing that the opposition to military action in Syria, and the delay that it caused, led to diplomatic progress.[111]

In October 2013, Paul was the subject of some controversy when it was discovered that he had plagiarized from Wikipedia part of a speech in support of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Referencing the movie Gattaca, Paul quoted almost verbatim from the Wikipedia article about the film without citing the source.[112][113][114] Evidence soon surfaced that Paul had copied sentences in a number of his other speeches nearly verbatim from other authors without giving credit to the original sources,[115][116] including in the speech he had given as the Tea Party rebuttal to the president’s 2013 State of the Union address. In addition, a three-page-long passage of Paul’s book Government Bullies was taken directly from an article by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.[117][118] When it became apparent that Paul’s Washington Times op-ed on mandatory minimums and related testimony he had given before the Senate Judiciary Committee both contained material that was virtually identical to an article that had been published by another author in The Week a few days earlier,[119] the Washington Times said that the newspaper would no longer publish the weekly column Paul had been contributing to the paper.[120] After a week of almost daily news reports of new allegations of plagiarism, Paul said that he was being held to an “unfair standard”, but would restructure his office in order to prevent mistakes in the future, if that would be what it would take “to make people leave me the hell alone.”[121]

In response to political turmoil in Ukraine in early 2014, Paul initially said that the US should remain mindful of the fact that although the Cold War is over, Russia remains a military power with long-range nuclear missiles. He said that the US should try to maintain a “respectful relationship with Russia” and avoid taking actions that the Russians might view as a provocation, such as seeking to have Ukraine join NATO or otherwise interfering in Russia’s relationship with Ukraine.[122] Two weeks later, after the Russian parliament authorized the use of military force in Ukraine[123] and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military exercises along Russia’s border with Ukraine,[124] Paul began taking a different tone.[125] He wrote: “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community…. Putin must be punished for violating the Budapest Memorandum, and Russia must learn that the U.S. will isolate it if it insists on acting like a rogue nation.”[126] He said that the US and European allies could retaliate against Russia’s military aggression without any need for military action. He urged that the US impose economic sanctions on Russia and resume an effort to build defensive anti-missile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. He also called for the US to take steps as a counterweight to Russia’s strategic influence on Europe’s oil and gas supply, such as lifting restrictions on new exploration and drilling for fossil fuels in the United States along with immediate approval of the controversialKeystone Pipeline, which he said would allow the US to ship more oil and gas to Europe if Russia attempts to cut off its own supply to Europe.[126]

Paul played a leading role in blocking a treaty with Switzerland that would enable the IRS to conduct tax evasion probes, arguing that the treaty would infringe upon Americans’ privacy.[127] Paul received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Center for the National Interest (formally called the Nixon Center) for his public policy work.[128]

In response to reports that the CIA infiltrated the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Paul called for the firing of CIA Director John O. Brennan.[129] In December 2014, Paul supported the actions to change the US policy towards Cuba and trade with that country taken by the Obama administration.[130]

114th Congress (2015–present)

In the beginning of 2015, Senator Paul re-introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act.[131] Senator Paul also introduced the FAIR Act, or Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act, which would restrict civil forfeiture proceedings.[132]

On May 20, 2015, Paul spoke for ten and a half hours in opposition to the reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.[133][134] Sections of the Patriot Act were prevented from being reauthorized on June 1.[135]

Committee assignments


2016 presidential campaign

Rand Paul speaking at the 2013Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 14, 2013


Paul was considered a potential candidate for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States since at least January 2013.[136] He delivered the Tea Party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on February 13, 2013,[137] whileMarco Rubio gave the official Republican response. This prompted some pundits to call that date the start of the 2016 Republican primaries.[138] That year, he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C., where he won the 2016 Presidential straw poll. Paul went on to win the straw poll for the next two years as well, leading to some considering Paul to be a front runner for the nomination, although CPAC attendees are typically considered younger and more libertarian-minded than average Republican voters.[139][140][141]

