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Donald John Trump was born in Queens, New York, on June 14, 1946. His father, Fred Trump, was a real estate developer whose success coincided with America’s topsy-turvy postwar economics. The family, first full generation Americans, was close, strict, and focused on the family business. Donald’s father was of German heritage, and his mother, Mary McLeod, of Scottish background. Donald Trump, the second youngest of five, was reared in the excitement of real estate development and himself became the best-known entrepreneur in the United States.

Trump entered the New York Military Academy at age 13 and at 21 graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. Both institutions he reflects upon with gratitude. He was drawn at once into real estate and construction, which could almost be called his lifelong interest. Fred Trump stepped down as official head of the firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which was, under Donald Trump, renamed the Trump Organization. His first projects in real estate were achieved in close counsel with his father. The younger Trump began the shift from residential to commercial projects.

Donald Trump moved quickly into investments in Manhattan, with daring and nearly always complete success. He took an interest in the development of existing architecture, with an eye to historic preservation and the re-use of buildings that, it seemed, had long passed their prime. In the context of a New York that saw bulldozers as the city’s future, Trump was avant-garde. His first remarkable success was transforming the Grand Hyatt Hotel, an old hotel, into a splendid new hotel, richly styled and decorated. His renewed hotel altered the image of a declining neighborhood, which began to flourish.

Most famous of his projects was his Trump Tower, where Trump has lived since its completion. It is a lavishly designed building with colored marbles, glass, and every imaginable shopping opportunity within its walls. In the 1980s and 1990s Trump was involved in many development projects—hotels, apartment houses, and casinos—all over the United States, and was personally the object of both controversy and fascination. His endeavors expanded to a beauty pageant, sports events, and myriad other endeavors. He was a businessman who rode the tide of the economy. The most successful of his endeavors was The Apprentice, a television show about business personality and competition, filmed in his own TV studio in Trump Tower. With that long-running show Donald J. Trump became a household word. He was a risk-taker of the sort that stirs and stimulates the economy. Stories of his triumphs and storms are many.

Trump announced his intention to run for president in June 2015. His phenomenal rise through the primaries was built on a wave of popular interest in him. His public personality was aired in full: he was entertaining, often keeping his message beneath a veil of humor and extravagant commentary. Achieving the Republican nomination in July 2016, he was elected president of the United States in November. He will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2017.

This article was originally published November 9, 2016

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