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Donald Trump: Unusual

2018-01-08

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[00:06.34]
  • VOA Learning English presents America’s Presidents.
  • [00:11.46]
  • Today we are talking about Donald Trump.
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  • He was elected in 2016.
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  • Because his presidency is so new, this program will not discuss his time in office.
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  • Instead, it will discuss his early life.
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  • And it will note a few ways that Trump’s background is unusual compared to most U.S. presidents.
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  • Donald Trump was born in Queens, a borough of New York City.
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  • He was the fourth child. He had two brothers and two sisters.
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  • His mother had been born in Scotland.
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  • His father, whose relatives were German, became a successful businessman in New York.
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  • Donald and his two brothers helped their father in the family business.
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  • At the time, the business was called Elizabeth Trump and Son, after his grandmother and father.
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  • The work related to building, buying, and managing property.
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  • By his own telling, young Donald often created trouble in school.
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  • So when he was 13 years old, his parents sent him to a military-style school.
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  • Donald said that, for the most part, he enjoyed the experience.
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  • Other students there remembered him as a good baseball player, as popular with girls, and as someone who wanted to succeed.
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  • Trump went on to college first at Fordham University in New York, and then at the University of Pennsylvania.
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  • He earned a degree in economics.
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  • He was also already investing in real estate.
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  • After he graduated, Trump quickly returned to New York City and his career.
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  • In time, he became the head of the family business.
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  • He re-named it the Trump Organization.
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  • As its president, Trump developed and put his name on luxury buildings, casinos, hotels, and golf courses around the world.
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  • Later, he became linked to the entertainment industry, too.
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  • He became a part owner of beauty pageants, hosted a television show, and wrote a book about how to succeed in business.
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  • During these years, Trump also married three times and divorced twice.
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  • The media wrote especially about his first and second marriages because he openly had a relationship with his second wife while he was married to his first.
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  • In 2005, he married Melania Knauss, a former model from Slovenia.
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  • She is only the second first lady who was not born in the United States.
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  • The first was Louisa Adams, who came from Britain in 1801.
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  • All together, Trump has three sons and two daughters.
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  • Because Trump has been a public figure for most of his life, many Americans were familiar with him before he ran for president.
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  • To some, he is linked to success in business and branding.
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  • To others, notes journalist Jackie Calmes, he is linked to debt and legal battles.
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  • But, until he officially entered the 2016 campaign as a Republican candidate, few linked him to politics.
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  • Trump is unusual among past presidents in that he had never worked in the government before.
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  • Nor has Trump served in the military.
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  • Only Presidents Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower had no previous government experience; however, they had all been generals.
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  • During the campaign for president, other candidates spent money to buy advertising.
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  • But Trump spread his message on free television, radio and social media.
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  • Trump won the Republican nomination over 16 candidates.
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  • He went on to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win the presidency.
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  • Trump is the oldest person ever to take office.
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  • He was 70 years old when he was sworn in.
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  • He is also one of the richest.
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  • And Trump is unusual in how he communicates with the public.
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  • As president, he continues to use Twitter to communicate his thoughts directly to anyone who wants to follow him.
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  • Many earlier presidents also used changes in technology to interact with the public.
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  • Woodrow Wilson was the first to hold press conferences regularly with reporters.
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  • Franklin Roosevelt famously spoke to Americans on the radio.
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  • John F. Kennedy – and later Richard Nixon – are credited with using television to their advantage.
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  • But these episodes were often planned in advance.
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  • Trump has said he likes Twitter because he can share his thoughts immediately.
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  • And, he adds, the media and the public respond immediately, too.
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  • While the long-term effects of Trump’s presidency are not yet known,
  • [06:42.25]
  • he will likely be remembered in part for his direct and unscripted style of communication.
  • [06:55.51]
  • I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
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