Fred Trump, Donald’s Father: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father

Fred Trump, the father of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in an undated photo. (Wikipedia Commons)

President Donald Trump’s father, the son of German immigrants, started the real estate and construction business his son now runs.

Fred Trump, who died in 1999 at the age of 93, was a controversial figure during his life and after his death, noted for his success, but also for his alleged racial discrimination against potential tenants.

Attention has been shown on Fred Trump as his son runs for the Republican presidential nomination. Donald Trump has said, “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy,” according to the Washington Post.

On Thursday, Fred Trump’s legacy was again called into question by an article in The Conversation about one of his former tenants, folk music legend Woody Guthrie. wrote songs calling him “Old Man Trump,” and saying he “drew a color line” by forcing minorities into segregated housing.

Here’s what you need to know about Fred Trump:


1. He Started His Family’s Real Estate Development Business When He Was 22

Frederick Christ Trump was born on October 11, 1905, in New York, the son of Fredrick Trump and Elizabeth Christ Trump. Donald Trump’s grandfather was born in Germany and immigrated to North America in 1885 at the age of 16. He moved to Seattle during the Gold Rush, where he ran restaurants before moving to Canada, where he opened a hotel and restaurant, according to a CBC article.

The restaurant offered more than food, Gwenda Blair, who authored a book about the Trump family, told the CBC. “The bulk of the cash flow came from the sale of liquor and sex.”

Donald Trump’s grandfather died in 1918 when Frede Trump was a teenager. In 1927, Fred Trump, Trump’s father, started Elizabeth Trump & Son Co., the real estate company that would become The Trump Organization, according to his New York Times obituary. He began building houses in Queens, New York, and then constructed barracks and apartments for U.S. Navy personnel along the East Coast during World War II.

He continued to build the company, constructing low-income apartments and row houses in Brooklyn and Queens. Donald Trump joined the company in 1968, when he was 22. Fred Trump lent his son money and allowed him to go into the real estate business in Manhattan, according to the Times.

“It was good for me,” Donald Trump told the Times. “You know, being the son of somebody, it could have been competition to me. This way, I got Manhattan all to myself!”


2. He Was Reportedly Arrested at a KKK Rally in 1927

In September, a 1927 article in the New York Times was uncovered by the website BoingBoing that appears to show that Fred Trump was arrested during a KKK rally in New York.

The Times article listed Fred Trump’s name and an address where he is known to have lived as one of seven men arrested “in the near-riot of the parade.” The men were accused of assaulting a police officer. He was eventually released from custody, according to the article.

In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump said the incident never happened:

It never happened. And by the way, I saw that it was one little website that said it. It never happened. And they said there were no charges, no nothing. It’s unfair to mention it, to be honest, because there were no charges. They said there were charges against other people, but there were absolutely no charges, totally false. Somebody showed me that website — it was a little website and somebody did that. By the way, did you notice that there were no charges? Well, if there are no charges that means it shouldn’t be mentioned. Because my father, there were no charges against him, I don’t know about the other people involved. But there were zero charges against him. So assuming it was him — I don’t even think it was him, I never even heard about it. So it’s really not fair to mention. It never happened.

Trump also complained about the attention the story received, “It comes out on a website and you are going to write it on The New York Times? It shouldn’t be written because it never happened, No. 1. And No. 2, there was nobody charged.”


3. He Married a Scottish Immigrant in 1936 & Had 5 Children

https://twitter.com/go_watchme/status/686605624138948609

Fred Trump married his wife, a Scottish immigrant named Mary Anne MacLeod, in 1936. She was born on the Scottish island of Lewis in 1912 and met Fred Trump while on a trip to New York.

Mary Trump was naturalized in 1942.

https://twitter.com/go_watchme/status/686605625976057861

Together they had five children, including Donald Trump, Maryanne Trump Barry (a federal judge), Frederick Jr., Elizabeth and Robert. Fred Trump Jr. died in 1981/


4. He Was Sued by the U.S. Justice Department for Refusing to Rent His Apartments to Black People

The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division filed sued Fred Trump and his company in 1973 for refusing to rent apartments to black people. According to the Village Voice, the Urban League sent white and black testers to apartments owned by Trump. The white applicants received the apartments, while the blacks didn’t.

Trump negotiated a consent degree with the DOJ, requiring him to advertise vacancies in minority papers and list them with the Urban League. The Justice Department said “racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity.”


5. He Died in 1999 With a Net Worth Between $250-300 Million

Fred Trump suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and became sick with pneumonia in 1999. He died in June of that year.

According to his obituary in the New York Times, Fred Trump had a net worth of between $250 to $300 million when he died. He was known as a frugal man, despite his wealth.

