Motivated by Revenge (07:04)
This episode of “Frontline” examines the life and political rise of President Donald Trump. Trump pulled off one of the greatest political upsets in American history with his election in 2016; and he may have been motivated to run by his public humiliation at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011.
Trump Household (03:53)
Trump grew up in a posh suburb of New York. His father, real estate developer Fred Trump, was passionate about business, but cold towards his children; he did not tolerate losing. The future president was precocious and prone to outbursts as a child.
Military Academy (02:51)
Trump’s father tired of his antics and sent him to the New York Military Academy. Trump enjoyed the structure of boarding school; he was a star athlete, and he was named “Ladies’ Man” in the school yearbook.
Housing Discrimination (05:33)
Trump moved from Queens to Manhattan in the early 1970s. He chose as his mentor Roy Cohn, a lawyer made famous by his participation in Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunts of the 1950s. Cohn defended Trump and his father against a lawsuit in 1973.
Trump Tower (03:13)
Trump surprised the construction world by putting a woman, Barbara Res, in charge of this project. He handled marketing and inflated the number of his floors in his new building, a practice he called “truthful hyperbole.”
Trump's Star Rises (03:34)
Trump Tower made Trump a celebrity. He reaped the rewards of stardom and went on a spending spree, buying casinos, hotels, yachts and an airline. “He was spending money like a like a drunken sailor,” Midlantic National Bank’s Ben Berzin says.
Early Presidential Aspirations (03:31)
Trump contemplated running for president as early as the late 1980s, formulating views on NATO, trade, and other issues that would later resurface. He loved the attention and inserted himself into controversial issues, calling for the execution of the Central Park Five, black teens that had been falsely accused of raping a white jogger.
For months, the tabloids reported every detail of Trump’s affair with 26-year-old Marla Maples and his divorce from his wife, Ivana. Trump felt that even this negative coverage enhanced his brand.
Taj Mahal Casino (03:50)
The casino's revenue stream was poor, and Trump's other investments had not fared much better. Financial analyst Marvin Roffman explains why Wall Street analysts were concerned. In response, Trump criticized Roffman and demanded an apology; the analyst was fired when he refused.
Deep in Debt (04:31)
Trump and his companies owed more than $3 billion. The banks came to believe his assets were worth more with his name on them than in foreclosure. The mogul sold shares in his casinos, paying himself $44 million and losing investors billions.
"The Apprentice" (03:04)
Trump walked away with a key asset: his name. He used his celebrity to sell everything from computers to hamburgers, and he even took a turn as a professional wrestler. He was a punchline about the excesses and failures of the 1980s until NBC-TV gave him an opportunity to rehabilitate his image.
Birther Movement (04:47)
Trump again began discussing a White House run as “The Apprentice” took off. He became more popular among his followers as he promoted a conspiracy theory: that President Barack Obama had secretly been born in Kenya, and that he had faked his birth certificate.
Launch of Presidential Run (03:47)
Trump announced he would run for president at Trump Tower in 2015. He ranted against Mexican immigrants during a rambling speech. Many initially thought it was a publicity stunt; but, five years after being humiliated by President Obama, Trump came to the White House as his successor.
Credits: President Trump (01:05)
Credits: President Trump
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