Recapping All the Times Donald Trump Ran For President

Donald Trump has been a public figure for pretty much his entire adult life. In the early 1970s, he took over his father’s real estate company and enhanced the branding so that everybody in the world knew the name Trump. He then began making appearances across all forms of media, making him a celebrity of sorts. From board games to reality television and everything in between, Trump was as famous as just about any Hollywood actor.

During most of his business career, Trump was very opinionated about the political world. When he first got involved with politics, Trump identified as a Republican but switched gears in the late 1990s as he became a brief member of the Reform Party. 

In 2001, Trump became a Democrat until the late 2000s and has largely been a Republican ever since. Throughout the years, Trump has at least considered a run for president, with several full-fledged campaigns. Let’s take a look at Trump’s history with presidential candidacies, which goes back further than you may have thought.


When Ronald Reagan was getting close to his second and final term, almost every Republican knew that then-Vice President George H.W. Bush would be the next Republican nominee for the White House. Everyone, that is, except for Donald Trump. Trump took out advertisements in newspapers across the United States voicing his political beliefs and was asked if this meant he was running for office.

Trump denied that he was running for president and said he’d win if he did, but Bush himself said that he was approached by Trump to become his Vice Presidential running mate. Bush called the encounter “strange and unbelievable,” while Trump said, “at that time I had no political aspiration.” It’s unlikely we’ll ever truly know how it all went down specifically.


After sitting out the 1996 election between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, Trump decided that he wanted to throw his hat into the ring when it became a wide-open race in 2000. Instead of running as either a Democrat or Republican, though, Trump decided to run as a member of the Reform Party.

Trump, however, didn’t even win the presidential nomination from the party. Instead, that spot went to Pat Buchanan, the former speechwriter, and advisor for Richard Nixon who chose Ezola Foster as his running mate. There were two states in which Trump won his primary for the Reform Party, though (Michigan and California).

2004 and 2008

After failing to secure the third party bid in 2000, Trump decided to take a bit of a back seat during the following two elections. Trump considered running again in 2004, but it wasn’t a serious interest. In 2008, he initially supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries, but when she lost the bid to Barack Obama, he began supporting John McCain.

Two of those people would end up being direct Trump opponents down the road, so it was interesting to see him support both during the same year prior to his presidential run in 2016. Ultimately, Obama would win the presidency, and Trump would be one of his biggest critics with the advent of Twitter.


Because he was gaining so much support on social media for his opposition to Barack Obama, there were many who felt that Trump should run for president in 2012 while Obama was up for re-election. Trump ran an “unofficial” campaign and dropped out rather early in the process. 

It was around that time when Trump attended the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner and was a massive target for Obama’s jokes. Many felt that this was the time when Trump began taking his political career seriously and started laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign. This included requesting some of his records either removed or sealed.

2016 and 2020

In June 2015, Trump announced his official candidacy for the 2016 presidential election as a member of the Republican Party. Many felt that Trump had no chance, but continued to gain support in the primaries and knocked out candidates including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich on his way to winning the bid.

Trump earned 1,441 delegates during the primary elections, though he still wasn’t given a chance by most analysts in the general election. However, Trump pulled off one of the biggest upsets in election history when he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

Four years later, though, Trump failed to win his re-election campaign in what has gone down as one of the most talked about elections in American history. Before even leaving the White House, though, Trump had announced that he was running once again in 2024 while contending the results of the 2020 election.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *