Trump Organization EVP Eric Trump on his upbringing: ‘We were a nice real estate family’

Eric Trump has fond memories of his family life before his father became president.

“It seems like our lives have morphed in so many ways over the years,” the Trump Organization EVP told Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York City on Thursday. “We were a nice real estate family. … We built condominiums all over New York and other places. And we grew that business very, very quickly.”

‘We do everything together’

While the family was already wealthy before Eric was born, his mother Ivana Trump has said he and his siblings had a normal childhood.

''Believe me, my children are not spoiled,'' she told the Chicago Tribune in an interview in 1989, when Eric was 5 years old. ''I wouldn’t be working if they were. I’m a European, a very traditional woman, and I believe in my children working hard. After school, they’re off to ballet, tennis, painting lessons, play dates, birthday parties — which keeps them out of trouble — and I’m right there at 5:30 to go from one to the other with their homework. We all have dinner at 7. No business. No phone calls.”

In 2006, then-22-year-old Eric Trump told The New York Times that his older brother, Donald Trump Jr., had “always been my best friend, a mentor… In a way, he raised me. My father, I love and I appreciate, but he always worked 24 hours a day.”

Eric Trump on Thursday stressed that the family was close-knit. “As a family, we do everything together. We love each other. We are very loyal to each other. And if one person does something, we all hop in and we help,” he said.

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Ethics campaigners raise concerns over bill for US president’s visit in June. Donald Trump’s resort on the west coast of Ireland was paid €100,000 (£89,000) by the Irish state to provide food to police officers protecting the US president during a two-night visit this year, it has emerged. The Trump-owned hotel and golf course at Doonbeg received the largest slice of a bill for accommodation and food that came to more than €900,000. The expenditure covered police deployed across County Clare in June. Trump’s visit to Doonbeg was his first since he was elected president in 2016 and involved about 3,820 members of the Irish police service, the Garda Síochána, working overtime at a cost of €7.49m. The Trump Organization bought the resort, which has fairways designed by the Australian golfer Greg Norman, in 2014. It has spent €40m, including the purchase price, on expanding and upgrading facilities that include a spa, restaurants and cottages. Trump has visited six times, calling the resort “terrific” and “incredible”. His June visit followed a trip to the UK. The president bypassed Dublin by landing at nearby Shannon airport, then flew by helicopter to Doonbeg, where he was kept away from protesters by a major security operation that included Irish troops. Nevertheless, some locals believe the US president provides the region with an economic lifeline. The payments to Doonbeg, which emerged following a freedom of information request, have been noted in the US by ethics campaigners who are already seeking to hold the president to account over concerns that he is profiting from the presidency. “When Trump insisted on going way out of his way to stay at his luxury golf resort in Ireland in June, the Irish government ended up paying his business, which he still profits from, more than €113,000,” tweeted Robert Maguire of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Earlier this month Trump dismissed suggestions of impropriety over his vice-president’s stay at Doonbeg and the US military’s use of an airport near his Turnberry golf course in Scotland. The US president tweeted that he had “nothing to do” with Mike Pence’s stay and “knew nothing” about the official use of the airport near his course. A US congressional committee has been investigating whether increasing expenditure at the airport and allegations of US military personnel being offered discount deals at Trump’s Ayrshire golf resort represent a violation of the US constitution. Trump’s stays at his own properties – the most high profile of which has been Mar-a-Lago in Florida, as well as government and diplomatic use of his hotel in Washington, have increasingly raised eyebrows. During the G7 summit in Biarritz in August the US president also suggested that the 2020 summit should be held at his golf resort in Doral, Florida.
Marine One leaves Trump International Golf Resort in Doonbeg, west Ireland Friday, June 7, 2019. President Trump left Ireland following a two night stay at his golf resort. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Donald Trump golfing at his resort in Virginia while Dorian churns.
Sand dunes at Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf resort are set to lose their status as a protected wildlife site after experts said the course had "destroyed" the ecosystem, causing permanent habitat loss.Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), a government watchdog, said there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special features for which they were designated a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).The Trump Organisation, which was granted permission to build the course despite concerns over environmental damage, branded the move an "utter disgrace" and said it was "politically motivated". The SSSI designation is given to areas with rare species of fauna or flora, or with important geological or physiological features.Two years ago, SNH concluded Mr Trump's family business had partially destroyed the protected sand dunes by building the Trump International Golf Links, which opened in 2012.The damaged and destroyed drifts, one of the best examples of moving sand dunes in Britain, developed over 4,000 years, according to the agency.“The construction has removed the vast majority of the geomorphological interest within the vicinity of the golf course,” SNH said in the documents.Friday marks the beginning of a three-month consultation on the future status of Foveran Links SSSI, of which the dunes at Menie form part.SNH said evidence showed permanent habitat loss following the construction of fairways and greens, and that the stabilisation of mobile sand "has destroyed the dynamic nature of the site".Sally Thomas, director of people and nature at SNH, said: "The denotification of SSSIs is unusual, however in this case we have found there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated."We work with developers across Scotland to ensure habitats and wildlife are protected when development work is undertaken."Most of the time, development can take place without damaging important natural features, but this was not the case in this instance."SNH said evidence showed around a third of the special habitats at the Menie section of the Foveran SSSI had been damaged."The remainder of the habitats in the Menie area have been significantly fragmented, and ecological processes disrupted," it said.Following the consultation the remaining SSSI at Foveran Links are expected to be merged with the adjacent Sands of Forvie and Ythan Estuary SSSI.Sarah Malone, Trump International Golf Links Scotland's executive vice-president, insisted the resort had spent millions on protecting the dunes with "no support, guidance or help" from SNH."This is an utter disgrace and shows SNH has hit an all time low," she told the BBC. "To make an announcement to the media before informing us, the actual landowner, shows how politically-motivated this decision is. What other SSSI landowner is singled out in this way. It's a stitch-up."She added: "All this government agency wants to do is score political points and undermine that investment, custodianship and environmental management. No other SSSI site in the country has been afforded the amount of funding or expertise that Menie has and continues to receive."The Trump Organisation has been contacted for comment.Additional reporting by PA
U.S. President Donald Trump drives a golf buggy on his golf course at Turnberry golf club, in Turnberry, Scotland, Sunday, July 15, 2018. President Trump and the First Lady spent the weekend in Scotland, as part of their visit to the UK before leaving for Finland where he will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
CHIBA, JAPAN - MAY 26: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) sits in the golf cart as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2-R) drives while playing golf at Mobara Country Club on May 26, 2019 in Chiba, Japan. U.S. President Donald Trump is on a four-day state visit to Japan, the first official visit of the Reiwa era. Alongside a number of engagements, Trump is expected to watch a sumo match, attend an imperial banquet with newly-enthroned Emperor Naruhito and meet with families of North Korean abductees. (Photo by Kimimasa Mayama - Pool/Getty Images)
CHIBA, JAPAN - MAY 26: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he arrives to play golf at Mobara Country Club on May 26, 2019 in Chiba, Japan. U.S. President Donald Trump is on a four-day state visit to Japan, the first official visit of the Reiwa era. Alongside a number of engagements, Trump is expected to watch a sumo match, attend an imperial banquet with newly-enthroned Emperor Naruhito and meet with families of North Korean abductees. (Photo by Kimimasa Mayama - Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, plays golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, south of Tokyo, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (Ren Onuma/Kyodo News via AP)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba prefecture, Japan May 26, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
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A series of ‘sudden’ events

