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Too Much and Never Enough / (by Mary L. Trump PhD, 2020) -

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Too Much and Never Enough /      (by Mary L. Trump PhD, 2020) -

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Worlds Most Dangerous Man / . (by Mary L. Trump PhD, 2020) -

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Too Much and Never Enough / (by Mary L. Trump PhD, 2020) -
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2020
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Mary L. Trump PhD
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Mary L. Trump PhD
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upper-intermediate
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07:05:15
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128 kbps
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Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Worlds Most Dangerous Man / . :

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: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Worlds Most Dangerous Man

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For my daughter, Avary, and my dad If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness. Victor Hugo, Les Mis?rables Authors Note Much of this book comes from my own memory. For events during which I was not present, I relied on conversations and interviews, many of which are recorded, with members of my family, family friends, neighbors, and associates. Ive reconstructed some dialogue according to what I personally remember and what others have told me. Where dialogue appears, my intention was to re-create the essence of conversations rather than provide verbatim quotes. I have also relied on legal documents, bank statements, tax returns, private journals, family documents, correspondence, emails, texts, photographs, and other records. For general background, I relied on the New York Times, in particular the investigative article by David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner that was published on October 2, 2018; the Washington Post; Vanity Fair; Politico; the TWA Museum website; and Norman Vincent Peales The Power of Positive Thinking. For background on Steeplechase Park, I thank the Coney Island History Project website, Brooklyn Paper, and a May 14, 2018, article on 6sqft.com by Dana Schulz. For his insights into the episodic man, thank you to Dan P. McAdams. For family history and information regarding Trump family businesses and alleged crimes, I am grateful for the reporting of the late Wayne Barrett, David Corn, Michael DAntonio, David Cay Johnston, Tim OBrien, Charles P. Pierce, and Adam Serwer. Thanks also to Gwenda Blair, and Michael Kranish and Marc Fisherbut my dad was forty-two, not forty-three, when he died. Prologue Id always liked my name. As a kid at sailing camp in the 1970s, everybody called me Trump. It was a source of pride, not because the name was associated with power and real estate (back then my family was unknown outside of Brooklyn and Queens) but because something about the sound of it suited me, a tough six-year-old, afraid of nothing. In the 1980s, when I was in college and my uncle Donald had started branding all of his buildings in Manhattan, my feelings about my name became more complicated. Thirty years later, on April 4, 2017, I was in the quiet car of an Amtrak train headed to Washington, DC, for a family dinner at the White House. Ten days earlier I had received an email inviting me to a birthday celebration for my aunts Maryanne, turning eighty, and Elizabeth, turning seventy-five. Their younger brother Donald had occupied the Oval Office since January. After I emerged into Union Station, with its vaulted ceilings and black-and-white marble floors, I passed a vendor who had set up an easel with buttons for sale: my name in a red circle with a red slash through it, DEPORT TRUMP, DUMP TRUMP, and TRUMP IS A WITCH. I put on my sunglasses and picked up my pace. I took a cab to the Trump International Hotel, which was comping my family for one night. After checking in, I walked through the atrium and looked up at the glass ceiling and the blue sky beyond. The three-tiered crystal chandeliers that hung from the central beam of interconnected girders arching overhead cast a soft light. On one side, armchairs, settees, and couchesroyal blue, robins-egg blue, ivorywere arranged in small groups; on the other, tables and chairs circled a large bar where I was later scheduled to meet my brother. I had expected the hotel to be vulgar and gilded. It wasnt. My room was also tasteful. But my name was plastered everywhere, on everything: TRUMP shampoo, TRUMP conditioner, TRUMP slippers, TRUMP shower cap, TRUMP shoe polish, TRUMP sewing kit, and TRUMP bathrobe. I opened the refrigerator, grabbed a split of TRUMP white wine, and poured it down my Trump throat so it could course through my Trump bloodstream and hit the pleasure center of my Trump brain. An hour later I met my brother, Frederick Crist Trump, III, whom Ive called Fritz since we were kids, and his wife, Lisa. Soon we were joined by the rest of our party: my aunt Maryanne, the eldest of Fred and Mary Trumps five children and a respected federal appeals court judge; my uncle Robert, the baby of the family, who for a short time had been one of Donalds employees in Atlantic City before leaving on bad terms in the early 1990s, and his girlfriend; my aunt Elizabeth, the middle Trump child, and her husband, Jim; my cousin David Desmond (Maryannes only child and the oldest Trump grandchild) and his wife; and a few of my aunts closest friends. The only Trump sibling who would be missing from the celebration was my father, Frederick Crist Trump, Jr., the oldest son, whom everybody had called Freddy. He had died more than thirty-five years before. When we were finally all together, we checked in with the White House security agents outside, then piled haphazardly into the two White House vans like a JV lacrosse team. Some of the older guests had trouble negotiating the steps. Nobody was comfortable squeezing onto the bench seats. I wondered why the White House hadnt thought to send at least one limo for my aunts. As we pulled into the South Lawn driveway ten minutes later, two guards came out of the security hut to inspect the underside of the van before we drove through the front gate. After a short drive we stopped at a small security building adjacent to the East Wing and disembarked. We went inside one by one as our names were called, handed over our phones and bags, and walked through a metal detector. Once inside the White House, we walked in twos and threes through the long corridors, past windows looking out on gardens and lawns, past life-sized paintings of former first ladies. I stopped in front of Hillary Clintons portrait and stood silently for a minute. I wondered again how this could have happened. There was no reason for me ever to have imagined that Id visit the White House, certainly not under these circumstances. The whole thing felt surreal. I looked around. The White House was elegant, grand, and stately, and I was about to see my uncle, the man who lived here, for the first time in eight years. We emerged from the shadows of the hallway onto the portico surrounding the Rose Garden and stopped outside the Oval Office. Through the French doors, I could see that a meeting was still in progress. Vice President Mike Pence stood off to the side, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senator Chuck Schumer, and a dozen other congresspeople and staffers were gathered around Donald, who sat behind the Resolute Desk. The tableau reminded me of one of my grandfathers tactics: he always made his supplicants come to him, either at his Brooklyn office or his house in Queens, and he remained seated while they stood. In late autumn 1985, a year after I had taken a leave of absence from Tufts University, I took my place in front of him and asked his permission to return to school. He looked up at me and said, Thats stupid. What do you want to do that for? Just go to trade school and become a receptionist. Because I want to get my degree. I must have said it with a hint of annoyance, because my grandfather narrowed his eyes and looked at me for a second as if reevaluating me. The corner of his mouth lifted in a sneer, and he laughed. Thats nasty, he said. A few minutes later, the meeting broke up. The Oval Office was both smaller and less intimate than Id imagined. My cousin Eric and his wife, Lara, whom Id never met, were standing right by the door, so I said, Hi, Eric. Its your cousin Mary. Of course I know who you are, he said. Well, its been a while, I said. I think the last time we saw each other, you were still in high school. He shrugged and said, Thats probably true. He and Lara walked away without his introducing us. I looked around. Melania, Ivanka, Jared, and Donny had arrived and were standing next to Donald, who remained seated. Mike Pence continued to lurk on the other side of the room with a half-dead smile on his face, like the chaperone everybody wanted to avoid. I stared at him, hoping to make eye contact, but he never looked my way. Excuse me, everyone, the White House photographer, a petite young woman in a dark pantsuit, announced in an upbeat voice. Lets get you all together so I can take some pictures before we go upstairs. She instructed us to surround Donald, who still had not gotten up from the desk. The photographer raised her camera. One, two, three, smile, she said. After the pictures had been taken, Donald stood up and pointed to a framed black-and-white photograph of my grandfather, which was propped up on a table behind the desk. Maryanne, isnt that a great picture of Dad? It was the same photograph that had sat on the side table in the library of my grandparents house. In it, my grandfather was still a young man, with receding dark hair, a mustache, and a look of command that I had never seen falter until his dementia set in. Wed all seen it thousands of times. Maybe you should have a picture of Mom, too, Maryanne suggested. Thats a great idea, Donald said as though it had never occurred to him. Somebody get me a picture of Mom. We spent a few more minutes in the Oval Office, taking turns sitting behind the Resolute Desk. My brother took a picture of me, and when I looked at it later, I noticed my grandfather hovering behind me like a ghost. The White House historian joined us just outside the Oval Office, and we proceeded to the Executive Residence on the second floor for a tour to be followed by dinner. Once upstairs, we proceeded to the Lincoln Bedroom. I took a quick look inside and was surprised to see a half-eaten apple on the bedside table. As the historian told us stories about what had happened in the room through the years, Donald pointed vaguely once in a while and declared, This place has never looked better since George Washington lived here. The historian was too polite to point out that the house hadnt been opened until after Washington had died. The group moved down the hall toward the Treaty Room and the Executive Dining Room. Donald stood in the doorway, greeting people as they entered. I was one of the last to arrive. I hadnt yet said hello, and when he saw me, he pointed at me with a surprised look on his face, then said, I specifically asked for you to be here. That was the kind of thing he often said to charm people, and he had a knack for tailoring his comment to the occasion, which was all the more impressive because I knew it wasnt true. He opened his arms, and then, for the first time in my life, he hugged me. The first thing I noticed about the Executive Dining Room was its beauty: the dark wood polished to perfection, the exquisite place settings, and the hand-drawn calligraphy on the place cards and menus (iceberg lettuce salad, mashed potatoesTrump family staplesand Wagyu beef filet). The second thing I noticed after sitting down was the seating arrangement. In my family, you could always gauge your worth by where you were seated, but I didnt mind: all of the people I felt comfortable withmy brother and sister-in-law, Maryannes stepdaughter and her husbandwere seated near me. Each of the waiters carried a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white. Real wine, not TRUMP wine. That was unexpected. In my entire life, there had never been any alcohol at a family function. Only Coke and apple juice had been served at my grandparents house. Halfway through the meal, Jared walked into the dining room. Oh, look, Ivanka said, clapping her hands, Jareds back from his trip to the Middle East, as if we hadnt just seen him in the Oval Office. He walked over to his wife, gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, then bent over Donald, who was seated next to Ivanka. They spoke quietly for a couple of minutes. And then Jared left. He didnt acknowledge anybody else, not even my aunts. As he crossed the threshold, Donny leapt out of his chair and bounded after him like an excited puppy. As dessert was being served, Robert stood up, wineglass in hand. It is such an honor to be here with the president of the United States, he