Donald Trump is a real estate businessman who would grow up to become the 45th president of the United States. How did this boy from Queens grow up to be one of the most powerful figures in the world? It all started thanks to Trump’s grandfather, who has early American success. It was continued by Trump’s father, Fred. Donald Trump would take their family fortune and expand it even further. You can learn more about Trump’s family history through these pictures of young Donald as he grew up in New York.
A Little Boy
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, to his parents, Fred Trump and Mary Anne MacLeod. The couple had gotten married a decade earlier, and Donald was the fourth of five kids. He was born at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York. His family originated from Germany on his father’s side and Scotland on his mother’s side. His grandfather, Frederick, immigrated to the U.S. back in 1885 when he was just 16. He didn’t become a citizen until 1892. He was a skilled businessman and built the Trump family fortune by operating “boomtown” restaurants as well as boarding houses in the West. Donald shared this picture as a little throwback on Facebook. It shows him as a child, captioning the photo, “Who knew this innocent kid would grow into a monster?” We’re guessing that’s a joke.
The Trump family made a fortune thanks to Donald Trump’s grandfather. In 1902, he married Elisabeth Christ, and in 1905, they resettled in New York, where they would spend the rest of their lives. That same year, Donald’s father, Fred, was born. He went on to work in the family real estate business when he was 15. In 1923, he and his mother founded E. Trump & Son. This business operated mainly in the Queens and Brooklyn areas in New York City. In 1936, Fred Trump and Mary Anne MacLeod got married. The two ended up having five kids together. From a young age, Donald would be the one who followed his own rules. Here we have a photo of his along with his siblings. On the far left is Donald, beside him is his older brother Fred Jr., his older sister Elizabeth, his eldest sister Maryanne, and his younger brother Robert is on the far right.
From kindergarten all the way through seventh grade, Donald attended the Kew-Forest School. This is a college preparatory school in Queens. However, at age 13, Trump was sent to the New York Military Acadamy, a private boarding school in Cornwall. He was sent there as punishment after his parents found out he was making frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission. As it turns out, Donald was a popular student at the boarding school. When he posted this picture to Facebook, Donald wrote: “#TBT My confirmation picture at First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, N.Y.”
Love of Sports
During his time at the Military Academy, Trump participated in numerous sports. He was a sturdy 6″2. It’s been said that he played football, tennis, squash, and golf. Pictures from the school also show his on the varsity baseball team. While most of these sports would fade away over time, it was golf that would become a staple of his life decades later.
While he was at NYMA, Trump was a player on the football time. His love for sports is part of the reason Trump owns his own football team in the future. He attempted to run a separate American football league that would compete with the National Football League.
This is another picture that Trump shared to his Facebook page, writing, “#TBT Myself with mother and father at New York Military Academy. See, I can be very military. High rank!” Even though he’s boasted about being “very military”, Trump has gotten five draft deferments from serving in the army during Vietnam. Four of them were for his time during college. The fifth one was for a medical diagnosis of bone spurs in his heels. Recently, this diagnosis has come under scrutiny. According to the daughter of the podiatrist who diagnosed Trump, the bone spurs diagnosis was a “favor” to Fred Trump. Why? Because Fred was the podiatrist’s landlord.
The Beat Of His Own Drum
If you’ve heard even a little about Donald Trump, then you’ll know that he does things his own way. He shared another “Throwback Thursday” of himself in uniform at the NYMA. Previously, he’d made the claim that being in the uniform made him “very military”, but he never served in the military. Decades later, he would find himself in a controversy after he criticized U.S. Senator John McCain for being captured and held prisoner during the Vietnam War. Trump didn’t regard McCain as a war hero, saying, “I like people that weren’t captured.”
Donald graduated from the NYMA in May, 1964. That fall, he enrolled at Fordham University. However, he stayed there for only two years before heading to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1968, he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in economics. Here we can see his senior yearbook picture from 1964. Not long after Trump declared his intent to run for the presidency, the New York Daily News ran this picture on the front page after his criticism of Senator McCain. The paper called out the medals on Trump’s uniform mockingly, saying they were awarded to him for “being neat” while at school.
This photo here is of Donald when he graduated from Wharton posing with his father, Fred Trump. He shared this photo on his Instagram account. Donald spoke about how his father had continued the success of his own father’s company, building and selling “thousands of houses, barracks, and apartments” in New York City. Three years later, Donald would be named president of his father’s company, E. Trump & Son. Eventually, they would rename the company the Trump Organization.
Another photo he shared on his Facebook page, Trump wrote, “#TBT With my father, Fred Trump, in Brooklyn,1975. A great Father’s Day gift—a stay at my 5-star hotel”. It was definitely a happy moment for the two. However, trouble lurked around the corner. That year, the Trumps settled a lawsuit from the Justice Department that their company systematically discriminated against potential renters who were African-Americans. The Justice Department claimed that the Trump Organization would screen out people based on their race rather than their economic status. As it turns out, this isn’t the first time the Trumps had to settle a case of racial discrimination. They were sued in 1969 by the management of a property they owned in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fred instructed that the lawsuit be settled quietly, according to new reports. Despite these setbacks, the business kept going along.
Father and Son
Donald Trump and his father were included in the initial richest Americans list by Forbes in 1982. This was due to the fact that the duo had a combined fortune of $200 million. In 1976, Fred set up trust funds of $1 million each of his kids and grandkids. Donald has said that he began his career with a “small loan of $1 million” from his father. Although, he would have had access to the fortune his father and grandfather built. However, if you were under the impression that Donald Trump would be happy with a measly $200 million fortune, you’d be mistaken.
Donald continued to accumulate a huge fortune throughout the 1980s. Eventually, he secured a spot on the Forbes billionaires list in 1989. Later, Forbes reporter Jonathan Greenberg revealed that he thought Trump was tricking him about his family’s wealth in order to make the list. Trump’s journey to the billionaire list was short-lived, however. From 1990-1995, business losses kept him off the list. In this picture, Trump shared a memory of his failed bid to build the New York City convention center. “#TBT As a young man when I proposed the Convention Center in New York City.”
As his fortune grew, Trump aimed to make his mark on New York City history by helping change the skyline. For years, he pushed for the development of Trump Tower. Eventually, it was approved and built. Construction was completed in 1983. Here we can see Trump holding the model of the Fifth Avenue complex where “one of the apartments will sell for $11 million and [Trump] claims four bidders – none of them Americans – are bidding for it.”
By 1978, Trump had launched the Manhattan real estate business that would later make him a billionaire. He bought a 50% stake in the rundown Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central Terminal. In 1980, the hotel was reopened as the Grand Hyatt Hotel, in partnership with the Hyatt hotel chain. At the time, however, Trump wasn’t all business. In 1977, he married the Czech model Ivana Zelníčková. The couple would end up having three kids together but would divorce in 1992 after Trump’s affair with Marla Maples.
In this photo, we see Donald proudly holding his first-born son, Donald Jr., in 1977. He and his wife, Ivana, had another two kids together; Ivanka, born in 1981, and Eric, born in 1984. While Trump was happily married and growing his family, tragedy struck. Fred Trump Jr., his brother, died in 1981 from his battle with alcoholism. Fred’s death would have a huge impact on Donald, who would, as a result, give up alcohol and cigarettes completely.
Trump bought the New Jersey Generals in 1983 which was a United States Football League team. That same year, Trump managed to lure Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker to the USFL. A couple of years later, in 1985, Trump got Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie. However, before the 1986 season, the USFL folded after losing an antitrust case against the more established National Football League. Not to mention Trump’s strategy of moving the league from its spring/summer schedule to directly compete with the NFL in the fall/winter.
‘The Art of the Deal’
In 1988, Donald created the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Initially, it was meant to be a way for Trump to give away proceeds from his most famous book, The Art of the Deal. In fact, the foundation’s tax returns do, in fact, show that it donated money to various healthcare and sports-related charities, as well as multiple conservative political groups. “Here with my father Fred, back in 1980. My hero, role model, and best friend. #TBT” Trump said about this photo he shared.
Wollman Rink Renovation
After plenty of bureaucracy, missing deadlines, and over-budgeting, the city of New York awarded Donald a contract to renovate Wollman Rink in Central Park in June 1986. By December that year, renovations were complete and Trump had left his mark on the popular attraction with his logo on the railing around the rink. Trump donated some of the profits to charity and other public works as well.
Trump’s father, Fred, passed away in 1999. At the time, Fred’s will divided $20 million among his surviving kids. Here we can see Trump along with his father outside the renovated skating rink in Central Park. Trump’s team captioned this photo, writing: “#PresidentTrump with his father Fred #Trump at the Wollman Rink in #CentralPark, #NYC – in 1987. #POTUS45 #ThrowbackThursday #TBT”
Trump’s second wife was Marla Maples. They first met in 1989 and started a much-publicized affair while he was still married to Ivana Trump. Marla and Donald would have one daughter together, Tiffany. She was named after the famous jewelry brand. To months after her birth in October 1993, Donald and Marla got married at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, which Trump has bought back in 1988. Eventually, he sold the hotel in 1995, but not before turning it from a three-star to a four-star hotel.
