Our Interview with Mary Trump

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S1: You know, just ordering schools to open like Trump has done isn’t good enough. We’ve got to do the hard work of getting the virus under control now and over the next two months. And you’re opening now many cases. But Trump doesn’t want to do that hard work. He just wants to order schools open because he’s afraid if he doesn’t, it can hurt his re-election chances.

S2: I don’t see this disappearing the way Stars one did. It is so efficient and it’s in its ability to transmit from human to human. That I think we ultimately will get control of it. I don’t really see us eradicating it. I asked my Republican colleagues, what the hell are we doing?

S3: Hello and welcome to Trump Cast. I’m Virginia Heffernan. So I know I was joking last week when I called this Mary Trump cast and beseeched her, Mary, if you’re listening to come on the show. But now I’m not joking. Welcome to Mary Trump cast where our prayers have been answered and we finally have an eponymous Trump on Trump cast. Now, while Mrs. Mary Trump might mention her uncle, the president of the United States, I’m also going to ask her about some of the most depressing, sorrowful details. What I expected would at least be a glamorous childhood. Have you read her book? Too much and never enough? Well, if you haven’t, you’re a traitor to your nation and a toady to Donald Trump because he’s made it clear you really should not read this book. Which, aside from its merits, might be why the book about how Mary Trump’s family created the world’s most dangerous man has broken all records for sales. And her runaway bestseller may prove that Mary Trump, the disinherited niece and daughter of the rogue Trump brother Freddie, who Mary said the family drove to an early grave, is the one and only great business mind in the family. Wouldn’t it be excellent if the niece who grew up worlds away from her cousin Ivanka and a Trump apartment with rotting walls in Queens and then had her inheritance snatched out from underneath her? Wouldn’t it be great if she ended up the rich one and gave it all to Black Lives Matter and Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump ended up living in the rotted wall of an old Trump property, scratching at the sodden insulation like a rabid mouse? And if the Corona virus vaccine was suddenly foolproof and available to everyone and a new president restored the soul of America. OK, I gotta catch my breath, because when Trump cast has Mary Trump on to slag off Donald Trump and answer all my questions about Russia sex and iceberg lettuce, it’s just kind of heady. Joining me via Zoome is Mary Trump, P.H.. He’s the author of the awesomely incendiary and compulsively readable Too Much and Never Enough How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Mary, welcome to Trump Cast. Thanks. It is so great to be here. Virginia, I think I’m maybe the person who has hassled you most about this book after maybe the president of the United States. I have wanted to have you on since I first heard you’d written this. So really warm. Welcome. Thank you. All right. Let’s dive in. So there’s this parlor game that you know well. Who is Trump? What’s his psychology? We all started at the beginning saying he’s just like my ex-boyfriend. He’s a narcissist. He’s this, that. But there are important reasons to try to figure him out. Namely, the reason that Bill Barr proposed at the end of the Mueller investigation. How willing is Donald Trump in some of his worst fraud? So did he understand how much help he was getting from the Kremlin? What do you think? Based on what you know about him, crazy or crazy, like a fox when it comes to his collusion?

S4: I think in the context of this question, the most important thing to know about Donald is that he’ll accept help of any kind.

S5: If it benefits them.

S4: So this is a man who knows the difference between right and wrong, but doesn’t think it applies to him. If he can get help, that’s going to advance a cause, which is are there any examples like this in the past?

S3: I mean, he’s he’s worked with people from the former Soviet states for years. And does he know that he’s dipping into mafia money, mafia help? Does he kind of blind himself to that? Or does he is he actually conscious?

S4: Yeah, I guess I can’t speak to that’s pacifically. But what I do know is that my grandfather certainly did those things. So in my family, it was kind of an unwritten rule that certain behaviors that would have been crossing the line for other people were OK if you were a particular Trump. Not all of a sudden. It’s like but if you were a particular Trump, how does that get conveyed to you? I think it’s, you know, watching. I believe that especially through watching how my grandfather treated my dad, Donald learned very early on. Because, remember, my my dad was seven and a half years older. Yeah. So Donald had the the benefit, if you want to call it that, of watching his older brother be abused and criticized and humiliated. But he also had the benefit of seeing how my dad was kind and generous and how much his friends loved him. So the message Donald got was, don’t be like Freddy. Yeah. You know, be a killer, be tough. And you know all of the kids. Well, I don’t know about the girls in the family, but all of the boys worked in my grandfather’s office in the summers and, you know, maybe on weekends once in a while. So they saw how he operated. You know, they saw how he treated people. They saw the kinds of people he rubbed elbows with.

