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Donald Trump Jr.

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Donald Trump Jr.
DJT Jr cropped shadowing fix.jpg
Trump Jr. in October 2016
Born Donald John Trump Jr.
(1977-12-31) December 31, 1977 (age 40)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Other names Don Jr.
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania (BS)
  • Businessman
  • television personality
Known for Executive in the Trump Organization
Former boardroom judge on The Apprentice
Political party Republican[1]
Spouse(s) Vanessa Haydon (m. 2005)
Children 5
Parent(s) Donald Trump
Ivana Zelníčková
Relatives See Trump family

Donald John Trump Jr. (born December 31, 1977) is an American businessman and former reality television personality. He is the eldest child of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his first wife, Ivana.

Trump Jr. is a fourth generation businessman who followed in the footsteps of his great-grandmother Elizabeth Trump (who founded what became the Trump Organization), grandfather Fred Trump, and father. He currently works alongside his brother Eric as a trustee and executive director of a trust that controls The Trump Organization. The trust was established to oversee all his father's assets during the latter's presidency.

Trump Jr. campaigned for his father's presidential campaign. Since his father's victory, he has developed a "public persona as a right-wing provocateur and ardent defender of Trumpism."[2] He has faced criticism following the 2017 revelation of a meeting with a Russian lawyer, with the promise of receiving damaging information about the campaign of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.[3][4][5]

Early life and education

Trump Jr. was born on December 31, 1977, in Manhattan, New York City, to Ivana and Donald Trump. He has two younger siblings, Ivanka and Eric. He also has two half siblings, Tiffany, from his father's marriage to Marla Maples, and Barron, from his father's current marriage to Melania Trump. As a boy, Trump Jr. found a role model in his maternal grandfather, Miloš Zelníček, who had a home near Prague, where he spent summers camping, fishing, hunting and learning the Czech language.[6]

During childhood, Trump Jr. encountered reporters who asked him about his parents' widely publicized divorce. To protect her children, Ivana Trump sent them to boarding school.[7] Trump Jr. was educated at Buckley School[8][9] and The Hill School, a college preparatory boarding school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, followed by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School (which his father attended), where he earned a B.S. degree in Economics.[10]



After graduating from Penn in 2000, Trump moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he hunted, fished, skied, lived in a truck, and worked as a bartender for a year, before returning to join the Trump Organization in New York. Trump has supervised building projects, which included 40 Wall Street, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Park Avenue.[7] He appeared as a guest adviser and judge on many episodes of his father's reality television show The Apprentice, from season 5 in 2006 to his father's last season in 2015.

On January 11, 2017, his father announced that he and his brother Eric would oversee a trust that included the Trump Organization assets while his father was President, in order to avert a conflict of interest.[11]


Trump Jr. campaigning for his father in Iowa, November 2016

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump Jr. campaigned for his father.[12] The New York Times characterized him as "a close political adviser to his father".[13] The New York Times also said "Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump—the children from the elder Trump’s first marriage, to Ivana Trump—all spoke at the Republican National Convention and have been key players in their father’s White House run".[13] Some members of his father's campaign nicknamed him "Fredo", a reference to Fredo Corleone, a fictional character from The Godfather.[14]

In December 2016, the Wall Street Journal and Politico reported that Trump Jr. influenced his father's choice of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.[15][16]

In April 2017, he campaigned for Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte,[17] and in May met with Republican National Committee officials to discuss the party’s strategy and resources.[18]

Veselnitskaya meeting

On June 9, 2016, Trump Jr. attended a meeting arranged by publicist Rob Goldstone on behalf of Emin Agalarov.[19] The meeting was held in Trump Tower in Manhattan, between three members of the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign: Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort – and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, her translator Anatoli Samochornov, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian-American, U.S.-based senior vice president at Crocus Group, the real estate development company run by Aras Agalarov.[19]

Approximately a year later, Trump Jr. initially told the media that adoption of Russian children was the main subject of the meeting.[20] On July 8, 2017, Trump Jr. tweeted his email exchange with Goldstone. It revealed that Trump Jr. had agreed to attend the meeting with the understanding he would receive information damaging to Hillary Clinton, which he considered opposition research.[21][better source needed] Goldstone also wrote in one of Trump Jr.'s publicly-disclosed emails that the Russian government was involved.[21] Robert Mueller, the special counsel of the Department of Justice in charge of Russia-related investigations, is investigating the emails and the meeting.[22] Although the White House lauded Trump Jr. for his transparency, he released the e-mails only after The New York Times informed him that they had the them and were going to publish a story about them.[23]

Correspondence between Trump and WikiLeaks

In November 2017, news broke that that Julian Assange used the WikiLeaks Twitter account to corresponded with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential election. Trump Jr. had already provided this correspondence to congressional investigators who were looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[24][25][26]

