By Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer, July 7, 2020
Mary Trump’s Book Accuses the President of Embracing ‘Cheating as a Way of Life’
The president’s niece, Mary L. Trump, is the first to break ranks with the family and release a tell-all memoir.
Mary L. Trump, President Trump’s niece, plans to publish a tell-all family memoir next week, describing how a decades long history of darkness, dysfunction and brutality turned her uncle into a reckless leader who, according to her publisher, Simon & Schuster, “now threatens the world’s health, economic security and social fabric.”
The book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” depicts a multigenerational saga of greed, betrayal and internecine tension and seeks to explain how President Trump’s position in one of New York’s wealthiest and most infamous real-estate empires helped him acquire what Ms. Trump has referred to as “twisted behaviors” — attributes like seeing other people in “monetary terms” and practicing “cheating as a way of life.”
Ms. Trump, who at 55 has long been estranged from President Trump, is the first member of the Trump clan to break ranks with her relatives by writing a book about their secrets. Since late June, her family — led by the president’s younger brother, Robert S. Trump — has been trying to stop the publication of the book, citing a confidentiality agreement that she signed nearly 20 years ago during a dispute over the will of the family patriarch, Fred Trump Sr., the president’s father. But a judge in New York has refused to enjoin Simon & Schuster from releasing the memoir and is expected to soon rule on whether Ms. Trump herself violated the confidentiality agreement.
Here are some of the highlights from her manuscript:
Cheating on a College Entrance Test
As a high school student in Queens, Ms. Trump writes, Donald Trump paid someone to take a precollegiate test, the SAT, on his behalf. The high score the proxy earned for him, Ms. Trump adds, helped the young Mr. Trump to later gain admittance when he transferred as an undergraduate to the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school.
Mr. Trump has often boasted about attending Wharton, which he has referred to as “the best school in the world” and “super genius stuff.”
Sending a Brother to the Hospital Alone
It has long been part of the Trump family’s lore that the eldest child of Fred Trump Sr., Fred Trump Jr., who was better known as Freddy, was the black sheep of the dynasty. Freddy Trump was a handsome, garrulous man and a heavy drinker who, after a miserable experience working for his father, left his job in real estate to pursue a passion for flying, becoming a pilot for Trans World Airlines.
Donald Trump has often remarked that his brother’s departure from the family business opened space for him to move into and succeed. “For me, it worked very well,” Mr. Trump told The New York Times during his presidential campaign about serving under his father. “For Fred, it wasn’t something that was going to work.”
Fred Trump Sr. could be brutal to his namesake, shouting at him once as a group of employees looked on, “Donald is worth ten of you,” Ms. Trump writes.
Freddy Trump died in 1981 from an alcohol-induced heart attack when he was 42, and Ms. Trump tells the story in her book about how his family sent him to the hospital alone on the night of his death. No one went with him, Ms. Trump writes.
Donald Trump, she added, went to see a movie.
“No Principles,” a Sister Says
Even at the start of Mr. Trump’s campaign, his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a retired federal appeals court judge, had deep reservations about his fitness for office, Ms. Trump writes.
“He’s a clown — this will never happen,” she quotes her aunt as saying during one of their regular lunches in 2015, just after Mr. Trump announced that he was running for president.
Maryanne Trump was particularly baffled by support for her brother among evangelical Christians, according to the book.
“The only time Donald went to church was when the cameras were there,” Ms. Trump quotes her aunt as saying. “It’s mind boggling. But that’s all about his base. He has no principles. None!”
Donald Trump, Narcissist
Ms. Trump, a clinical psychologist, asserts that her uncle has all nine clinical criteria for being a narcissist. And yet, she notes, even that label does not capture the full array of the president’s psychological troubles.
“The fact is,” she writes, “Donald’s 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 neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.”
At another point she says: “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.”
Like other critics of the president, Ms. Trump takes issue in the book with the notion that Mr. Trump is a strategic thinker who operates according to specific agendas or organizing principles.
“He doesn’t,” she writes. “Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself.”