Meet the Candidates: Current President of the United States, Donald Trump

Ishaan Srivastava, Contributing Writer

Early Life and Education: 

Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York to real estate mogul Fred Trump and his wife Mary MacLeod Trump. Trump grew up in a large household with 3 siblings when he was born and one more a few years later. Trump fondly remembers growing up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood and better remembers his father throughout his childhood. Trump’s father enrolled him in New York military academy when he was 13 where he had completed his schooling. At age 18, in 1964, he enrolled in Fordham but then transferred to Wharton school of the University of Pennsylvania two years later after which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in economics in 1968. 

Pre-Political and Business Career:

After graduating, Trump decided to follow his father’s steps and enter the real estate business, joining his dad’s company. He became President of the company in 1971 and took quick action in changing big parts of the company, most notably renaming it “The Trump Organization,” which still bears the name to this day.

He married Czech model and fashion designer Ivana Trump in 1977 and had three kids with her, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. In 1987, Trump published his now famous book, “The Art of the Deal”. Trump divorced his wife Ivana in 1992 and married actress Marla Maples the following year, with whom he had one daughter, Tiffany. Trump would eventually go on to divorce Maples in 1999. In 2004, after several business and real estate dealings, Trump decided to enter the world of reality television when he started “The Apprentice.” It was a wide success and garnered millions of viewers during its tenure with Trump as its host. In 2005, Trump married Slovenian model Melania Trump and had a son, Barron, with her in 2006. 

Political Career: 

Trump always flirted with the idea of a presidential run throughout the 80’s and 90’s and even unsuccessfully sought for the Reform party’s nomination for president in 2000 but dropped out. Trump was touted as a potential Republican nominee in 2012 after becoming increasingly more politically involved and criticizing President Obama during his tenure as President. 

In 2015, after months and years of speculation, Donald Trump launched his campaign for the Republican nomination on June 15, 2015 at Trump tower and ran on the message of “Making America Great Again.” His campaign was initially seen as a joke, and many of his Republican competitors criticized him for his controversial remarks and views. Trump, however, was very successful through the primaries and every Republican vying for the nomination dropped out of the presidential race by May 3, 2016 including Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich, making Trump the presumptive nominee surprising much of the party. 

Trump announced governor Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate on July 5, 2016. Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President a couple of weeks later on July 21, 2016. Despite the circumstances, Donald Trump became President-Elect Trump on Nov. 8, 2016, beating opponent Hillary Clinton, once again surprising much of the nation just like his primary win just months earlier. 

President of the United States: 

President Trump, with his running mate Mike Pence, was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017 and immediately got to work. One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to fill Justice Antonin Saclia’s Supreme Court seat, which he did, after confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in April of 2017, landing an early victory in his presidency. He also went on to confirm Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, after a dirty confirmation battle, and recently confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barret to the courts, sparking controversy due to the proximity to the election. 

Trump did however have a hard time assembling his cabinet with Democrats in the senate filibustering his various appointments. Trump’s cabinet is better known for the number of officials he fired including chiefs of staff, Secretaries of State, and other administration officials.throughout his term, Trump also kept several promises including creating four million new jobs, confirming more circuit and federal judges than any new administration, working to prevent illegal immigration, and beginning the construction of his border wall in 2019, after a long fight with Democrats and a government shutdown. 

The first term of the Trump presidency will also be remembered for its foreign policy. He pursued diplomatic relations with North Korea after a long back and forth with its leader: He had several summits with them and became the first U.S. president to set foot in North Korea. The President also pulled out of the Paris agreement, following the announcement on June 1, 2017 and drew criticism for that. In 2018, Trump also announced the United States withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, as part of his tough stance against the nation. 

In Jan. 2020 Trump ordered a military strike on one of Iran’s top military leaders, Qasem Soleimani, stoking already increasing fears on the global stage for its response. Iran responded with an airstrike on an American base in Iraq, in which soldiers got concussions and some had minor brain damage. However, Trump dismissed the wounds as “not very serious injuries.” 

Much of Trump’s tenure will be associated with the Russia investigation which accuses Trump of allegedly colluding with Russia to help benefit him in the 2016 campaign. Special counsel Robert Muller conducted an investigation from 2017 to 2019. In Sept. of 2019, a whistleblower accused President Trump of allegedly asking the President of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine, after threatening to withhold military aid to the country if he didn’t. This complaint prompted a reluctant Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president and then impeach him in December 2019. Trump’s trial began in Jan. and quickly wrapped up the following month when he was acquitted of both charges. 

It was during President Trump’s impeachment that the biggest issue of his presidency came up, the COVID-19 virus. Trump restricted foreign travel from mainland China in Feb and Europe in March. Trump has been criticized however, for downplaying the virus initially. On Feb. 26, 2020 Trump announced that Vice President Pence would lead the administration’s response to the virus. On Mar. 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency in response to the virus which was already causing an economic recession. President Trump also announced a suspension of all American funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Apr. 14, accusing WHO and other similar organizations of taking advantage of U.S aid. 

Trump worked with congress in March on a relief package to support Americans amid the pandemic by signing the $2 trillion CARES act on March 27, which gave Americans direct payments of $1200, provided relief to small businesses, and supported States and Tribes across the country. Following the shut down of most of the country, Trump has been working to reopen the country in order to protect jobs and prevent layoffs. The president has been called out, however, for disregarding many COVID protocols in the reopening process. 

On Oct. 2, the President announced that he and the First Lady both tested positive for COVID-19, and Trump was taken to Walter Reed Medical center later that afternoon following reports of experiencing fatigue. Trump has since fully recovered from the virus. He has been criticized for holding campaign rallies so soon after testing positive for the coronavirus, however his doctors have said that he had tested negative for the virus for his first rallies. 

Stances and plans for a second term:

Trump is currently running for reelection  and has stuck with much of his platform from 2016, but has added some major proposals to his plan for his second term. According to the Trump campaign website, he plans on creating 10 million new jobs in 10 months especially with the rising unemployment rate during the COVID recession. He wants to provide “Made in America,” tax credits for manufacturing in America, and work to create new trade deals to create more jobs. Trump would also use his second term to “Eradicate COVID-19” by developing a vaccine by the end of 2020, “Return to Normal,” by 2021, and refill stockpiles to prepare for the occurrence of future pandemics. Trump plans to take on China in his second term by restricting federal contracts to companies who outsource to China, give tax credits to companies who bring back jobs from China. In terms of healthcare, Trump plans on cutting prescription drug prices, lowering healthcare premiums, and covering all pre-existing conditions. Along with the major issues, president Trump also wants to provide school choice, pass congressional term limits, fully fund and hire more police officers, end illegal immigration, launch the space force, bring our troops home, and appoint more federal judges to the courts. 

President Trump is a strong and powerful force in American politics today and no matter if he wins his reelection or not, the Trump presidency will be remembered for things ranging from his cabinet, to his impeachment, to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic for many years and decades to come.