Donald shared another throwback photo, this one of his and his kids 20 years ago. He’s standing over Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric. Just like their father, the three would grow up to inherit plenty of weath and work for their father’s business. It seems like it was in good hands moving forward, right?
Here Donald is standing next to a model of “Television City”. This was a proposed vast commercial and residential complex in the Upper West Side neighborhood in Manhatten, along the Hudson River. Trump had hoped that the project would headquarter NBC News and other TV studios. The model in Trump’s hand was a proposed 150-story building as the area’s centerpiece. It would have been the tallest building in the world. However, things took a turn, not going as planned. First, came the critism of the development of the area, with multiple architecture critics saying the whole idea was “woefully simplistic” and had “little connection to the varied pattern of streets” of New York. In addition, people in the community didn’t approve of the plan when Trump doubled the area of the original idea. Later on, it spiraled out of control even more when Mayor Ed Koch agreed to provide tax breaks to NBC if it moved its studios there, but not to Trump himeslf. Of course, Trump resorted to name-calling which ended up in the tabloids.
If there’s a picture of Trump that would perfectly show him branching out of the business his grandfather and father created, this would be it. Here we see Trump just after the New York Board of Estimate approved a plan for him to buy and refurbish the abandoned Commodore Hotel in Manhatten. This was what allowed Trump to launch his real estate business. Naturally, it would be unfair to say Trump really ventured out on his own. He had a $70 million construction loan that was guaranteed by Fred Trump and the Hyatt Hotel chain (it would get its name on the building after the reconstruction). While Trump continues to claim he built the company all by himself, it’s more accurate to say he continued the success his grandfather and father had before him.
Trump Tower Completion
The same year that the Commodore Hotel takeover was finalized, the city also approved Trump’s rights to develop Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. To complete it, Trump hired undocumented Polish workers to demolish the old Bonwit Teller retailer flagship store, reportedly. That building was famous for its art-deco features and was originally marked for preservation by the city. Trump Tower took four years to finish. The final spaces opened in November, 1983. Nowadays, the building holds multiple residential and commercial spaces. The most famous being Trump’s own penthouse and the headquarters of the Trump Organization.
Trump Tower Opening
Here we have Trump with his friend and lawyer, Roy Cohn, at the opening of Trump Tower in 1983. These two have a long and fascinating history together. For one, Cohn represented Trump in a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department where Trump was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act at 39. It was said that he did so by quoting different rental terms, conditions, and making false “no vacancy” statements to African American tenants in order to keep them from renting his properties. Cohn’s countersiot was unsuccessful and Trump ended up settling the charges out of court in 1975. In 1978, Trump would be back in court for violating the terms of the 1975 settlement. However, it wasn’t only legal aid that Trump wanted from Cohn. It has been said that Donald has similar public ‘counterattacks’. This might help explain why Trump loves providing comments to the press – both positive and negative.
In 1984, this photo was taken of Trump posing inside Trump Tower. He told reporters, “What I have done is build the most beautiful buildings in the best locations.” In the 80s, Trump would make his mark on Wollman skating rink and the Plaza Hotel. In the beginning of the 1990s, he would help refurbish the Gulf and Western Building on Columbus Circle and the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building at 40 Wall Street. After an extensive renovation, it was renamed Trump Building. To top it off, Trump tried renaming the Empire State Building after he began buying shares of the building in 1994 to 2002. If he would have been able to buy a majority share, he wanted to rename it “Trump Empire State Building Tower Apartments.”
This picture was taken outside a federal court as Donald was leaving in 1986. If he looks unhappy, it’s because he had just agreed to pay a $750,000 penalty to settle an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. He hadn’t notified the government before buying over $15 million worth of voting stock in both Holiday Corp. and Bally Manufacturing Corp. Despite that being a large sum, at the time, Trump had things going well for him. These little setbacks in New York were easy to escape since he came into possession of a sprawling estate down in Palm Beach, Florida. Nowadays, it’s mainly known as Mar-a-Lago estate.
Apparently unfulfilled with his New York City aquisitions, Trump began putting his signature thumbprint on New Jersey. After the state legalized casino gambling in 1977, Trump looked to move in for business opportunities. In 1984, he opened Harrah’s at Trump Plaza hotel and casino. From the mid to late 1980s, he would buy a few more casino properties in Atlantic City. These acquisitions would eventually prove to be financially disasterous.