said. Thank you, Mr. President, for allowing us to be here to celebrate our sisters birthdays. I thought back to the last time the family had celebrated Fathers Day at Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn. Then, as now, Donald and Rob had been sitting next to each other with me directly across from them. Without any explanation, Donald had turned to Rob and said, Look. Hed bared his teeth and pointed at his mouth. What? Rob had asked. Donald had simply pulled his lips back farther and pointed more emphatically. Rob had started to look nervous. I had no idea what was going on but watched with amusement while I sipped my Coke. Look! Donald had said through his gritted teeth. What do you think? What do you mean? Robs embarrassment was palpable. He had glanced around him to make sure nobody was looking at him and whispered, Is there something in my teeth? The bowls of creamed spinach scattered around the table rendered that a distinct possibility. Donald had relaxed his mouth and stopped pointing. The contemptuous look on his face summed up the entire history of their relationship. I got my teeth whitened. What do you think? he had asked dryly. After Robs remarks, Donald shot him the same dismissive look Id seen at Peter Lugers almost twenty years before. Then, Diet Coke glass in hand, Donald made some perfunctory remarks about my aunts birthdays, after which he gestured toward his daughter-in-law. Lara, there, he said. I barely even knew who the fuck she was, honestly, but then she gave a great speech during the campaign in Georgia supporting me. By then, Lara and Eric had been together for almost eight years, so presumably Donald had at least met her at their wedding. But it sounded as if he hadnt known who she was until she had said something nice about him at a campaign rally during the election. As usual with Donald, the story mattered more than the truth, which was easily sacrificed, especially if a lie made the story sound better. When Maryannes turn came, she said, I want to thank you for making the trip to celebrate our birthdays. Weve come a long way since that night when Freddy dumped a bowl of mashed potatoes on Donalds head because he was being such a brat. Everybody familiar with the legendary mashed potato story laughedeveryone except Donald, who listened with his arms tightly crossed and a scowl on his face, as he did whenever Maryanne mentioned it. It upset him, as if he were that seven-year-old boy. He clearly still felt the sting of that long-ago humiliation. Unprompted, my cousin Donny, whod returned from chasing down Jared, stood up to speak. Instead of toasting our aunts, he gave a sort of campaign speech. Last November, the American people saw something special and voted for a president who they knew understood them. They saw what a great family this is, and they connected with our values. I glanced at my brother and rolled my eyes. I flagged down one of the waiters. Can I have some more wine? I asked. He returned quickly with two bottles and asked if I preferred red or white. Yes, please, I said. As soon as we finished dessert, everybody rose. Only two hours had elapsed since wed entered the Oval Office, but the meal was over, and it was time to leave. From beginning to end we had spent about twice as much time at the White House as we ever had at my grandparents house for Thanksgiving or Christmas but still less time with Donald than Kid Rock, Sarah Palin, and Ted Nugent would two weeks later. Somebody suggested that we all take individual pictures with Donald (though not with the guests of honor). When it was my turn, Donald smiled for the camera and gave a thumbs-up, but I could see the exhaustion behind the smile. It seemed that keeping up the cheerful facade was wearing on him. Dont let them get you down, I said to him as my brother took the picture. It wasnt long after his first national security advisor had been fired in disgrace, and the cracks in his presidency were already beginning to show. Donald jutted out his chin and clenched his teeth, looking for a moment like the ghost of my grandmother. Theyre not going to get me, he said. When Donald announced his run for the presidency on June 16, 2015, I didnt take it seriously. I didnt think Donald took it seriously. He simply wanted the free publicity for his brand. Hed done that sort of thing before. When his poll numbers started to rise and he may have received tacit assurances from Russian president Vladimir Putin that Russia would do everything it could to swing the election in his favor, the appeal of winning grew. Hes a clown, my aunt Maryanne said during one of our regular lunches at the time. This will never happen. I agreed. We talked about how his reputation as a faded reality star and failed businessman would doom his run. Does anybody even believe the bullshit that hes a self-made man? What has he even accomplished on his own? I asked. Well, Maryanne said, as dry as the Sahara, he has had five bankruptcies. When Donald started addressing the opioid crisis and using my fathers history with alcoholism to burnish his anti-addiction bona fides to seem more sympathetic, both of us were angry. Hes using your fathers memory for political purposes, Maryanne said, and thats a sin, especially since Freddy should have been the star of the family. We thought the blatant racism on display during Donalds announcement speech would be a deal breaker, but we were disabused of that idea when Jerry Falwell, Jr., and other white evangelicals started endorsing him. Maryanne, a devout Catholic since her conversion five decades earlier, was incensed. What the fuck is wrong with them? she said. The only time Donald went to church was when the cameras were there. Its mind boggling. He has no principles. None! Nothing Donald said during the campaignfrom his disparagement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arguably the most qualified presidential candidate in the history of the country, as a nasty woman, to his mocking of Serge Kovaleski, a disabled New York Times reporterdeviated from my expectation of him. In fact, I was reminded of every family meal Id ever attended during which Donald had talked about all of the women he considered ugly fat slobs or the men, usually more accomplished or powerful, he called losers while my grandfather and Maryanne, Elizabeth, and Robert all laughed and joined in. That kind of casual dehumanization of people was commonplace at the Trump dinner table. What did surprise me was that he kept getting away with it. Then he received the nomination. The things I had thought would disqualify him seemed only to strengthen his appeal to his base. I still wasnt concernedI was confident he could never be electedbut the idea that he had a shot at it was unnerving. Late in the summer of 2016, I considered speaking out about the ways I knew Donald to be completely unqualified. By this time, he had emerged relatively unscathed from the Republican National Convention and his call for Second Amendment people to stop Hillary Clinton. Even his attack on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Gold Star parents whose son Humayun, a US Army captain, had died in Iraq, seemed not to matter. When the majority of Republicans polled still supported him after the Access Hollywood tape was released, I knew I had made the right decision. I began to feel as though I were watching my family history, and Donalds central role in it, playing out on a grand scale. Donalds competition in the race was being held to higher standards, just as my father had always been, while he continued to get away withand even be rewarded forincreasingly crass, irresponsible, and despicable behavior. This cant possibly be happening again, I thought. But it was. The media failed to notice that not one member of Donalds family, apart from his children, his son-in-law, and his current wife said a word in support of him during the entire campaign. Maryanne told me she was lucky because, as a federal judge, she needed to maintain her objectivity. She may have been the only person in the country, given her position as his sister and her professional reputation, who, if she had spoken out about Donalds complete unfitness for the office, might have made a difference. But she had her own secrets to keep, and I wasnt entirely surprised when she told me after the election that shed voted for her brother out of family loyalty. Growing up in the Trump family, particularly as Freddys child, presented certain challenges. In some ways Ive been extremely fortunate. I attended excellent private schools and had the security of first-rate medical insurance for much of my life. There was also, though, a built-in sense of scarcity that applied to all of us, except Donald. After my grandfather died in 1999, I learned that my fathers line had been erased from the will as if Fred Trumps oldest son had never existed, and a lawsuit followed. In the end, I concluded that if I spoke publicly about my uncle, I would be painted as a disgruntled, disinherited niece looking to cash in or settle a score. In order to understand what brought Donaldand all of usto this point, we need to start with my grandfather and his own need for recognition, a need that propelled him to encourage Donalds reckless hyperbole and unearned confidence that hid Donalds pathological weaknesses and insecurities. As Donald grew up, he was forced to become his own cheerleader, first, because he needed his father to believe he was a better and more confident son than Freddy was; then because Fred required it of him; and finally because he began to believe his own hype, even as he paradoxically suspected on a very deep level that nobody else did. By the time of the election, Donald met any challenges to his sense of superiority with anger, his fear and vulnerabilities so effectively buried that he didnt even have to acknowledge they existed. And he never would. In the 1970s, after my grandfather had already been preferring and promoting Donald for years, the New York media picked up the baton and began disseminating Donalds unsubstantiated hype. In the 1980s, the banks joined in when they began to fund his ventures. Their willingness (and then their need) to foster his increasingly unfounded claims to success hung on the hopes of recouping their losses. After a decade during which Donald floundered, dragged down by bankruptcies and reduced to fronting for a series of failed products from steaks to vodka, the television producer Mark Burnett gave him yet another chance. The Apprentice traded on Donalds image as the brash, self-made dealmaker, a myth that had been the creation of my grandfather five decades earlier and that astonishingly, considering the vast trove of evidence disproving it, had survived into the new millennium almost entirely unaltered. By the time Donald announced his run for the Republican Party nomination in 2015, a significant percentage of the American population had been primed to believe that myth. To this day, the lies, misrepresentations, and fabrications that are the sum total of who my uncle is are perpetuated by the Republican Party and white evangelical Christians. People who know better, such as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell; true believers, such as Representative Kevin McCarthy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William Barr; and others too numerous to name, have become, unwittingly or not, complicit in their perpetuation. None of the Trump siblings emerged unscathed from my grandfathers sociopathy and my grandmothers illnesses, both physical and psychological, but my uncle Donald and my father, Freddy, suffered more than the rest. In order to get a complete picture of Donald, his psychopathologies, and the meaning of his dysfunctional behavior, we need a thorough family history. In the last three years, Ive watched as countless pundits, armchair psychologists, and journalists have kept missing the mark, using phrases such as malignant narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder in an attempt to make sense of Donalds often bizarre and self-defeating behavior. I have no problem calling Donald a narcissisthe meets all nine criteria as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)but the label gets us only so far. I received my PhD in clinical psychology from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, and while doing research for my dissertation I spent a year working on the admissions ward of Manhattan Psychiatric Center, a state facility, where we diagnosed, evaluated, and treated some of the sickest, most vulnerable patients. In addition to teaching graduate psychology, including courses in trauma, psychopathology, and developmental psychology, for several years as an adjunct professor, I provided therapy and psychological testing for patients at a community clinic specializing in addictions. Those experiences showed me time and again that diagnosis doesnt exist in a vacuum. Does Donald have other symptoms we arent aware of? Are there other disorders that might have as much or more explanatory power? Maybe. A case could be made that he also meets the criteria for antisocial personality disorder, which in its most severe form is generally