“According to his sons, he would routinely drive his Cadillac to one of his many construction sites after the day’s work was over,” the Times said in the obituary. “Wearing a natty suit — with his chiseled features and wide grin, he resembled a silent-film star — he would walk through the studs and across the plywood floors, picking up unused nails to hand back to his carpenters the next day.”

85 Comments

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85 Comments

amoginesq

“The Donald” really knows how to process facts. There is a newspaper clipping about his father being arrested at a KKK rally, So according to “the Donald” it should be ignored because the paper was small; as if this had an effect on its veracity. Then he denies it ever happened based on the fact that he never heard about it as if he had served as his father’s confessor and would know about an incident of which the man could not have been proud. Lastly, he quotes the “little paper” whose reporting he had disparaged in the previous sentence as saying “no charges were filed,” as if this is proof of innocence. He then speculates that perhaps others were charged and uses that to confirm his father’s innocence and therefore, feels that he can object to the mention of this supposed “non-story.” The fact that his father attended KKK rallies and refused to rent apartments to people of color is just not important because “no charges were filed.” This from the man who said that his father’s legacy was the root of his own. This statement alone warrants a closer look at “the Donald’s” father’s legacy since his son claims it .

Keith Lee

This story on Fred Trump seems like a cheap shot.Americans had a much different view decades ago. I focus on today, Donald Trump has key top Women Exec.emplyoy thousand of minority’s conducts a good business model that provides opportunity for all ethnicities. That is relevant, and should be the story.

Anonymous

Except for the 200 undocumented Polish workers that he avoided paying into the pension fund – oh wait, he claims he didn’t know they worked for him.

Norma Ensley Turner

I agree with Keith Lee, the story above is decades ago and was his father’s legacy, not Trump’s! I read heart warming stories everyday how Trump has privately given to others, and the following is one of those stories: In 1991, at the end of Desert Storm, a 19 year old US Army Cavalry Private who had just spent 8 months at war sat out on a street by Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. The young private sat on his duffle bag with his Battalion around him for 4 days waiting for busses to take them to King Fahad Airport to go home. Unfortunately, the politicians never planned how to bring so many soldiers home after the war ended, plus they had a huge shortage of planes! However, finally the busses came, and took the men to the airport. The planes waiting were from “Tower Air” and the owner of “Tower Air” had volunteered his planes and staff to bring our soldiers back home for the cost of fuel only. The Airline owner was Donald J. Trump, and is the reason that young Private chooses to vote for trump! Loyalty for Loyalty, Respect for Respect. Any questions?

Anonymous

One of the 10 commandments says thou shalt not lie; not thou shalt not lie yesterday, today or tomorrow. GOD does not put a timetable on wrong…SMH

Anonymous

it was a bio on his pop so yes it happened decades ago

Anonymous

So he can’t pay people to say that and he dont want people to look at him as a racist he said it his self im rooted it with my daddy and his father made his money from pimping and selling drugs talk about that

Anonymous

Sorry to burst your bubble but that touching story never happened….

Anonymous

Trump never owned tower air…… where are you getting this information from ?

Skip Phillips

That is simply not true , Tower Air was owned by a citizen or company in Israel. I used to fly airplanes from JFK to Tel Aviv frequently.

Anonymous

The claim emerged in a widely circulated open letter by a man named Ron Knouse that argues Donald Trump’s airline, Trump Shuttle, provided free flights to veterans returning from Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. In the letter, Knouse claims that Trump’s airline gave stranded soldiers free transport home, but that media outlets had failed to report on his good deed.

First, it’s true that Donald Trump briefly operated an airline, Trump Shuttle. NYC Aviation, a website that caters to aviation enthusiasts, has a nice summary of Trump’s journey into the airline industry, here. Trump acquired Eastern Airlines Air Shuttle for $380 million and rebranded it as Trump Shuttle, with the first flight taking off in 1989, NYC Aviation reports:

Timing is everything in business, and unfortunately for Trump he entered the airline game at the wrong time. The US entered an economic recession in the late-‘80’s leading many corporations to cut back on business travel. In addition, tensions in the Middle East leading up to the first Gulf war caused oil prices to spike. This 1-2 punch was devastating for the airline industry and led to the demise of a number of airlines including Eastern and Pan Am. Given these circumstances, the Trump Shuttle lost money, and with Trump continuing to accumulate debt in his other ventures it was becoming increasingly difficult to pay back the loans taken to purchase the airline.

Trump defaulted on his loan for the airline in September 1990, the story goes, and a group of banks led by Citibank sold it to USAir Group.

So, Trump wasn’t in control of the airline in 1991 when soldiers were supposedly flown home from the Gulf War. Beside that, Trump Shuttle only provided service in the American Northeast, so there’s no way it would have traveled to Saudi Arabia.

That tells us there’s no way that Ron Knouse’s simply mistook “Trump Shuttle” as “Tower Air” in the letter.