In a speech at the GOP Freedom Summit in April 2014, Paul insisted that the GOP has to broaden its appeal in order to grow as a party. To do so, he said it cannot be the party of “fat cats, rich people and Wall Street” and that the conservative movement has never been about rich people or privilege, “we are the middle class”, he said. Paul also said that conservatives must present a message of justice and concern for the unemployed and be against government surveillance to attract new people to the movement, including the young, Hispanics, and blacks[142] During the 2014 election, Paul launched a social media campaign titled “Hillary’s Losers” which was meant to highlight many of the Democratic candidates that lost their bids for the U.S. Senate despite endorsements from Hillary Clinton. Clinton is also a candidate for President and is considered a front runner for the Democratic Party’s nomination.[143]

Paul began to assemble his campaign team, setting up campaign offices and hiring his campaign manager at in the beginning of 2015, fueling speculation that he was preparing to enter the Presidential race.[144] In February 2015, Paul said he would make an announcement about whether or not he would be running in late March or early April.[145]


Rand Paul at the launch of his Presidential campaign at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 7, 2015.

Paul officially announced his presidential candidacy on April 7, 2015. Within a day of his announcement, Paul raised $1 million, which “puts him about on par with Texas Senator Ted Cruz“.[146] However, Paul also faced a $1 million ad campaign against him, criticizing his foreign policy views. Paul was also criticized for having heated exchanges with the press. Paul is known for being accessible to the media but he admitted in an interview on CNN to being “short-tempered” with the press.[147][148]

Senate reelection

In April 2011, Paul filed to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016.[149] If he does become the Republican presidential (or vice-presidential) nominee, state law prohibits him from simultaneously running for re-election.[150] In March 2014, the Republican-controlledKentucky Senate passed a bill that would allow Paul to run for both offices, but the Democratic-controlled Kentucky House of Representatives declined to take it up.[151][152][153] Paul spent his own campaign money in the 2014 legislative elections, helping Republican candidates for the State House in the hopes of flipping the chamber, thus allowing the legislature to pass the bill (Democratic Governor Steve Beshear‘s veto can be overridden with a simple majority).[154][155] However, the Democrats retained their 54–46 majority in the State House.[156][157][158] Paul has since given his support to the idea that the Kentucky Republican Party could decide to hold a caucus rather than a primary, potentially giving Paul more time to decide whether he should run for U.S. Senator or continue a potential bid for President.[159]

Political positions

A supporter of the Tea Party movement,[160][161] Paul has described himself as a “constitutional conservative”.[162] He is generally described as a libertarian, a term he both embraced[163] and rejected[164] during his first Senate campaign. He supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and the Read the Bills Act, in addition to the widespread reduction of federal spending and taxation.[165] He favors a flat tax rate of 14.5% for individuals and business, and elimination of taxes on inheritance, gifts, capital gains, dividends, and interest.[166]

On social issues, Paul describes himself as “100% pro life“, believing that legal personhood begins at fertilization.[167][168][169] In 2009, his position was to ban abortion under all circumstances.[170][171] Since 2010, he has said he would allow for a doctor’s discretion in life-threatening cases such as ectopic pregnancies.[172] Concerning same-sex marriage, Paul has made a distinction between his personal beliefs and how he feels the government should handle it. He has stated that he personally feels same-sex marriage “offends [himself] and a lot of people”, and said there is a “crisis that allows people to think there would be some other sorts of marriage.”[173][174] However, he believes the issue should be left to the states to decide, and would not support a federal ban.[175][176]

Concerning drugs, Paul has criticized mandatory minimums that he believes have led to unreasonably harsh sentences for repeat offenders. He has highlighted the case ofTimothy L. Tyler as particularly unfair.[177] Paul does not believe in legalizing the recreational use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine,[164] but does not support jailing marijuana users.[178] He supports state laws to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.[179] Paul was one of three U.S. senators in 2015 to introduce a bipartisan bill, CARERS, that would legalize medical marijuana under federal law.[180]

