Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Donald Trump

Return to U.S. Presidential Campaigns: Table of Contents

Donald Trump is a real estate mogul, CEO, media personality, and author, who won the Republican nomination and subsequently the Presidency during the 2016 presidential election. Trump's father was a successful real estate developer with his own firm in New York, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which he handed over to Donald in 1971 when he was 25 years old. The younger Trump renamed the company The Trump Organization, and has enjoyed success as a businessman and media personality since.

Trump was born to wealthy parents in Queens, New York on June 14, 1946. He attended the New York Military Academy in high school and then Fordham University for two years before transfering to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1968, and while at college used student and medical deferments to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. Donald Trump graduated college with approximately $200,000 to his name given to him by his father (over $1 milion today), and headed to Manhattan to work for his father's company.

Donald Trump's first national media attention came when he was accused in 1973 by the United States Justice Department of violating Fair Housing regulations while renting to tenants in 39 buildings which he managed. The issue was settled out of court.

Over the subsequent years Trump was involved in many real estate ventures with the city of New York, and eventually expanded to casino ownership. Bad financial decisions during the late 1980's and early 1990's led to Trump declaring business bankruptcy four times and almost brought Donald to the brink of personal bankruptcy as well. His financial situation improved during the late 1990's coming into the 2000's, and in 2001 his company completed the 72-story Trump World Tower, a residential building across from the UN headquarters in New York City. Trump starred in a wildly popular reality television series on NBC, The Apprentice, for 10 seasons, in which contestants competed to be Trump's business apprentice. According to Forbes Magazine Trump's net worth as of 2015 is estimated at $4.1 billion, but due to a penchant for overvaluing his properties and Trump being the first Presidential candidate in modern history to not release their tax returns, his actual net worth is uncertain.

Trump is a businessman and celebrity with little practical governing experience, which attracted supporters sick of the typical government establishment. Donald Trump is in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate to zero percent, is against the common core program being taught in schools, does not believe in climate-change, and is against stricter gun regulations. In order to deal with the issue of illegal immigration to the United States from Mexico and other Latin and Southern American countries, Trump has proposed many times that the United States build a giant wall on the southern border. He has spoken out in favor of increasing support for Israel and increasing sanctions on Iran, and putting American troops on the ground to deal with the Islamic State threat.

Although Trump's daughter converted to Judaism in 2009, is married to a Jewish man, observes Shabbat and keeps a Kosher diet, Trump has been known to make anti-Semitic comments. In a 1991 book written by a former close colleague of Trump, the real-estate mogul is quoted as saying, “the only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” During a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on December 3, 2015, Trump depended on age-old Jewish stereotypes to relate to the crowd and get his message across. Trump commented that he is a, “negotiator... like you folks,” and asked the crowd, “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?” Trump added that he thinks that the Jewish people are not going to support him because “I don't want your money. And you want to control your own politicians.” These comments sparked backlash from Israeli news agencies, with the Times of Israel running a headline the next day that read,“Trump courts Republican Jews with offensive stereotypes.”

Speculation that Trump would make a run for the presidency began in February 2015 when Trump cancelled the 11th season of his reality TV show, The Apprentice. He made his official campaign announcement on June 16, 2015, and said that if the Republican establishment is not accepting and supportive of his campaign he would consider running as an Independent.

In a book released during his campaign in October 2015, Trump cites Israel's border as proof that border walls can halt the flow of illegal immigration. He says a similar strong border wall between the United States and Mexico would deter immigrants from trying to enter the country illegally. Speaking at a press conference promoting the book, Trump quipped, “Walls work; all you have to do is ask Israel.”

In the wake of the November 13 Paris terror attacks, Trump stated that he would consider closing down all Mosques in the United States, tracking all U.S. Muslims within a database, and making all U.S. Muslims wear a “special identifier” if elected President. When asked how these ideas differ from how Hitler tracked down and identified Jews during the Holocaust, Donald Trump simply stated deadpan to the camera “you tell me.” Trump suggested that we should ban Muslims from coming into the United States in early December 2015, a comment White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “disqualifies him from serving as President.” This policy position became a core of his campaign.

Trump announced plans to visit Israel and meet with Netanyahu in late 2015, and a date was set for December 28. After Trump made offensive comments about banning all Muslims from entering the United States days after the announcement, Netanyahu cancelled the meeting and issued a statement condemning his Islamophobic rhetoric.

Trump expressed support for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in January 2016, echoing the sentiments of Jeb Bush , Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.

Anne Frank's stepsister, Eva Schloss, compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler in an interview with NewsWeek Magazine published on January 27, 2016. Eva Schloss said during the interview that she thinks Trump is, “acting like another Hitler by inciting racism,” and stated that if Donald Trump wins the Presidency it would be “a complete disaster.” Schloss's mother, Fritzi, married Anne Frank's father, Otto, after World War II.

In February 2016 Trump received endorsements from former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and noted anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.

