An examination of the key moments that shaped President-elect Donald Trump. Interviews drawn from The Choice 2016with advisors, business associates and biographers reveal how Trump transformed himself from real estate developer to reality TV star to president.
In 1980, Donald Trump faced a media firestorm when he ordered the demolition of two valuable art deco sculptures that were delaying the construction of Trump Tower. Over the next few days, reporters tried to reach Trump for comment, but they instead heard from "John Barron," an alter ego that Trump would sometimes use when he spoke with journalists.
In reporting The Choice 2016, FRONTLINE conducted dozens of interviews over hundreds of hours in order to better understand the people, moments and forces that have shaped Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. FRONTLINE is publishing 18 of these conversations. Taken together, this collection offers new insights into who the candidates are -- and how they might lead as president.
Jim Dowd was tapped to manage publicity for "The Apprentice" and its star, Donald Trump, before the show premiered in 2004. This introduction of Trump to the rest of America was "the beginning of [a] potential political career," he tells FRONTLINE. "Oddly enough, firing people on television each week made him likable."
Nikki Haskell claims to be the first television producer to have interviewed Donald Trump, and has been friends with him ever since. Haskell helped Trump make connections in New York: "How else are you going to become an important person if you don’t hang around important people?" she remembers telling him in this interview with FRONTLINE.
There is something familiar about Donald Trump's rhetoric on the 2016 campaign trail, says Sandy McIntosh, a former classmate from the New York Military Academy. He calls it "echoes of the barracks life that we had and that we grew out of."
Hired in 1987 as Vice President of Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City, Jack O'Donnell would become a critic of Donald Trump. He says he became particularly disillusioned with his boss after a helicopter crash in 1989 killed two casino executives. In this interview with FRONTLINE, O'Donnell says Trump began "blaming these problems on two people that had died while working for him."