President Donald Trump is an American media personality, real estate developer, and businessman with a net worth estimated at $3 billion to $10 billion, depending on who’s making the calculations. Forbes global billionaires released in September 2018, puts Trump in the 766th position with a net worth of $3.1 billion. That makes him America’s first billionaire president. 

The current US President was the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, which he inherited from his father, Fred Trump. He is the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which is now owned by Icahn Enterprises. He turned over operations of his business empire to his two adult sons after he moved into the Oval Office in January 2017.

$214 Million is the amount Trump earned for hosting and producing 14 seasons of The Apprentice. 

Trump began his career at his father’s company, then called Elizabeth Trump & Son. He worked there while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and joined the business full-time after he graduated in 1968. With a flair for publicity and a series of high-profile construction and renovation projects in New York City, Trump’s career unfurled very much in the public eye. 

A Flair For Spectacle

It was Donald’s mother who instilled in him something that would distinguish him from equally successful real estate moguls — an appreciation for the power of spectacle. As a six-year-old, he watched as his mother was swept away by the pageantry of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It made a big impression on the boy.

“I realize now that I got some of my sense of showmanship from my mother. She always had a flair for the dramatic and the grand.”

His large family lived in a two-storey mock-Tudor home in Jamaica Estates, Queens. As a child, Donald went to Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, Queens. Fred was on the Board of Trustees of the private school. From the onset of his school life, Donald began getting into trouble.

School Days

“In the second grade I actually gave a teacher a black eye — I punched my music teacher because I didn’t think he knew anything about music, and I almost got expelled” 

Worried about his son’s apparent lack of discipline, Fred moved Donald to the New York Military Academy in upstate Cornwall, New York, to begin the eighth grade. Donald would remain there throughout high school. He graduated with the rank of cadet captain, and later credited the school as the place where he learned to channel “aggression into achievement.”

Working Holidays

During his holidays and summer vacations, as a teenager, Donald followed Fred around to building sites in Brooklyn, where his father would routinely out-build and buy out his rivals.

While in school, Donald worked part – time for his father. Those years were an education for the young man. One of the primary lessons he learned concerned the psychology of the real estate business. His father’s building projects were designed to appeal to the aspirations of Americans from working-class backgrounds who wanted to be middle class. His apartment buildings offered a sense of elevation and refinement through large lobbies, sophisticated-looking facades, and English names such as Wexford Hall, Sussex Hall, and Edgerton.

The early heir-apparent had seemed to be firstborn son Freddy Jr., but he took little interest in the business and died young. Donald on the other hand, took to the real estate business with relish, working with his father on deals in Starrett City, Brooklyn, and Forest Hills, Queens.

Then the young man was ready to try his hand in Manhattan.

Trump In The Business World

Donald Trump had been associated with his father Fred’s real estate company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, for most of his life. But he began working for the company full-time when he graduated from college in 1968 at the age of 22. Donald took absolute control and renamed the company as The Trump Organization. 

“The more predictable the business, the more valuable it is.” 

Trump valued known quantities more than speculative schemes.

His father’s business had focused on building and renting mid-market apartments in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Donald set his sights on Manhattan.

This optimist immediately sought out large projects that carried high profiles. Fred was reluctant at first, but eventually backed Donald’s projects in the heart of the Big Apple.

The Main Chance

Donald used the tricks that he had learned while being at his father’s side, and had inherited Fred’s eye for distressed real-estate gems. With almost the whole of New York City sliding toward bankruptcy in the early ’70s, there were more than a few such gems.

“Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here.” 

Trump believed in taking initiative and positive thinking. His biggest early deal was rescuing the once-grand Commodore Hotel from bankruptcy and transforming it into the Grand Hyatt. He opened the redeveloped hotel in 1980 with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the City of New York.

Trump’s first foray into politics was a renovation of a skating rink in New York’s Central Park, delivered for free and ahead of schedule.

In 1983, Trump put his stamp in the heart of the city with his 68-storey Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. The mixed-use skyscraper featured the black glass surfaces and brass trimmings that would mark many of his later buildings. The building captured the aesthetic of many baby boomers who were coming into finances and money for the first time during the economic boom of the 1980s.

