Mary Trump had a giant barrel of tea to spill about her family on today’s episode of The New Abnormal by The Daily Beast.
She claims her uncle Donald Trump “was protected at every turn from his incompetence, from his total inability to handle money.” And the Republican Party picked up where the media and the investment banks left off.
Remember her grandfather Fred, the family patriarch who got arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally?
Mary was surprised by that news, but “not because my grandfather wasn’t anti-Semitic.”
Nope, Mary was shocked her grandfather took time away from making money to join a KKK event. But of course, he was “perfectly happy being racist and anti-Semitic in his own house and his place of work.”
Mary Trump held nothing back as she spoke with Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast. She even commented on Trump’s sleeping habits, alleging that the late-night tweeter-in-chief doesn’t sleep because “because Daddy wouldn't approve.”
“So that’s maybe why he drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day and is up until three in the morning tweeting,” she said.
Tune in for more of the juicy details from behind the Trump family veil. Plus, hear The Nation’s Elie Mystal discuss the passing of John Lewis—and the rise of a new generation of activists.
And the hosts are back at the tough questions. Can Allen West turn Texas blue? Is Rick part of antifa? And is there anything—anything—Bill Barr hates more than graffiti?
There was a small moment at my father’s memorial service in Washington D.C. inside the National Cathedral, just after George H.W. Bush delivered his eulogy, a moment that slipped under my skin and stayed with me. The first President Bush had delivered an achingly heartfelt eulogy, bringing many of us to tears, and had also injected humor that sent ripples of laughter through the cathedral. The next speaker was his son, President George W. Bush. As the president strode down the aisle, he and his father passed each other without either man acknowledging the other. Not a hand extended to brush an arm, not a nod; their eyes didn’t even meet. I thought, “Yep, that father-son relationship is a complicated one.”
The former President Bush had given a brilliant eulogy, rife with his personal memories of my father. His son had to know that no matter how good his eulogy was, it would pale in comparison. But there was more to that moment than speeches at a memorial service. There was a lifetime of history—a son’s longing for his father’s approval, fear that he wouldn’t measure up, the wrestling match with a shadow that seems to grow exponentially in ways that can’t be predicted. It’s well known that one of George W.’s stated reasons for invading Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had, in Bush’s words, “tried to kill my dad.” On the world stage, something as intimate as the entanglements between a father and son can be the impetus for a war.
Men in powerful positions are still sons who looked to their fathers for approval, for clues to what being a man is all about. Bill Clinton’s father died three months before he was born, leaving his son with questions about what might have been. Jimmy Carter has written about longing for his father’s approval, and about the time his father whipped him for taking a penny out of the collection plate at church. My father was the son of an alcoholic, whose drinking binges often left the family without money to pay bills. I have long felt that to understand Ronald Reagan, you have to understand that everything he was and did bounced off the fact that he was the child of an alcoholic. When he became a successful actor, he hired his father to answer his fan mail, wanting to give his father something to occupy himself with so that hopefully he wouldn’t drink. It worked for a while, until it didn’t.
Donald Trump’s father was a study in cruelty and tyranny, producing a son who, in order to get paternal approval, or even be noticed, had to be at least as cruel.
Fred Trump still pulls on his son from beyond the grave, still hovers over him, whispering to him that emotions and empathy are shameful signs of weakness. None of us should underestimate the force of that relationship. Fred Trump may be gone, but his son still feels the sting of his rebuke, is still roiled by a desperate desire to have his father like him more than anyone else. He is still the kid at the dinner table trying to get daddy to like him best.
If our democracy goes down in flames, and there is no guarantee that it won’t, it will be at the hands of a boy who learned early on to be the meanest kid in the neighborhood, to pull the wings off every angel. Boys like that grow up, but they don’t grow out of the cruelty that became their lifeblood. They just take their skills to a bigger neighborhood, sometimes a country.
Mary Trump, niece of President Donald Trump, shared new recordings of her family late Friday that captured Maryanne Trump Barry, sister of the commander-in-chief, bashing Ivanka Trump.
“When that damn Ivanka puts this picture of the Madonna and Child on Instagram when the big news of the day was how children are getting ripped away from their parents. I couldn’t blame—I’d never heard of Samantha Bee, but I couldn’t blame what she said,” Trump Barry said. Ivanka Trump had posted a happy picture of herself hugging one of her children on social media, and comedian Samantha Bee derided her as “oblivious” and “a feckless c*nt.”
Days before, the Trump administration implemented an immigration policy under Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that would result in the separation of hundreds of migrant children from their parents in detention. Trump Barry continued in the recordings: “Eric’s become the moron publicly…[Ivanka] is a mini-Donald, but he’s besotted with her. He always has been. She’s always been his favorite.” Speaking about Donald Trump, Trump Barry said, “Anything he did, he says, ‘Look what I’ve done! Aren’t I wonderful!’ and he’s as tight as a duck’s ass. Just like dad was, really.”
Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, has continued to up her profile in the stretch run of this election as the only member of the president’s family who has dramatically broken ranks. She has spoken to Joe Biden donors at an event put on by a Biden-backing super PAC, headlined a fundraiser for the anti-Trump Lincoln Project and shared with the Washington Post bombshell parts of 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with her aunt that she secretly recorded—transcripts and audio excerpts in which Maryanne Trump Barry, the president’s oldest sister, called her brother phony, untrustworthy and “cruel.”
On Friday afternoon, a little more than 12 hours after her uncle had capped the Republican National Convention with a 70-minute speech on the South Lawn of the White House, Mary Trump told me she considered the four-day event “disturbing” and “law-breaking” and marked by a “breathtaking” torrent of lies. She especially criticized her own cousins, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, whose speeches she characterized as “hateful” and “mendacious,” respectively. “When a family system arranges itself or organizes itself around the most deeply damaged person in the family,” she said, referring to the president, “nothing good comes of that.”
In her book, she wrote that the reelection of Donald Trump “would be the end of American democracy,” and so as a rattled America hurtles toward Election Day, Mary Trump has decided she will play as large a role as possible in the effort to topple the president.
“We’re at this extraordinarily crucial point in this country’s history, and we need to do everything,” she told me on Friday.
“Everything has to be put on the table. Everything.” Does that mean the release of more tapes? A spokesperson for her declined to comment.
Our conversation has been edited lightly for clarity and length.
MICHAEL KRUSE: What did you see? What did you hear? What stuck out?
MARY TRUMP: The most jarring thing initially was the recognition that the entire convention was a law-breaking enterprise. And people may say, ‘Oh, Hatch Act, not a big deal,’ but it is a big deal. He co-opted or the Republican National Committee co-opted the people’s house for their own political benefit. That’s not a small thing. And when people say, ‘You know, nobody outside of the Beltway cares’—well, people in the media say, nobody outside of the Washington Beltway cares—well, maybe that’s because the media is telling them it’s not a big deal, you know? So I found that just disturbing from the very beginning. Other than that, though, just as a through-line, the extent to which every, almost every single participant in this convention was willing to lie, and knew they were lying, and didn’t care that pretty much everything they said was a lie, was breathtaking.
KRUSE: I think it’s fair to say that the most personal testimonials about the president came from aides, employees and acquaintances, not his family, not his sons, not his daughters, not his wife. Given your understanding of the family, given that you are family, why is that?
TRUMP: Because their relationships are all transactional and conditional. It is interesting that there is this weird combination with my cousins of, you know, formality and desperation. They’re constantly aware that they can’t put a foot wrong or they’ll suffer some kind of consequences, but at the same time, there’s this distance they keep by calling Donald their ‘father.’ There’s no casualness at all to the way they speak about him. It’s very odd. But I think at one point in their adult lives, they decided that, you know, they were willing to enter into that transaction with him. In order for them to be in his life, they were working for him, entirely dependent on him, and conceded their own individuality and independence. And I guess that’s the deal they were willing to make.
KRUSE: So, some speakers, including family members—I’m thinking here of Ivanka in particular—tried this week to soften his persona, tried to sand down aspects of the man, suggesting essentially that, yes, he can be crass, he can be a loose cannon, he can be a jerk, but he’s a jerk who gets stuff done. What do you make of that sell?
TRUMP: On the one hand, it’s absurd on its face to anybody who’s paying attention. On the other hand, though, it’s very dangerous. And what I worry about is—particularly in the case of Ivanka—her pitch may be more effective because it’s quieter, it’s more moderated, while also being equally vicious and mendacious. I found her entire speech deeply disturbing, but there’s that aspect of it. And I felt similarly, in a totally different context, about Richard Grenell’s speech—that it was a lie from beginning to end, but it wasn’t this unhinged screaming, yelling tirade. He was just calmly lying to everybody about our intelligence community, Donald’s foreign policy, Joe Biden.