The family’s success was based on a series of “sudden” and surprising events, Eric Trump said at the All Markets Summit.

“All of a sudden, we started doing some of the best hotels in the world and golf courses and wineries. And a little show called ‘The Apprentice’ came along. And all of a sudden, we were reality TV people. And I'm not really a … reality TV person. It's not kind of who we are.

But the show did incredibly well. And then, fast forward a couple of years past that, and all of a sudden, you know, he's running for president of the United States,” he explained.

Still, Donald Trump’s foray into politics wasn’t as sudden as it might have seemed. While President Trump and his allies often describe him as new to politics, the fact remains that he had dabbled in the public arena for many, many years.

In October 1999, Donald Trump announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee as a candidate of the Reform Party. He ended the campaign in early 2000.

Even as early as in 1987, when Eric was 3 years old, there were rumblings that Trump was looking into running for president.

Larry King, who had interviewed the current president on CNN, had remarked that Trump sounded like “more like a politician these days … when he disagrees with a matter of policy, he does it in a big way,” later adding: “Could the Manhattan magnate be eyeing the White House or is he just calling a bluff?”

In 1988, Trump, who attended the Republican National Convention, told King: “I do enjoy the [political] system, I find it a really, really beautiful thing to watch.”

But throughout it all, the Trumps have always been prepared for the public scrutiny.

“We always realized we had big shoes to fill,” Eric Trump said. “We always realized that we were going to be under the spotlight. … that we were probably going to be held to a different standard. And I think that's the case even more so. And I've lived a very clean lifestyle because of that.”

All Markets Summit

 

Aarthi is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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