Based on Ms. Trump’s memories, and her conversations with other family members, it appears Fred Trump Sr. was a cruel, racist, cold, selfish, money-obsessed man. She describes her grandfather as particularly controlling and cruel to her father, Fred Jr, who died at 42 from complications from alcoholism. She believes Donald Trump learned how to be cruel by watching his father abuse and destroy his brother Freddy. She believes Fred Sr elevated Donald in the Trump family business not because he was competent or talented but because it would humiliate and punish her father for not living up to his expectations of success and loyalty.
This was the beginning of Donald’s lifelong admiration for cruel, powerful men such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and mobsters. His fear of ever being disparaged or abused by his cruel father led to his belief that loyalty to his father and emulating his beliefs and harsh treatment of people would forever keep him from being a victim. Ms. Trump’s analysis explains why Donald surrounds himself with unqualified, obsequious people who offer him blind loyalty. It explains his embarrassing attempts to be befriended by dictators. Their power, strength and cruelty align with the persona of his father and the approval of the dictator is a repetition of the relationship he had with his father.
There were five Trump siblings, three boys, and two daughters. Fred Sr. felt entitled to define what his sons would do with their lives. His expectation of his eldest son Fred Jr was to join the Trump family business. Mary’s father did not want to work in real estate, but to get his father’s approval he did join the family business. However, he wasno t happy doing it and chose a different path for himself as a pilot. His decision to find his own way to self-fulfillment resulted in tremendous abuse and ridicule from his father, and eventually from younger brother Donald. In the Trump family, doing what Fred Sr. wanted was the only way to earn his respect and acceptance. Not doing what he wanted guaranteed abuse, ridicule, and rejection. It appears much of Donald’s patterns of dealing with people and his own emotions developed from watching his father, who showed little affection or concern for his own family except in the ways that benefitted him.
Donald’s mother suffered from physical and emotional issues. Following a miscarriage, she was hospitalized and continued to suffer from physical problems that often left her weak and self-absorbed. She also tended to focus more on her daughters than her son’s. It seems neither parent showed the siblings a healthy level of love and attention. Instead, the Trump home environment was one of divisiveness, aggression, and self-centeredness. Ms. Trump’s clinical training gives her the ability to diagnose the Trump family as a dysfunctional system where the emotional needs of the children were unimportant. Performance, achievement, and living up to Fred Sr’s expectations influenced how the children were viewed and treated. The father demanded that he never be criticized, must always be agreed with, and respected for anything he did. Fred was grandiose and often used words like “perfect and fantastic” when referring to himself and his achievements. These are several of the favorite adjectives used by Trump when referring to himself.
Ms. Trump steps into the role of the clinician when explaining why her Uncle Donald has governed America in a cruel, cold, racist, and narcissistic way. She describes him as a man with deep-seated insecurities whose actions are guided with one primary goal in mind; to avoid the humiliation of being found out to be a failure and imposter. She explains his father taught him to never admit you are wrong. For Donald, serial lying became his method of avoiding shame. Donald’s father believed that personal worth was based on two things; being perfect (or at least being perceived as perfect) and money. She says in the book, the Trump family narrative about finances is to accumulate more and more wealth, not to give or share it, but to just have it. She says, “financial worth was the same as self-worth, the monetary value was human value.” The more Fred Trump had, the better he be was. If he gave something to someone else, that person would be worth more and he less.” This attitude and relationship with money explain why Donald is obsessed with stock market numbers, brags about being wealthy, is famously cheap with others, and is suspected to be a tax evader.
Many have said Trump believes the performance of the stock market is the sole measure of his worth as a President. He has manipulated the market with tweets, often untruths, to encourage investors. He has gaslighted his followers (who mostly do not profit from the state of the stock market), to believe a strong economy is solely based on the Dow and the Nasdaq. Fred Trump’s most important relationship was the one he had with money. It defined him, and the more money he had, the better he felt about himself.
This dependency on financial worth for self-worth was clearly passed on to Donald and explains why he was unwilling to divest himself from his businesses once he became President. It explains why he made sure he secured a tax cut for the rich, from which he and his family benefitted. It explains why he views people from impoverished countries without empathy, referring to them as invaders from shitholes. Radio Host Howard Stern recently said on his Sirius radio show, “Donald does not like the kind of people who support him. They are not rich enough and aren’t good-looking enough.”
His obsession with prosperity and his lack of ability to feel empathy explains why he is more concerned with re-opening the economy than the health risk confronting Americans from increased exposure to COVID-19. His policy of separating immigrant families and placing them in detention cages at the border and the insensitivity he shows towards the unnecessary deaths of black Americans in the custody of the police align with Ms. Trump’s assessment of Trump being sociopathic.
It is clear Mary Trump is trying to warn the country that Donald Trump is deeply damaged and disordered and American democracy is at risk to fail if he is re-elected. Based on her direct experience of the extremely dysfunctional Trump family, Ms. Trump has given us insight into why Donald Trump is cruel, narcissistic, and incapable of incapable of experiencing empathy. She describes him as incapable of learning new information and applying it accurately to complex problems. This analysis explains most of his rhetoric and damaging policymaking.
She also declares that clinically HE IS INCAPABLE OF CHANGING, UNFIT FOR OFFICE AND URGES HIM TO RESIGN OR FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO VOTE HIM OUT OF OFFICE TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY.