Maverick outsider changes the game
The American dream was dead, he said, smothered by malevolent business interests and corrupt politicians.
Donald Trump's successful campaign for the White House broke every tradition and upended the political establishment with the same bluster, hyperbole and media mastery that made him one of the world's best-known businessmen.
Trump told supporters at a rally early on Wednesday he had received a call from his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton congratulating him on his victory.
From his grand Trump Tower escalator entrance into the Republican presidential race on June 16, 2015, Trump managed to be simultaneously charismatic and combative, elitist and populist, lewd and pious as he drilled into a lode of polarity and anti-Washington anger among American voters.
It was his first run for public office and Trump, a real-estate developer, reality television star and self-confessed owner of a big ego, called it a movement, not a campaign. He drew large, enthusiastic crowds to rallies where people cheered him for "just saying what everybody's thinking." Critics labeled him misogynistic, ill-informed, uncouth, unpresidential, a racist, a hypocrite, a demagogue and a sexual predator, all accusations he denied.
It took Trump, 70, little more than 10 months to vanquish 16 other Republican candidates and win the party's nomination, becoming the first major party nominee without government experience since General Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. He drew a record number of votes in primary contests but in doing so, created a rift in the Republican Party.
Then Trump squared off against Clinton, 69, in a race marked by controversies that included upheaval in his staff, charges he had groped women and unheeded demands that he release his tax records. He said that as president he would investigate Clinton for her use of email while secretary of state. He vowed to send her to jail.
His campaign took a scandalous turn in October with the release of a 2005 video in which Trump, unaware he was being recorded, told a TV reporter that he liked to kiss women without invitation and that, because he was rich and famous, he could grab them with impunity.
Trump dismissed the remarks as "locker room talk" and denied the subsequent accusations from more than 10 women who said he had groped them or made unwanted sexual advances.
Gloom over America
Throughout his campaign - and especially in his Republican convention speech in July - Trump described a dark America that had been knocked to its knees by China, Mexico, Russia and Daesh.
The American dream was dead, he said, smothered by malevolent business interests and corrupt politicians. He said he alone could revive it.
Trump said he would make America great again through the force of his personality, negotiating skill and business acumen. He offered vague plans to win economic concessions from China, to build a wall on the southern US border to keep out undocumented immigrants and to make Mexico pay for it. He vowed to repeal Obamacare while being the "greatest jobs president that God ever created" and has proposed refusing entry to the US to people from war-torn Middle Eastern nations.
Trump promoted himself as the ultimate success story. He dated beautiful women, married three of them, had his own TV show and erected skyscrapers that bore his name in big gold letters. Everything in his life was the greatest, the hugest, the classiest, the most successful, he said, even though critics assailed his experiences with bankruptcies, the failures of his casinos and what they viewed as the misplaced pride he showed when presented with evidence he avoided paying taxes.
Trump had flirted with presidential runs in the past and some initially saw his campaign as a vanity project meant to indulge his ego and burnish his brand. It was expected to be short-lived but as the election season progressed, he became the Republican front-runner, winning state nominating contests despite an unconventional campaign that relied on large-scale rallies and mostly ignored grass-roots work.
His hired advisers came to realise there was only so much they could do to rein in Trump. His inner circle was dominated by his three oldest children - Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, along with Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner.
The rise of Trump, once a registered Democrat, threatened to blow up the Republican Party. Its establishment challenged his commitment to their tenets and organised against him. Prominent Republicans - including former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and congressional leaders - shunned him or offered lukewarm support. Trump used Twitter as a weapon, firing off insults and mockery at those who offended him, including "Crooked Hillary" and Republican rivals "Little Marco" Rubio, Jeb "Low Energy" Bush and "Lyin' Ted" Cruz.
As of late October, The New York Times had counted 282 people and things he had insulted on Twitter since declaring his candidacy.
The Trump candidacy was brimming with contradictions. The candidate who vowed to bring back jobs to the United States had his clothing line and campaign hats manufactured in foreign countries. The man who decried the corrupting power of money in politics boasted of having bought influence himself.
Undocumented workers had been used on his building projects but as a candidate Trump vowed to ship illegal immigrants out of the country. He said no one respected women more than he did but even before the groping accusations emerged, he was branded a misogynist for making fun of the appearance of rival candidate Carly Fiorina.
Trump's campaign trail demeanour seemed to draw from his experiences as host of "The Apprentice," a reality TV show where he barked a crowd-pleasing "You're fired!" at contestants who fell short in competitions.
His speeches were often unscripted and featured boasts on everything from his money to his IQ. He suggested that gun rights activists could act to stop Clinton from nominating liberal US Supreme Court justices, a remark the Clinton campaign called dangerous.
Trump boasted of a fortune he put at $10 billion, although in September Forbes magazine estimated it at $3.7 billion, making him the 156th richest American.
Trump regularly made comments that would have doomed a more conventional candidate, such as when he said his supporters were so loyal that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York and not lose a single vote.
In May he would draw accusations of racism for questioning the impartiality of a judge - born in the US to Mexican immigrants - who was hearing a lawsuit against him. He was flattered when Russian President Vladimir Putin called him a "brilliant and talented leader." Trump mocked Senator John McCain, the Republicans' presidential candidate in 2008, for having been captured during the Vietnam War and said he wanted to punch a protester in the face at a Trump rally.
Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in the New York City borough of Queens, the fourth of five children of Fred Trump, who would become one of the city's biggest developers and landlords, and his wife. It was Fred Trump who taught Donald the value of self-promotion and a killer instinct.
By his own admission, Trump was not an easy child and in the eighth grade his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy in the hope of instilling needed discipline. Through student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War, Trump would never serve in the US military but said the school gave him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military."
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Trump went to work for his father's company, which focused on the outer New York City boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island and owned an estimated 15,000 apartments. In 1973 the Trumps were charged with racial bias in their rental practices before reaching a settlement with the US government. With a $1 million loan from his father, Trump eventually went into business himself in Manhattan, where he developed a reputation as a ladies' man.
Trump Tower flagship
He soon made his mark with a series of real estate and development deals, including redoing an old hotel at New York's Grand Central Terminal. In 1983 he opened his flagship, 58-storey Trump Tower, which serves as both his primary residence and Trump Organisation headquarters.
Trump's projects had mixed success. The flops included the real estate-oriented Trump University, Trump Mortgage, Trump Airlines and Trump Vodka but it was his experience with four casinos that took the golden lustre off his empire.
Timothy O'Brien, author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, wrote that in the 1990s Trump was out of money and twice had to go to his siblings for loans. A former employee said the Trump Organisation would have shut down if the family had not come through but Trump disputed that in his 1997 book Trump: The Art of the Comeback.
While he never filed for personal bankruptcy, the downturn in the gaming industry sent parts of Trump's corporate empire to bankruptcy court in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. In the 2009 bankruptcy, the unsecured creditors received less than a penny on the dollar for their claim. Trump resigned as chairman four days before the filing. - Reuters