After predicting a “tremendous victory” in the Iowa Republican caucus, Trump came in second place to Ted Cruz, acheiving 24.3% of the votes and 7 delegates, compared to Cruz's 27.7% and 8 delegates. Trump won the New Hampshire primary by a wide margin on February 9, 2016, winning 10 delegates and 35.2% of the vote. On “Super Tuesday” Trump won the Republican primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. He continued his momentum into the following weeks, winning Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina on March 15, 2016. Donald Trump won the Arizona primary on March 22, 2016. Former candidates Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson endorsed Trump in 2016, both of whom had previously dropped out of the race. Trump won over 50% of the vote in the New York Republican primary, his home state. Donald Trump swept the competition on April 26, 2016, winning all five states. Trump defeated both Cruz and Kasich easily in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016, causing leading opponent Cruz to drop out of the race later that night.

A poll of Israelis conducted in February 2016 that included 499 Jews and 102 Arabs, concluded that Israelis strongly favor Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The poll found that 38% of Israelis support Clinton for President, while 23% support Donald Trump, and 7% support Bernie Sanders.

When asked in early May 2016 for his opinion on Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, Trump responded that he believes the construction has to “keep going,” and “keep moving forward.” Trump rejected the idea of a settlement freeze, stating, “No, I don't think there should be a pause.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron laid harsh criticism on Trump in British Parliament in mid-May 2015, calling his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States, “divisive, stupid and wrong.” Trump responded on British television, stating “It looks like we're not going to have a very good relationship.”

In July 2016 Trump announced that Indiana Governor Mike Pence would be his Vice-Presidential nominee. Pence is well known in pro-Israel circles, and was one of the first Governors in the country to sign into law legislation requiring all state entities to divest all funds from companies that support the BDS movement.

A Gallup poll of American Jewish voters done between July 1 and August 28, 2016, showed significantly more support for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. Clinton held a commanding lead, with the support of 52% of those surveyed compared to Trump's 23%.

Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, co-chairs of the Trump campaign's “Israel Advisory Committee,” released their candidate's Israel policy position paper on November 2, 2016. To read this press release outlining Trump's Israel policy, please click here.

In a come-from behind upset that nobody (even the candidate himself) expected, on November 8, 2016, the citizens of the United States of America placed their votes and elected Donald Trump their 45th President. Trump won the Presidency with 290 electoral votes, although he lost the popular vote by the largest margin in history (more than 3 million). On November 12, 2016, Trump chose controversial alt-right figure Stephen Bannon to be his White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. Bannon was the chairman of conspiracy-theory peddling Breitbart News LLC, is openly supportive of the White Nationalist movement, and is an accused anti-Semite. A spokesman for U.S.Senator Harry Reid stated the day after Bannon's appointment that Trumps selection of Bannon “signals that White Supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump's White House.”

250 scholars of the Holocaust from around the United States signed a statement calling on Americans to, “resist attempts to place vulnerable groups in the crosshairs of nativist racisms,” and condemning the, “hateful and discriminatory language and threats,” that were the centerpieces of Trump's Presidential run. The statement, which criticized the “the racial, ethnic, gender-based, and religious hatred,” that Donald Trump spouted throughout his campaign, was published in the Jewish Journal. At the article's conclusion, American Jews were urged to “mobilise in solidarity” against the discrimination put forth by Trump and his supporters of Muslims, Immigrants, and other vulnerable minority groups.

U.S. - Israel Relationship

  • “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem - and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel. The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable.”
    (AIPAC, March 21, 2016)
  • “He's been the worst thing that's ever happened to Israel. Israel is so important. What Obama has done to Israel is a disgrace... When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on Day One.”
    (Times of Israel, March 2, 2016)
  • “We have a President who is much more committed to Iran than he is to Israel.”
    (Fox News, January 19, 2016)
  • “They (Israelis) actually think Obama hates Israel. I think he does. Israel is safe with this one. Safe, safe! We will save Israel. Nothing, nothing bad is going to happen to Israel.”
    (Jewish Insider, October 29, 2015)
  • Prior to the 2013 Israeli election, Trump released a video on YouTube in which he endorsed Benjamin Netanyahu for Prime Minister. “Vote for Benjamin - terrific guy, terrific leader, great for Israel.”
    (Times of Israel, August 8, 2015)
  • “I think President Obama is one of the worst things that’s ever happened to Israel. I think he’s set back [Israeli] relations with the United States terribly, and for people and friends of mine who are Jewish, I don’t know how they can support President Obama. He has been very bad for Israel.”
    (JNS, July 1, 2015)
  • “The rest of them are all talk, no action. They’re politicians. I’ve been loyal to Israel from the day I was born. My father, Fred Trump, was loyal to Israel before me. The only one that’s going to give Israel the kind of support it needs is Donald Trump.”
    (JNS, July 1, 2015)
  • “President Obama's steady support of Israel throughout this crisis helped stop the war. He did a good job”
    (Donald Trump's Twitter, November 21, 2012)
  • Trump led the 40th annual Salute to Israel parade on New York's Fifth Avenue on May 23, 2004.