considered sociopathy but can also refer to chronic criminality, arrogance, and disregard for the rights of others. Is there comorbidity? Probably. Donald may also meet some of the criteria for dependent personality disorder, the hallmarks of which include an inability to make decisions or take responsibility, discomfort with being alone, and going to excessive lengths to obtain support from others. Are there other factors that should be considered? Absolutely. He may have a long undiagnosed learning disability that for decades has interfered with his ability to process information. Also, he is alleged to drink upward of twelve Diet Cokes a day and sleep very little. Does he suffer from a substance- (in this case caffeine-) induced sleep disorder? He has a horrible diet and does not exercise, which may contribute to or exacerbate his other possible disorders. The fact is, Donalds pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that hell never sit for. At this point, we cant evaluate his day-to-day functioning because he is, in the West Wing, essentially institutionalized. Donald has been institutionalized for most of his adult life, so there is no way to know how he would thrive, or even survive, on his own in the real world. At the end of my aunts birthday party in 2017, as we lined up for our pictures, I could see that Donald was already under a kind of stress hed never experienced before. As the pressures upon him have continued to mount over the course of the last three years, the disparity between the level of competence required for running a country and his incompetence has widened, revealing his delusions more starkly than ever before. Many, but by no means all of us, have been shielded until now from the worst effects of his pathologies by a stable economy and a lack of serious crises. But the out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of an economic depression, deepening social divides along political lines thanks to Donalds penchant for division, and devastating uncertainty about our countrys future have created a perfect storm of catastrophes that no one is less equipped than my uncle to manage. Doing so would require courage, strength of character, deference to experts, and the confidence to take responsibility and to course correct after admitting mistakes. His ability to control unfavorable situations by lying, spinning, and obfuscating has diminished to the point of impotence in the midst of the tragedies we are currently facing. His egregious and arguably intentional mishandling of the current catastrophe has led to a level of pushback and scrutiny that hes never experienced before, increasing his belligerence and need for petty revenge as he withholds vital funding, personal protective equipment, and ventilators that your tax dollars have paid for from states whose governors dont kiss his ass sufficiently. In the 1994 film based on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelleys novel, Frankensteins monster says, I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. After referencing that quote, Charles P. Pierce wrote in Esquire, [Donald] doesnt plague himself with doubt about what hes creating around him. He is proud of his monster. He glories in its anger and its destruction and, while he cannot imagine its love, he believes with all his heart in its rage. He is Frankenstein without conscience. That could more accurately have been said about Donalds father, Fred, with this crucial difference: Freds monsterthe only child of his who mattered to himwould ultimately be rendered unlovable by the very nature of Freds preference for him. In the end, there would be no love for Donald at all, just his agonizing thirsting for it. The rage, left to grow, would come to overshadow everything else. When Rhona Graff, Donalds longtime gatekeeper, sent me and my daughter an invitation to attend Donalds election-night party in New York City, I declined. I wouldnt be able to contain my euphoria when Clintons victory was announced, and I didnt want to be rude. At 5:00 the next morning, only a couple of hours after the opposite result had been announced, I was wandering around my house, as traumatized as many other people but in a more personal way: it felt as though 62,979,636 voters had chosen to turn this country into a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family. Within a month of the election, I found myself compulsively watching the news and checking my Twitter feed, anxious and unable to concentrate on anything else. Though nothing Donald did surprised me, the speed and volume with which he started inflicting his worst impulses on the countryfrom lying about the crowd size at the inauguration and whining about how poorly he was treated to rolling back environmental protections, targeting the Affordable Care Act in order to take affordable health care away from millions of people, and enacting his racist Muslim banoverwhelmed me. The smallest thingseeing Donalds face or hearing my own name, both of which happened dozens of times a daytook me back to the time when my father had withered and died beneath the cruelty and contempt of my grandfather. I had lost him when he was only forty-two and I was sixteen. The horror of Donalds cruelty was being magnified by the fact that his acts were now official US policy, affecting millions of people. The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everybody else. Its wearing the country down, just as it did my father, changing us even as it leaves Donald unaltered. Its weakening our ability to be kind or believe in forgiveness, concepts that have never had any meaning for him. His administration and his party have become subsumed by his politics of grievance and entitlement. Worse, Donald, who understands nothing about history, constitutional principles, geopolitics, diplomacy (or anything else, really) and was never pressed to demonstrate such knowledge, has evaluated all of this countrys alliances, and all of our social programs, solely through the prism of money, just as his father taught him to do. The costs and benefits of governing are considered in purely financial terms, as if the US Treasury were his personal piggy bank. To him, every dollar going out was his loss, while every dollar saved was his gain. In the midst of obscene plenty, one person, using all of the levers of power and taking every advantage at his disposal, would benefit himself and, conditionally, his immediate family, his cronies, and his sycophants; for the rest, there would never be enough to go around, which was exactly how my grandfather ran our family. Its extraordinary that for all of the attention and coverage that Donald has received in the last fifty years, hes been subjected to very little scrutiny. Though his character flaws and aberrant behavior have been remarked upon and joked about, theres been very little effort to understand not only why he became who he is but how hes consistently failed up despite his glaring lack of fitness. Donald has, in some sense, always been institutionalized, shielded from his limitations or his need to succeed on his own in the world. Honest work was never demanded of him, and no matter how badly he failed, he was rewarded in ways that are almost unfathomable. He continues to be protected from his own disasters in the White House, where a claque of loyalists applauds his every pronouncement or covers up his possible criminal negligence by normalizing it to the point that weve become almost numb to the accumulating transgressions. But now the stakes are far higher than theyve ever been before; they are literally life and death. Unlike any previous time in his life, Donalds failings cannot be hidden or ignored because they threaten us all. Although my aunts and uncles will think otherwise, Im not writing this book to cash in or out of a desire for revenge. If either of those had been my intention, I would have written a book about our family years ago, when there was no way to anticipate that Donald would trade on his reputation as a serially bankrupt businessman and irrelevant reality show host to ascend to the White House; when it would have been safer because my uncle wasnt in a position to threaten and endanger whistleblowers and critics. The events of the last three years, however, have forced my hand, and I can no longer remain silent. By the time this book is published, hundreds of thousands of American lives will have been sacrificed on the altar of Donalds hubris and willful ignorance. If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy. No one knows how Donald came to be who he is better than his own family. Unfortunately, almost all of them remain silent out of loyalty or fear. Im not hindered by either of those. In addition to the firsthand accounts I can give as my fathers daughter and my uncles only niece, I have the perspective of a trained clinical psychologist. Too Much and Never Enough is the story of the most visible and powerful family in the world. And I am the only Trump who is willing to tell it. I hope this book will end the practice of referring to Donalds strategies or agendas, as if he operates according to any organizing principles. He doesnt. Donalds ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his fathers money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself. Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truththat he is none of those thingsis too terrifying for him to contemplate. Donald, following the lead of my grandfather and with the complicity, silence, and inaction of his siblings, destroyed my father. I cant let him destroy my country. PART ONE The Cruelty Is the Point CHAPTER ONE The House Daddy, Moms bleeding! Theyd lived in the House, as my grandparents home was known, for less than a year, and it still felt unfamiliar, especially in the middle of the night, so when twelve-year-old Maryanne found her mother lying unconscious in one of the upstairs bathroomsnot the master bathroom but the bathroom she and her sister shared down the hallshe was already disoriented. There was blood all over the bathroom floor. Maryannes terror was so great that it overcame her usual reluctance to disturb her father in his bedroom, and she flew to the other end of the house to rouse him. Fred got out of bed, walked quickly down the hall, and found his wife unresponsive. With Maryanne at his heels, he rushed back to his bedroom, where there was a telephone extension, and placed a call. Already a powerful man with connections at Jamaica Hospital, Fred was immediately put into touch with someone who could get an ambulance to the House and make sure the best doctors were waiting for them when they arrived at the emergency room. Fred explained the situation as best he could to the person on the other end. Maryanne heard him say menstruation, an unfamiliar word that sounded strange coming out of her fathers mouth. Shortly after Mary arrived at the hospital, she underwent an emergency hysterectomy after doctors found that serious postpartum complications had gone undiagnosed after Roberts birth nine months earlier. The procedure led to an abdominal infection, and then further complications arose. From what would become his usual spot by the telephone table in the library, Fred spoke briefly with one of Marys doctors and, after hanging up the phone, called Maryanne to join him. They told me your mother wont make it through the night, he said to his daughter. A little while later, as he was leaving for the hospital to be with his wife, he told her, Go to school tomorrow. Ill call you if theres any change. She understood the implication: I will call you if your mother dies. Maryanne spent the night crying alone in her room while her younger siblings remained asleep in their beds, unaware of the calamity. She went to school the next day full of dread. Dr. James Dixon, the headmaster of Kew-Forest, a private school she had begun attending when her father joined the board of directors, came to get her from study hall. Theres a phone call for you in my office. Maryanne was convinced that her mother was dead. The walk to the principals office was like a walk to the scaffold. All the twelve-year-old could think was that she was going to be the acting mother of four children. When she picked up the phone, her father simply said, Shes going to make it. Mary would undergo two more surgeries over the next week, but she did indeed make it. Freds pull at the hospital, which ensured that his wife got the very best doctors and care, had probably saved her life. But it would be a long road back to recovery. For the next six months, Mary was into and out of the hospital. The long-term implications for her health were serious. She eventually developed severe osteoporosis from the sudden loss of estrogen that went with having her ovaries removed along with her uterus, a common but often unnecessary medical procedure performed at the time. As a result, she was often in excruciating pain from spontaneous fractures to her ever-thinning bones. If were lucky, we have, as infants and toddlers, at least one emotionally available parent who consistently fulfills our needs and responds to our desires for attention. Being held and comforted, having our