‘We all thought he was an asshole’: Mary Trump on Uncle Donald

On November 9, 2016, while the rest of the world was digesting the news Donald Trump would be the 45th President of the United States, one woman was uniquely qualified to understand the potential ramifications.

Mary Trump, daughter of Trump’s eldest brother, Freddy, grew up with Donald and has gone on to become a clinical psychologist, giving her a singular insight into the mind of her uncle, whom she has since dubbed “the most dangerous man in the world”.

“We knew him so well, it never occurred to us anybody could possibly be fooled by him,” said Mary, on the phone from Massachusetts, ahead of her upcoming speaking tour of Australia. “I think I had been living in a state of total denial. I was absolutely gobsmacked.

Trump has accused his niece, Mary Trump, pictured, and three reporters of conspiring to publish information about his tax records.Credit:

“I didn’t realise the extent to which America was willing not just to put up with but to endorse the kinds of racism and misogyny and anti-immigrant hatred etc that Donald represents. Let’s put it this way: it was a really bad morning.”

In her 2020 book, Too Much And Never Enough, she delivers a blistering assessment of Trump, labelling him with several disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder brought on by his brutal, abusive upbringing by his father, Fred.

It wasn’t always the case, though.

“We all thought he was an asshole. But he was ours. He was part of the family,” she said of the early days in Queens, New York. “He had this spark, this impulse to be kind but it had been so warped by my grandfather and practically beaten out of him that he didn’t know how to do it properly. I would say that’s gone.”

Donald Trump points to his father, Fred Trump at Trump Plaza Hotel, when Donald Trump jnr (front left) was still a child.Credit:Time Life/File

However, that damning assessment is presumably not shared by the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in the 2020 election. How did he get so close to re-election?

“I think he gave them exactly what they wanted,” said Mary.

“He’s also very good at using other people’s weaknesses against them. He can spot people’s vulnerabilities and either co-opt them or, as we’ve seen time, after time, after time, destroy them. And we can’t discount – I actually hate using this word – but he’s got charisma.”

Mary believes Donald will ultimately win his party’s nomination for the 2024 election.

“Right now they are saying they will support whoever is the nominee,” she said. “But that’s the wrong answer. What they should be saying is Donald Trump is a traitor to this country and we will do everything to find somebody else. And if he does get the nomination we won’t support him but, again, they don’t care about democracy, they only care about power.”

And, while she doesn’t see her uncle ultimately winning a second term, there are pressing reasons why he has to try, she says, none of which have anything to do with serving his country.

“I don’t think he ever wanted the job but he wanted the position,” she said. “Now it’s even more necessary because it makes him a lot of money which is important to him and he likes the power but more than anything else, I think he sees the presidency as the only thing to save him from serious criminal charges and potentially prison – which is probably not a fun way to live.”

Mary Trump will be appearing live in conversation in Melbourne on June 20 and in Sydney on June 22.

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