Donald Trump’s Biography
Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, sports, and entertainment. He is the archetypal businessman – a deal maker without peer.
Mr. Trump started his business career in an office he shared with his father in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York. He worked with his father for five years, where they were busy making deals together. Mr. Trump has been quoted as saying, "My father was my mentor, and I learned a tremendous amount about every aspect of the construction industry from him." Likewise, Fred C. Trump often stated that "some of my best deals were made by my son, Donald…everything he touches seems to turn to gold." Mr. Trump then entered the very different world of Manhattan real estate.
In New York City and around the world, the Trump signature is synonymous with the most prestigious of addresses. Among them are the world-renowned Fifth Avenue skyscraper, Trump Tower, and the luxury residential buildings, Trump Parc, Trump Palace, Trump Plaza, 610 Park Avenue, The Trump World Tower (the tallest building on the East Side of Manhattan), and Trump Park Avenue. Mr. Trump was also responsible for the designation and construction of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on land controlled by him, known as the West 34th Street Railroad Yards, and the total exterior restoration of the Grand Central Terminal as part of his conversion of the neighboring Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The development is considered one of the most successful restorations in the City and earned Mr. Trump an award from Manhattan’s Community Board Five for the “tasteful and creative recycling of a distinguished hotel.” Over the years, Mr. Trump has owned and sold many great buildings in New York including the Plaza Hotel (which he renovated and brought back to its original grandeur, as heralded by the New York Times Magazine), the St. Moritz Hotel (three times and now called the Ritz Carlton on Central Park South) and until 2002, the land under the Empire State Building (which allowed the land and lease to be merged together for the first time in over 50 years).
Additionally, the NikeTown store is owned by Mr. Trump, on East 57th Street and adjacent to Tiffany's. In early 2008, Gucci opened their largest store in the world in Trump Tower.
In 1997, the Trump International Hotel & Tower opened its doors to the world. This 52 story mixed–use super luxury hotel and residential building is located on the crossroads of Manhattan's West Side, on Central Park West at Columbus Circle. It was designed by the world-famous architect, Philip Johnson, and has achieved some of the highest sales prices and rentals in the United States. As one of only three hotels in the nation to have received a double Forbes Five-Star rating for both the hotel and its restaurant, Jean-Georges, it has also received the Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, and was voted the number one business hotel in New York City by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Conde Nast Traveler Magazine has named it the number one hotel in the US, and its innovative concept has been copied worldwide. It has won the Forbes Five-Star Hotel Award each year from 2009 to 2015 and ranked in the Conde Nast Traveler "Readers' Choice" awards every year since 2010. This year marks the eighteenth anniversary of this Trump Hotel Collection gem.
Mr. Trump was also the developer of the largest parcel of land in New York City, the former West Side Rail Yards which is now Trump Place. On this 100 acre property, fronting along the Hudson River from 59th Street to 72nd Street, is the largest development ever approved by the New York City Planning Commission. There are a total of 16 buildings on the site, with Mr. Trump building the first nine buildings and the other portion of land being sold for a substantial amount. Mr. Trump also donated a 25 acre waterfront park on Trump Place and a 700 foot sculptured pier to the city of New York.
Other acquisitions in New York City include The Trump Building at 40 Wall Street, the landmark 1.3 million square foot, 72-story building located in Manhattan's Financial District, directly across from the New York Stock Exchange and the tallest building in downtown Manhattan. This purchase, which took place at the depths of the New York City real estate market, is said to be one of the best real estate deals made in the last twenty-five years and is considered to have one of the most beautiful "Tops" of any building in the country. In addition, Mr. Trump built 610 Park Avenue (at 64th Street), formerly known as the Mayfair Regent Hotel, which was very successfully converted into super-luxury condominium apartments achieving, at that time, the highest prices on Park Avenue. Further east, adjacent to the United Nations, sits the spectacular Trump World Tower, a 90-story luxury residential building and one of the tallest residential towers in the world. The Trump World Tower has received rave reviews from the architectural critics, with Herbert Muschamp of the New York Times calling it "a handsome hunk of a glass tower." Likewise, Trump World Tower is considered one of the most successful condominium towers ever built in the United States.
