Sunday 21 January 2018

Dissecting Donald: six things that helped define him

Ivana and Donald Trump
Ivana and Donald Trump
Trump chopper

The key things that helped to define the Republican candidate, including bling, money and three wives.

The childhood

Donald Trump likes to boast about his entrepreneurial zeal, risk-taking and how he changed the face of US real estate, but he is less keen on talking about his 'silver-spoon' upbringing. His is no rags-to-riches fairytale, having been born into fabulous wealth in Queens, New York, in 1946. His father, Frederick, was a hugely successful property developer who specialised in the construction of apartment blocks for middle-income families, and it was his example that encouraged Trump to jump into the high-end property market when he finished college with a degree in economics.

The towers

Although Frederick Trump was clearly living the American Dream, his son Donald wanted to go further - and higher - with his real-estate empire. Parts of Manhattan may not have been the most hospitable of places in the 1970s, but Trump had big ambitions to build skyscrapers to change its fortunes - and his. To that end, he was happy to buy up and demolish much-loved buildings, including the Bonwit Teller department store. His 58-floor Trump Tower (right), completed in 1983, stands there now, next door to Tiffany's - another New York institution.

The bling

Trump has never been shy of ostentation, in fact, he has wallowed in it and he was indulging a love of bling while today's gold-encrusted rappers were still in nappies. There's the gold-plated apartment on the top floors of the Trump Tower, valued at $100m, the palatial homes scattered throughout the US, the private jets that have whisked him from one contentious convention to the next on this presidential campaign, and a host of golf courses bearing the Trump name including the links course and resort at Doonbeg, Co Clare.

The billions

The most trusted independent arbiter of wealth, Forbes, estimates that Trump's net worth right now is $4.5bn, making him the 113th richest billionaire in the US. His fortune has come primarily from real estate - from high-end apartment buildings in New York to hotels in Florida and golf clubs in Scotland, Ireland and further afield. His decade-long run as presenter of The Apprentice reality TV show helped add to the coffers and make Trump a household name celebrity - a perfect platform for launching a bid for the White House.

The wives

Trump has been married three times. His first marriage (1977 - 1991) was to the Czech model and socialite Ivana Zelnícková (right) and the couple had three children together - Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric. The second (1993 - 1999) was to the actress and TV presenter Marla Maples and they had a daughter, Tiffany, named after the legendary jewellers located next to Trump Tower. The third (2005 to present) is to the Slovenian born model Melania Knauss. They have a son, Barron, whom Melania likes to call "mini-Donald".

The hair

Trump's golden locks and gravity-defying hairdo have aroused more intrigue and contempt than Boris Johnson's and Francois Hollande's garnets put together. It's a distinctive look that has been lampooned for years, yet Trump seems happy to stick with a style that's roughly the same as the one he sported in the 1970s. Some say he must uses ozone-layer-damaging quantities of hairspray to keep it in place, but in 2011, he shared his style secrets with Rolling Stone: "OK, what I do is, wash it with Head and Shoulders. I don't dry it, though. I let it dry by itself. It takes about an hour. Then I read papers and things. I then comb my hair. Yes, I do use a comb."

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