Trump speaking at a New Hampshire Town Hall, 2015
|President-elect of the United States|
January 20, 2017
|Vice President||Mike Pence (elect)|
|Born||Donald John Trump
June 14, 1946
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Political party||Republican (1987–99, 2009–11, 2012–present)|
|Alma mater||Fordham University
University of Pennsylvania (BS)
|Net worth||US$4.5 billion|
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.Donald John Trump (/ˈdɒnəld dʒɒn 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.
- 1Early life and career
- 1.2Family and personal life
- 1.3Business career
- 1.4Entertainment and media
- 2.2Early campaign
- 2.3Primary front-runner
- 2.4Caucuses and primaries
- 2.5Rallies and crowds
- 2.6Presumptive nominee and party reaction
- 2.7General election campaign staff
- 2.8Selection of running mate
- 3Political positions
- 4Campaign branding
- 5Media coverage
- 6General election TV ads
- 7Relationships with people and groups
- 7.1Black communities
- 7.2Business community
- 7.3Conservative movement
- 7.5Fox News and Megyn Kelly
- 7.6Hispanic and Latino Americans
- 7.7Jeb Bush
- 7.8John McCain
- 7.9Lindsey Graham
- 7.11Mitt Romney
- 7.12Organized opposition
- 7.13Paul Ryan
- 7.14Religious community
- 7.15Right Side Broadcasting Network
- 7.16Tea Party movement
- 7.17Ted Cruz
- 7.18Trump family
- 7.19Veterans of Foreign Wars
- 7.21White nationalists and white supremacists
- 7.22/r/The_Donald subreddit
- 8Supporter demographics
- 9Campaign finances
- 10.1Comment about Second Amendment and Hillary Clinton
- 10.2Khizr and Ghazala Khan
- 10.3Campaign misstatements
- 10.4Praise for authoritarian foreign leaders
- 10.5Support for fringe or conspiracy theories
- 10.6Veterans for a Strong America event
- 10.7Refusal to release tax returns
- 10.8Use of Twitter
- 10.9Opposition from Republicans
- 10.10Trump University
- 10.112005 Access Hollywood video tape
- 10.12Sexual misconduct accusations
- 10.13Uncertainty over accepting the election results
- 10.14Allegations of promoting voter intimidation
- 11Presidential debates
- 4Appearances in popular culture
- 5Legal matters
- 6Awards and accolades
- 7See also
- 10External links
Early life and career
Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Jamaica, Queens, a neighborhood in New York City. 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.
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. His mother, Mary Trump (née MacLeod, 1912–2000), was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. Fred and Mary met in New York and married in 1936, establishing their household in Queens. 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. 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.
The Trump family were originally Lutherans, but Trump’s parents belonged to the Reformed Church in America. The family name was formerly spelled Drumpf or Drumpft, and later evolved to Trump during the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. 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.
The family had a two-story Tudor Revival home on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates, where Trump lived while attending The Kew-Forest School. Trump left the school at age 13 and was enrolled in the New York Military Academy (NYMA), 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.” 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”. In 2015, he told a biographer that NYMA gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military”.
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.While there, he worked at the family’s company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, named for his paternal grandmother. Trump graduated from Wharton in May 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
Trump was not drafted during the Vietnam War. While in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student deferments. 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. In an interview for a 2015 biography, Trump attributed his medical deferment to heel spurs. In December 1969 Trump received a high number in the draft lottery, which would also have exempted him from service.
Prior to graduating from college, Trump began his real estate career at his father, Fred Trump’s company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, 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.
He was given control of the company in 1971 and, in one of his first acts, renamed it to The Trump Organization. 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.
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.
Family and personal life
Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, on April 7, 1977, at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan in a ceremony performed by one of America’s most famous ministers, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. 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. Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988.
Trump has been nicknamed “The Donald” since Ivana referred to him as such in a 1989 Spy magazine cover story.By early 1990, Trump’s troubled marriage to Ivana and affair with actress Marla Maples had been reported in the tabloid press. 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”. In 1992, he successfully sued Ivana for violating a gag clause in their divorce agreement by disclosing facts about him in her book. In 2015, Ivana said that she and Donald “are the best of friends”.
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. They married two months later on December 20, 1993. The couple formally separated in May 1997, with their divorce finalized in June 1999. Tiffany was raised by her mother in Calabasas, California, where she lived until her graduation from Viewpoint School.
In 1998, Trump began a relationship with Slovene model Melania Knauss, who became his third wife. They were engaged in April 2004 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. In 2006, Melania became a naturalized United States citizen. On March 20, 2006, she gave birth to their son, whom they named Barron Trump. (Trump had previously used the pseudonym “John Baron” or “Barron” in some business deals and for other purposes.) Having heard the language since his birth, Barron is fluent in Slovene. 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.
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). 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.
Trump is a Presbyterian. He has said that he began going to church at the First Presbyterian Church in the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens as a child. Trump attended Sunday school and had his confirmation at that church. 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.” 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.[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.”
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.” Declining to name his favorite Bible verse, Trump said “I don’t like giving that out to people that you hardly know.” 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.
Trump maintains relationships with several prominent national Evangelical Protestant and other Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins and Ralph E. Reed Jr. During his 2016 presidential campaign, he received a blessing from Greek Orthodoxpriest Emmanuel Lemelson. Trump has ties to the Jewish-American community. 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.”
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.
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.” 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.
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.After the clarification by Lombardi, Trump downplayed his differences with the Pope, saying “I don’t think this is a fight.”
A medical report by his doctor, Harold Borstein M.D., showed that Trump’s blood pressure, liver and thyroid function were in normal range. Trump says that he has never smoked cigarettes or marijuana, or consumed other drugs. He does not drink alcohol. He also has germaphobic tendencies, and prefers not to shake hands.
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. 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.”