A Toe In Politics

Around this time, Trump began to use his success as a developer to dip a toe into politics. He made his first such splash with the renovation of Wollman Rink in Central Park. The fixes had begun in 1980 but were more or less in limbo by 1986. Trump publicly lambasted the inefficiency of the governmental agencies in charge of the renovation, starting a war of words with then-Mayor Ed Koch. As part of the clauses in the argument, Trump offered to complete the renovation himself, for free. He finished in three months, at a cost well below the city’s budget, and to the satisfaction of most, proving his point.

His building projects and dashing persona placed Trump squarely in the public eye. And in 1987, he capitalized on his newfound fame with a business book entitled The Art of the Deal, which spent 52 weeks on bestseller lists capturing the spirit of the go-go 1980s.

Trump In The 1990s And Beyond

Replete with success, Trump moved into the gaming business, buying the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. This move proved to be a risky gamble, and by 1989, Trump was in more debt than he could afford. In the 1990s, Donald Trump’s business empire crumbled when the casino bet proved to be bad. He kept afloat by taking on more loans until 1991. With looming bankruptcy, Trump’s creditors agreed to restructure his debt, taking half-ownership of the casino. The agreement even forced Trump to sell his airline, Trump Shuttle, and his beloved 282-foot Trump Princess yacht.

“What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.” – Trump’s take on the constant tests that life provides.

Trump gradually restored The Trump Organization’s finances. Trump bought the Manhattan Trust building for between $1 million and $10 million in 1995 and renovated it. He would later take out a $160 million mortgage on the building to finance other investments. By 2006, Forbes priced the property at a $260 million.

When Fred Trump died in 1999, he left behind a handsome estate valued at $250 to $300 million. Although the exact amount Donald Trump inherited is unknown, an October 2018 report in The New York Times based on tax returns and financial statements from his businesses estimated that inheritance to be close to $413 million during the course of his lifetime.

With the turn of the century, Donald Trump continued to buy and construct Manhattan real estate. In the 2000s, he rebuilt his business and launched a second career in television as the boss of The Apprentice. In 2001, he completed the 72-story Trump World Tower, across from the United Nations, and began construction on Trump Place, a series of luxury high-rises along the Hudson River.

Another bold move that paid off was Trump’s $73 million purchase of the Chicago Sun-Times building. In its place, he planned to build the tallest building in the world, Trump International Tower, Chicago. But the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, convinced him to scale back, and he ultimately built the second-tallest tower in Chicago. Since it opened in 2009, the tower has been regularly ranked as one of the best in the country.

Trump’s Television Career 

Trump’s career as a public figure had shrunk significantly following his near-bankruptcy in the early 90s. It was revived after he began hosting a reality TV show called The Apprentice in 2003. The NBC show, in which participants contested for a management job in one of Trump’s companies, was a hit.

Not confirmed, but Trump possibly received $3 million per episode of the show. In his July 2015 disclosures to the Federal Election Commission, Trump stated that NBC paid him $214 million for hosting and producing the show over 14 seasons. 

His newly revived fame created an opportunity for Trump to license his name and image. He began selling ‘Trump’ as a brand name to a number of real estate developments that he didn’t build himself. According to Forbes, Trump’s real-estate licensing business, with more than 30 licensed properties worldwide, is among his most valuable assets, which it estimates as being worth more than $500 million.

The Trump Brand

Trump has affixed his brand to a plethora of businesses, including the ill-timed Trump Mortgage, which closed in 2007. Other than real estate, his name has appeared on Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and the Trump Bar.

“Remember there’s no such thing as an unrealistic goal, just unrealistic time frames.” 

That’s Trump on how he views the collision of grand ambitions and real-life obstacles. 

There also was a Trump-branded clothing line, a perfume, a wide range of food and beverage products such as Trump Steaks and Trump Vodka, and Trump Magazine. Trump University, opened in 2005, promised to teach students the ins and outs of the real estate business. The operation closed down in 2010 and was the subject of multiple lawsuits.

Donald Trump’s brash and colorful style propelled him from the business world into the public’s eye. In 1996, Trump also re-entered the public eye, buying the rights to the Miss America pageant. His stature elevated when he began starring in a role on The Apprentice in 2004, with millions tuning in to watch Trump fire aspiring executives.

In 2015, Trump openly declared that he would run for the presidency of the United States as a Republican. He won the hotly contested election on November 8th, 2016, beating the Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, he has been perhaps the most controversial president in the country’s history. There’s no stopping this man. He has proved his Genius self to the world. Just like MagTapp, which intends to walk on the path of empowerment to bring out the Genius from within you. What are you waiting for? 

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