  • “This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don't have to do much. And they're going to end up getting nuclear. I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he's not a happy camper.”
    (First Presidential Debate, September 26, 2016)
  • “You [Hillary Clinton] started the Iran deal, that's another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, I mean, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions. And now they're going to be actually probably a major power at some point pretty soon, the way they're going.”
    (First Presidential Debate, September 26, 2016)
  • “We will totally dismantle Iran's terror network. Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world...including in the Western hemisphere very close to home.”
    (AIPAC, March 21, 2016)
  • “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making and let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic - for America, for Israel, and for the whole Middle East.”
    (AIPAC, March 21, 2016)
  • “We (America) have a bunch of babies negotiating. We don’t have good negotiators. They have great negotiators, and they’re making us look like fools.”
    (JNS, July 1, 2015)
  • “The whole deal is a terrible deal. There’s no way the Iranians are going to adhere to any deal we make. And if you don’t have onsite inspections anytime, anywhere, they (the P5+1 nations) shouldn’t make the deal”
    (JNS, July 1, 2015)
  • “I would double-up and triple-up the sanctions, and I would make them (the Iranians) want to make a deal. Right now they’re just toying with us.”
    (JNS, July 1, 2015)
  • “He makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster and we have to protect Israel.”
    (Official Campaign Announcement Speech)

Hamas and the Situation in Gaza

  • “Meanwhile, every single day, you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and hate the Jews...  In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews - we can't let this continue. You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace.”
    (AIPAC, March 21, 2016)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • “I am going to try and make that deal just because - man, would that be a beauty - if you like deals. I like deals. I do deals. That would be great. Very hard - a lot of my Jewish friends say, 'You will never be able to make the deal' - because there are so many years of hatred, especially on the other side. You know, they grow up as young children hating, hating, hating Israel. I think the deal can be made. But we got to be smart and we got to use our best people; gotta use me, but we got to use our best people. And I know the best people.”
    (Haaretz, May 1, 2016)
  • “When missiles are being shot into your country, I don’t know what ‘disproportionate force’ is supposed to mean. Israel is being attacked to an extent that is very rarely seen, and so obviously you have to use very strong force.”
    (Algemeiner, April 14, 2016)
  • “If I win, I don't want to be in a position where I'm saying to you [my choice] and the other side now says, 'We don't want Trump involved...' Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I have friends of mine that are tremendous businesspeople, that are really great negotiators, [and] they say it's not doable.”
    (The Hill, February 17, 2016)
  • “You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don't want to say whose fault it is - I don't think that helps. A lot of people say an agreement can't be made, which is OK, sometimes agreements can't be made [and they are] not good. I will give it one hell of a shot. I would say if you can do that deal, you can do any deal. You have one side in particular growing up and learning that 'these are the worst people, these are the worst people, etc., etc.”
    (MSNBC Town Hall, Charleston SC, February 17, 2016)
  • “If you think walls don't work, all you have to do is ask Israel.”
    (Fourth Republican Debate)
  • “President Obama's steady support of Israel throughout this crisis helped stop the war. He did a good job”
    (Donald Trump's Twitter, November 21, 2012)


  • “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out - what, they shouldn't have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed. So she talks about taking them out. She's been doing it a long time. She's been trying to take them out for a long time. But they wouldn't have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn't have had them.”
    (First Presidential Debate, September 26, 2016)
  • “The decision to overthrow the regime in Libya, then pushing for the overthrow of the regime in Syria...without plans for the day after, have created space for ISIS to expand and grow.”
    (Speech, June 13, 2016)
  • “I have a simple message for [ISIS]. Their days are numbered. I won't tell them where and I won't tell them how. We must, as a nation, be more unpredictable.”
    (Speech, April 27, 2016)
  • “We really have no choice...We have to knock the hell out of [ISIS]...I'm hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000 [U.S.] troops [necessary to defeat ISIS].”
    (Presidential Debate, March 10, 2016)

Key Staff and Advisors

  • Chuck Laudner: Iowa state director
  • Corey Lewandowski: Campaign manager
  • Daniel Scavino: Director of social media
  • Ed McMullen: South Carolina state director
  • Hope Hicks: Communications director
  • Justin McConney: Director of new media
  • Katrina Pierson: National campaign spokesperson
  • Michael Glassner: Deputy campaign manager
  • Ryan Keller: Iowa deputy state director
  • Sam Clovis: Co-chair and policy advisor
  • Sarah Huckabee: Sanders Senior advisor
  • Stuart Jolly: National field director
  • Walid Phares: Foreign policy advisor
  • Carter Page: Foreign policy advisor
  • George Papadopoulos: Foreign policy advisor
  • Joe Schmitz: Foreign policy advisor
  • Ret. Gen. Keith Kellogg: Foreign policy advisor