Donald Trump has proved an unusual political candidate since he entered the 2016 United States presidential campaign. The Republican party nominee is the first billionaire businessman and reality television star to seek the presidency. He has never held public office before. But much of his support is rooted in his political outsider image.
Born in Queens, New York, he grew up in a wealthy family headed by his real estate developer father, Fred Trump.
Bart Rossi is a political psychologist. He says Trump’s father was a strong influence.
"His father was very authoritarian, very demanding, the boss. And of course, Donald picked up these traits and characteristics."
Trump studied business at the famed Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He took over his father's company in 1971.
His early career featured great successes like the development of the iconic Trump tower in New York City in 1983. He demonstrated skill at personal branding and a deep understanding in the use of media.
Edward Mermelstein is a leading real estate attorney in New York.
"Doing business in New York requires a very strong person, very motivated person and he is very much a New York businessman."
Trump also experienced failures. Some of his casinos failed. A real estate crash hit his personal fortune very hard.
George Washington University’s Christoher Leinberger is an expert on real estate and city planning.
"New York is the biggest market as far as real estate development in this country, and he was a midsize player, and most people who looked on from the outside feel that he's a mediocre success."
Donald Trump’s personal life has also had very public ups and downs. He has been married three times. His two divorces were covered extensively by the media. He has five children, four of them adults who have been very active in his campaign. He has a young son with his current wife, Melania.
On the campaign trail, his personal life has received as much attention as his business dealings.
In a 2005 video tape recently leaked to the press, Trump spoke about about touching women sexually without their permission. After the recording was released several women reported than Trump had done exactly that to them. Trump denied the accusations.
"These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false."
Donald Trump has a history of coming back from adversity. In the 2000s, he brought his aggressive business style and sharp speech to a national television audience. He starred in the popular reality show "The Apprentice.” On the show people competed to win a position in a Trump company.
Trump became a major political voice in 2011 when he questioned President Barack Obama’s birthplace. He demanded Obama make public his birth certificate.
President Obama was born in the American island state of Hawaii. His birth certificate was released publicly.
Still, Trump questioned the president’s birthplace. He did not publicly accept that Obama was U.S.-born until last month.
Donald Trump defeated 16 Republican opponents for the party’s presidential nomination.
Michael Kranish is the author of the book “Trump Revealed.”
"He's tapped into this great angst that has been out there for quite some time."
Donald Trump’s self-description as a “populist politician” has resonated with American voters.
"I am with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you."
I’m Caty Weaver.
Words in This Story
iconic - adj. related to something that is very successful or admired
branding - n. a category of products that are all made by a particular company and all have a particular name
attorney - n. a lawyer
fortune - n. a very large amount of money
adversity - n. a difficult situation or condition
angst - n. a strong feeling of being worried or nervous
resonate - v. to have particular meaning or importance for someone