Tower Air, on the other hand, did contract with the Department of Defense to provide charter flights around the time of the Gulf War, according to a New York Times report.

But we weren’t able to find anything linking Trump to Tower Air. Zev Melamid, Mordechi Gill, Morris Nachtomi and Sam Fondlierprovid established the airline in 1982, Airline History records show. Tower Air provided passenger service from New York to Brussels and Tel Aviv, a line previously operated by Metro International Airways, according to the World Airline Directory.

The airline officially declared bankruptcy in 2000. At the time, Morris Nachtomi was listed as the airline’s CEO in a New York Post report. We couldn’t find anything linking Donald Trump to the airline in the nearly 20 years that it was operational.

For all those reasons, we’re calling this one fiction.

Anonymous

The claim emerged in a widely circulated open letter by a man named Ron Knouse that argues Donald Trump’s airline, Trump Shuttle, provided free flights to veterans returning from Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. In the letter, Knouse claims that Trump’s airline gave stranded soldiers free transport home, but that media outlets had failed to report on his good deed.

First, it’s true that Donald Trump briefly operated an airline, Trump Shuttle. NYC Aviation, a website that caters to aviation enthusiasts, has a nice summary of Trump’s journey into the airline industry, here. Trump acquired Eastern Airlines Air Shuttle for $380 million and rebranded it as Trump Shuttle, with the first flight taking off in 1989, NYC Aviation reports:

Timing is everything in business, and unfortunately for Trump he entered the airline game at the wrong time. The US entered an economic recession in the late-‘80’s leading many corporations to cut back on business travel. In addition, tensions in the Middle East leading up to the first Gulf war caused oil prices to spike. This 1-2 punch was devastating for the airline industry and led to the demise of a number of airlines including Eastern and Pan Am. Given these circumstances, the Trump Shuttle lost money, and with Trump continuing to accumulate debt in his other ventures it was becoming increasingly difficult to pay back the loans taken to purchase the airline.

Trump defaulted on his loan for the airline in September 1990, the story goes, and a group of banks led by Citibank sold it to USAir Group.

So, Trump wasn’t in control of the airline in 1991 when soldiers were supposedly flown home from the Gulf War. Beside that, Trump Shuttle only provided service in the American Northeast, so there’s no way it would have traveled to Saudi Arabia.

That tells us there’s no way that Ron Knouse’s simply mistook “Trump Shuttle” as “Tower Air” in the letter.

Tower Air, on the other hand, did contract with the Department of Defense to provide charter flights around the time of the Gulf War, according to a New York Times report.

But we weren’t able to find anything linking Trump to Tower Air. Zev Melamid, Mordechi Gill, Morris Nachtomi and Sam Fondlierprovid established the airline in 1982, Airline History records show. Tower Air provided passenger service from New York to Brussels and Tel Aviv, a line previously operated by Metro International Airways, according to the World Airline Directory.

The airline officially declared bankruptcy in 2000. At the time, Morris Nachtomi was listed as the airline’s CEO in a New York Post report. We couldn’t find anything linking Donald Trump to the airline in the nearly 20 years that it was operational.

For all those reasons, we’re calling this one fiction.

Seroryma Rymasero

INDEED…. there’s something extremely fishy on this entire family….. saying this guy is our actual president ? Really amazing !! Have you all gone Berserk

Anonymous

Your story is absolutely false,Deplorable’s will believe just about anything!!

Anonymous

Bernie sanders did not think that way in the 50s 60s or 70s

Anonymous

Ehy dhould Donald Trump be punished for his Fathers crimes..

Anonymous

How about the way that he signs contracts for work, the work gets done, and then he cheats the business owner by giving him only partial payment and telling them to sue. He’s a slumlord and a grifter just like his father.

Cece Robison

You must be DEAf, DUMB & BLIND? Trump contradicts himself throughout this piece…hmmm..he still does this TODAY..

Oscar moran

We all know that racism in the trump Or ( trumpf ) family run in their blood for Donal trump been the son of a kkk member there is no exception

Mary A Gregory

What crimes?!! There is no proof of any kkk involvement. The news article does not say there was a kkk rally, it only says there was a fist fight. 2 were bailed and Fred Trump was discharged without a charge. But Hillary’s and Obama’s crimes are well documented, but the media wishes to ignore them.

Debra Mulgrew

you are stupid my mother did like whites a blacks being together as we were growing up but she learned to change her mind with a black son inlaw and a black great granddaughter you people just live for what was going on back in the 1960’s i thought most have over come that but i guess not because you just made a racist statement

huitecouture

So you choose to believe the father fought FOR the KKK instead of just fighting morons who were being disruptive in his own neighborhood? Yeah why wasn’t he charged? You still can’t answer that.

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