Donald Trump elected US president: 6 things to know about his shock victory

Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on Nov 9, 2016.
Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on Nov 9, 2016.PHOTO: AFP
New US President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters along with his wife Melania and family.
New US President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters along with his wife Melania and family. PHOTO: REUTERS

Newly minted US President-elect Donald Trump has shocked the world by emerging triumphant after one of the most fractious election battles in recent memory.

The 70-year-old billionaire beat former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House.

Here are six things about his history-making path to the White House.

1. No political baggage

Mr Trump is the first political outsider to get elected to the Oval Office. The real estate tycoon has zero experience as a governor or in Congress - a stark contrast to Mrs Clinton's public service record that stretches back to 2001.

What he does possess, however, is a chain of casinos and hotels that no previous president can boast of.

 

Always eager to trumpet his keen business sense and ability to cut a good deal, Mr Trump had also previously argued that his lack of ties to the Washington establishment puts him in a good position among working-class Americans.

2. Oldest US president

Having celebrated his 70th birthday in July, Mr Trump is now the oldest ever US president. He surpasses the previous record held by Ronald Reagan, who was 69 when he took office.

In contrast, Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama was 47 when he became president, and was the fifth-youngest president in history.

3. Against overwhelming odds

Nearly every poll just before Election Day put Mr Trump at a disadvantage, with a Reuters-Ipsos State of the Nation poll giving Mrs Clinton a 90 per cent chance of becoming the country's first US woman president.

But despite his brash talking style, lack of a coherent policy and unpopularity among women due to allegations of sexual assault, he still managed to win over voters.

Theories of how he managed to upset the status quo have been bandied about, including how voters were not admitting to pollsters that they would be voting for Mr Trump, and how many white working-class voters had come out at this election to support him.

4. Richest ever US president

Mr Trump, who Forbes estimated has a net worth of US$3.7 billion (S$5.2 billion) in 2016, is the richest man ever to become US president.

The next richest is the US founding president George Washington at US$525 million. Washington owned a plantation in Virginia consisting of 8,000 acres (3,240ha) of prime farmland, while his wife Martha inherited significant property from her father.

5. Campaign spending

Mr Trump has proven to be quite possibly the most frugal - in terms of spending - of all winning candidates during a presidential campaign.

Up to July, Federal Election Commission records showed he spent US$91 million on his campaign, less than half of Mrs Clinton's spending of US$275 million.

While there was a spike in his spending in August - up from US$18.5 million to US$30 million - it still fell short of Mrs Clinton's US$50 million in the same month.

6. New York v New York

The battle between Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton was the first presidential contest between New Yorkers since New York governor Thomas Dewey faced off against incumbent Franklin Roosevelt in 1944.

Mr Trump, who prevailed despite losing New York to Mrs Clinton, is the first New Yorker to take office in 71 years.