Paul opposes all forms of gun control as a violation of Second Amendment rights, including provisions of the Patriot Act.[181] His advocacy of personal property rights includes introducing House Bill S. 890, the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012. Provisions of the bill include restricting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and other Federal agencies to “impinge upon states’ power over land and water use.” The bill holds requires Federal agencies to reimburse private property owners double the amount of any economic losses arising from new Federal regulations “that relate to the definition of navigable waters or waters of the United States”, and holds the enforcement of any such regulation in abeyance until such payments are complete.[182]

Unlike his more stridently “non-interventionist” father, Paul concedes a role for American armed forces abroad, including permanent foreign military bases.[183] He has said that he blames supporters of the Iraq War and not President Obama for the growth in violence that occurred in 2014, and that the Iraq War “emboldened” Iran.[184] Dick Cheney, John McCain and Rick Perry have responded by calling Paul an isolationist,[185][186] but Paul has pointed to opinion polls of likely GOP primary voters as support for his position.[187]Paul also stated: “I personally believe that this group [‍ISIS‍] would not be in Iraq and would not be as powerful had we not been supplying their allies in the war [against SyrianBashar al-Assad‘s government].”[188] Paul then supported airstrikes against ISIS, but questioned the constitutionality of Obama’s unilateral actions without a clear congressional mandate.[189][190] Paul has stated concerns about arms sent to Syrian rebels that wind up in unfriendly hands.[191] In 2015, Paul called for a defense budget of $697 billion in 2016. In 2011, shortly after being elected, he proposed a budget which specified $542 billion in defense spending.[192]

In February 2015, Paul created some controversy by suggesting that states should not require parents to vaccinate their children because parents should have the freedom to make that decision for their children. In an interview with CNBC on February 2, Paul clarified this statement, commenting “I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they are a good thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”[193] He later posted a video of himself being vaccinated on YouTube.[194]

Personal life

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
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
Delegates won 29 72 155 27 0 2 0
Popular vote 990,989
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
Delegates won 79 21 238 85
Popular vote 836,903
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%


  • 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
Delegates won 25 7 223 112
Popular vote 311,230
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.


  • 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
Delegates won 3 9 258 12
Popular vote 191,778
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%


  • 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.


  • 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.


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]