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”. The building was completed in 1983, and houses both the primary penthouse condominiumresidence of Donald Trump and the headquarters of the Trump Organization.Trump Tower was the setting of the NBC television show The Apprentice, including a fully functional television studio set.
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, 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. Trump testified in 1990 that he rarely visited the site and was unaware of the illegal workers.
Harrah’s at Trump Plaza opened in Atlantic City in 1984. The hotel/casino was built by Trump with financing by Holiday Corp. and operated by the Harrah’s gambling unit of Holiday Corp. The casino’s poor results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp. 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.
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.
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 1⁄2-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.
Later in 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International. 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. Financed with $675 million in junk bonds at a 14% interest rate, the project entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year. 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. He also sold his financially challenged Trump Shuttle airline and his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess. 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.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.
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. 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.
The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). Trump 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.”
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. After his father died in 1999, Trump and his siblings received equal portions of his father’s estate valued at $250–300 million.
In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters. 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, and also continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.
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.
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. 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.
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. Trump is a partner with Kushner Properties only in name licensing and not in the building’s financing.
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. 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.
In 2006, Trump bought the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, creating a golf resort against the wishes of local residents on an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 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. Despite Trump’s promises of 6,000 jobs, in 2016, by his own admission, the golf course has created only 200 jobs. In June 2015, Trump made an appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm being built within sight of the golf course, which was dismissed by five justices at the UK Supreme Court in December 2015.
In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota. After extensive renovations and a remodeling of the course by golf architect Martin Ebert, Turnberry was re-opened on June 24, 2016.
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.
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.
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.”
Trump remained involved with other sports after the Generals folded, operating golf courses in several countries. 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.
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.
From 1996 until 2015, 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. Trump was dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled his pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002.
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. That decision by Trump was criticized by Rosie O’Donnell, which led to a very blunt and personal rebuttal by Trump criticizing O’Donnell. In 2012, Trump won a $5 million arbitration award against a contestant who claimed the show was rigged.
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. Trump subsequently filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, alleging a breach of contract and defamation.
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, though it was unclear whether Trump had yet filed lawsuits against NBC. He sold his own interests in the pageant shortly afterwards, to WME/IMG.The $500 million lawsuit against Univision was settled in February 2016, but terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Trump University LLC 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. The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation, charging between $1,500 and $35,000 per course. 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”. Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation. 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. 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. One of the cases, Low v. Trump, is set for trial on November 28, 2016.
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”, 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. 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. 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.
Donald J. Trump Foundation
The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation 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. The foundation’s funds mostly come from donors other than Trump, who has not given personally to the charity since 2008. 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.
The foundation’s tax returns show that it has given to healthcare and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups. 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).
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. The New York State Attorney General is investigating the foundation “to make sure it is complying with the laws governing charities in New York.” A Trump spokesman called the investigation a “partisan hit job”. 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”.
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.[nb 2] In 2011, Forbes‘financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion.
Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects. For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name. 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 as retailers like Macy’s Inc. and Serta Mattresses began dropping Trump-branded products.
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. According to a July 2015 campaign press release, Trump’s income for the year 2014 was $362 million. However, Trump has repeatedly declined to publicly release any of his full tax returns, citing a pending IRS audit.
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. Trump acknowledged using the deducton but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied.
The New York Times found that some accountants considered Trump’s tax deduction methods in the early 1990s “legally dubious”. 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.
In 2016, Forbes estimated Trump’s net worth at $3.7 billion, and Bloomberg at $3 billion, making him one of the richest politicians in American history. Trump himself claimed his net worth was over $10 billion, with the discrepancy essentially stemming from the uncertain value of appraised property and of his personal brand. As of 2016, Forbes ranked him the 156th wealthiest person in the U.S. and the 324th wealthiest in the world.
On June 16, 2015, when announcing his candidacy, Trump released a one-page financial summary stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000. “I’m really rich”, he said. Forbesbelieved his claim of $9 billion was “a whopper,” figuring it was actually $4.1 billion. 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.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.
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. Trump didn’t make the list from 1990 to 1995 following losses which reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings’ trusts in 1993. 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.
After Trump made controversial remarks about illegal immigrants in 2015, he lost business contracts with NBCUniversal, Univision, Macy’s, Serta, PVH Corporation, and Perfumania, 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. Bookings and foot traffic at Trump-branded properties fell off sharply in 2016, and the release of the Access Hollywood tape recordings in October 2016 exacerbated this. After Trump’s presidential win, his subjective brand value rebounded sharply.
Entertainment and media
Trump has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award and has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series. 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. 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!
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.”
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.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, although the network did not verify the claim. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice). The star has been targeted by vandals multiple times; the most recent case was in October 2016.
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. On February 27, Trump stated that he was “not ready” to sign on for another season because of the possibility of a presidential run.Despite this, on March 18, NBC announced they were going ahead with production. 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.
Trump Model Management
In 1999, Trump founded a modeling company, Trump Model Management, which operates in the SoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. 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. 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. The case was dismissed from U.S. federal court in March 2016.
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. 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.
Trump appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called “The Battle of the Billionaires.” 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. The deal was that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost.Lashley won the match, and so McMahon got the haircut.
On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had “sold” the show to Trump. 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. McMahon “bought back” Raw the following week for twice the price.
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.
|Donald Trump for President|
|Campaign||U.S. presidential election, 2000|
The Trump Organization
|Key people||Roger Stone (Director)|
|http://www.donaldjtrump2000.com (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.
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. Then a registered Democrat, Trump officially changed his registration to Republican in July 1987. Speculation that he would actually run for president intensified two months later, 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. 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.” 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!” In November 1987, Trump released The Art of the Deal, which became a New York Times bestseller.