Here we have Donald and Fred Trump woth then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch in July 1982. The three looked so happy, but in just a few years, Trump would see that his attempts to get into the casino business in New Jersey wouldn’t turn a profit. As he was buying properties in Atlantic City, bad financial performances started piling up, leaving Trump with no choice but to sell off his money-losing airline, Trump Shuttle. Not to mention, he had to restructure debt and sell his mega-yacht, Trump Princess. By 1995, he consolidated all his casino properties under Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. It underwent bankruptcy restructuring in 2004 and 2009.
As it turns out, Trump’s gamble on Atlantic City casinos wasn’t the only failed attempt in New Jersey. Trump hired Walt Michaels as the Head Coach for Trump’s United States Football League team, the New Jersey Generals. Donald bought the Generals in 1983, hoping they would help turn the league into a major contender with the more established National Footbal League. However, he made one serious mistake while trying to run the league. A lot of the teams were losing money, but Trump wanted to move his team’s schedule from spring/summer to fall/winter to directly compete with the NFL. The USFL filed an antitrust suit against the NFL, won, but it was only awarded $1. It was a “victory in name only.” By that point, most teams weren’t able to maintain the costs of running their organizations or compete with the NFL’s schedule, so the league disbanded.
For those of you who are familiar with Donald Trump’s aesthetic preferences, you might recognize this as the interior of one his many properties. He does love gold. However, this was taken with his first wife, Ivana, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1987. You most likely know that Trump has a long history with the Soviet nation. This visit was an exploration of developing a hotel in Russia. He was invited by Ambassador Yuri Dubinin. In 1996, almost a decade later, Trump tried more real estate development deals. For years on end, Trump asserted that he had no business connections with Russia, however, that was found to be false when it was revealed Trump was after a deal to build a building in Moscow in June 2016. On top of that, it’s been found that he received considerable financial support after his bankruptcies in the 1990s from a source in Russia. Donald Trump Jr. said Russia made up “pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. … We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
While Donald Trump has fallen out of favor with Hollywood elites recently, once, he was prominent at red carpets all across the country. Can you blame him? He was a staple of New York’s elite class since he was born. He’s appeared in a few major films back in 1989, almost always as himself. Naturally, he became more of a star when NBC brought “The Donald” to host The Apprentice in 2003. The show became a huge hit and helped him coin his catchphrase, “You’re fired.” A spin-off of the show was made, The Celebrity Apprentice.
Nowadays, Trump often goes against celebrities who are critical of his governing style, but this wasn’t always the case. While Trump has distanced himself from some famous people throughout the years, one connection to a former friend has come back into the spotlight. Here we see a picture of Trump with Jeffrey Epstein in 1997 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. These two were friends for at least a decade, with Trump once saying to New York Magazine, “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Friends Like These
Trump’s comment about Jeffery liking women “on the younger side” has been very much scrutinized in 2019 after Epstein was arrested in July of the same year for sex trafficking of minors in both Florida and New York. Rumors about Epstein’s pedophilia have been around for decades. Trump and Epstein partied together a lot at Trump’s Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The two would end up having a falling out, however. Being wealthy financiers, they entered a bidding war in 2004 for the Maison de l’Amitie, or House of Friendship. The oceanfront Palm Beach was very sought after and it was Trump who outbit the competition. This seemed to upset Epstein since they haven’t spoken since. Just four years later, Trump sold the estated to Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev.
This official portrait for Donald Trump was taken in 1983. It brings us back to the time before he was in the headlines every day. This was taken the same year that Trump landed on the Forbes list of wealthy people since he had a share of the Trump company’s $200 million estimated fortune. Later on, his 1980s losses would result in him falling off the list, but as we know, he’s made a comback. The most recent ranking in 2019 by Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.1 billion (259th in the United States). However, he was the first billionare president. Forbes does claim now that Trump’s wealth fell 31% since he announced his presidential run.
While he was in the New York Military Academy, Donald participated in multiple school functions and teams. Here is a picture from the NYMA yearbook, where Trump is called the “Ladies’ Man,” next to a woman. In fact, it would take 50 years for the identity of the woman to be discovered. She turned out to be Fran Dunn, a secretary of the school. She was asked to appear in the picture with Trump. As we all know, Trump’s reputation as a ladies’ man will continue to grow throughout the years, with numerous scandals.