feelings acknowledged and our upsets soothed are all critical for the healthy development of young children. This kind of attention creates a sense of safety and security that ultimately allows us to explore the world around us without excessive fear or unmanageable anxiety because we know we can count on the bedrock support of at least one caregiver. Mirroring, the process through which an attuned parent reflects, processes, and then gives back to the baby the babys own feelings, is another crucial part of a young childs development. Without mirroring, children are denied crucial information both about how their minds work and about how to understand the world. Just as a secure attachment to a primary caregiver can lead to higher levels of emotional intelligence, mirroring is the root of empathy. Mary and Fred were problematic parents from the very beginning. My grandmother rarely spoke to me about her own parents or childhood, so I can only speculate, but she was the youngest of ten childrentwenty-one years younger than her oldest sibling and four years younger than the second youngestand she grew up in an often inhospitable environment in the early 1910s. Whether her own needs werent sufficiently met when she was young or for some other reason, she was the kind of mother who used her children to comfort herself rather than comforting them. She attended to them when it was convenient for her, not when they needed her to. Often unstable and needy, prone to self-pity and flights of martyrdom, she frequently put herself first. Especially when it came to her sons, she acted as if there were nothing she could do for them. During and after her surgeries, Marys absenceboth literal and emotionalcreated a void in the lives of her children. As hard as it must have been for Maryanne, Freddy, and Elizabeth, they were old enough to understand what was happening and could, to some extent, take care of themselves. The impact was especially dire for Donald and Robert, who at two and a half years and nine months old, respectively, were the most vulnerable of her children, especially since there was no one else to fill the void. The live-in housekeeper was undoubtedly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of housework. Their paternal grandmother, who lived nearby, prepared meals, but she was as terse and physically unaffectionate as her son. When Maryanne wasnt in school, much of the responsibility of taking care of the younger kids fell to her. (As a boy, Freddy wouldnt have been expected to help.) She gave them baths and got them ready for bed, but at twelve there was only so much she could do. The five kids were essentially motherless. Whereas Mary was needy, Fred seemed to have no emotional needs at all. In fact, he was a high-functioning sociopath. Although uncommon, sociopathy is not rare, afflicting as much as 3 percent of the population. Seventy-five percent of those diagnosed are men. Symptoms of sociopathy include a lack of empathy, a facility for lying, an indifference to right and wrong, abusive behavior, and a lack of interest in the rights of others. Having a sociopath as a parent, especially if there is no one else around to mitigate the effects, all but guarantees severe disruption in how children understand themselves, regulate their emotions, and engage with the world. My grandmother was ill equipped to deal with the problems caused in her marriage by Freds callousness, indifference, and controlling behaviors. Freds lack of real human feeling, his rigidity as a parent and a husband, and his sexist belief in a womans innate inferiority likely left her feeling unsupported. Since Mary was emotionally and physically absent due to her injuries, Fred became, by default, the only available parent, but it would be a mistake to refer to him as a caregiver. He firmly believed that dealing with young children was not his job and kept to his twelve-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week job at Trump Management, as if his children could look after themselves. He focused on what was important to him: his increasingly successful business, which at the time was developing Shore Haven and Beach Haven, two massive residential projects in Brooklyn that were to date the most significant of his life. Again, Donald and Robert in particular would have been in the most precarious position vis-?-vis Freds lack of interest. All behavior exhibited by infants and toddlers is a form of attachment behavior, which seeks a positive, comforting response from the caregivera smile to elicit a smile, tears to prompt a hug. Even under normal circumstances, Fred would have considered any expressions of that kind an annoyance, but Donald and Robert were likely even needier because they missed their mother and were actively distressed by her absence. The greater their distress, however, the more Fred rebuffed them. He did not like to have demands made of him, and the annoyance provoked by his childrens neediness set up a dangerous tension in the Trump household: by engaging in behaviors that were biologically designed to trigger soothing, comforting responses from their parents, the little boys instead provoked their fathers anger or indifference when they were most vulnerable. For Donald and Robert, needing became equated with humiliation, despair, and hopelessness. Because Fred didnt want to be disturbed when he was home, it worked in his favor if his children learned one way or another not to need anything. Freds parenting style actually exacerbated the negative effects of Marys absence. As a result of it, his children were isolated not just from the rest of the world but from one another. From then on it would become increasingly difficult for the siblings to find solidarity with other human beings, which is one of the reasons Freddys brothers and sisters ultimately failed him; standing up for him, even helping him, would have risked their fathers wrath. When Mary became ill and Donalds main source of comfort and human connection was suddenly taken away from him, not only was there no one to help him make sense of it, Fred was the only person left that he could depend on. Donalds needs, which had been met inconsistently before his mothers illness, were barely met at all by his father. That Fred would, by default, become the primary source of Donalds solace when he was much more likely to be a source of fear or rejection put Donald into an intolerable position: being totally dependent on his father, who was also likely to be a source of his terror. Child abuse is, in some sense, the experience of too much or not enough. Donald directly experienced the not enough in the loss of connection to his mother at a crucial developmental stage, which was deeply traumatic. Without warning, his needs werent being met, and his fears and longings went unsoothed. Having been abandoned by his mother for at least a year, and having his father fail not only to meet his needs but to make him feel safe or loved, valued or mirrored, Donald suffered deprivations that would scar him for life. The personality traits that resulteddisplays of narcissism, bullying, grandiosityfinally made my grandfather take notice but not in a way that ameliorated any of the horror that had come before. As he grew older, Donald was subjected to my grandfathers too-muchness at second handwitnessing what happened to Freddy when he was on the receiving end of too much attention, too much expectation, and, most saliently, too much humiliation. From the beginning, Freds self-interest skewed his priorities. His care of his children, such as it was, reflected his own needs, not theirs. Love meant nothing to him, and he could not empathize with their plight, one of the defining characteristics of a sociopath; he expected obedience, that was all. Children dont make such distinctions, and his kids believed that their father loved them or that they could somehow earn his love. But they also knew, if only on an unconscious level, that their fathers love, as they experienced it, was entirely conditional. Maryanne, Elizabeth, and Robert, to greater or lesser degrees, experienced the same treatment as Donald because Fred wasnt interested in children at all. His oldest son and namesake received Freds attention simply because he was being raised to carry on Freds legacy. In order to cope, Donald began to develop powerful but primitive defenses, marked by an increasing hostility to others and a seeming indifference to his mothers absence and fathers neglect. The latter became a kind of learned helplessness over time because although it insulated him from the worst effects of his pain, it also made it extremely difficult (and in the long run I would argue impossible) for him to have any of his emotional needs met at all because he became too adept at acting as though he didnt have any. In place of those needs grew a kind of grievance and behaviorsincluding bullying, disrespect, and aggressivenessthat served their purpose in the moment but became more problematic over time. With appropriate care and attention, they might have been overcome. Unfortunately for Donald and everybody else on this planet, those behaviors became hardened into personality traits because once Fred started paying attention to his loud and difficult second son, he came to value them. Put another way, Fred Trump came to validate, encourage, and champion the things about Donald that rendered him essentially unlovable and that were in part the direct result of Freds abuse. Mary never completely recovered. Restless to begin with, she became an insomniac. The older kids would find her wandering around the House at all hours like a soundless wraith. Once Freddy found her standing at the top of a ladder painting the hallway in the middle of the night. In the morning her children sometimes found her unconscious in unexpected places; more than once, she ended up having to go to the hospital. That behavior became part of the life of the House. Mary got help for the physical injuries she sustained but none for whatever underlying psychological problems made her put herself into high-risk situations. Beyond his wifes occasional injuries, Fred was aware of none of this and wouldnt have acknowledged the effects his particular brand of parenting had on his children then or later, even if he had recognized them. As far as he was concerned, he had been, for a brief time, faced with the limits of his wealth and power in fixing his wifes near-death health crisis. But ultimately Marys medical challenges were a small blip in the grand scheme of things. Once she was on the mend and his Shore Haven and Beach Haven real estate developments, both phenomenal successes, were nearing completion, everything seemed once again to be going Freds way. When eight-year-old Freddy Trump asked why his very pregnant mother was getting so fat, talk at the dinner table ground to a halt. It was 1948, and the Trump family, which now consisted of four childrenten-year-old Maryanne, Freddy, five-year-old Elizabeth, and one-and-a-half-year-old Donaldwere weeks away from moving into the twenty-three-room house that Fred was in the process of building. Mary looked down at her plate, and Freds mother, also named Elizabeth, an almost daily visitor to the house, stopped eating. Table etiquette at my grandparents house was strict, and there were certain things Fred did not tolerate. Keep your elbows off the table, this is not a horses stable was a frequent refrain, and Fred, knife in hand, would tap its handle against the forearm of any transgressor. (Rob and Donald took over that task when Fritz, David, and I were growing up, with a bit too much enthusiasm.) There were also things the children were not supposed to talk about, especially in front of their father or grandmother. When Freddy wanted to know how the baby had gotten there, Fred and his mother stood up as one, left the table without saying a word, and walked off. Fred wasnt a prude, but Elizabeth, a stern, formal woman who adhered to Victorian mores, very likely was. Despite her own rigid views regarding gender roles, however, she had, many years earlier, made an exception for her son; a couple of years after Freds father had died suddenly, Elizabeth had become her fifteen-year-old sons business partner. That was made possible in part because her husband, Friedrich Trump, something of an entrepreneur, had left money and property valued at approximately $300,000 in todays currency. Friedrich, born in Kallstadt, a small village in western Germany, left for the United States when he turned eighteen in 1885 in order to avoid mandatory military service. He eventually made the bulk of his money through ownership of restaurants and brothels in British Columbia. He lit out for the Yukon territories in time for the Gold Rush, cashing out just before the boom collapsed near the turn of the century. In 1901, while visiting his family in Germany, Friedrich met and married Elizabeth Christ, a petite blond woman nearly twelve years his junior. He brought his new bride to New York, but one month after the birth of their first child, a girl they named Elizabeth, the couple returned to Germany with the intention of settling there permanently. Because of the circumstances