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Trump Started His Business with ‘Small’ Million Dollar Loan From His Father

Donald Trump says he got his business off the ground with a 'small' million dollar loan from his dad.

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To most people, a million dollar loan to help get a business off the ground, is a healthy chunk of change. Donald Trump is not most people.

Speaking in New Hampshire at a NBC-sponsored town hall Monday, the 2016 GOP front runner described his climb to the top of the business world as an arduous one. Responding to a question about whether Trump has ever been told “no,” Trump acknowledged that his father helped him at the start of his career with a sizable loan:

“My whole life really has been a ‘no,’ and I fought through it. It has not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. And you know, I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”

Trump conceded that a million dollars might be a lot of money to some. But he reminded the town hall that he is different. “A million dollars isn’t very much compared to what I’ve built,” Trump said, referring to his real estate fortune, which Forbes estimates to be $4.5 billion. Trump claims he’s worth more than $10 billion.

Trump’s hard climb-to-the-top story ignores some inconvenient truths; he grew up in a wealthy family and inherited about $40 million of his father’s $200 million net worth. His father, Fred Trump, ran a real estate business primarily in Queens and Brooklyn. Credit is due to The Donald, however, for growing the business to properties in Manhattan.

“Even my father, he said, ‘You don’t want to go to Manhattan. That’s not our territory,’” Trump recalled Monday. “I came into Manhattan, and I had to pay him back, and I had to pay him back with interest. But I came into Manhattan and I started buying properties, and I did great.”

Photo Credit: Scott Olsen/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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