Donald Trump's Legacy: Kids Who Aim to Think Big

Trump ChildrenEric Trump started getting a taste of the family business at a young age, tagging along with his real estate and hotel tycoon father Donald Trump as he visited job sites and finessed deals on the golf course. He still recalls sitting in his dad's office, building an empire out of Legos while his dad was constructing a much larger empire over the phone.

That early immersion set the stage for Eric's involvement with the Trump Organization as an adult. It's a situation that is becoming increasingly rare, as family-run businesses today face a tough time enticing the children to take over after their parents exit.

Trump, 27, executive vice president of development and acquisitions of the Trump Organization and the youngest of Donald's three children with his first wife, Ivana, says his father's influence had a significant effect on his career path and personality.

"Both of my parents were incredible role models. Although we were privileged and traveled around the world extensively and had the best education, we were expected to work hard and they they always wanted us occupied," recalls Trump. "Every summer, I was working. I was either mowing lawns at some of our properties, laying tile with some of our stonemasons or some other job."


He noted his father has a strong work ethic, a trait that was passed onto him and his siblings Donald Jr. and Ivanka as children. All three currently serve as executive vice presidents at the Trump Organization and are touted as the "next generation."

"We also love our jobs and we're often working seven days a week, looking after our properties, returning emails or phone calls," says Trump.

A Disciplined but Fun Upbringing


Discipline and manners were also drilled into the kids early, with the dad quickly correcting them if they began to goof off, Trump recalled. You weren't likely to see Trump children bouncing from one bed to the other in a hotel room, or sliding down a sweeping staircase banister. That disciplined behavior carried them through the tumultuous teenage years and into young adulthood.

"We knew our family had a reputation to uphold. We're one of that last families you'd ever see going to a club and dancing on tables," says Trump. "The family name is very important to us, and we'd never let it get disgraced."

That said, Trump noted his father is not humorless. He described his dad as a funny guy, and that sense of humor is something he and his siblings have inherited, which, Trump says, results in a fun working environment.

But it wasn't also so clear to Eric that he would be following in his father's footsteps. Trump said he entertained other occupations as a youngster, such as fighter pilot or firefighter. But when he was in high school, his decision to pursue a path with the family business began to crystallize.

"I've always loved buildings and the tangible nature of it," says Trump.

While at Georgetown University, he wrestled with becoming an engineering major or going into finance and management. He discussed his options with his father and other mentors before going into finance and management because it would offer greater versatility across a number of business areas. As a minor, he picked psychology.

"I found it teaches you more about yourself than other people," says Trump. "It teaches you about your personality traits, what you enjoy and why, why people think a certain way about you, and personality traits you want to exemplify."

Trump children

Teaching How to See the Big Picture and the Tiny Details


The one trait of Donald Trump's that Eric says he hopes to one day exemplify is his vision.

"He doesn't think about building one building," says Eric Trump. "When he thinks about building, he envisions 30 skyscrapers, a whole city. He has big thoughts and that vision sets him apart from other people and me."

In the meantime, though, Eric Trump says he's inherited some other traits from dad, among them loyalty, honor and an eye for detail. Trump says his father can pick out a single burned-out light bulb in a densely packed ceiling of lights, or variations in sheet rock texture.

Eric TrumpThe younger Trump also learned valuable lessons learned from his father when the family business faced financial adversity. Since 1991, Donald Trump's corporation or companies that bear his name have filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcies in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009, according to a Forbes report.

When Eric Trump joined the Trump Organization in 2006, he recalls, the stock market was going gangbusters. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for example, reached an all-time high of 14,164.53 in October 2007.

Trump and his siblings were champing at the bit to ride the "up cycle," pressing their father to build, build, build. But the elder Trump tempered their enthusiasm.

"My father said this market will always have its ups and downs, and to be more conservative and back off," recalled Eric Trump.

Dad was right, of course. By late 2008, the markets suffered a meltdown and the Great Recession ensued. And in 2009, three highly-leveraged Atlantic City, N.J., casinos that were once run by Donald Trump filed for Chapter 11 reorganization -- for the third time.

