Young Donald Trump: Raising A President
When Donald Trump’s parents decided to send him to Military Academy at age 13, they hoped (in their words) “the discipline of the school would channel his energy in a positive manner.”
Little did they know how channeled and powerful that energy would grow, eventually rocketing their boy into the highest office in the world. The election of Donald Trump remains a hot topic of debate, with strong opinions on either side about who exactly is sitting in the Oval Office.
It would be beyond the expertise of this blog (and writer) to try to answer the question of who exactly is the man we call Trump. That said, investigating the life of the boy who grew into the man is an interesting albeit contestable tale.
No doubt, the finer points of Trump’s schooling and childhood have been on the debate table. We’ll not try to argue one way or the other here. Just the facts, ma’am.
The 45th president was born in 1946, in Queens, New York. He was the fourth child born to Fredrick and Mary Trump. They would have five children in total, landing Trump one notch above the youngest.
Life for young Trump was comfortable. His father was a successful developer, so there was food on the table and opportunity ahead for little Donny.
He attended Kew-Forest School until the 7th grade when his parents decided to alter the course of his fate. Reading through the lines, it’s easy to imagine that the boy raised in a privileged home struggled to know the limitations of his life.
His parents discovered that the ambitious boy had made several trips to Manhattan without their permission, which meant he took more than “several.”
To rein him in, when Donald turned 13, his parents sent him to a military academy.
“I was a wise guy, and they wanted to get me in line,” Trump told the Washington Post earlier this year. “Thinking back, it was a very positive influence.”
One can only imagine that the idea of Military Academy was not a welcome one at first, but little Donny found his stride there.
After puberty, he grew taller and faster than many of his male counterparts. He was physically dominating, enough that he once threatened to push another student out of a window over a disagreement. Thankfully, that did not happen.
Like any kid, teenage Donny was in sports, baseball, football, basketball, wrestling, soccer and even bowling. He won varsity awards, ascended to the rank of Captain, and graduated military school with honors.
The teenage version of Trump was much like the man he is today, confident, determined, stubborn. For better or worse, he was even labeled a “ladies’ man” in the military academy yearbook. It had to be the hair.
When Donald left the military academy, he attended Fordham University for two years, then transferred to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.
His first day at University, Trump arrived in a Ford convertible, his hair already flopping about. The young man already did not fit the profile of his peers. He already didn’t care about that, either.
When a professor asked students in his class why they’d chosen real estate as a course of study, Donny piped up saying, “I’m going to be the king of New York real estate.” His classmates were less impressed with him as he was in himself, but again… Trump wasn’t hearing any of that.
He would graduate from there in 1968 with a degree in economics. Many accounts of that graduation assert that he was top of his class, a distinction Donald has never denied. He does, however, assert that he was an excellent student there.
In 1984, reporter William Geist revealed in a New York Times article that “the commencement program from 1968 does not list him as graduating with honors of any kind.”
Whether he did, we may never know for sure. It mattered little to the young man when he went out into the world. He immediately started making his famous deals.
Yes, Donald had help from his family starting out. His father was wealthy. Only an insane person would deny a loan from Dad in that scenario.
Trump asserts that what he did with that first loan far exceeds the value of the loan, and adds that he paid it back with interest. Who knows the truth, but he?
Trump plays his cards close to his vest. Like many of the details of his youth, we’ll probably never know the story beyond what we know so far. In Donald Trump’s eyes, it’s all history.