under which Friedrich had originally left the country, he was told by authorities that he could not stay. Friedrich, his wifenow four months pregnant with their second childand their two-year-old daughter returned for the last time to the United States in July 1905. Their two sons, Frederick and John, were born in 1905 and 1907, respectively. They eventually settled in Woodhaven, Queens, where all three children grew up speaking German. When Friedrich died of the Spanish flu, twelve-year-old Fred became the man of the house. Despite the size of her husbands estate, Elizabeth found it difficult to make ends meet. The flu epidemic, which killed upward of 50 million people worldwide, had a destabilizing effect on what otherwise might have been a booming wartime economy. While still in high school, Fred took a series of odd jobs in order to help his mother financially and began to study the building trade. Becoming a builder had been his dream for as long as he could remember. He took every opportunity to learn the business, all aspects of which intrigued him, and during his sophomore year, with his mothers backing, he began building and selling garages in his neighborhood. He realized he was good at it, and from then on he had no other interestsnone. Two years after Freds high school graduation, Elizabeth created E. Trump and Son. She recognized her sons aptitude, and the business, which enabled her to handle financial transactions for her underage middle childin the early twentieth century, people didnt attain legal majority until the age of twenty-onewas her way of supporting him. Both the business and the family thrived. When Fred was twenty-five years old, he attended a dance where he met Mary Anne MacLeod, recently arrived from Scotland. According to family legend, when he returned home, he told his mother that he had met the girl he was going to marry. Mary had been born the youngest of ten in 1912 in Tong, a village on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, located forty miles off the northwest coast of Scotland; her childhood had been bracketed by two global tragedies, the latter of which also deeply affected her future husband: World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic. Lewis had lost a disproportionate percentage of its male population during the war, and in a cruel twist of fate, two months after the armistice was signed in November 1918, a ship carrying soldiers home to the island from the mainland crashed into rocks just a few yards offshore in the early hours of January 1, 1919. More than 200 soldiers of the approximately 280 on board died in the brutally cold waters less than a mile from the safety of Stornoway Harbor. Much of the islands young adult male population was lost. Any young woman hoping to find a husband would have better luck elsewhere. Mary, one of six daughters, was encouraged to journey to America, where the opportunities were greater and the men more plentiful. In early May 1930, in a classic example of chain migration, Mary boarded the RMS Transylvania in order to join two of her sisters who had already settled in the United States. Despite her status as a domestic servant, as a white Anglo-Saxon, Mary would have been allowed into the country even under her sons draconian new immigration rules introduced nearly ninety years later. She turned eighteen the day before her arrival in New York and met Fred not long after. Fred and Mary were married on a Saturday in January 1936. After a reception at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, they honeymooned in Atlantic City for one night. On Monday morning, Fred was back at his Brooklyn office. The couple moved into their first house on Wareham Road, just down the street from the house on Devonshire Road that Fred had shared with his mother. In those early years, Mary was still in awe of her head-spinning change in fortune, both financial and social. Instead of being the live-in help, she had live-in help; instead of competing for limited resources, she was the woman of the house. With free time to volunteer and money with which to shop, she never looked back, which perhaps explains why she was quick to judge others who came from similar circumstances. She and Fred put together an entirely conventional life with strictly drawn roles for husband and wife. He ran his business, which kept him in Brooklyn ten, sometimes twelve hours a day, six days a week. She ran the house, but he ruled itand, at least in the beginning, so did his mother. Elizabeth was an intimidating mother-in-law who, during the first few years of her sons marriage, made sure that Mary understood who was really in charge: she wore white gloves when she visited, putting Mary on notice regarding the expectations she had for her daughter-in-laws housekeeping, which must have felt like a not-so-subtle mockery of her recent employment. Despite Elizabeths hazing, those early years were a time of great energy and possibility for Fred and Mary. Fred whistled his way down the stairs on his way to work, and when he returned home in the evening, he whistled his way up to his room, where he changed into a clean shirt before dinner. Mary and Fred hadnt discussed baby names, so when their first child, a daughter, was born, they named her Maryanne, combining Marys first and middle names. The couples first son was born a year and a half later, on October 14, 1938, and named after his fatherwith one small change: Fred, Sr.s, middle name was Christ, his mothers maiden name; his boy would be named Frederick Crist. Everybody except his father would call him Freddy. It seems as though Fred mapped out his sons future before he was even born. Although he would feel the burdens of the expectations placed upon him when he grew older, Freddy benefited early on from his status in a way Maryanne and the other children would not. After all, he had a special place in his fathers plans: he would be the means through which the Trump empire expanded and thrived in perpetuity. Three and a half years passed before Mary gave birth to another child. Shortly before the arrival of Elizabeth, Fred left for an extended period to work in Virginia Beach. A housing shortage, the result of service members returning from World War II, created an opportunity for him to build apartments for navy personnel and their families. Fred had had time to sharpen his skills and gain the reputation that got him the work because while other eligible men had enlisted, he had chosen not to serve, following in his fathers footsteps. Through his growing experience with building many houses simultaneously and his inherent skill at using local media to his own ends, Fred was introduced to well-connected politicians and learned through them how to call in favors at the right time, and, most important, chase government money. The lure in Virginia Beach, where Fred learned the advantage of building his real estate empire with government handouts, was the generous funding made available by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Founded in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the FHA seems to have strayed far from its original mandate by the time Fred began taking advantage of its largesse. Its chief purpose had been to ensure that enough affordable housing was being built for the countrys constantly growing population. After World War II, the FHA seemed equally concerned with enriching developers such as Fred Trump. The project in Virginia was also a chance to hone the expertise hed begun to acquire in Brooklyn: building larger-scale projects as quickly, efficiently, and cheaply as possible while still managing to make them attractive to renters. When the commute back and forth to Queens became too inconvenient, Fred moved the entire family to Virginia Beach when Elizabeth was still an infant. From Marys perspective, other than finding herself in an unfamiliar environment, things were much the same in Virginia as they had been in Jamaica Estates. Fred worked long hours, leaving her alone with three children under the age of six. Their social life revolved around people he worked with or people whose services he needed. In 1944, when the FHA funding that had been financing Freds projects dried up, the family returned to New York. Once back in Jamaica Estates, Mary suffered a miscarriage, a serious medical event from which it took her months to recover fully. Doctors warned her against further pregnancies, but Mary found herself expecting again a year later. The miscarriage created large age gaps between the older and younger children, with Elizabeth floating in the middle, almost four years younger or older than her two closest siblings. Maryanne and Freddy were so much older than the youngest children that it was almost as if they belonged to two different generations. Donald, the couples fourth child and second son, was born in 1946, just as Fred began plans for the new family house. He purchased a half-acre lot directly behind the Wareham Road house situated on a hill overlooking Midland Parkway, a wide tree-lined thoroughfare that runs through the entire neighborhood. When the kids found out about the impending move, they joked that they didnt need to hire a moving truck; they could just roll their belongings down the hill. At more than four thousand square feet, the House was the most impressive residence on the block but still smaller and less grand than many of the mansions that dominated the hills in the northern part of the neighborhood. Set at the top of a rise, the House cast shadows in the afternoon over the wide flagstone steps that led from the sidewalk to the front door, an entrance we used only on special occasions. The lawn jockeys, racist reminders of the Jim Crow era, were first painted pink and then replaced with flowers. The faux coat of arms on the pediment over the front door remained. Although Queens would eventually be one of the most diverse places on the planet, in the 1940s, when my grandfather bought the land and built the imposing redbrick Georgian colonial with the twenty-foot columns, the borough was 95 percent white. The upper-middle-class neighborhood of Jamaica Estates was even whiter. When the first Italian American family moved to the neighborhood in the 1950s, Fred was scandalized. In 1947, Fred embarked on the most important large-scale project of his career up until that point: Shore Haven, a proposed complex in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, comprising thirty-two six-story buildings and a shopping center spread over more than thirty acres. The draw this time was the $9 million in FHA funds that would be paid to Fred directly, just as Donald would later capitalize on tax breaks lavished on him by both the city and the state. Fred had previously described the type of people renting the 2,201 apartments as unwholesome, the implication being that upstanding people lived only in the single-family dwellings that had been his early specialty. But $9 million can be very persuasive. Around that time, when it became clear that Freds fortune would only continue to grow, he and his mother set up trust funds for his children that would shield the money from taxation. Though an iron-fisted autocrat at home and in his office, Fred had become expert at gaining access to and kowtowing to more powerful and better-connected men. I dont know how he acquired the skill, but he would later pass it on to Donald. Over time, he developed ties to leaders of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, the New York State political machine, and the federal government, many of whom were major players in the real estate industry. If getting funding meant sucking up to the local politicos who held the FHA purse strings, so be it. He joined an exclusive beach club on the south shore of Long Island and later North Hills Country Club, both of which he considered excellent places to entertain, impress, and rub elbows with the men best positioned to funnel government funds his way, much as Donald would do at Le Club in New York in the 1970s and at golf clubs everywhere. As Donald was later alleged to do with Trump Tower and his casinos in Atlantic City, Fred was said to have worked discreetly with the Mob in order to keep the peace. When he got the green light for another developmentBeach Haven, a forty-acre, twenty-three-building complex in Coney Island that would net him $16 million in FHA fundingit was clear that his strategy of building on the taxpayers dime was a winner. Though Freds business was built on the back of government financing, he loathed paying taxes and would do anything to avoid doing so. At the height of his empires expansions, he never spent a dime he didnt have to, and he never acquired debt, an imperative that did not extend to his sons. Bound by the scarcity mentality that had been shaped by World War I and the Depression, Fred owned his properties free and clear. The profits his company generated from rents were enormous. In relation to his net worth, Fred, whose children said he was tighter than a ducks ass, lived a relatively modest life. Despite the piano lessons and private summer campsof a piece with his notion of what was expected for a man of his station in