Donald Trump announces bid for presidency: 10 things about the business magnate

Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - After tiptoeing on the fringes of American politics for years, maverick real estate mogul Donald Trump finally announced his intention to tango on Tuesday.

Mr Trump often spoke about running for the White House but had never formally joined the race, until now.

In his typical flamboyant fashion, the Republican launched his presidential bid from the foot of Trump Tower, becoming the 16th - and wealthiest - White House hopeful to join next year's race.

Armed with his slogan "Make America Great Again", the eccentric 69-year-old promised to build a "great, great wall" on the country's south border and tackle the problem of unemployment.

Here are 10 things to know about Mr Trump.

1. So rich he can fund his fund his own campaign

During his announcement, Mr Trump claimed his total net worth was US$8.73 billion (S$11.8 billion) - more than twice that of the US$4.1 billion estimated by Forbes.

According to a statement, a large chunk of his fortune is from real esate licensing deals, brand and branded developments. He also has US$302.3 million in cash on hand.

2. He made his fortune from a fortune

After graduating in 1968, Mr Trump reportedly worked for his father, a real estate developer who owned US$250 million worth of property, for five years.

He sealed his first major property deal in 1974 and hit the big time at the age of 34 when he bought the ageing Commodore Hotel. It was redesigned into the now-iconic Grand Hyatt.

3. He has five children with three wives

Mr Trump's current partner is Slovenian model Melania Knauss, whom he wed in 2005. The couple have a son.

He has a daughter with his second wife Marla Maples (1993-1999) and two sons and a daughter with his first, former Olympic skier and model Ivana Zelnickova. They married in 1977 and divorced in 1992.

He has seven grandchildren.

4. He has his own TV show

Mr Trump is famous for his line "You're Fired" on reality game show The Apprentice, which he hosts and produces. The show debuted in 2004 and pits 16 to 18 business-oriented young people in an elimination competition. Each episode usually ends with Mr Trump "firing" a contestant.

A new format, The Celebrity Apprentice, was introduced in 2008. Mr Trump has also appeared frequently as a guest celebrity on talk shows like The Late Show With David Letterman.

He became the 2,327th person in 2007 to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

5. He owns a luxury skyscraper named after him

Trump Tower, currently the 57st tallest building in New York City, is also the setting for The Apprentice.

The mixed-used building was designed by prominent architect Der Scutt and consists of luxury condominums, swanky restaurants and high-end retail stores such as Gucci .

6. Beauty is his business

Mr Trump has owned the Miss Universe Organization, one of the three largest beauty pageants in the world, since 1996.

It also produces the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants.

7. He is not well-liked

For all his celebrity status, a recent poll found that about seven in 10 national voters, including 52 per cent of Republicans, hold an unfavourable view of him.

He also lags significantly behind his fellow candidates in several other Republican polls, with the majority of voters apparently not taking him seriously.

8. Accused of racial discrimination in the past

In the 1970s, Mr Trump's New York real estate company was sued by the federal government for discriminating against potential black renters. It was eventually forced to relent.

He generated a storm of controversy in 2011 after a series of outspoken claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

9. He's already offended someone with his presidential bid

Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young has issued a statement barring Mr Trump from using one of his songs, after the tycoon announced his bid to the tune of Young's Rockin In The Free World.

"Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America," read the statement.

10. A rare caterpillar is named after him

Mr Trump's shiny bouffant hairstyle is likened to a rare yellow caterpillar of the flannel mouth, which has been nicknamed the "Donald Trump Caterpillar".

The bizarre, venomous insect was first spotted in 2013 in the Amazon rainforest.

SOURCES: AFP, Guardian, Forbes, Discovery Channel, CNN, The New York Times