Months later, during an April 1988 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 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. 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. 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.” 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 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. 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. 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. Opting not to run for president himself in 2000, Ventura searched for candidates. Initially, he courted WWF Board Member and former Connecticut governorLowell P. Weicker, Jr.. He then turned to friend and wrestling aficionado Donald Trump.
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. 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. 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.
In July 1999, the Democratic polling firm Schroth and Associates conducted a poll of 400 Reform Party leaders and found Trump tied for third place for the Reform Party presidential nomination. Both the Reform Party and Trump denied having commissioned the poll. Days later, Newsweek raised speculation 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 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.” 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.” 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.” Chairman Verney denied that the Reform Party had any interest in Trump, explaining that party members had “never spent one second thinking about him.”  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.
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”, and commented that even though he liked Pat, “I’m on the conservative side, but Buchanan is Attila the Hun.” He expected that a primary battle between the two would be “nasty.” 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.” When Weicker decided not to seek the party’s nomination due to internal bickering, Ventura reportedly went all in for Trump. The media capitalized on a potential Trump versus Buchanan challenge, 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.
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.” 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.” 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. In an October 6 interview on Dateline NBC, Trump affirmed that he was “very serious” about his run.
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. He referenced a non-scientific National Enquirer poll of 100 individuals, showing him in first place against his Democratic and Republican counterparts. When pressed, Trump identified Oprah Winfrey as his ideal choice for a running mate, 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.” Oprah’s spokesperson later responded “at this point in time . . . Oprah is not running.” 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.
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.” 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. In the role, she said, “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him.”Trump described Knauss as “a woman of great style and elegance . . . very poised and gracious and able to get along with everyone.”
After the announcement, Trump and Knauss had dinner with Ventura and were joined by actor Woody Harrelson.Ventura later commented that Trump’s chances of success depended on his impression of the Reform Party. 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.” 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.” Ex-wife Ivana Trump doubted he would actually run. 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. 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.Roger Stone was hired as director of the exploratory committee.
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. 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. 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.” 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.
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. Trump’s attorneys were satisfied that the meeting would cause Maples to rethink making any public statements on her marriage to Trump.
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.” As for his reputation as a womanizer, Trump said he would not run if he believed it would be an impediment. 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. 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.” 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. Verney wondered “what the compelling reason is for him to seek the presidency.” 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.” 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.
In an effort speculated to implore the media to view the campaign more seriously, Trump rolled out a tax proposal that became the subject of attention. In a series of telephone interviews in early November, 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. 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” and “prick” the stock market bubble. 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. 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.” Trump defended his plan, rejecting the speculation that it would be “a shock to the system.” 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. CBS News speculated that the plan meant to appeal to middle and lower class Americans.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.
I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.
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].” 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. 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. As a further step in organization, Trump set up a campaign website at the domain http://www.donaldjtrump2000.com and used Ventura’s webmaster, Phil Madsen, to create an online community of supporters.
On his first campaign stop, Trump traveled to Miami, Florida and spoke before the Cuban American National Foundation. 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. 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.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. 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. 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.
- Trump’s proposed cabinet
Secretary of State
General Electric CEO
Secretary of Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of HUD
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. 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. 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.” 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. 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 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. 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. 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.” At the event, Trump received what the AP called a “moderately enthusiastic applause” after asking the 21,000 people in attendance whether he should run for president. 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.
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.” 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. In addition, he retained two signature collection agencies in order to secure ballot access.
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. 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. 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.” 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.
Trump officially released his book The America We Deserve on January 1. Dave Shiflett received credit as co-writer. 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.”Trump’s book, consisting of 286 pages, 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. 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, and offers a choice to North Korea to disarm or face military strikes. 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. 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.” 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. In a scathing review, New York Magazine described the book as inadvertently satirical. Booklist pondered whether Trump was “the only man ever to run for president in order to promote a book.” 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.”
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. 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. 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.. 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.
Trump ended his relationship with Melania Knauss in January 2000, removing a key figure of the campaign entourage.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. In addressing the matter, Trump complimented Knauss and commented, “she will be missed.” 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. Despite the retreat, the intra-party dispute over the location of the convention continued. 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. In another attempt to unite the party’s factions, Trump wrote letters to Ventura and Perot, requesting the two make peace.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.” 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.
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. 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. After privately notifying Trump of his intentions and seeking his blessing, 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. At the party’s next meeting, it disaffiliated. Trump considered Ventura’s invitation but had concerns, particularly the question of whether other state parties would affiliate with the new party. 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. 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. 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.
On February 14, Trump withdrew from the race. 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. 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.” In response, Pat Choate, who became the new Reform Party chairman after the unseating of Gargan, disputed Trump’s claim about the partyand said Trump’s campaign was meant only “to smear Pat Buchanan.” He declared Trump “unwelcome” to seek the party’s 2004 presidential nomination. 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.” Stone argued that John McCain “running on Trump’s message” and surging in the polls signaled an end to the Trump campaign.
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.”
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. On February 22, Trump won the Michigan Primary with 2,164 votes defeating uncommitted with 948 votes. 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%). 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.
Pat Buchanan eventually won the Reform Party presidential nomination at a chaotic National Convention in Long Beach in August 2000. 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.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. After the filing of a complaint over the party’s matching funds, the FEC ruled against the Perot faction and invalided the Hagelin selection. 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 that required a recount and Supreme Court intervention. The Bush campaign recruited Roger Stone to oversee the recount.
After the election, Trump returned to his real estate business, rekindled his relationship with Melania Knauss, whom he married in 2005, and hosted NBC’sThe Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice for 14 seasons from 2004 to 2015, acquiring the catchphrase, “You’re fired!“. 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 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. Trump was critical of the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War and publicly endorsed Bush’s impeachment. He considered challenging Bush in the 2004 Republican presidential primaries, but ultimately decided against it. Jesse Ventura, who chose not to run for re-election as Governor of Minnesota in 2002,also considered a 2004 presidential run and publicly asked for and received Trump’s support at WrestleMania XX.However, Ventura did not run.