lifehis two oldest children grew up feeling white poor. Maryanne and Freddy walked the fifteen minutes to Public School 131, and when they wanted to go into the city, as everyone in the outer boroughs of New York refers to Manhattan, they took the subway from 169th Street. Of course, they werent poorand aside from some early struggles after his fathers death, Fred never had been, either. Freds wealth afforded him the opportunity to live anywhere, but he would spend most of his adult life less than twenty minutes from where he had grown up. With the exception of a few weekends in Cuba with Mary in the early days of their marriage, he never left the country. After he completed the project in Virginia, he rarely even left New York City. His business empire, though large and lucrative, was equally provincial. The number of buildings he came to own exceeded four dozen, but the buildings themselves had relatively few floors and were uniformly utilitarian. His holdings remained almost exclusively in Brooklyn and Queens. The glitz, glamour, and diversity of Manhattan might as well have been on another continent as far as he was concerned, and in those early years, it seemed just as far out of reach. By the time the family moved into the House, everybody in the neighborhood knew who Fred Trump was, and Mary embraced her role as the wife of a rich, influential businessman. She became heavily involved in charity work, including at the Womens Auxiliary at Jamaica Hospital and the Jamaica Day Nursery, chairing luncheons and attending black-tie fund-raisers. No matter how great the couples success, there remained for both Fred and Mary a tension between their aspirations and their instincts. In Marys case it was likely the result of a childhood marked by scarcity if not outright deprivation and in Freds a caution deriving from the massive loss of life, including his fathers, during the Spanish flu and World War I, as well as the economic uncertainty his family had experienced after his fathers death. Despite the millions of dollars pouring in from Trump Management every year, Fred still couldnt resist picking up unused nails or reverse engineering a cheaper pesticide. Despite the ease with which Mary took to her new status and the perks that went along with it, including a live-in housekeeper, she spent most of her time in the House, sewing, cooking, and doing laundry. It was as if neither of them could quite figure out how to reconcile what they could possibly have and what they would actually allow themselves. Although frugal, Fred was neither modest nor humble. Early in his career, he had lied about his age in order to appear more precocious. He had had a propensity for showmanship, and he often trafficked in hyperboleeverything was great, fantastic, and perfect. He inundated local newspapers with press releases about his newly completed homes and gave numerous interviews extolling the virtues of his properties. He plastered south Brooklyn with ads and hired a barge covered with ads to float just off the shoreline. But he wasnt nearly as good at it as Donald would come to be. He could handle interacting one on one and currying favor with his politically connected betters, but speaking in front of large groups or navigating television interviews was beyond him. He took a Dale Carnegie public speaking course, but he was so bad at it that even his usually obedient children teased him about it. Just as some people have a face for radio, Fred had a level of social confidence made for back rooms and print media. That fact would figure significantly in his later support of his second son at the expense of his first. When Fred heard about Norman Vincent Peale in the 1950s, Peales shallow message of self-sufficiency appealed to him enormously. The pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in midtown Manhattan, Peale was very fond of successful businessmen. Being a merchant isnt getting money, he wrote. Being a merchant is serving the people. Peale was a charlatan, but he was a charlatan who headed up a rich and powerful church, and he had a message to sell. Fred wasnt a reader, but it was impossible not to know about Peales wildly popular bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking. The title alone was enough for Fred, and he decided to join Marble Collegiate although he and his family rarely attended. Fred already had a positive attitude and unbounded faith in himself. Although he could be serious and formal, or dismissive to people such as his childrens friends, who were of no interest to him, he smiled easily, even when he was telling somebody he or she was nasty, and was usually in a good mood. He had reason to be; he was in control of everything in his world. With the exception of his fathers death, the course of his life had been fairly smooth and full of supportive family and colleagues. Since his early days building garages, his success had been on an almost constantly upward trajectory. He worked hard, but unlike most people who work hard, he was rewarded with government grants, the almost limitless help of highly connected cronies, and immensely good fortune. Fred didnt need to read The Power of Positive Thinking in order to co-opt, for his own purposes, the most superficial and self-serving aspects of Peales message. Anticipating the prosperity gospel, Peales doctrine proclaimed that you need only self-confidence in order to prosper in the way God wants you to. [O]bstacles are simply not permitted to destroy your happiness and well-being. You need be defeated only if you are willing to be, Peale wrote. That view neatly confirmed what Fred already thought: he was rich because he deserved to be. Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! A sense of inferiority and inadequacy interferes with the attainment of your hopes, but self-confidence leads to self-realization and successful achievement. Self-doubt wasnt part of Freds makeup, and he never considered the possibility of his own defeat. As Peale also wrote, It is appalling to realize the number of pathetic people who are hampered and made miserable by the malady popularly called the inferiority complex. Peales protoprosperity gospel actually complemented the scarcity mentality Fred continued to cling to. For him, it was not the more you have, the more you can give. It was the more you have, the more you have. Financial worth was the same as self-worth, monetary value was human value. The more Fred Trump had, the better he was. If he gave something to someone else, that person would be worth more and he less. He would pass that attitude on to Donald in spades. CHAPTER TWO The First Son Freddys status as the oldest son in the family had gone from protecting him from Freds worst impulses as a parent to being an immense and stressful burden. As he got older, he became torn between the responsibility that his father had placed on him and his natural inclination to live life his own way. Fred wasnt torn at all: his son should be spending time at the Trump Management office on Avenue Z, not with his friends out on Peconic Bay, where he learned to love boating, fishing, and waterskiing. By the time Freddy was a teenager, he knew what his future held and he knew what his father expected of him. He also knew that he wasnt measuring up. His friends noticed that their usually laid-back and fun-loving friend became anxious and self-conscious around Fred, whom Freddy and his friends called the Old Man. Solidly built and standing six feet one, Fred was an imposing figure with hair slicked back from a receding hairline who rarely wore anything but a well-tailored three-piece suit. He was stiff and formal around kids, he never played ball or games of any kind with them, and it seemed as if he had never been young. If the boys were tossing a ball around in the basement, the sound of the garage door opening was enough to cause Freddy to freeze. Stop! My dads home. When Fred came into the room, the boys had the impulse to stand and salute him. So whats this? hed ask as he shook each boys hand. Nothing, Dad, Freddy would say. Everybodys getting ready to leave soon. Freddy remained quiet and on high alert as long as the Old Man was home. In his early teens, Freddy started lying to his father about his life outside the House to avoid the mockery or disapproval he knew the truth would bring down on him. He lied about what he and friends got up to after school. He lied about smokinga habit Maryanne had introduced him to when he was twelve and she was thirteentelling his father that he was going around the corner to help his best friend, Billy Drake, walk a nonexistent dog. Fred, for instance, wasnt going to find out that Freddy and his buddy Homer from St. Pauls School had stolen a hearse for a joyride. Before returning the vehicle to the funeral home, Freddy pulled into a gas station to fill up the tank. As he got out of the car and walked toward the pump, Homer, who was lying down in the back to see what it was like, sat up. A man at the pump across from them, thinking hed just seen a corpse rising from the dead, screamed, and Freddy and Homer laughed until they cried. Freddy lived for that kind of prank, but he regaled his brothers and sisters with his exploits only if their father wasnt home. For some of the Trump kids, lying was a way of life, and for Freds oldest son, lying was defensivenot simply a way to circumvent his fathers disapproval or to avoid punishment, as it was for the others, but a way to survive. Maryanne, for instance, never went against her father, perhaps out of fear of an ordinary punishment such as being grounded or sent to her room. For Donald, lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was. For Freddy, the consequences of going against his father were different not only in degree but in kind, so lying became his only defense against his fathers attempts to suppress his natural sense of humor, sense of adventure, and sensitivity. Peales ideas about inferiority complexes helped shape Freds harsh judgments about Freddy, while also allowing him to evade taking responsibility for any of his children. Weakness was perhaps the greatest sin of all, and Fred worried that Freddy was more like his own brother, John, the MIT professor: soft and, though not unambitious, interested in the wrong things, such as engineering and physics, which Fred found esoteric and unimportant. Such softness was unthinkable in his namesake, and by the time the family had moved into the House when Freddy was ten, Fred had already determined to toughen him up. Like most people who arent paying attention to where theyre going, however, he overcorrected. Thats stupid, Fred said whenever Freddy expressed a desire to get a pet or played a practical joke. What do you want to do that for? Fred said with such contempt in his voice that it made Freddy flinch, which only annoyed Fred more. Fred hated it when his oldest son screwed up or failed to intuit what was required of him, but he hated it even more when, after being taken to task, Freddy apologized. Sorry, Dad, Fred would mock him. Fred wanted his oldest son to be a killer in his parlance (for what reason its impossible to saycollecting rent in Coney Island wasnt exactly a high-risk endeavor in the 1950s), and he was temperamentally the opposite of that. Being a killer was really code for being invulnerable. Although Fred didnt seem to feel anything about his fathers death, the suddenness of it had taken him by surprise and knocked him off balance. Years later, when discussing it, he said, Then he died. Just like that. It just didnt seem real. I wasnt that upset. You know how kids are. But I got upset watching my mother crying and being so sad. It was seeing her that made me feel bad, not my own feelings about what had happened. The loss, in other words, had made him feel vulnerable, not because of his own feelings but because of his mothers feelings, which he likely felt were being imposed on him, especially as he did not share them. That imposition must have been very painful. In that moment, he wasnt the center of the universe, and that was unacceptable. Going forward, he refused to acknowledge or feel loss. (I never heard him or anyone else in my family speak about my great-grandfather.) As far as Fred was concerned, he was able to move on because nothing particularly important had been lost. Subscribing as Fred did to Norman Vincent Peales ideas about human failings, he didnt grasp that by ridiculing and questioning Freddy, he was creating a situation in which low self-esteem was almost inevitable. Fred was simultaneously telling his son that he had to be an unqualified success and that he never could be. So Freddy existed in a system that was all punishment, no reward. The other children, especially Donald, couldnt have helped but notice. The situation was somewhat different for Donald. With the benefit of a seven-and-a-half-year age difference, he had plenty of time to learn from watching Fred humiliate his older brother and Freddys resulting shame. The lesson he learned, at its simplest, was that it was wrong to be like Freddy: Fred didnt respect his oldest son, so neither would Donald. Fred thought Freddy was weak, and therefore so did Donald. It would take