Donald Trump is one of the more unorthodox presidents in American history, but he shares at least one trait with some of the Founding Fathers: He was raised by a wealthy landowner.
Fred Trump found success with the construction of single-family homes in the Queens and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City through the Great Depression, and after Donald's birth in 1946, he began taking on large residential complexes, eventually stamping his name on the 4,600-family Trump Village in Coney Island.
It was Donald and not the first son, Freddy, who inherited the patriarch's eye for detail and business sensibilities, and upon graduating from UPenn's Wharton School in 1968 he went to work for his old man.
For all the similarities, there was one major difference between the two: a self-made man, Fred valued every penny and lectured that there was "no elevator to success." For Donald, who often gazed at the Manhattan skyline from his outer-borough perch, an elevator was barely fast enough to propel him to his dreams of glitz and glamour.
Donald fought his way to the top in the 1980s
The younger Trump got his first taste of publicity in 1973 when the Trump Organization was slapped with a federal lawsuit for discriminatory rental policies. He fought back with a countersuit that accused the government of misleading statements. The Trumps were eventually forced to run ads declaring they welcomed minority tenants, yet Donald continued to insist that the suit was settled without any admission of wrongdoing.
As an aging Fred scaled back his day-to-day involvement, Donald happily seized the chance to transform the Trump brand into a major player in Manhattan real estate. He completed the conversion of the old Commodore Hotel on 42nd St. into the Grand Hyatt in 1980, and that year he also began construction of what would become his landmark home, Trump Tower.
By the mid-1980s, Trump had seemingly fulfilled his high-reaching dreams. He had expanded his reach to the casinos of Atlantic City and displayed impressive clout by righting the ship on the endlessly delayed renovation of Central Park's Wollman Rink. He also was the father to Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric with wife, former Czech model Ivana Zelnickova, and splurged on the purchase of the 100-plus-room winter palace of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
But by the '90s, his professional and personal lives began to crumble
Over time, Donald's taste for excess seemed to be catching up with him. The big blunder was the 1988 purchase of the sprawling Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, a curious move since he already owned two of the area's casinos. As expected, the businesses suffered in direct competition with one another, and in 1991, one year after the Taj Mahal opened, Trump filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Further compounding matters was the familial damage brought by a wandering eye. Ivana and Trump's mistress, Marla Maples, famously butted heads during a ski vacation in late 1989, and within a few weeks, the drama of the Trumps' separation was playing out in the tabloid.
After finalizing his divorce from Ivana in 1992, Trump married Maples and had a daughter, Tiffany, the following year. His attempt to revive his businesses gained some traction with the reformulated Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts and purchase of 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.
A turbulent decade closed with the death of his father and another divorce, though Trump found some consolation the arms of a new beauty queen, Slovenian model Melania Knauss.
He returned to prominence via 'The Apprentice'
The second act of Donald began with the January 2004 launch of his hit TV reality show The Apprentice. It was a perfect fit for a natural showman, who now had a national platform to portray himself as a commanding executive who boasted a wealth of business knowledge.
The exposure was a boon for his brand, with Trump attaching his name to a mortgage company, a magazine, a for-profit university, food and beverage items, and a series of lucrative licensing deals with luxury housing complexes.
Furthermore, the professional resurgence ushered in an era of family unity. Trump married Melania in 2005, and along with becoming a father again with the birth of son Barron, he welcomed Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric into the fold as executives of the Trump Organization.
In true Trump fashion, the grown-up children began appearing on The Apprentice and leveraging the famous name for their own brands. By 2010, Melania was getting in on the act too, enjoying success through her partnership on a jewelry line with QVC.
He announced his candidacy for president in June 2015
Meanwhile, Trump's attention began turning to a new platform for power. By 2011, he was regularly appearing on Fox News and establishing himself as an antagonist of President Barack Obama.
Although he ruled out running for president in 2012, Trump continued to make his presence felt at conservative gatherings. He publicly endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney and cultivated relationships across the spectrum of right-wing politics, from insiders like RNC chairman Reince Priebus to more extreme figures like Breitbart co-founder Steve Bannon.
On June 16, 2015, Trump appeared in the lobby of Trump Tower with his wife and children to officially announce his 2016 presidential bid. He was about to embark on an unlikely third act, one that would again alter the history of the Trump family, and this time take the rest of the country along for the ride.