A brief biography of the New President and First Lady
President Donald J. Trump
Donald Trump is now the 45th President of the United States. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School, where he studied economics, he’s a prominent real estate developer, a billionaire who dabbles in Beauty Pageants, and a popular reality TV celebrity thanks to his role on his wildly successful shows, The Apprentice, and Celebrity Apprentice.
He’s now married to First Lady Melania Trump, and his previous wives are Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. He has two daughters, including the lovely Ivanka, whose husband is now a high ranking Trump Administration advisor, and three sons—-his two oldest will, in a controversial move, run his business empire during his tenure as President.
Donald Trump has been described by a wide range of adjectives: rash, lovable, arrogant, straight talking, manipulative, charming, inappropriate, patriotic, romantic, sexually-charged, predatory. Clearly he is different things to different people. To his loyal followers, he is a brilliant business-man, a leader of great ability, a master negotiator, a charming straight-shooting truth-teller, and the potential savior of the nation. To his detractors he is a neo-fascist bigot, an opportunist, a charlatan, a con-man, a hypocrite, and a shallow, low-brow bully. It’s quite remarkable how there are two Trumps, perhaps reflecting a deeply divided nation.
He was born in Queens, the fourth of five children, to a wealthy family of German and Scottish descent. Trump’s father, Frederich Christ Trump, was a successful real estate developer in Queens, a borough of New York City, who impressed upon his sons the importance of hard work, and an over riding need to always win, perhaps to an extreme degree. His older brother, Fred Jr., died tragically of alcoholism.
During his formative years Trump attended the New York Military Academy, from which he eventually graduated. He thrived on the discipline of the military model, and excelled in that strict environment, attaining the rank of Captain However, he was transferred from a command position following a hazing incident involving boys under his command, which Trump referred to as a promotion.
After military school Trump attended Fordham University for two years, then transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also worked and trained in the family business under the tutelage of his demanding but accomplished father. During his University years, at the height of the Vietnam War, Donald Trump received four deferments from military service, eventually pulling a high draft number, making compulsory service unlikely. In 1971 he assumed management of the family business, just three years after graduating from Wharton.
Trump took his real estate business to Manhattan, where he enjoyed success, and contributed to the development of the growing New York skyline. He also expanded into several other businesses, including Casinos, some of which failed disastrously. Considered too valuable as a pitch man, and two big to fail, his bankers kept the flamboyant young businessman afloat, and so he rode out the crisis. He also benefitted from controversial tax laws which permitted him to write off a huge business loss for many years. Trump’s company has built some prominent real estate projects in New York and all over the world. However, his “Trump University” project, which offered real estate training to ordinary folks, has been widely criticized, and subject to legal action. In 2016 Forbes estimated his net worth at 4.5 billion dollars, ranking him as the 113th most wealthy American.
First Lady Melania Trump
The new First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, was was born Melanija Knavs, in Slovenia, part of the former Yugoslavia, but changed her name to the Germanized ‘Melania Knauss’ before embarking on her modeling career. She has the great distinction of speaking six languages, including Serbo-Croatian, French, Italian, German, and Slovene (her native language.)
She attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljanaone, and one year of classes at the University of Ljubljana.Her mother was a pattern maker at a children’s clothing manufacturer in Sevnica. Her father, a hard line Marxist-Leninist, managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned manufacturer in Slovenia, and prevented her from receiving religious instruction or Baptism, due to his strong communist/atheist beliefs, much to the surprise of the extended family, which came from a Roman Catholic background (in the U.S. she later married in a church and discovered her religious faith.)
Melania began working as a a child model at the age of 5, building her portfolio while she went through school, eventually working with some well known photographers in her native land. She signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy at the age of 18. Her modeling career steadily grew, and following her year in University she worked on several shoots in Italy and France, before moving to New York City in 1996. She had to frequently travel back and forth between New York and Slovenia because, due to her Slovenian citizenship, her work Visas only lasted one year.
Her move to the U.S. proved fortuitous. She did well as a model, gracing the cover of many prominent fashion magazines, and appearing in a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue. No doubt her extreme beauty, exotic manner, and high profile career in fashion caught the eye of New York Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump. They first met at a Fashion Week party in New York City in 1998, during his separation with Marla Maples—-Melania declined to give him her phone number.
After a furtive and tenuous start, their relationship blossomed, steadily moving into the public sphere following an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, and following Trump’s run for President as a reform party candidate in 2000, and due to the fame that came with Trump’s popular role on The Apprentice in 2004. The couple were engaged in 2004, and married in 2005, in an Anglican ceremony (no more Marxist-Leninist atheism for Melania, who now embraced Christianity.) At their star-studded wedding Melania wore a $200,000 Christian-Dior dress, designed by John Galliano.
Photo: By U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Released. Unit: HQMC Combat Camera – https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1892813/mc-lef-20th-annual-semper-fidelis-gala, Public Domain, Link
Photo: By Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library – “Photos show Donald Trump in military uniform, with athletic teams before dodging the Vietnam draft with ‘bull—t’ injury”, <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/photos-show-trump-military-garb-dodging-draft-article-1.2298248″>New York Daily News</a> (July 21, 2015), Public Domain, <a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50311394″>Link</a>