a long time before the two brothers, in very different ways, came to adapt themselves to the truth of this. Its difficult to understand what goes on in any familyperhaps hardest of all for the people in it. Regardless of how a parent treats a child, its almost impossible for that child to believe that parent means them any harm. It was easier for Freddy to think that his father had his sons best interests at heart and that he, Freddy, was the problem. In other words, protecting his love for his father was more important than protecting himself from his fathers abuse. Donald would have taken his fathers treatment of his brother at face value: Dads not trying to hurt Freddy. Hes only trying to teach us how to be real men. And Freddys failing. Abuse can be quiet and insidious just as often as, or even more often than, it is loud and violent. As far as I know, my grandfather wasnt a physically violent man or even a particularly angry one. He didnt have to be; he expected to get what he wanted and almost always did. It wasnt his inability to fix his oldest son that infuriated him, it was the fact that Freddy simply wasnt what he wanted him to be. Fred dismantled his oldest son by devaluing and degrading every aspect of his personality and his natural abilities until all that was left was self-recrimination and a desperate need to please a man who had no use for him. The only reason Donald escaped the same fate is that his personality served his fathers purpose. Thats what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own endsruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance. Fred destroyed Donald, too, but not by snuffing him out as he did Freddy; instead, he short-circuited Donalds ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion. By limiting Donalds access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his sons perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it. His capacity to be his own person, rather than an extension of his fathers ambitions, became severely limited. The implications of that limitation became clearer when Donald entered school. Neither of his parents had interacted with him in a way that helped him make sense of his world, which contributed to his inability to get along with other people and remained a constant buffer between him and his siblings. It also made reading social cues extremely difficult, if not impossible, for hima problem he has to this day. Ideally, the rules at home reflect the rules of society, so when children go out into the world, they generally know how to behave. When kids go to school, theyre supposed to know that they shouldnt take other childrens toys and theyre not supposed to hit or tease other children. Donald didnt understand any of that because the rules in the House, at least as they applied to the boysbe tough at all costs, lying is okay, admitting youre wrong or apologizing is weaknessclashed with the rules he encountered at school. Freds fundamental beliefs about how the world workedin life, there can be only one winner and everybody else is a loser (an idea that essentially precluded the ability to share) and kindness is weaknesswere clear. Donald knew, because he had seen it with Freddy, that failure to comply with his fathers rules was punished by severe and often public humiliation, so he continued to adhere to them even outside his fathers purview. Not surprisingly, his understanding of right and wrong would clash with the lessons taught in most elementary schools. Donalds growing arrogance, in part a defense against his feelings of abandonment and an antidote to his lack of self-esteem, served as a protective cover for his deepening insecurities. As a result, he was able to keep most people at arms length. It was easier for him that way. Life in the House made all the children in one way or another uncomfortable with emotionseither expressing them or being confronted with them. It was probably worse for the boys, for whom the acceptable range of human feeling was extremely narrow. (I never saw any man in my family cry or express affection for one another in any way other than the handshake that opened and closed any encounter.) Getting close to other children or authority figures may have felt like a dangerous betrayal of his father. Nonetheless, Donalds displays of confidence, his belief that societys rules didnt apply to him, and his exaggerated display of self-worth drew some people to him. A large minority of people still confuse his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment, and his superficial interest in them for charisma. Donald had discovered early on how easy it was to get under Roberts pale skin and push him past his limits; it was a game he never tired of playing. Nobody else would have botheredRobert was so skinny and quiet that there was no sport in tormenting himbut Donald enjoyed flexing his power, even if only over his younger, smaller, and even thinner-skinned brother. Once, out of frustration and helplessness, Robert kicked a hole in their bathroom door, which got him into trouble despite the fact that Donald had driven him to it. When his mother told Donald to stop, he didnt; when Maryanne and Freddy told him to stop, he didnt. One Christmas the boys received three Tonka trucks, which soon became Roberts favorite toys. As soon as Donald figured that out, he started hiding them from his little brother and pretending he had no idea where they were. The last time it happened, when Roberts tantrum spiraled out of control, Donald threatened to dismantle the trucks in front of him if he didnt stop crying. Desperate to save them, Robert ran to his mother. Marys solution was to hide the trucks in the attic, effectively punishing Robert, whod done nothing wrong, and leaving Donald feeling invincible. He wasnt yet being rewarded for selfishness, obstinacy, or cruelty, but he wasnt being punished for those flaws, either. Mary remained a bystander. She didnt intervene in the moment and didnt comfort her son, acting as if it werent her place to do so. Even for the 1950s, the family was split deeply along gender lines. Despite the fact that Freds mother had been his partnershe had literally started his businessits clear that Fred and his wife were never partners. The girls were her purview, the boys his. When Mary made her annual trip home to the Isle of Lewis, only Maryanne and Elizabeth accompanied her. Mary cooked the boys meals and laundered their clothes but didnt feel that it was her place to guide them. She rarely interacted with the boys friends, and her relationships with her sons, already marred by their early experiences with her, became increasingly distant. When Freddy, at fourteen, dumped a bowl of mashed potatoes on his then-seven-year-old brothers head, it wounded Donalds pride so deeply that hed still be bothered by it when Maryanne brought it up in her toast at the White House birthday dinner in 2017. The incident wasnt a big dealor it shouldnt have been. Donald had been tormenting Robert, again, and nobody could get him to stop. Even at seven, he felt no need to listen to his mother, who, having failed to heal the rift between them after her illness, he treated with contempt. Finally, Roberts crying and Donalds needling became too much, and in a moment of improvised expedience that would become family legend, Freddy picked up the first thing at hand that wouldnt cause any real damage: the bowl of mashed potatoes. Everybody laughed, and they couldnt stop laughing. And they were laughing at Donald. It was the first time Donald had been humiliated by someone he even then believed to be beneath him. He hadnt understood that humiliation was a weapon that could be wielded by only one person in a fight. That Freddy, of all people, could drag him into a world where humiliation could happen to him made it so much worse. From then on, he would never allow himself to feel that feeling again. From then on, he would wield the weapon, never be at the sharp end of it. CHAPTER THREE The Great I-Am By the time Maryanne left for Mount Holyoke and, a couple of years later, Freddy for Lehigh University, Donald had already had plenty of experience watching his older brother struggle with, and largely fail to meet, their fathers expectations. They were vague, of course. Fred had the authoritarians habit of assuming that his underlings knew what to do without being told. Generally, the only way to know if you were doing something right was if you didnt get dressed down for it. But it was one thing for Donald to stay out of his fathers crosshairs and another to get into his good graces. Toward that end, Donald all but eradicated any qualities he might have shared with his older brother. Except for the occasional fishing trip with Freddy and his friends, Donald would become a creature of country clubs and offices, golf being the only thing on which he and his father differed. He would also double down on the behaviors he had thus far gotten away with: bullying, pointing the finger, refusing to take responsibility, and disregarding authority. He says that he pushed back against his father and Fred respected that. The truth is, he was able to push back against his father because Fred let him. When he was very young, Freds attention was not trained on him; his focus was elsewhereon his business and his oldest son, thats it. Eventually, when Donald went away to military school at thirteen, Fred began to admire Donalds disregard of authority. Although a strict parent in general, Fred accepted Donalds arrogance and bullyingafter he actually started to notice thembecause he identified with the impulses. Encouraged by his father, Donald eventually started to believe his own hype. By the time he was twelve, the right side of his mouth was curled up in an almost perpetual sneer of self-conscious superiority, and Freddy had dubbed him the Great I-Am, echoing a passage from Exodus hed learned in Sunday school in which God first reveals himself to Moses. Because of the disastrous circumstances in which he was raised, Donald knew intuitively, based on plenty of experience, that he would never be comforted or soothed, especially when he most needed to be. There was no point, then, in acting needy. And whether he knew it on any level or not, neither of his parents was ever going to see him for who he truly was or might have beenMary was too depleted and Fred was interested only in whichever of his sons could be of most useso he became whatever was most expedient. The rigid personality he developed as a result was a suit of armor that often protected him against pain and loss. But it also kept him from figuring out how to trust people enough to get close to them. Freddy was terrified to ask Fred for anything. Donald had seen the results of that reticence. Whenever Freddy deviated even slightly from Freds often unspoken expectations, he ended up humiliated or shamed. Donald would try something different: he chose instead to ingratiate himself with their father by smashing through every barrier his older brother never dared test. He knew exactly how to play it: when Freddy flinched, Donald shrugged. He took what he wanted without asking for permission not because he was brave but because he was afraid not to. Whether Donald understood the underlying message or not, Fred did: in family, as in life, there could be only one winner; everybody else had to lose. Freddy kept trying and failing to do the right thing; Donald began to realize that there was nothing he could do wrong, so he stopped trying to do anything right. He became bolder and more aggressive because he was rarely challenged or held to account by the only person in the world who matteredhis father. Fred liked his killer attitude, even if it manifested as bad behavior. Every one of Donalds transgressions became an audition for his fathers favor, as if he were saying See, Dad, Im the tough one. Im the killer. He kept piling on because there wasnt any resistanceuntil there was. But it didnt come from his father. Though Donalds behavior didnt bother Fredgiven his long hours at the office, he wasnt often around to witness much of what happened at homeit drove his mother to distraction. Mary couldnt control him at all, and Donald disobeyed her at every turn. Any attempt at discipline by her was rebuffed. He talked back. He couldnt ever admit he was wrong; he contradicted her even when she was right; and he refused to back down. He tormented his little brother and stole his toys. He refused to do his chores or anything else he was told to do. Perhaps worst of all to a fastidious woman like her, he was a slob who refused to pick up after himself no matter how much she threatened him. Wait until your father comes home had been an effective threat with Freddy, but to Donald it was a joke that his father seemed to be in on. Finally, by 1959, Donalds misbehaviorfighting, bullying, arguing with teachershad gone too far. Kew-Forest had reached its limits. Freds being on the schools board of trustees cut two ways: on the one hand, Donalds behavior had been overlooked longer than it otherwise might have; on the other, it caused Fred some inconvenience. Name-calling and teasing kids too young to fight back had escalated into physical