In 2009, Trump changed his voter registration from Democrat back to Republican. He seriously considered running for president as a Republican in 2012 and led in an April 2011 Rasmussen Reports survey. While considering a run, Trump emphasized China’s currency manipulation and criticized the trade policies of the Barack Obama administration.Additionally, he questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship and birth certificate. He decided not to run in May 2011, 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.” 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, Trump briefly considered a 2012 Independent bid and changed his voter registration from Republican to “I do not wish to enroll in a party.” Trump said he would run if the Republicans selected the “wrong candidate.” Ultimately, he again decided against running. Trump re-registered as a Republican in 2012 and publicly endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for president.
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. 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.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. His attacks on the Republican establishment included a slight against the war hero status of John McCain, whom Trump complimented during his 2000 campaign. Republican voters favor the purported honesty of Trump’s message and his abrasive approach, which eschews political correctness. 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. 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. At the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said he is “pro-life” and “against gun control”. He also spoke before Tea Party supporters.
Early polls for the 2012 election had Trump among the leading candidates. In December 2011, Trump placed sixth in the “ten most admired men and women living of 2011” USA Today/Gallup telephone survey. However, Trump announced in May 2011 that he would not be a candidate for the office.
In 2013, Trump researched a possible run for President of the United States in 2016. In October 2013, some New York Republicans suggested Trump should insteadrun for governor of the state in 2014, including Joseph Borelli and Carl Paladino who later served as New York State Co-Chairmen for the presidential campaign. 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. Later that year, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
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“. Trump declared that he would self-fund his presidential campaign, and would refuse any money from donors and lobbyists.
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.” Trump’s statement was controversial and led several businesses and organizations—including NBC, Macy’s, Univision, and NASCAR—to cut ties with Trump. 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.
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.
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. By early July 2015, Trump was campaigning in the West, giving rallies and speeches in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. 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.
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. Shortly afterwards, Trump’s campaign released a statement stating that his net worth is over $10 billion, although Forbesestimated it to be $4 billion. 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. Eventually, in September 2015, Trump signed a pledge promising his allegiance to the Republican Party.
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. 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, was shut down after The Washington Post revealed multiple connections to the Trump campaign.
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. 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.” 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.” 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”.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.
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. The brother of Kate Steinle, who was murdered in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant, criticized Trump for politicizing his sister’s death.
Univision announced it would no longer carry broadcasts of the Miss USA Pageant. 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. NBC announced it would not air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageant. Afterwards, the multinational media company Grupo Televisa severed ties with Trump, as did Ora TV, a television network partly owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Trump gave the rights to broadcast the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants to the Reelz Channel.Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica did not send representatives to the 2015 Miss Universe competition.
Macy’s announced it would phase out its Trump-branded merchandise. Serta, a mattress manufacturer, also decided to drop their business relationship with Trump. NASCAR ended sponsorship with Trump by announcing it would not hold its post-season awards banquet at the Trump National Doral Miami.
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.
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. Trump’s support for an American Muslim database “drew sharp rebukes from his Republican presidential rivals and disbelief from legal experts.”
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.
The next day, December 8, 2015, the Pentagon issued a statement of concern, stating Trump’s remarks could strengthen the resolve of ISIL. 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. However, Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing Party for Freedom in the Netherlands applauded his remarks calling them “brave” and “good for Europe”. Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party called it “perhaps a political mistake too far” and even Marine Le Pen of the far-right French National Front distanced herself from the idea. Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu also rejected Trump’s proposal, prompting Trump to “postpone” a planned trip to Israel. Trump was also criticized by leading Republican Party figures, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.
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. A blog called PolitiFacto claimed that this claim was false and was based on debunked and unproven rumors.
Following Trump’s controversial comments on Muslim immigration, a petition 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. 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.
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. He also commented that it “wouldn’t bother me” if Muslims from Scotland entered the United States.
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.
Trump had high poll numbers during the primaries. 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. 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. A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken on July 16–19, showed Trump had 24 percent Republican support, over Scott Walker at 13 percent. A CNN/ORC poll showed Trump in the lead at 18 percent support among Republican voters, over Jeb Bush at 15 percent, 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.
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. In Florida, Trump led by two points, and in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, he was within five points of Clinton.
Trump had a persistently high popularity among Republican and leaning-Republican minority voters.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. 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.
Caucuses and primaries
In the lead-up to the Iowa caucus, poll averages showed Trump as the front-runner with a roughly four percent lead. Ted Cruz came in first in the vote count, ahead of Trump. Cruz, who campaigned strongly among evangelical Christians, was supported by church pastors that coordinated a volunteer campaign to get out the vote. 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. 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.”
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. 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”. Trump commented that in the run-up to the primary, his campaign had “learned a lot about ground games in a week”.
This was followed by another wide victory in South Carolina, furthering his lead among the Republican candidates.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.
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. 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.
Rallies and crowds
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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”. 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.”
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.
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.
Violence and expulsions at rallies
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. There also were incidents near Trump properties related to the campaign.
On several occasions in late 2015 and early 2016, Trump was accused of encouraging violence and escalating tension at campaign events. Prior to November he used to tell his rallies “Get ’em (protesters) out, but don’t hurt ’em.” 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.” 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. 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.” On March 9 a Trump supporter was charged with assault after he sucker-punched a protester who was being led out of the event. 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”. 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.
Presumptive nominee and party reaction
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). Paul Ryan announced that he was “not ready” to endorse Trump for the presidency. 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, and the following day, Ryan said that he would step down as convention chairman if asked by Trump to do so. On June 2, Ryan announced that he would vote for Trump.