The correspondence shows how WikiLeaks actively solicited the cooperation of Trump Jr., who was a campaign surrogate and advisor in the campaign of his father. WikiLeaks urged the Trump campaign to reject the results of the 2016 presidential election at a time when it looked as if the Trump campaign would lose. WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to share a false claim by Assange that Hillary Clinton had wanted to attack him with drones. WikiLeaks also shared a link to a site that would help people to search through WikiLeaks documents. Trump Jr. shared both.[24][25]

Other notable activities


In 2011, Trump Jr. responded to criticism of the Tea Party movement by Florida Representative Frederica Wilson by confusing Wilson with California Representative Maxine Waters and saying that her colorful hats made her look like a stripper.[27]

During his father's presidential campaign, Trump Jr. caused controversy when he posted an image that compared refugees to Skittles, saying "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."[13][28][29] The makers of Skittles condemned the tweet, saying "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy."[29][13]

Another controversy arose when Trump Jr. retweeted remarks by psychologist Kevin B. MacDonald about alleged favors exchanged by Hillary Clinton and Switzerland's largest bank (McDonald has been accused of anti-semitism for some of his writings).[13] On the campaign trail, Trump Jr. promoted Alex Jones' conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton wore an earpiece to a presidential forum[30][31][32] and that official unemployment rates were manipulated for political purposes.[33]

In September 2016, Trump Jr. cited Holocaust imagery to criticize what he perceived as the mainstream media's seemingly uncritical coverage of Hillary Clinton during her campaign, by "letting her slide on every discrepancy", while also accusing Democrats involved in the 2016 campaign of lying. Trump Jr. said if the Republicans were committing the same offences mainstream outlets would be "...warming up the gas chamber right now."[34][35] Also that month, Trump Jr. shared an image on Instagram depicting a cross between his father and Pepe the Frog. When asked on Good Morning America about Pepe the Frog and its associations with white supremacy, Trump Jr. said he had never heard of Pepe the Frog and thought it was just a "frog with a wig."[36]


In March, Trump Jr. criticized the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, after the 2017 Westminster attack, which in turn led British lawmakers to criticize Trump Jr.[37][38][39][40] British journalists said that Trump Jr. had quoted Khan out of context when he criticized him.[39][40] Khan did not respond to the criticism, saying he had "far more important things" to do.[38] In April, Trump Jr. lauded Mike Cernovich, who promoted the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory, saying, "In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he'd win the Pulitzer".[41][42] In May, Trump Jr. promoted what CNN called the "long-debunked, far-right conspiracy theory" that Bill Clinton was linked to Vince Foster's death.[43] In November, Trump Jr. again promoted the conspiracy theory that the Clintons murdered people.[44]

In September, Trump Jr. asked to have his Secret Service detail removed, telling friends he wanted more privacy. The request was criticized by former Secret Service agents.[45] Trump Jr.'s protection was restored later that month.[46]

On October 31, Trump Jr. tweeted that he would take away half of his three-year-old daughter's Halloween candy because, he wrote, "it’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism".[47]

On November 7, Trump Jr. issued two tweets, urging voters in Virginia's gubernatorial election to vote "tomorrow", the day after the election.[48]


In February 2018, advertisements in Indian newspapers promoted a deal whereby anyone who purchased Trump Organisation apartments in Gurgaon before February 20 would be invited to have a "conversation and dinner" with Trump Jr. The ads were criticized by corruption watchdogs as unethical.[49][50]

On February 20, Trump Jr. liked two tweets promoting a conspiracy theory that survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting were coached into propagating anti-Trump rhetoric.[51][52]

Personal life

Trump Jr. married model Vanessa Kay Haydon on November 12, 2005, at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida; the service was officiated by Trump Jr's aunt, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.[53] Haydon is the daughter of Bonnie and Charles Haydon,[54] and is of half Jewish and half Danish descent (granddaughter of Danish jazz musician Kai Ewans).[55][56][57][58] She is an alumna of the Dwight School[59] and studied psychology at New York's Marymount Manhattan College.[54] They have five children (two daughters and three sons), born between 2007 and 2014.[60]

In 2010, Trump Jr. took pictures during an African hunting trip. Controversy erupted when the pictures surfaced in 2012. In one photo, Trump Jr. has his arms around an endangered, dead leopard, and in another, he is holding a knife in one hand and a bloody elephant tail in the other. Although the hunt was legal, many people were outraged by the mockery of dead animals. At least one sponsor dropped his father's TV show The Celebrity Apprentice.[61] On Earth Day in 2017, Trump Jr. hunted prairie dogs in Montana, where it is legal, with GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte.[62] Controversy over Trump Jr.'s big game hunting surfaced again in November 2017, following the Trump administration's decision to allow "importing elephant heads, feet and other body parts severed as trophies after the animals are shot for sport in Zimbabwe."[63] Within hours, President Trump reversed the decision to allow elephant trophies imported from Zambia and Zimbabwe, pending further review.[64]


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External links

  • Donald Trump Jr. on Facebook
  • Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter
  • Donald Trump Jr. on Instagram
  • Donald Trump Jr. on IMDb
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • New York Times: "A Name He Can Build On"
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