In 2001, Mr. Trump announced plans for his first foray into Chicago, where he planned to build the Trump International Hotel & Tower/Chicago. The 2.7 million square foot, 92-story mixed-use tower is located on the banks of the Chicago River, directly west of Michigan Avenue (the most prominent site in Chicago), and is one of the tallest residences in the world and the ninth tallest building in the world. The architect is Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago, and the tower also includes four levels of retail shops. The hotel opened in January of 2008 to great acclaim, and in 2010 received Travel + Leisure Magazine's award as the #1 Hotel in the US and Canada as well as their "World's Best Business Hotel" Award in 2014. Conde Nast Traveler ranked the hotel in its "Readers' Choice Awards" every year since 2011. The hotel has earned Five-Star ratings for hotel and restaurant in the Forbes Travel Guide Awards in 2014 and 2015, and has been a AAA Five Diamond Hotel award winner since 2011.
In 2002, Mr. Trump purchased the fabled Delmonico Hotel, located at 59th Street and Park Avenue and re-developed it into a state-of-the-art luxury 35 story condominium named Trump Park Avenue. It was Mr. Trump's desire to make this one of the most luxurious buildings in New York City, which was achieved. Mr. Trump has been lauded by a multitude of publications for having retained the grandeur and charm of the building while incorporating 21st century services and amenities. Mr. Trump is co-owner, with Vornado Realty Trust, of the iconic 555 California Street Tower (The Bank of America building) in San Francisco, one of the most important office buildings on the West Coast of the U.S., and the prized 1290 Avenue of the Americas building, one of New York's biggest buildings with the largest office floorplates in New York.
Mr. Trump's portfolio of holdings also includes Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, NY, a signature Fazio golf course and residential development, and a 250 acre estate known as the Mansion at Seven Springs, the former home of Katharine Graham (of The Washington Post and Rockefeller University), which will be developed into a world class luxury housing development. Mr. Trump also purchased one of the largest parcels of land in California which fronts, for two and a half miles, along the Pacific Ocean. A Donald J. Trump championship golf course, called Trump National Golf Club/Los Angeles, has been built on this site, and it has been voted the number one golf course in California. Seventy-five luxury estates will follow. In addition, the Tom Fazio designed Trump National Golf Club has been built in Lamington Farms in Bedminster, New Jersey, on the 525 acre Cowperthwaite Estate, considered to be the best in the state. An additional 18 hole course was opened recently. In November of 2008, Mr. Trump received approval to develop Trump International Golf Links Scotland, located in Aberdeen, Scotland, with over three miles of spectacular ocean waterfront. It opened on July 10 of 2012 and a second 18 hole course has been approved. In July 2013, Golf Week Magazine named Trump International Golf Links Scotland "The Best Modern Day Golf Course In The World." Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, has 1250 acres of ocean waterfront and has two 18 hole championship courses. In August of 2008, Mr. Trump purchased a golf course in Colts Neck, New Jersey, which is now Trump National Golf Club/Colts Neck, and in February of 2009 he bought an 800 acre parcel of land and club near Washington, D.C. that fronts the Potomac River for three miles, to become Trump National Golf Club, Washington D.C. Two more golf courses were added to his portfolio in December of 2009, Trump National Golf Club—Philadelphia, and Trump National Golf Club—Hudson Valley. In April of 2010, a new celebrity reality series, "Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf" debuted on Golf Channel with great success and the Feherty interview of Mr. Trump was the highest rated show in the history of Golf Channel.
In Palm Beach, Florida, Mr. Trump has converted the famous and historic estate owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton, Mar-a-Lago, into the 2013private, ultra-luxury Mar-a-Lago Club. It has received the award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences as the "Best Club Anywhere in the World." It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1980 and Mar-a-Lago is often referred to as "The Jewel of Palm Beach." Also in Palm Beach and located 7 minutes from Mar-a-Lago is the Trump International Golf Club. Designed by the famed golf course architect Jim Fazio, this $40 million golf course has magnificent tropical landscaping, water features and streams and elevations of 100 feet (unprecedented in all of Florida). Opened in October 1999, this course has been acclaimed as one of the best in the United States. An additional nine hole course was opened in 2006 to equal acclaim.