altercations. Fred didnt mind Donalds acting out, but it had become intrusive and time consuming for him. When one of his fellow board members at Kew-Forest recommended sending Donald to New York Military Academy as a way to rein him in, Fred went along with it. Throwing him in with military instructors and upperclassmen who wouldnt put up with his shit might toughen up Freds burgeoning prot?g? even more. Fred had more important things to do than deal with Donald. I dont know if Mary had any say in the final decision, but she didnt fight for her son to stay home, either, a failure Donald couldnt help but notice. It must have felt like a replay of all the times shed abandoned him in the past. Over Donalds objections, he was enrolled at NYMA, a private boys boarding school sixty miles north of New York City. The other kids in the family referred to NYMA as a reform schoolit wasnt prestigious like St. Pauls, which Freddy had attended. Nobody sent their sons to NYMA for a better education, and Donald understood it rightly as a punishment. When Freddy found out, he told his friends with some bewilderment, Yeah, they cant control him. It didnt really make any sense. His father always seemed to be in control of everybody. What Freddy didnt understand was that their father wasnt interested in Donald the same way he was interested in him. If Fred had tried to discipline Donald, he would have been disciplined, but before Donald was sent away, Fred just wasnt interested enough to bother with Donald or the other three children. Parents always have different effects on their children, no matter the dynamics of the family, but for the Trump children, the effects of Fred and Marys particular pathologies on their offspring were extreme. As the five, at different times and in different ways, got ready to go out in the world, their disadvantages were already apparent: Maryanne, the firstborn, was saddled with being a smart, ambitious girl in a misogynistic family. She was the oldest, but because she was a girl, Freddy, the oldest boy, got all of her fathers attention. She was left to align herself with her mother, who had no power in the house. As a result, after having her heart broken when she was rejected by the Dartmouth home economics program, she settled for Mount Holyoke College, a virtual nunnery, as she put it. Ultimately, she did what she believed she was supposed to do because she thought her father cared. Freddys problem was his failure to be a different person entirely. Elizabeths problem was her familys indifference. She was not just the middle child (and a girl) but separated by her brothers on either side by an age gap of three or four years. Shy and timid as an adolescent, she didnt speak much, having learned the lesson that neither of her parents was really listening. Still she remained devoted to them until well into middle age, returning to the House every weekend, still hoping for Poppys attention. Donalds problem was that the combative, rigid persona he developed in order to shield him from the terror of his early abandonment, along with his having been made to witness his fathers abuse of Freddy, cut him off from real human connection. Roberts problem was that he was the youngest, an afterthought. Nothing Maryanne, Elizabeth, or Robert did would gain Freds approval; they were of no interest to him. Like planets orbiting a particularly large sun, the five of them were kept apart by the force of his will, even as they moved along the paths he set for them. Freddys plans for the future still entailed becoming his fathers right-hand man at Trump Management, but the first time Freddy took off from the airstrip of the Slatington Flying Club behind the controls of a Cessna 170 in 1961, his perspective shifted. As long as he fulfilled the requirements of his business major and kept his grades up, he could fly, pledge a fraternity, and join the US Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). On a lark, Freddy chose Sigma Alpha Mu, a historically Jewish fraternity. Whether it was a conscious rebuke of his father, who frequently used phrases such as Jew me down, Freddys fraternity brothers eventually became some of his best friends. Joining ROTC served another purpose entirely. Freddy craved discipline that made sense. He thrived in ROTCs transparent system of achievement and reward. If you did what you were told, your obedience was recognized. If you met or exceeded expectations, you were rewarded. If you made a mistake or failed to follow an order, you received discipline that was commensurate with the infraction. He loved the hierarchy; he loved the uniforms; he loved the medals that were clear symbols of accomplishment. When you are wearing a uniform, other people can easily identify who you are and what youve accomplished, and you are acknowledged accordingly. It was the opposite of life with Fred Trump, by whom good work was expected but never acknowledged; only mistakes were called out and punished. Getting his pilots license made sense in the same way ROTC did: you log a certain number of hours, you get certified on particular instruments, you get a license. His flying lessons eventually became his number one priority. Just as with boating, he took flying very seriously and began skipping card games with his fraternity brothers to study or log another hour at the flight school. But it wasnt just the pleasure of finding something he excelled at, it was the joy of total freedom, which hed never before experienced. In the summer, Freddy worked for Fred, as usual, but on weekends he took his friends out east on a boat hed bought in high school to fish and water-ski. On occasion Mary asked Freddy to take Donald with him. Sorry, guys, hed say to his friends, but I have to bring my pain-in-the-ass little brother along. Donald was probably as enthusiastic as Freddy was reluctant. Whatever their father thought about his older brother, Freddys friends clearly loved him and always had a good timea reality that contradicted what Donald had been brought up to believe. In August 1958, before the beginning of his junior year, Freddy and Billy Drake flew down to Nassau in the Bahamas for a short vacation before school started up again. The two of them chartered a boat and spent their days fishing and exploring the island. One evening back at their hotel, while they sat at the pool bar, Freddy met a pretty, petite blonde named Linda Clapp. Two years later, he would marry her. That September, Donald arrived at NYMA. He went from a world in which he could do as he pleased to one in which he faced punishment for not making his bed and got slammed against the wall by upperclassmen for no particular reason. Perhaps because of having lost his own father at twelve, Fred recognized his sons isolation and visited almost every weekend between the time Donald started as an eighth grader and the time he graduated in 1964. That somewhat mitigated Donalds sense of abandonment and grievance and gave him his first glimmer that he had a connection with his father that his older brother did not. Donalds mother went occasionally but for the most part was relieved to have him gone. Though he hadnt wanted to attend NYMA, certain things made sense for Donald there, just as ROTC had for Freddy. There was structure, and there were consequences to his actions. There was a logical system of punishment and reward. At the same time, though, life at NYMA reinforced one of Freds lessons: the person with the power (no matter how arbitrarily that power was conferred or attained) got to decide what was right and wrong. Anything that helped you maintain power was by definition right, even if it wasnt always fair. NYMA also reinforced Donalds aversion to vulnerability, which is essential for tapping into love and creativity because it can also expose us to shame, something he could not tolerate. By necessity he had to improve his impulse control, not only to avoid punishment but to help him get away with transgressions that required a little more finesse. Freddys senior year was one of the best and most productive years of his whole life. The BA in business was the least of it. Hed been made president of Sigma Alpha Mu, and he completed ROTC and would enter the Air Force National Guard as a second lieutenant after graduation. Most important, he became a fully licensed commercial pilot, although he had no intention of using the license; he was going to work with his dad in Brooklyn with every intention of someday taking over. By the time Freddy joined Trump Management in the summer of 1960, Freds company comprised more than forty buildings and complexes, with thousands of units, spread across Brooklyn and Queens. Fred had been taking his oldest son to construction sites for years; his largest developments, including Shore Haven and Beach Haven in Brooklyn, as well as smaller projects closer to home in Jamaica Estates, had all been built while Freddy was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. During those visits, the importance of cost cutting (if its cheaper, do it yourself; if not, outsource it) and cost saving (red bricks were a penny cheaper than white bricks) were drilled into him. Fred also dragged him to meetings of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and political fund-raisers, making sure he got to know the most important and influential politicos in the city. Now a full-time employee, Freddy started accompanying his father on rounds to the buildings, checking in with the superintendents, and overseeing repairs. Being in the field was better than being in the former dentist office where my grandfathers business was located on Avenue Z in South Brooklyn, with its cramped quarters and dim lighting. Though Freds business was raking in millions of dollars a year, he still dealt directly with tenants when he believed the circumstances warranted doing so. If, for example, a tenant complained a little too loudly or frequently, Fred paid him or her a visit, knowing his reputation preceded him. On occasion he took Freddy along to demonstrate how to handle such situations. When one tenant repeatedly called the office to report a lack of heat, Fred paid him a visit. After knocking on the door, he removed his suit jacket, something he usually did only right before getting into bed. Once inside the apartment, which was indeed cold, he rolled up his shirtsleeves (again, something he rarely did) and told his tenant that he didnt know what they were complaining about. Its like the tropics in here, he told them. Freddy began checking in for his National Guard duty. One weekend a month he had to report to the Armory in Manhattan. Fred didnt comment on those weekend absences, but he was annoyed by the two weeks a year Freddy had to take off in order to report to Fort Drum in upstate New York. For Fred, who had no use for military service, it was a waste of his employees time. One evening after a long day in Brooklyn, Freddy got a phone call from Linda. They hadnt spoken for more than a year. She told him that shed become a stewardess for National Airlines and was flying out of Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport). She remembered that Freddy had mentioned that his dad owned a couple of apartment buildings in Queens, and she wondered if he could help her find a place not too far from the airport. Fred had several buildings in Jamaica only a fifteen-minute bus ride from Idlewild. They found a studio at the Saxony on Highland Avenue right next to a nine-acre wooded park with a large pond in the middle of it. She moved in right away. Soon she and Freddy were dating. A year later, in August 1961, Freddy took Linda for dinner at their favorite restaurant in Manhattan. During cocktails, he sneaked an engagement ring into Lindas glass and proposed. After dinner, they drove to Jamaica Estates to tell his parents. Fred and Mary took the news calmly. Based on Lindas modest upbringing (her father was a truck driver, and later her parents ran a clam shack near the beach in Florida) and her perceived lack of sophistication and education, they assumed that she must be a gold digger. But it was a fundamental and deliberate misunderstanding that failed to acknowledge reality; Linda probably had no idea just how wealthy her future father-in-law was. And if Linda was a gold digger, she was an exceptionally bad one. Given her own very modest upbringing in Scotland, my grandmother could have been my mothers ally, but when Mary MacLeod had reached the top of the ladder, she had pulled it up after her. As for Fred, he simply did not like her. In any case, she was Freddys choice, so she was suspect. Meanwhile, the rules for stewardesses at the time were very strict: you could be suspended for letting your hair get too long or putting on weight, and you could not continue to work if you married. After her last flight in January 1962, a couple of weeks before the wedding, Linda would have no independent income. Because Lindas mother was confined to a wheelchair due to her advanced rheumatoid arthritis, they decided to have the wedding in Florida. A simple cocktail reception would take place at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel

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