Senator Jeff Sessions was the first sitting U.S. senator to endorse Trump. 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. McConnell stated, “The right-of-center world needs to respect the fact that the primary voters have spoken.”
On May 26, Trump secured his 1,238th delegate, achieving a majority of the available delegates.
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.Delegates Unbound engaged in “an effort to convince delegates that they have the authority and the ability to vote for whomever they want”. 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.”
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. 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.
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.
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. Erica Freeman, another aide to Trump who worked with surrogates, also resigned.
In June 2016, Trump hired Jason Miller to assist the communications operation. On July 1, 2016, Trump announced he hired Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP strategist and canvasser, for a senior advisory position. Conway, who formerly backed Cruz, was expected to advise Trump on how to better appeal to female voters. 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.” Conway became the first woman to run a Republican general election presidential campaign.
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 Yanukovichand other dictators. Although Manafort initially retained the title of campaign chairman, he resigned as campaign chairman on August 19, 2016.
Selection of running mate
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.
On July 15, 2016, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had chosen Mike Pence to be his running mate. Pence was introduced as the running mate the next day. 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.
Trump has stated that he is a “conservative Republican”. Commentators Norman Ornstein and William Kristol labeled his collective political positions as “Trumpism”. The Wall Street Journal used the term in drawing parallels with populist movements in China and the Philippines. 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. 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”.
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.
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. 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.
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.
In October 2016, the Trump campaign had 178 field offices compared to Clinton’s 489. The Trump campaign’s number of field offices lag far behind those Romney and Obama in 2012. Political science research showed that field offices had a modest positive effect on a candidate’s vote share. The Trump campaign is reportedly almost fully reliant on the Republican National Committee for field offices in swing states. 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.
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). 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. Trump earned $400 million alone in the month of February. 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. Observers noted Trump’s ability to garner constant mainstream media coverage “almost at will”.
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. The media’s coverage of Trump generated some disagreement as to its effect on his campaign. John Sides of The Washington Post argued that Trump’s success was because of the mass news coverage, yet a later article in The Washington Post stated that he remained successful in spite of the drop in media attention. 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.” 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.
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.”
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. 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.
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” and he has called upon his supporters to be “the silent majority”, apparently referencing the media. 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. 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.
General election TV ads
The Trump campaign released its first general election TV ad in August 2016. The Washington Post fact-checker found it to be factually inaccurate, giving the ad “four Pinocchios”, its lowest rating for truthfulness.
Relationships with people and groups
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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. However, Trump ended up receiving 8% of the African-American vote (about half a million more votes than Mitt Romney received in 2012). 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.” 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. He also visited Dr. Carson’s childhood home.
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.
Omarosa, the director of African-American outreach for Trump’s presidential campaign, 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.”
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.
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.”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. 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”. 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.
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. 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.
Trump’s right-wing populist positions—nativist, protectionist, and semi-isolationist—differ in many ways from traditional conservatism. 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, Washington-based conservatives were surprised by the popular support for his positions.
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”. 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”. Rush Limbaugh, while clearly favoring Ted Cruz, relished the degree to which Trump exposed the conservative establishment as an elitist self-interested clique. Sean Hannity was an unapologetic advocate for Trump and endorsed him.David Horowitz praised Trump for courage and for rejecting political correctness, and he attacked “Never Trump” Republicans as reckless and blind.
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. 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”.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”. 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.
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”.
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.”
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, Chris Wallace asked him about Mexican illegal immigrants, and Megyn Kelly asked about how he would respond to the Clinton campaign saying that he was waging a “war on women“. Trump replied, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.”
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.” Trump tweeted that his remark referred to Kelly’s nose but was interpreted by critics as a reference to menstruation.
Trump retained his first place standing after the debate, with an NBC News poll showing him at 23 percent support and a Reuters/Ipsos poll at 24 percent, followed by Ted Cruz at 13 percent and Ben Carson at 11 percent.
Following the Megyn Kelly incident, Roger Stone, Trump’s veteran political adviser, left the campaign, citing “controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights”. Despite this, Stone remained a Trump confidant and said in an interview with National Review that he is “the ultimate Trump loyalist”.
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.
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.
Hispanic and Latino Americans
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. These low rankings are attributed to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Alarm at Trump’s rise prompted an increase in the number of eligible Latino immigrants who have chosen to naturalize to vote against him. 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. 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), and receiving some support among Cuban Americans in Florida. Despite expectations of low Latino support, Trump received about 29% of the Hispanic vote, slightly more than Romney received in 2012.
In August 2016, Trump created and met with a Hispanic advisory council. He also hinted publicly that he might soften his call for the deportation of all undocumented immigrants. 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. 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. In reaction, one member of Trump’s Hispanic advisory council resigned, and several other Hispanic supporters said they were reconsidering their support.
The Jeb Bush–Trump dynamic was one of the more contentious relationships among the Republican contenders.Bush’s campaign spent tens of millions of dollars on anti-Trump ads, while in response Trump mocked Jeb Bush with the epithet that he was “low energy”. During an exchange with Jeb Bush in the ninth Republican primary debate, the audience (most favoring Bush) repeatedly booed Trump. Trump scoffed that the audience was made up of “Jeb’s special interests and lobbyists“.
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.
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.
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. 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.” His comments were heavily criticized; some of his primary rivals said he should withdraw from the race because of them. 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. 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”.Trump declined to issue any apology.
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. 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.”
Eventually, McCain endorsed Trump because he was the nominee of the Republican party. On August 2, Trump stated that he was not endorsing McCain in his campaign for the Republican nomination for his existing Senate seat. 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.” McCain later withdrew his endorsement following the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording controversy in October 2016.
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. 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.” Graham stated that he would vote for neither Trump nor Clinton.