The Trump Hotel Collection was created to designate a new level of internationally important hotels, defined by elegance and attention to detail. One of the most elegant additions to the Las Vegas skyline is a super-luxury 60 story hotel condominium tower, the 5-star Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. This hotel was named by USA Today as the "Best Bet in Vegas" in 2012 and was listed on Travel + Leisure's list of "World's Best Business Hotel Awards" in 2011. Current and future developments in the Trump Hotel Collection include towers in SoHo/New York (which opened in spring of 2010 and made Travel + Leisure Magazine's list of the best new hotels—the only one in New York to be included—as well as the AAA Five Diamond distinction in 2013 and 2014), their "World's Best Business Hotel Awards: New York" in 2011), Chicago (opened 2008), Waikiki/Hawaii (opened November 2009 which has received Forbes Travel Guide's Five Star hotel rating in 2015), Panama (opened July 2011 and received the Luxury Travel Advisor's "Top 10 Luxury Hotel Openings in 2011), Toronto (which received the Forbes Five Star rating in 2014), Trump National Doral Miami (which will complete its $250 million transformation in early 2015), and Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland (a highly sought-after acquisition by The Trump Organization in 2014). International hotels developments as of 2015 include Baku, Azerbaijan (opening in June 2015); Vancouver, BC and Rio de Janiero, both opening in 2016. Trump Towers, Istanbul, Sisli, combines two towers (one residential tower and one office tower), located in the vibrant Mecidiyekov district.
In February of 2012, The Trump Organization was selected as the developer of the famous Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C. This building is considered a prized jewel and competition for it was fierce. Plans include a nearly 300 room luxury hotel, a museum gallery, and retaining the original exterior façade, doors, hallways and interior features. When completed, this hotel, which sits on Pennsylvania Avenue, will be one of the most luxurious in the world, and is seen as a generational asset by the Trump family. Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., is slated to open in 2016.
In a departure from his real estate acquisitions, Mr. Trump and the NBC Television Network are partners in the ownership and broadcast rights for the three largest beauty competitions in the world: the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA Pageants. A recent Miss Universe pageant won the night in ratings in the #1 slot and it is currently broadcast in 180 countries. Miss USA won the night in ratings in 2011. Trump Model Management, which was founded in 1999, has become one of the leading modeling agencies in New York City.
Mr. Trump rebuilt the Wollman Skating Rink (now the Trump Rink) in Central Park. This project was particularly special to Mr. Trump. The city had been trying for seven years to rebuild and restore the Rink, whereupon Mr. Trump interceded and restored the rink in four months at only $1.8 million of the City's $20,000,000 cost. Similarly, he rebuilt Lasker Rink, in Harlem, also located in Central Park, which has had great success as well. In addition, Mr. Trump is given credit, as stated by everyone in the know and as Mark J. Penn's book Microtrends reports, for having made a major and very favorable impact on the economy of the city by creating the condominium boom, versus the co-ops that were more prevalent in the past.
An accomplished author, Mr. Trump's 1987 autobiography, The Art of the Deal, became one of the most successful business best-sellers of all time, having sold in excess of three million copies, and being a New York Times number one best-seller for many weeks. The sequel, Surviving at the Top, was on The New York Times best-seller list and was also a number one best-seller as was his third book, The Art of the Comeback. Mr. Trump's fourth book, The America We Deserve, was a departure from his past literary efforts. This book deals with issues most important to the American people today and focuses on the views regarding American political, economic and social problems. His fifth book, How To Get Rich: Big Deals from the Star of The Apprentice, became an immediate bestseller on all lists, as did Trump: The Way to the Top and Trump: Think Like a Billionaire which was released in October of 2004. Trump: The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received was published in April 2005, followed by Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received in 2006. He has also teamed up with Robert Kiyosaki to make publishing history with their book, Why We Want You To Be Rich: Two Men, One Message, which in October of 2006 made the #1 spot on the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestseller lists. Trump 101: The Way To Success debuted in late 2006. In October of 2007 Mr. Trump's book with Bill Zanker, Think Big was launched. In early 2008, Mr. Trump's Never Give Up was released, followed by Think Like a Champion in April of 2009. Midas Touch, another collaboration with Robert Kiyosaki, was released in October of 2011. Time To Get Tough: Making America #1 Again was released in early December of 2011, becoming a bestseller.
