Donald Trump Biography

What You Need to Know About the 45th President of the United States

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to an audience during the 2016 primary campaign. Scott Olson/Getty Images News

Donald Trump is a wealthy businessman, entertainer, real estate developer and president-elect of the United States whose political aspirations made him one of the most polarizing and controversial figures of the 2016 election. Trump ended up winning the election against all odds, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, and took office on Jan. 20, 2017.

Trump's candidacy for the White House began amid the largest field of presidential hopefuls in 100 years and was quickly dismissed as a lark. But he won primary after primary and quickly became the most unlikely presidential front-runner in modern political history, vexing the pundit class and his opponents alike.

He ran for reelection in 2020 against Democrat Joe Biden. After losing both the popular and electoral votes, Trump refused to accept the results of the election and mounted several campaigns in court and in the media to promote his claims. He joins the list of one-term presidents, the most recent of whom was fellow Republican George H.W. Bush.

Presidential Campaign of 2016

Trump announced he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination on June 16, 2015. His speech was mostly negative and touched on themes such as illegal immigration, terrorism and the loss of jobs that would resonate throughout his campaign over the course of the election cycle. 

The darkest lines of Trump's speech include:

  • "The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems."
  • "Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them."
  • "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
  • "Sadly, the American dream is dead."

Trump largely funded the campaign himself.

He was criticized by many leading conservatives who questioned whether he was really a Republican. In fact, Trump had been registered as a Democrat for more than eight years in the 2000s. And he contributed money to the campaigns of Bill and Hillary Clinton

Trump flirted with the idea of running for president in 2012, too, and was leading that year's field of Republican White House hopefuls until he polls showed his popularity sinking and he decided against launching a campaign. Trump made headlines when he paid private investigators to travel to Hawaii to search for President Barack Obama's birth certificate amid the height of the "birther" movement, which questioned his eligibility to serve in the White House.

Where Donald Trump Lives

Trump's home address is 725 Fifth Avenue in New York City, according to a statement of candidacy he filed with the Federal Election Commission in 2015. The address is the location of Trump Tower, a 68-story residential and commercial building in Manhattan. Trump lives on the top three floors of the building.

He owns several other residential properties, however.

How Donald Trump Makes His Money

Trump runs dozens of companies and serves of numerous corporate boards, according to a personal financial disclosure he filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics when he ran for president. He has said he is worth as much as $10 billion, though critics have suggested he is worth much less. 

And four of Trump's companies sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the years. They include the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Trump Plaza in Atlantic City; Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts; and Trump Entertainment Resorts.

Donald Trump's bankruptcy was his way of using the law to save those companies.

“Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, my employees, myself and my family,” Trump said at a debate in 2015.

Trump has disclosed tens of millions of dollars in earnings from:

  • Residential and commercial real estate ventures, his most lucrative occupation. 
  • Operating the Trump National Golf Club, which maintains 17 golf courses and golf resorts across the world including those in Scotland, Ireland, Dubai.
  • Running the Mar-A-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
  • Owning the Miss Universe pageant, from which he reported $3.4 million in income.
  • Operating restaurants.
  • Operating an ice skating rink in New York City, for which he listed $8.7 million in income.
  • Speaking engagements, some of which bring in $450,000.
  • A pension from the Screen Actors Guild that pays him $110,228 a year, from his roles in movies on television dating back to The Jeffersons in 1981. Trump also appeared in Zoolander and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • His appearances on the reality television show The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, which paid him $214 million over 11 years, the campaign said.

Books By Donald Trump

Trump has written at least 15 books about business and golf. The most widely read and successful of his books is The Art of the Deal, published in 1987 by Random House. Trump receives annual royalties valued between $15,001 and $50,000 from sales of the book, according to federal records. He also receives $50,000 and $100,000 in income a year from sales of Time to Get Tough, published in 2011 by Regnery Publishing.

Trump's other books include:

  • Trump: Surviving at the Top, published in 1990 by Random House
  • The Art of the Comeback, published in 1997 by Random House
  • The America We Deserve, published in 2000 by Renaissance Books
  • How to Get Rich, published in 2004 by Random House
  • Think Like a Billionaire, published in 2004 by Random House
  • The Way to the Top, published in 2004 by Bill Adler Books
  • The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received, published in 2005 by Thomas Nelson Inc. 
  • The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received, published in 2005 by Random House
  • Think Big and Kick Ass, published in 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers
  • Trump 101: The Way to Success, published in 2007 by John Wiley & Sons
  • Why We Want You to Be Rich, published in 2008 by Plata Publishing
  • Never Give Up, published in 2008 by John Wiley & Sons
  • Think Like a Champion, published in 2009 by Vanguard Press


Trump earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump graduated from the university in 1968. He had previously attended Fordham University in New York City.

As a child, he went to school at the New York Military Academy.

Personal Life

Trump was born in the New York City borough of Queens, New York, to Frederick C. and Mary MacLeod Trump on June 14, 1946. Trump is one of five children.

He has said he learned much of his business acumen from his father.

"I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn and Queens, and my father said — and I love my father. I learned so much. He was a great negotiator. I learned so much just sitting at his feet playing with blocks listening to him negotiate with subcontractors," Trump said in 2015.

Trump has been married to Melania Knauss since January 2005.

Trump was married twice before, and both relationships ended in divorce. Trump's first marriage, to Ivana Marie Zelníčková, lasted about 15 years before the couple divorced in March 1992. His second marriage, to Marla Maples, an lasted less than six years before the couple divorced in June 1999.

Trump has five children. They are:

  • Donald Trump Jr. with first wife Ivana.
  • Eric Trump with first wife Ivana.
  • Ivanka Trump with first wife Ivana.
  • Tiffany Trump with second wife Marla.
  • Barron Trump with third wife Melania.
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Murse, Tom. "Donald Trump Biography." ThoughtCo, Jul. 31, 2021, Murse, Tom. (2021, July 31). Donald Trump Biography. Retrieved from Murse, Tom. "Donald Trump Biography." ThoughtCo. (accessed October 1, 2022).