Donald Trump is one of the most controversial and divisive figures in American history. He rose to fame as a businessman, reality TV star, and politician, but he also left behind a trail of scandals, lawsuits, and failures. In this Web Story, you will learn how Trump used his skills as a confidence man to manipulate, deceive, and exploit millions of Americans, and how his presidency damaged the country’s democracy, economy, and reputation.
Trump’s best-selling book, The Art of the Deal, was published in 1987 and claimed to reveal his secrets of success in business and life. However, the book was largely ghostwritten by Tony Schwartz, who later regretted his involvement and called Trump a “sociopath”. The book portrayed Trump as a master negotiator, dealmaker, and visionary, but it also exaggerated his achievements, omitted his failures, and lied about his background. The book helped to create Trump’s public image as a self-made billionaire and a genius entrepreneur, but it also masked his shady practices, unethical behavior, and financial troubles.
Trump’s reality TV show, The Apprentice, was launched in 2004 and ran for 14 seasons. The show featured Trump as the host and judge of a competition among aspiring businesspeople, who had to complete various tasks and face his catchphrase “You’re fired”. The show was a huge hit and made Trump a household name and a celebrity. However, the show was also scripted, edited, and manipulated to make Trump look more powerful, successful, and charismatic than he really was. The show also reinforced Trump’s brand as a leader, a winner, and a boss, but it also normalized his bullying, arrogance, and dishonesty.
Trump’s presidential campaign was launched in 2015 and shocked the world with his unconventional style, rhetoric, and agenda. He appealed to millions of Americans who felt angry, frustrated, and disillusioned with the political establishment, the media, and the elites. He promised to “Make America Great Again” by building a wall on the border with Mexico, banning Muslims from entering the country, repealing Obamacare, renegotiating trade deals, and draining the swamp in Washington. However, his campaign was also riddled with lies, insults, attacks, scandals, and controversies. He exploited the fears, prejudices, and grievances of his supporters, but he also ignored the facts, the experts, and the norms of democracy.
Trump’s presidency was inaugurated in 2017 and lasted until 2021. He faced unprecedented challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic recession, the racial justice protests, the impeachment trials, and the foreign policy crises. He claimed to have achieved more than any other president in history, but he also failed to deliver on many of his promises, violated the Constitution, abused his power, obstructed justice, and endangered national security. He divided the country with his polarizing policies, tweets, and rallies, but he also undermined the institutions, the media, and the trust in democracy.
Trump’s endgame was marked by his refusal to accept his defeat in the 2020 election against Joe Biden. He baselessly alleged that the election was rigged, stolen, and fraudulent, and he tried to overturn the results through lawsuits, pressure, and violence. He incited his followers to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden’s victory, but he also sparked a deadly insurrection, a second impeachment, and a historic disgrace. He left office on January 20, 2021, but he also left behind a legacy of chaos, conflict, and crisis.