A native of New York City, Mr. Trump is a graduate of The Wharton School of Finance and in 1984, he won the Entrepreneur of the Year award from The Wharton School. Involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Police Athletic League. Mr. Trump also serves as a Chairman of the Donald J. Trump Foundation as well as Co-Chairman of the New York Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund. In 1995, he served as the Grand Marshal of the largest parade ever held in New York, The Nation's Parade, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. He also hosts the annual Red Cross Ball at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. In January of 2012, he received the American Cancer Society Lifetime Achievement Award. In April of 2015, Mr. Trump received the Commandant's Leadership Award from the Marine Corps—Law Enforcement Foundation, given to him by General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mr. Trump is a founding member of both the Committee to Complete Construction of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and The Wharton School Real Estate Center. Mr. Trump was also a committee member of the Celebration of Nations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and UNICEF. He was also designated "The Developer of the Year" by the Construction Management Association of America and Master Builder by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreational & Historic Preservation. In June 2000, Mr. Trump received his greatest honor of all, the Hotel and Real Estate Visionary of the Century, given by the UJA Federation, and in 2003 was named to the Benefactors Board of Directors by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. In 2007, he was awarded the "Green Space" Award by the friends of Westchester County Parks, as he donated 436 acres of land in Westchester, New York, to create the Donald J. Trump State Park.
By January of 2004, Mr. Trump had joined forces with Mark Burnett Productions and NBC to produce and star in the television reality show, The Apprentice. This quickly became the number one show on television, making ratings history and receiving rave reviews. The first season finale had the highest ratings on television that year after the Super Bowl, with 41.5 million people watching. Few shows have garnered the worldwide attention that The Apprentice has achieved, including three Emmy nominations. In 2007, a New York Times article quoted NBC's President, Ben Silverman, as saying The Apprentice "has been the most successful reality series ever on NBC." The Celebrity Apprentice has met with great success as well, being one of the highest rated shows on television, and Mr. Trump signed to continue in this role for the 2015-2016 television season. This will mark the fifteenth season of the show. In 2005, he hosted Saturday Night Live which resulted in their highest ratings of the year. Moreover, Mr. Trump is producing additional network and cable television programming via his Los Angeles based production company, Trump Productions LLC. His radio program with Clear Channel Radio, parent company of Premiere Radio Networks, beginning in the summer of 2004, was a wonderful success.
In 2005, Mr. Trump launched his Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, which includes tailored clothing, dress shirts, ties, cufflinks, eyewear, leather goods, and belts. The ties are a top selling brand at Macy's Herald Square, New York, highlighting the consumer demand to emulate Mr. Trump's business style. Trump Home was later introduced and includes furniture, mattresses, bedding, lighting, home décor, bath textiles and accessories. The mattress is the #1 selling brand at Serta. In 2012, Mr. Trump partnered with Parlux to launch his fragrance, Success by Trump. Because of its success, his second fragrance, Empire, was launched in 2015.
In the August 21-28 2006 issue of BusinessWeek magazine, Mr. Trump was voted, by their readers, as "the world's most competitive businessperson" and voted by the staff and writers of BusinessWeek as one of the Top 10 most competitive businesspeople in the world. The ongoing business success of the Trump Organization was recognized by the Crain's New York Business List 2012, with a ranking of Number 1 for the largest privately held company in New York. Also renowned for his celebrity status, Forbes ranks Mr. Trump number 14 in the world on their top 100 celebrity list in 2012. Mr. Trump is one of only two people (the other being Hillary Clinton) named to ABC's Barbara Walter's Special, "The Most Fascinating People" two times, most recently on her 2011 show.
In 2011, after failed attempts by both Senator McCain and Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump single handedly forced President Obama to release his birth certificate, which was lauded by large segments of the political community. In 2012, Mr. Trump was voted "Statesman of the Year" by the Sarasota Republican Party.