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”. Graham released a statement on Twitter that he would “probably [be] getting a new phone” and later released a video in which he destroyed his phone. Gawker subsequently released a phone number belonging to Trump, and he responded by setting the phone number to play a campaign message.
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.” Among ex-military leaders, Trump’s most prominent supporter is retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn. An open letter endorsing Trump, signed by 88 retired generals and admirals (led by Sidney Shachnow), was released in September 2016. This number is fewer than the 500 retired military officers who endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.
Trump led in polling of military veterans and military households in September 2016, although his performance with this group “trails well behind that of other recent Republican candidates”.
A live televised event hosted by IAVA 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.
On February 24, 2016, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney called on Trump to release his tax returns, suggesting they contain a “bombshell”. 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“. 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”.
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.” He hinted that he might vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
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.
On March 17, 2016, several dozen conservatives led by Erick Erickson met at the Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C.to discuss strategies for preventing Trump from securing the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July. Among the strategies discussed were a “unity ticket”, a possible third-party candidate and a contested convention, especially if Trump does not gain the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the nomination.
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. 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. 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.
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. The Club for Growth spent $11 million in an effort to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican Party’s nominee.
On March 7, 2016, Henry Kraemer founded the Trump Has Tiny Hands PAC. 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.
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.” Even after endorsing Trump, Ryan continued to criticize Trump’s religion-based immigration proposals. In early March 2016 Ryan condemned Trump’s failure to repudiate the support of white supremacists, 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. 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”.
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. 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. Ryan later explained that as Majority Leader he feels obligated to support the Republican nominee in the interest of party unity.
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. Trump’s comments infuriated Republican officials, particularly GOP chairman Reince Priebus. 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.”
In October 2016, following the Donald Trump Access Hollywood controversy, Ryan disinvited Trump from a scheduled campaign rally, 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.” 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”. Despite his reluctance to publicly support Trump, Ryan ultimately announced that he cast his vote for Donald Trump a week before election day.
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”. 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”. On occasion, Trump “reflected a degree of indifference” to religion, causing unease among some social conservatives.
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. Trump praised prominent national evangelical leaders of the Christian right, including Tony Perkins and Ralph Reed, and received a blessing and endorsement from Greek Orthodox priest and hedge fund manager Emmanuel Lemelson. In January 2016, Trump received the endorsement of Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical leader.
Trump drew high levels of evangelical support despite holding political views and religious commitments at odds with many evangelicals. In July 2016, 78 percent of white evangelicals said that they would vote for Trump according to Pew Research Center. 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.
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.”Trump then called the pope’s comments “disgraceful”.
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. 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”. 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.
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. 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. 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.
Right Side Broadcasting Network
At over 210,000 subscribers, Right Side Broadcasting Network was best known for live streaming Trump’s campaign rallies on YouTube. Since the third presidential debate, Trump had collaborated with the network to launch a nightly newscast on his Facebook page. Several commentators wondered whether the network may collaborate with Trump to form “Trump TV.” Joe Seales, the founder of the network, told Business Insider that the speculation was unfounded. Meanwhile, Trump told WLW that he was not interested in setting up the network after the end of the election.
Tea Party movement
Trump praised the U.S. Tea Party movement throughout his 2016 campaign. 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.” 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.
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. However, Tea Party Patriots, a national Tea Party organization, endorsed Cruz in the presidential primary.
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”. Trump repeatedly claimed Cruz was not eligible to be president because he was born in Canada.
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. In response, Cruz called Trump a “sniveling coward” and told him to “leave Heidi the hell alone.”
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.” The claim was described by experts as “outlandish” and “wild and unfounded”. Trump later stated that he did not actually believe the story. 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.
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. 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.” Trump scoffed that he wouldn’t accept Cruz’s endorsement even if offered. The next month, on September 23, 2016, Cruz publicly endorsed Trump for president.
Trump called his wife Melania “my pollster” and had said that she supported his presidential run. Melania appeared at her husband’s June 2015 campaign announcement and at the Fox News debate in Cleveland. She has also conducted several televised interviews and appeared at a Trump rally in South Carolina along with other family members. 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. Melania, Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka were “Headliner” speakers on successive nights of the Republican National Convention. 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.
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.
There was a large gender gap in support for Trump, with women significantly less likely to express support than men. A March 2016 poll showed that half of U.S. women had a “very unfavorable” view of Trump. 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”, while a Gallup poll showed a 70 percent unfavorable rating. 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”. 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. Both before and during his presidential campaign, Trump made a number of comments about women that some viewed as sexist, or misogynistic. 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.
White nationalists and white supremacists
From the outset of his campaign, Trump was endorsed by various white nationalist and white supremacist movements and leaders. On February 24, 2016, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, expressed vocal support for Trump’s campaign on his radio show. 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. Others questioned his professed ignorance of Duke by pointing out that in 2000, Trump called him a “Klansman”. 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. 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.”
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.”
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.” 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. Clinton noted that Trump’s campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon described his Breitbart News Network as “the platform for the alt-right.” 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. They affirmed their racialist beliefs, stating “Race is real, race matters, and race is the foundation of identity.” 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.”
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.” Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party said that although Trump “isn’t one of us,” his election would be a “real opportunity” for the white nationalist movement.
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.
At over 300,000 subscribers, the subreddit “/r/The_Donald” on Reddit faced controversy since its inception. 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.
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. The publication Slatedescribed The_Donald as a “hate speech forum“. 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.”
Trump support was high among working and middle-class white male voters with annual incomes of less than $50,000 and no college degree. This group, particularly those with less than a high-school education, suffered a decline in their income in recent years. According to The Washington Post, support for Trump is higher in areas with a higher mortality rate for middle-age white people. 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.
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. Reuters found that Trump supporters were more than twice as likely as Clinton supporters to view Islam negatively. 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.
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. 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.