A Tangible Legacy

Although the younger Trumps have learned a thing or two from dear old dad, Donald Trump is also learning some things them about the Internet and social media. The elder Trump prefers to communicate by phone, fax or letters, but his children are introducing him to Twitter and Facebook, giving a greater social media presence to their hotel properties and introducing apps for their golf courses that allow customers to book tee times, says the younger Trump.

Donald Trump invested a lot of himself in fatherhood: So what does Eric Trump hope he'll receive as a return on that investment?

"I want to continue the Trump legacy, which values building, love of construction and love of tangible assets," says the younger Trump. "I want to continue to build the biggest and the best. If I can continue that and my grandchildren can continue that, that would be the best ROI."


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41 Comments

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madddddddddddddd

U DONT LIKE TRUMP..........BUT WHAT THE HELL,, LET HIM HELP OTHERS DREAM...............

June 23 2011 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
motmotiee

Just to let anyone know who has ears to hear with. The entire Futures market is a scam, it doesn't really "trade", rather it's controlled by a supercomputer. Another words the direction is controlled by a computer and not by the dynamics of "buying" and "selling". This is a 100% positive FACT, and my Advanced Videos PROVE this FACT beyond any shadow of any doubt whatsoever! If any of you want to learn the truth, come over to my website, google "Oil Trading Academy"

June 20 2011 at 8:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
k4jlp

Damn, look at all those hedgers dumping crude futures contracts....running scared huh? What are you going to do when it gets back to the CORRECT market price of 45/barrel????? Oh I know, your gonna buy more and run it up again after the 2012 elections right??? SORRY CHARLIE, the REPUKES not gonna help you this time....

June 20 2011 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vigoddess

Wow! If the Trump siblings turned into a direction of their own doing, this would be a far
better version of a legacy, rather than a hand me down from a wealthy man to the
next generation.
That's how it worked for the Donald, because his parents set up the empire and
he let his ego do the rest, but when the next generation enters the scene, the
Me Me Me heritage also follows. If one of the sons said: "Dad, I want to be
a doctor and help people," it would indeed be a greater mark of character
than be handed a business set up. Ted Kennedy's son, Ted Jr, who has
an artifical leg from a cancer, is the closest thing to his father in mannerism,
and up front humanity, yet he went in his own direction and that is really
a legacy.

June 19 2011 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

IT'SGREATTHATOBAMAWILLBEGONEIN2012

June 19 2011 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democracks0's comment
vigoddess

So welcome to the sheep herd and fall behind the dogs that will be your only
source of direction.

June 19 2011 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

IT'SGOODTHATOBAMAWILBEGONEIN2012

June 19 2011 at 5:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

HAPPYTHATOBAMAWILLBEGONEIN2012

June 19 2011 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

GLADOBAMAWILLBEGONEIN2012

June 19 2011 at 5:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
carolyn431

So glad I'm not in the Trump family cuz I LOVE dancing on tables. :)

June 19 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MartiiA@hotmail.

More asphalt is NOT a positive, Eric Trump! Its a huge detriment! Did you also inherit running after women, in your case, girls 20-30 yrs younger than you? THAT tells me a lot about your Dad and it isn't good either. It says he has a huge insecurity. Leave the buildings to some other generation. We have enough already.
Go talk to the Royalty in England. They're up on ecology. You missed that lesson.
All the trumps are Axxxxxx, IMHO

I absolutely agree with Dollibug. I married, we got rich. He turned out to not be what I married. I dumped him. A ditzy blonde chased him, he fell for it. NOW he wishes he'd believed me when I told him,"She's only after your money".
But I knew he wouldn't Now SHE also wishes she was out of the marriage but she's sunk too many years in to leave.
The laugh is on them. The happiness is with me. I have never been greedy like either of them.
I got very tired of having money. If I was greedy, I'd still be with him in a miserable existance.

You are very right Dollibug. Money is a controller that wealthy men use over the family. They go to their grave still controlling. Mrs. Trump #1 and I both were the smarter ones.

June 19 2011 at 4:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply