Donald Trump Business Timeline

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Donald Trump Business Timeline

Note: This blog post will take you through a detailed timeline of Donald Trump’s business career from the late 1960s up until his presidency. It aims to provide an in-depth look into the various ventures and highlights of his business empire.


Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is known for his controversial political career. However, long before he entered the realm of politics, Trump made a name for himself in the world of business. His journey, starting in the late 1960s, has been marked by successes, failures, and iconic real estate projects. In this blog post, we will explore the key milestones and major business endeavors that shaped Donald Trump’s rise to prominence.

1970s: Early Ventures

The 1970s marked the beginning of Donald Trump’s business journey. In 1971, he took control of his father’s real estate company, renaming it The Trump Organization. Trump expanded its operations into the Manhattan market, focusing primarily on residential properties. During this time, he completed his first major project, the revitalization of the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt New York.

Throughout the decade, Trump continued acquiring real estate in New York City, aiming to transform it into prime commercial and residential spaces. However, his ambitious plans faced challenges, including financial setbacks and public scrutiny. Despite these obstacles, Trump remained focused on his vision for grandeur.

1980s: Peaks and Valleys

The 1980s marked a turning point for Donald Trump’s career with both remarkable achievements and significant setbacks.

One of the most notable successes of this decade was the completion of Trump Tower in 1983. Located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, this iconic mixed-use skyscraper became Trump’s signature property, housing luxury condominiums, retail spaces, and corporate offices. Trump’s ability to market and brand his projects became evident with the success of Trump Tower.

The mid-1980s, however, brought financial troubles for Trump. His high profile purchases, including the Plaza Hotel and the Eastern Air Shuttle, resulted in substantial debt. In 1990, his three major Atlantic City casinos – Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Castle, and Trump Plaza – filed for bankruptcy. Despite these setbacks, Trump’s business acumen allowed him to restructure his debt and continue pursuing new opportunities.

1990s: Reinvention and Expansion

The 1990s witnessed Donald Trump’s comeback, as he reevaluated his business strategy and focused on diversifying his investments. He turned his attention towards entertainment, establishing the Miss Universe pageant and acquiring the Miss Universe Organization. This pivot expanded his exposure beyond real estate.

Moreover, Trump transitioned into the gaming industry, taking advantage of legalized gambling in Atlantic City. He opened Trump World’s Fair and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, which joined the existing Trump Taj Mahal. Trump’s influence in Atlantic City’s gaming scene was undeniable, but ultimately, his casino ventures faced financial struggles, resulting in further bankruptcies and the subsequent loss of his ownership in these properties.

Early 2000s: The Apprentice and Brand Expansion

Donald Trump’s next big business venture unfolded on television rather than in traditional boardrooms. In 2004, he became the host of the reality show, The Apprentice, which gained widespread popularity. This show not only showcased Trump’s business acumen but also worked as a platform for promoting his brand and image.

Capitalizing on his newfound fame, Trump focused on expanding his brand globally. He licensed his name to various real estate projects worldwide, from luxury residential complexes to golf courses and hotels. This licensing model allowed Trump to generate revenue without assuming full ownership or taking on excessive financial risk.

Late 2000s: Trump International Hotel and Political Career

In 2008, Trump added another flagship property to his portfolio: the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. This luxurious high-rise hotel and residence further solidified his image as a prominent real estate developer and entrepreneur.

Trump’s involvement in politics also began during this period. He expressed his political ambitions and publicly considered running for president multiple times, most notably in 2011. Although these early political endeavors did not result in a presidential run, they foreshadowed his future path.

2010s: Presidential Campaign and Beyond

The 2010s brought the most significant change in Donald Trump’s career trajectory. In 2015, he announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States, which led to a controversial and highly divisive campaign that ultimately resulted in his election as the 45th President.

Due to his newfound political responsibilities, Trump stepped away from the day-to-day operations of The Trump Organization. However, his businesses and potential conflicts of interest have remained a topic of discussion throughout his presidency.

While in office, Donald Trump’s business ventures encountered mixed fortunes. Some projects bearing his name, such as Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., found success, while others faced criticism and controversy.

It is important to note that comprehensive and impartial assessments of Donald Trump’s business empire during his presidency are challenging, given the complex nature of his financial interests and the potential influence of politics.


Donald Trump’s business journey spans several decades and is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and ambition. From his initial forays into the world of real estate to the iconic Trump Tower, the Miss Universe pageant, and his licensing ventures, Trump’s name has become synonymous with wealth, success, and controversy.

While his presidency has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on both the political and business landscapes, it is essential to separate his political achievements and controversies from his business endeavors. Donald Trump’s business timeline shows how he transformed his family’s real estate firm into a globally recognized brand, proving his ability to adapt, innovate, and overcome obstacles.


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Donald Trump Business Timeline