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 Primary(closed) Proportional Proportional Apr. 21 Convention May 12 Convention 13 0 13 14
Tennessee 3 28 27 58 3 55 Primary(open) Proportional Proportional Mar. 6 Slate Mar. 6 Slated 9 0 17 29
Vermont 3 11 3 17 0 17 Primary(open) Proportional Winner-take-all May 19 Convention May 19 Convention 0 4 9 4
Virginia 3 13 33 49 3 46 Primary(open) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all TBD Convention Jun. 16 Convention 0 3 43 0
Mar. 10 Kansas 3 25 12 40 0 40 Caucus(closed) Proportional Winner-take-all Apr. 23 Convention Apr. 28 Committee 0 0 7 33
Guam 3 6 0 9 9 0 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) N/A N/A N/A Mar. 10 Convention 0 0 6 0
North. Mariana Is. 3 6 0 9 9 0 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) N/A N/A N/A Mar. 10 Convention 0 0 6 0
U.S Virgin Islands 3 6 0 9 5 4 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) N/A N/A N/A Mar. 10 Direct Elec. 0 1 5 0
Mar. 13 Alabama 3 26 21 50 3 47 Primary(open) Proportional Proportional Mar. 13 Slate Mar. 13 Slate 13 0 12 22
American Samoa 3 6 0 9 3 6 Caucus(open) (No allocation) N/A N/A N/A Mar. 13 Convention 0 0 6 0
Hawaii 3 11 6 20 3 17 Caucus(closed) Proportional Proportional TBD Committee TBD Committee 0 3 9 5
Mississippi 3 25 12 40 3 37 Primary(open) Proportional Proportional Apr. 28 Convention May 19 Convention 12 0 12 13
Mar. 18 Puerto Rico 3 20 0 23 3 20 Primary(open) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A Mar. 18 Slate 0 0 20 0
Mar. 20 Illinois 3 12 54 69 15 54a Primary(semi-closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Mar. 20 Direct Elec. Jun. 9 Convention 0 0 42 12 12
Mar. 24 Missouri 3 25 24 52 3 49 Caucus(semi-closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Apr. 21 Convention Jun. 2 Convention 1 4 31 13
Apr. 3 Maryland 3 10 24 37 0 37 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all Apr. 3 Slate Apr. 28 Convention 0 0 37 0
Washington D.C. 3 16 0 19 3 16 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A Apr. 3 Slate 0 0 16 0
Wisconsin 3 15 24 42 0 42 Primary(open) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all Apr. 3 Slate Apr. 3 Slate 0 0 33 9
Apr. 24 Connecticut 3 10 15 28 3 25 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all Apr. 24 Slate Apr. 24 Slate 0 0 25 0
Delaware 3 11 3 17 0 17 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all Apr. 28 Convention Apr. 28 Convention 0 0 17 0
New York 3 34 58 95 3 92 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all Apr. 24 Slate May 23 Committee 0 0 92 0
Pennsylvania 3 10 59a 72 72 0 Primary(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Apr. 24 Direct Elec. Jun. 10 Committee 3 5 26 3 32
Rhode Island 3 0 16 19 3 16 Primary(semi-closed) N/A Proportional Apr. 24 Direct Elec. N/A N/A 0 4 12 0
Apr. 28 Louisiana 3 25 18 46 31 15 Caucus(closed)e (No allocation) (No allocation) Jun. 2 Convention Jun. 2 Convention 0 17 16 10
May 8 North Carolina 3 52 0 55 3 52 Primary(semi-closed) Proportional N/A N/A N/A Jun. 3 Convention 4 6 36 6
Indiana 3 16 27 46 19 27 Primary(open) (No allocation) Winner-take-all Jun. 9 Convention Jun. 9 Convention 0 0 27 0 16
West Virginia 3 19 9 31 3 28 Primary(semi-closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) May 8 Direct Elec. May 8 Direct Elec. 0 0 22 2 4
May 15 Oregon 3 25 0 28 3 25 Primary(closed) Proportional N/A N/A N/A Jun. 23 Convention 1 3 18 3
May 22 Arkansas 3 21 12 36 3 33 Primary(open) Proportional Winner-take-all Jun. 9 Convention Jun. 23 Committee 0 0 33 0
Kentucky 3 24 18 45 3 42 Primary(closed) Proportional Proportional May 19 Convention Jun. 9 Convention 0 0 42 0
May 29 Texas 3 44 108 155 10 145 Primary(open) Proportional Proportional Jun. 9 Convention Jun. 9 Convention 7 18 108 12 7
Jun. 5 California 3 10 159 172 3 169 Primary(closed) Winner-take-all Winner-take-all Jun. 5 Slate Jun. 5 Slate 0 0 169 0
New Jersey 3 47 0 50 0 50 Primary(semi-closed) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A Jun. 5 Direct Elec. 0 0 50 0
New Mexico 3 20 0 23 3 20 Primary(closed) Proportional N/A N/A N/A Jun. 16 Convention 0 0 20 0
South Dakota 3 25 0 28 3 25 Primary(closed) Proportional N/A N/A N/A Jun. 5 Slate 0 0 25 0
Jun. 10 Nebraska 3 23 9 35 3 32 Caucus(closed) (No allocation) (No allocation) Jul. 14 Convention Jul. 14 Convention 0 2 30 0
Jun. 16 Montana 3 23 0 26 26 0 Caucus(closed)f (No allocation) N/A N/A N/A Jun 16 Convention 0 0 0 0 23
Jun. 26 Utah 3 37 0 40 0 40 Primary(semi-closed) Winner-take-all N/A N/A N/A Apr. 21 Convention 0 0 40 0
Total 153 1,103 1,030 2,286 358 1,928 142 166 1,439 248 176
  • Source: USA Today and The Green Papers
  • A simple majority of 1,144 delegate votes were needed to win nomination—the national convention roll call gave Romney-Ryan 2,061 votes.[90]


