Donald Trump attended the Wharton Business School, after which he joined the family real estate business. As a talented dealmaker, he was able to secure loans with little collateral in the 1980s and created an empire in real estate, casinos, sports, and transportation.
By 1990, however, the effects of recession left him unable to meet loan payments. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bondholders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid risking losing even more in a court fight.
By 1994, Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he was forced to relinquish the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. He opened a new hotel and office building in New York City in 1996. In 1999, Trump indicated an interest in running for president on the Reform party ticket in 2000.
In 1999, Trump indicated an interest in running for president on the Reform party ticket in 2000, although he was previously a Republican. He withdrew after the party disintegrated into factionalism.
Trump's political views are largely centrist. He is pro-choice regarding abortion and supports gay rights, Social Security privatization, and tax cuts such as those implemented by President Bush. In 2004, Trump expressed opposition to the Iraq War but claims to have still voted for Bush due to his tax cut policy. Trump has contributed to both Republicans and Democrats, interestingly having donated slightly more money to Democratic candidates. In the first 6 months of 2005 he gave almost $20,000 to political campaigns, all but $2000 to Democrats. Senators he has recently supported include Hilary Clinton and Chuck Schumer of New York, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and John McCain of Arizona. He also refused to favor one candidate over the other in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election giving $2,000 to both John Kerry and George W. Bush.
Trump has recently attacked the official "Freedom Tower" plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center, claiming the plan to be "a pile of crap", and claims that most New Yorkers want the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center rebuilt, with a symbolic 111 stories, one story taller than the original predecessors (the "Twin Towers II" plan). He claims they would be taller, better, stronger, cheaper and safer than the proposed "Freedom Tower"; however, there is skepticism that the Twin Towers II proposal will actually replace the Freedom Tower plan and be built. In a recent CNN poll over 63% of voters wanted to see Trump's plan go into action.
In December 2005, rumors began to circulate that Trump was considering a run for Governor of New York as a Republican in 2006. However, this rumor proved false as Trump stated "I'm not going to run for governor because I'm having too much fun doing what I'm doing now."
In 1990, Trump's Atlantic City casino was used for the game show Trump Card, produced by Fielder-Berlin.
In 2004, 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. The other contestants were
"fired", or eliminated, from the game. The winner of the program
is "hired" into The Trump Organization with a 1-year
"introductory" contract with a salary exceeding $250,000. At the
end of each episode, Trump eliminated one contestant by telling
them, "You're fired," which became a somewhat popular catch
phrase. For the first year of the show Trump was paid a mere
$50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but
following the show's initial success, he is now paid a reported
$3,000,000 per episode ($48 Million USD if the job interview
lasted for 16 weeks), making him one of the highest paid TV
Trump has also been included in numerous television commercials over the years obtaining him a $1 million fee for a Pizza Hut commercial in the 1990s, a $3 million fee for a Dominos Pizza commercial in 2005 as well as a $5 million fee for his Visa Card commercial the same year.
A Muppet of Donald Trump also appears in an episode of the 36th season of Sesame Street, alongside grouch Muppet Donald Grump.
Trump also guest starred on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when he almost buys their mansion for his nephew. The episode, called "For Sale by Owner", was episode 25 in the show's 4th season.
At the 2005 Emmy Awards, he sang the theme song for the classic TV series Green Acres. He wore a farmer's outfit and held a rake in his hand while singing the song. He won the award for "Best Emmy Idol" for his performance, which he shared with Will and Grace's Megan Mullally. He was referred to as "Diva Donald".
On October 24, 2005, Donald starred as himself on Days of our Lives. On the soap opera, Donald went to give a donation to the Horton Foundation.
In 1977 Trump married Ivana Zelničkova and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka (born October 30, 1981) and Eric (born 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples, and together they have one child, Tiffany (born October 13, 1993). They divorced on June 8, 1999. Ivanka Trump is featured in a documentary called Born Rich about the experience of growing up as an heir to not only one of America's prolific business lineages, but to also a respected name in the New York Business World.
On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss. Trump and Knauss 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. On September 27, 2005, the couple announced that Melania is pregnant with Trump's fifth child.
In 2005, Donald Trump launched Trump University (), a business education company that blends his knowledge and experience with world-class curriculum developed by leading academics and business experts. Trump University was founded on the principle of "learning by doing", and its offerings include online courses, multimedia home study programs, publications, Web seminars, and more. Trump is a firm believer in education, and many of his media ventures, like the The Apprentice and the books, have a strong educational element. Trump University grew out of his desire to impart the business knowledge he has accumulated over the years and from his realization that there is a huge demand for practical, convenient education that teaches success.
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