Mr. Trump is one of the highest paid speakers in the world, often drawing tens of thousands of people. In September of 2011, Mr. Trump gave a two city speech in Australia, for over 3 million dollars. In October of 2012, Mr. Trump spoke in London, England, at the National Achievers Congress. In January of 2007, Mr. Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008, "You're fired!" was listed as the #3 greatest TV catchphrase of all time, led only by "Here's Johnnny" and "One small step for man " In March of 2013, Mr. Trump was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in front of 25,000 fans at Madison Square Garden. The reasons for this great honor were that he held two of the most successful WrestleMania events ever — but of even greater importance, he and Vince McMahon were involved in the WrestleMania 23 "Battle of the Billionaires" in 2007 in Detroit Stadium, which to this day is the highest rated show and the highest dollar amount on Pay Per View in the history of wrestling. In April of 2013, the New York Observer named Mr. Trump as #1 in its Power 100 Readers Poll. Also in April of 2013, Mr. Trump spoke at the annual Lincoln dinner in Michigan, which was the largest Lincoln dinner in their 124 year history and the largest Lincoln event in our country's history where a U.S. President was not the speaker. In 2013, Mr. Trump received the T. Boone Pickens Award from The American Spectator at the Robert L. Bartley Gala. The highly respected writer, Joe Queenan, after hearing Mr. Trump speak at a Learning Annex event in 2006, notes that the $30 million he was paid for his appearances may have been an underpayment.
On the Larry King Show in June 2008, Barbara Corcoran, a well respected real estate expert, said "How can I possibly compete with Donald Trump? Thanks to him I sold more property in Manhattan. He single handedly turned the whole image of Manhattan around in the 1980's when nobody wanted to live in New York." Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, added, "Donald is the smartest man in real estate—no one else even comes close." In an article in the New York Times in November of 2013, Arthur Zeckendorf, a NYC developer of ultra luxury condominiums, was asked who most influenced him in the industry: "I think Donald Trump. He basically started the high-end condo business. I certainly followed him, admired him." When asked specifically what he learned: "That building great condos is an art, and you really have to make the product the best out there."
In July of 2008, Mr. Trump sold an estate that he purchased (a short time earlier) for $40 million at 515 South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach for a record setting price of $100 million, and in March of 2010, the penthouse apartment at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City sold for $33 million. In May of 2011, Mr. Trump purchased the Kluge Estate and Vineyard in Charlottesville, VA, now the Trump Vineyard Estates. It is the largest vineyard on the East Coast.
In February of 2012, Mr. Trump purchased the iconic 800 acre Doral Hotel & Country Club in Miami which includes five championship golf courses, the world renowned Blue Monster championship golf course, a 50,000 square foot spa and a 700 room hotel. It is the home to the Cadillac World Championship of Golf. In April of 2012, Mr. Trump purchased the Point Lake & Golf Club in North Carolina which has become Trump National Golf Club, Charlotte, and in December 2012 he purchased the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, which is now Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter. In April of 2013, Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, was announced, and The Trump Estates, which includes more than 100 luxury villas overlooking the golf course, were released for sale in March of 2014. Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, New York City, will open to the public in Spring of 2015. As Jack Nicklaus said, "Trump has been very, very good with getting things done with the city. I think he pushed it over the edge. He did a really good job of getting it to the finish line." The club was under construction for several decades, with tens of millions in taxpayer money being wasted. When Mr. Trump got involved it was completed in one year, and designed by Jack Nicklaus. All are destined to become great additions to a burgeoning golf course and club portfolio.
In February of 2014, Mr. Trump announced that he had purchased the Doonbeg Golf Resort in Ireland, which will become Trump International Golf Links, Ireland. This 450 acre property was originally designed by the legendary golfer Greg Norman, and fronts the Atlantic Ocean in County Clare. It is now being totally redeveloped by Mr. Trump. In April of 2014, Mr. Trump purchased the famed Turnberry Resort in Scotland, home of the Open Championship. Located on over 800 acres, and with views of the Irish Sea and Isle of Arran, many consider the Championship Course to be #1 in the world. In addition, in April of 2014, the PGA of America announced that the 2022 PGA Championship would be hosted by Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster and that the 2017 Senior PGA Championship would be held at Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C. It was announced in October of 2014 that the Trump World Golf Club Dubai, an 18 hole championship course, will be designed by Tiger Woods.
Mr. Trump has recently been recognized by Golf Digest Magazine as "Golf's Greatest Builder Today" and by Sports Illustrated as "The Most Important Figure in the World of Golf." Brian Morgan, the leading golf photographer, has stated, "Donald Trump has the greatest collection of golf courses and clubs ever built or assembled by one man."