# These states are penalized for breaking RNC schedule guidelines. The penalty cuts the delegation number in half and removes voting privileges from the party leader delegates.
These states are binding their party leader (RNC) delegates to the primary result.
a Delegates are morally, but not legally, bound to a candidate.
b Wyoming has only one congressional district, so the 12 CD delegates are elected in the 23 counties that are paired together.
c Ohio Republican central committee will decided how to allocate the four unallocated delegates in April.
d Tennessee Republican central committee selects the 14 AL delegates.
e Louisiana allocated 15 bound delegates proportional in a March 24 primary election.
f Montana’s caucus is its convention. The delegates to this caucus are selected by the counties’ central committees at least 10 days before the date of state convention.
g North Dakota’s delegation meets before the National Convention to voluntarily divide the whole delegation according to the its caucus result.

Delegate changes announced at the national convention[edit]

Some of the state delegations made and announced their final decisions on Tuesday, the first full day of the Republican National Convention.

Santorum and Gingrich released their delegates and encouraged them to vote for Romney,[91][92] but Paul did not; his campaign instead tried to secure more delegate votes during the convention, and carried a dispute over Louisiana’s delegates into the convention. Ron Paul later compromised to get 17 of Louisiana’s delegates.[93] Montana withheld announcing their support—Paul had hoped Montana would swing to him on the convention floor. However, just before the convention, the 26 Montana delegates united behind Romney.[94]

Results by popular vote[edit]

Candidate Office Home state Popular vote[95] States – first place States – second place States – third place
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg
Former Governor Massachusetts 9,947,433 37
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas,California, Connecticut, Delaware,Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois,Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland,Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana,Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire,New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon,Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont,Virginia, Washington, West Virginia,Wisconsin, Wyoming
Territories: American Samoa,Guam, Northern Mariana Islands,Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia
Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee
Territories: U.S. Virgin Islands
Alabama, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota
Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Former U.S. Senator Pennsylvania 3,816,110 11
Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas,Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi,Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma,Tennessee
Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Territories:Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico
Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington
Territories:U.S. Virgin Islands
Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg
Former U.S. House Speaker Georgia 2,689,771 2
Georgia, South Carolina
Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada
Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee
US Capital: District of Columbia
Ron Paul by Gage Skidmore 3 crop.jpg
U.S. Representative Texas 2,017,957 0
Territories: U.S. Virgin Islands
Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington
US Capital: District of Columbia
Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Hawaii, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Territories:Northern Mariana Islands
Jon Huntsman by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Former Governor Utah 83,173 0 0 1
New Hampshire
Rick Perry by Gage Skidmore 4.jpg
Governor Texas 42,251 0 0 0
Michele Bachmann by Gage Skidmore 5.jpg
U.S. Representative Minnesota 35,089 0 0 0
Buddy Roemer by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Former Governor Louisiana 33,212 0 0 0
Herman Cain by Gage Skidmore 4.jpg
None Georgia 13,538 0 0 0
Garyjohnsonphoto - modified.jpg
Former Governor New Mexico 4,286 0 0 0

Counties carried[edit]

2012 Republican primary results by county (exceptions: North Dakota – legislative districts, Louisiana – parishes, Alaska, Washington, D.C. – at-large)

  Mitt Romney
  Ron Paul
  Rick Santorum
  Newt Gingrich
  Rick Perry
  No recorded votes

Margin of victory[edit]

2012 Republican primary results by county (exceptions: North Dakota – legislative districts, Louisiana – parishes, Alaska, Washington, D.C. – at-large)

See also