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. The loaned amount can be repaid to Trump as other donations arrive. According to reports to the FEC, the campaign had $1.9 million on hand as of February 20.
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. 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. 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.
On June 23, Trump announced that he was forgiving $50 million in loans that he had made to his campaign for the primary. His campaign refused to release evidence to the press that would prove that he had forgiven these loans.
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.” 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. The announcement came a day after a main super PAC backing Trump closed amid scrutiny about its relationship to the campaign itself. 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, he later said he never gave his endorsement to the super PAC or any of the other eight super PACs supporting his run. 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 Post‘s coverage.
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.”
After becoming the presumptive nominee in early May, the Trump campaign announced that it would be seeking large donations for the general election, and that Trump would not be self-funding his campaign in the general election.By the end of May, Trump was reported to have had $1.3 million available for his campaign, while Clinton had $42 million.
Wall Street banker Steven Mnuchin was named finance chair of the Trump campaign in May 2016. 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.
In May 2016, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson announced that he would spend $100 million in support of Trump’s election. As of late August 2016, the Federal Election Commission had not reported any donations to the Trump campaign by Adelson. While a number of large-dollar donors who previously backed other candidates and were once mocked by Trump joined his campaign, 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, and the Koch Brothers
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. Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both endorsed Rebuilding America Now, and Trump agreed to headline fundraising events for the organization.
||This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (October 2016)|
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.” 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.” Secret Service spokesperson Cathy Milhoan said in a statement that the U.S. Secret Service was aware of Trump’s comments. 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.”
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. The Trump campaign responded with a statement that attributed the comment to the great political power that Second Amendment people have. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump should clarify what seemed to him a joke gone wrong. 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.”
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”. The comments were interpreted by many commentators as an incitement to violence.
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.”
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.” 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.
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. 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”. 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.
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!” 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.”
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.
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. 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.
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.”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. 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.”
Trump frequently praised Russia’s Vladimir Putin, calling him a strong leader, “unlike what we have in this country,” “a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond,” and wondered if “he will become my new best friend.”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. He also dismissed the assertion by U.S. intelligence officials that Russia is responsible for the computer hacking of Democratic party organizations and individuals. Trump called for closer relations with Russia and “has surrounded himself with a team of advisers who have had financial ties to Russia.”
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.
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.”
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.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.” 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”. 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.”
Support for fringe or conspiracy theories
During his campaign, Trump frequently given voice to fringe or conspiracy theories. 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.
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. 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.”
Veterans for a Strong America event
The Veterans for a Strong America organized an event for Trump on September 15, 2015. 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.Other concerns raised include reports that the Veterans for a Strong America did not appear to have any members or relation with veterans. 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.
Refusal to release tax returns
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. 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. Early in the 2016 primary process he promised to put out “very big, very beautiful” returns. 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”.
Trump was criticized for his refusal to release tax information. Experts say being audited is no bar to releasing the information. The current top IRS official, Commissioner John Koskinen, said that it would be fine for Trump to release his returns during an audit.
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.” 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”.
There is no requirement that presidential candidates release their tax returns but candidates are legally free to do so even when under audit. Tax lawyers differ as to whether releasing tax returns is legally advisable for someone like Trump who is under audit. 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.”
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.
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.According to Newsweek, the image appeared to originate with a neo-Nazi Twitter account. 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.” The Annenberg Public Policy Center‘s FactCheck.org reported that the image was a “bogus graphic.”
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”. 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.”
On July 2, 2016, Trump tweeted a picture originally created as a meme by white supremacists. 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.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. 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.
Opposition from Republicans
An open letter from 120 conservative foreign-policy and national-security leaders, released in March 2016, condemned Trump as “fundamentally dishonest” and unfit to be president. 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. Critics noted that the signers of the letter are “the exact type of establishment Republicans against whom Trump has been railing.”
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.” The letter was signed by both neoconservativesand prominent realists, such as Andrew J. Bacevich and Richard K. Betts.
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. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk said he plans to write in a name, possibly David Petraeus or Colin Powell. 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. 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. Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent said Trump crossed “a bridge too far”; he plans to vote for a write-in candidate. Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, also retiring at the end of this term, said he will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
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. 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.”
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. 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.
The lawsuits were active throughout the campaign and were invoked by Trump’s rivals in Republican primary debates.Hillary Clinton used the Trump University allegations against Trump in speeches and campaign ads. 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. 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.” 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.
Legal experts criticized Trump’s comments, and Paul Ryan, who had endorsed Trump for president, disavowed the comments, saying that they were racist. Meanwhile, Governor Chris Christie defended Trump’s comments, saying that Trump was not a “pre-programmed robotic politician”.
Trump also accused Curiel of bias because of his membership in La Raza Lawyers of California, a professional associationof Hispanic attorneys. 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”.
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. He said that he was not categorically attacking people of Mexican heritage.
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. 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.
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. Following the revelation, Trump’s campaign issued an apology, stating that the video was of a private conversation from “many years ago”.
|Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005, The Washington Post, 12:44, October 8, 2016|
|Donald Trump apologizes for sexist comments about groping women, Trump campaign video via PBS Newshour, 1:15, October 7, 2016|
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.” 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. 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.” Trump’s wife Melania called Trump’s words “offensive” and “inappropriate.” By October 8 several dozen Republicans had called for Trump to withdraw from the campaign and let Pence head the ticket. Trump insisted he would never drop out.
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.” 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”. 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. Trump replied that “thousands and thousands” of supporters sent him letters after the controversial video was published.
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. 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. 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. On October 13, Trump denied all of the allegations, referring to them as “false smears” and alleging “a conspiracy against … the American people”.
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.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.”
Uncertainty over accepting the election results
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”. 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”.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.” 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.”
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.
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. 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.
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.” 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.
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. A live-TV audience of 84 million viewers set a viewership record for presidential debates. Scientific polls showed that most voters thought Hillary Clinton performed better than Donald Trump in the debate. The second debate was held on Sunday, October 9, at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. 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. 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
The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first and only major newspaper to endorse Donald Trump’s campaign.Many Republican-leaning papers endorsed Clinton or urged readers not to vote for Trump while declining to endorse any other candidate.
The Houston Chronicle, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Dallas Morning News, and The Arizona Republic editorial boards, which normally endorse Republican candidates, endorsed Hillary Clinton. The New Hampshire Union Leader, which had endorsed the Republican in every election for the last 100 years, endorsed Gary Johnson. 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; later, in September 2016, episode writer Charlie Brooker also compared the Trump campaign to the episode and predicted Trump would win the 2016 election.
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.”
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. Clinton then phoned Trump to concede and to congratulate him on his victory, whereupon Trump gave a victory speech. His victory was widely described as a “stunning upset”, since most pre-election polling had predicted a Clinton win.
As of November 28, Trump is credited with 306 electoral votes compared to 232 for Clinton. The nationwide popular vote count shows Clinton leading by more than 2.5 million votes, with many votes still remaining to be counted. Trump is the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history to win the election but lose the popular vote.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. 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.
Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico offered his congratulations and stated that Mexico will continue to have positive working relationships with the United States. Leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Rwanda, Israel, Palestine, and other countries voiced similar messages.
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.”,which must be “based on principles of equality, mutual respect and a real accounting each other’s positions.”
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National party, sent her congratulations and exclaimed, peuple américain, libre!(French for “free American people!”) Nigel Farage, the outgoing leader of the UK Independence Party and Brexiter, said he was handing his “mantle” over to Trump. 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.
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.
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.” 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.”
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. Merkel stated that the relationship with the U.S. is “a foundation stone of German foreign policy.” “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,since Trump had suggested during his campaign that the U.S. should consider NATO allies’ level of military commitment before coming to their aid. 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. 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. 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.”
In cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people protested Trump. They carried signs such as “Not My President,” “Trump Puts My Life In Danger,” “Not Usually A Sign Guy, But Geez,” “Fuck Trump,” and “No To Bigotry.”
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. 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”(which was a slogan of the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign), “Make Racists Scared Again”, and “You Can’t Divide Us.”
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”.
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.
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.”
Appearances in popular culture
||This section appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture. (November 2016)|
Even before Trump’s very highly publicized presidential campaign that began in 2015, he had appeared many times in popular culture.
You’ve Been Trumped (2011), a documentary film by Anthony Baxter, follows Trump’s efforts to develop a Scottish golf resort. When it was announced that the documentary was to premiere on BBC Two television in the UK, on October 21, 2012, 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.
In 2011, rapper Mac Miller released his “Donald Trump” song about rising to Trump-level riches, which became a Billboardhit. The billionaire subsequently requested royalties for using his name, starting a feud with Miller.
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.
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”.
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.” 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.” 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.
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. 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. Trump was named in at least 169 suits in federal court. Although litigation over contract disputes and other matters is common in the real estate industry,USA Today‘s 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.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”.
In 1985, Trump was sued for allegedly trying to force out tenants to enable demolition. The matter was settled and the demolition canceled. In 1988, Trump paid $750,000 to settle the civil penalties in an antitrust lawsuit stemming from stock purchases.
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. After a helicopter crashed, killing three executives of his New Jersey hotel casino business, Trump sued the manufacturers,and that case was dismissed. 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. 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.
In 1993, Trump sued his business partner Jay Pritzker for allegedly collecting excessive fees, and the matter was settled. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.Following litigation with Leona Helmsley that started in the 1990s regarding control of the Empire State Building,Trump in 2002 sold his share in that building to rivals of Helmsley’s.
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.
When the California city of Rancho Palos Verdes thwarted luxury home development on a landslide-prone area owned by Trump, he sued, and the city agreed to permit extensions for 20 more proposed luxury homes.
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, after which the firm halved the fees, and the court ruled that the links were allowable.
In 2009, Trump was sued by investors in the canceled Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico; Trump said he had merely been a spokesperson, and he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.
In 2004, the Trump Organization licensed the Trump brand to a hotel and condo project in Fort Lauderdale scheduled to open in 2007, 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,after which the project defaulted, investors sued, and Trump was caught in the ongoing lawsuits because he had participated in advertising.
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, and the bank then agreed to extend the loan term by five years.
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.
In July 2015, Trump sued the former Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, after she alleged that the Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged. A federal judge upheld the settlement, obliging her to pay Trump $5 million.
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. 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.
Trump sued the town of Ossining, New York, over the property tax valuation on his golf course there, after separately being sued for modifying a drainage system that allegedly damaged a library, public pool, and park facilities.
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.” Ruling on this case, a judge in Ohio ordered Trump to refrain from voter intimidation.
Awards and accolades
- The Jewish National Fund‘s Tree of Life Award for outstanding contributions to Israel–United States relations. (1983)
- The Ellis Island Medal of Honor in celebration of “patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.” (1986)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his role in Ghosts Can’t Do It (1990)
- Gaming Hall of Fame (1995)
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2007)
- Muhammad Ali Entrepreneur Award (2007)
- Trump was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration by Robert Gordon University. The degree was revoked on December 9, 2015, because Trump had made statements that the university deemed “wholly incompatible” with its “ethos and values.” (2010)
- NY Ride of Fame (2010)
- Honorary doctorate of business, Liberty University (2012)
- WWE Hall of Fame (2013)
- The Algemeiner Liberty Award for contributions to Israel–United States relations. (2015)
- New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame (2015)
- Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation Commandant’s Leadership Award (2015)
- Key to the City of Doral, Florida (2015)
- TIME 100, annual list of the most influential people by TIME magazine. (2016)