Multibillionaire real estate mogul and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump -- who has repeatedly boasted that he is funding his own run for the presidency -- says his father gave him a "small loan" of $1 million to get him started in his career. Speaking Monday morning at a town hall moderated by NBC's "Today" show, the Donald said his father, the late Fred Trump, had been skeptical of his plans to develop in Manhattan but he went ahead anyway.
"Oh, many times, I’ve been told no by him. My whole life, really, has been a no," Trump said, according to Politico. "It has not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. 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."
Moderator Matt Lauer noted that the loan Trump is calling small isn't small for most Americans.
"You're right, but a million dollars isn't very much compared to what I've built," Trump responded. "I mean, I've built one of the great companies; but it's always been, you know, 'You can't do this, you can't do that.'"
The veracity of Trump's statements is, of course, difficult to establish. His rise certainly was helped by his father's wealth, which was around $300 million at the time of his death in 1999. Trump would have been legally eligible for 47 percent of that money, according to the Washington Post.
Trump is worth quite a bit more than that now. He claims to be worth $10 billion, and others have estimated he is worth at least $4.1 billion. When he graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, he was worth $1.4 million, according to his own previous writings.
Trump also has, or had, a strategy toward business deals that minimizes risk for his personal wealth, according to a 1983 New York Times profile. That has often involved getting taxpayers to finance a share of his endeavors, using multimillion-dollar tax breaks to help finance projects like his looming Midtown Manhattan Trump Tower.