From The Apprentice boardroom to the White House: Donald Trump in profile


Donald Trump is fighting his second presidential race in an America much-changed since 2016.

Four years ago, most observers thought the Apprentice star and billionaire tycoon had little chance of moving into the White House, but the 74-year-old’s biggest challenge in the re-election campaign could be his own fight against coronavirus.

Just days after the president told US voters Covid-19 affects “virtually nobody” apart from “elderly people with heart problems and other problems”, he tested positive for the disease that has killed more than 200,000 people across the 50 states, in news that brought the election cycle to a halt with just a month until polling day.

The economic and health upheaval of the outbreak has coincided with mass protests across the country in a summer which should have been filled with campaign rallies.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of three police officers in Minnesota encouraged tens of thousands of people to the streets in the US and across the globe and sparked campaigning and rioting across the country, to declare “Black Lives Matter”.

Unafraid to conduct diplomacy via Twitter, Mr Trump has used social media to criticise other world leaders during his four-year term, including former British prime minister Theresa May, as well as a spat with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

He also used the platform to maintain his long-running feud with China, repeatedly tweeting about what he called the “China virus” and to voice his concerns about the internationally recognised Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, which he announced the intention to withdraw the US from in 2017.

Born into the wealthy family of New York property tycoon Fred Trump, Mr Trump claimed his father gave him a “small loan of a million dollars” to help him start out in business.

He later joined his father’s business, helping manage an extensive portfolio of housing projects across New York before taking control of the company in 1971, renaming it the Trump Organisation.

His business empire expanded with the construction of the Trump Tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue, as well as hotels, casinos, and the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants.

Despite amassing a huge fortune over the years, his companies have also filed for multiple bankruptcies.

Mr Trump’s personal life has also made headlines over the years.

In 2018, it was revealed that his lawyer Michael Cohen paid porn actress Stormy Daniels almost £100,000 days before the 2016 election in an attempt to keep her silent over her sexual relationship with the president 10 years ago.

Mr Trump and his supporters denied the president knew about the payment for several years before Mr Trump acknowledged it on Twitter in May 2018, and said he reimbursed Mr Cohen for the money paid to Ms Daniels.

His marriages have been similarly high-profile.

His first marriage to Czech athlete and model Ivana Zelnickova ended in divorce in 1990 after three children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric, all of whom have played public roles during their father’s first term.

A second marriage to actress Marla Marples in 1993 gave Trump another daughter named Tiffany.

The couple separated in 1997 and divorced in 1999.

Mr Trump began dating the now-First Lady, Melania, in 1998 and they married in 2005 before welcoming their son Barron William a year later.

In its 2019 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump’s net worth at 3.1 billion US dollars, and 715th in the world.

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