S6: You know, he was very connected to the not just the Democratic machine, which was very influential in Brooklyn back in the 40s and 50s.

S4: But, you know, mob figures and other unsavory, unsavory creatures who.

S3: Yeah, I think of Felix Sader giving your cousin Ivanka a tour of the Kremlin, letting her sit in Putin’s chair. There’s something you bring your kids along to meet the most important people, you know. And even if they’re unsavory, so they’re almost implicated from the start. But you’re a say your father, Freddie. So Fred Junior, the first son who would buy primogeniture, been the the the heir apparent was is really at the center of this book. And, you know, just as a memoir, as a family memoir, it’s him who’s the most compelling character to me. I think maybe I’m just tired of talking about your uncle. So it’s nice to see that friend that your father well, not a perfect father or husband was a lot of fun. We have something that is is missing from from from your Uncle Donald, who who famously never laughs. Yes. Your dad was like a prankster. Party guy. He had a lot of friends. Unlike his brother. How is that distinction maintained in Freddie’s friends? Must have thought this incredible bullying nuisance. Uncle, your uncle Donald can not be the, you know, the star of this family. The star is clearly the pilot. The dashing pilot. Yeah. How did that happen?

S4: Yeah, they were mystified by it. And one thing I’ll say about that is I have spoken to his friends recently and to a person I remember, they haven’t seen my dad in decades. He’s been dead for, well, I don’t know, almost 40 years now. So they remember him with such fondness and such love and they say that he was the best person they’ve ever known. And the other thing my you know, my mom was telling me stories right when they first met. Yeah. Gallivanting around Manhattan and how my dad, who had his own little plane, would fly his friends out to Bimini for the weekend or out to Montauk and go fishing on his boat, which was pilot. Yeah. And I said stories like, you understand how cool that is. And she’s like, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. We’re all well aware.

S3: I mean, that is like the most dashing thing you could do in the, you know, in the 50s and 60s and 70s. Right. I mean, yeah, it won’t get much better than TBWA Pilot. So your dad not only had that dispositional advantage, but he also had this skill as a pilot. And sometimes on the show, I’ve wondered, can Donald Trump do anything like he can’t toss paper towels in a normal way or go down a ramp? We know that, but. You also make it clear he can’t do business. I mean, can he through a baseball? Can he is there some rubber hits the road moment where, you know, oh, he happens to have this talent. He can solve a Rubik’s cube. I mean, there’s the hole at the center of him. Seems to be that he’s almost absolutely without merit. I would I would hate to think of him flying a plane, for instance.

S4: Oh, gosh, no. That would that would be wrong. But, you know, when we were kids, he did throw the baseball around with us. Way too hard. Quite honestly. But I doubt I doubt he could do that anymore. But it’s it’s kind of stunning. And I agree with you that somebody was such a privilege who had all of the opportunities at his disposal in the world is so limited in scope in every way, you know, in terms of intellectual curiosity, in terms of interests, in terms of skills. So, you know, one of one of the things that was important for me to convey was the concept of his having been institutionalized essentially for his watch.

S3: This I find fascinating because this is I mean, with your training, you can probably recognize the hallmarks of institutionalization. And yet it’s weird to think of Donald Trump as someone like someone who grew up in prison or someone who grew up in an orphanage just with a kind of, I don’t know, reality control around him all the time. I mean, tell me walk me through that, because it is military school when it first starts. Or is it just being born into the Trump empire?

S4: I think it started. Well, you know, why not as early years, which were harrowing, honestly, but certainly by the time I was a teenager, you know, he’s never wanted for anything. He’s never had to make a living. He never has made a living.

S6: And, you know, he went so he went from my grandparents house to the very regimented military school back to the house, to my grandfather’s company, to the Trump organization, which I view as a cynic.

S4: You’re really you for him. That’s such a great word for it. Yeah.

S6: Yeah. And then, you know, with The Apprentice that whatever that was and the White House. So these are all I mean, even though The Apprentice isn’t a place, it was an environment that perpetuated the same things that the actual location, that everything was taken care of. Nobody said no.

S4: You were protected from your own failures. Yeah. And you were allowed to succeed despite those failures and people bowed and scraped.

S3: That’s right. Not show. That’s right. I mean, yeah, that stage set. I’ll never I’ll never forget that the set, you know, he had just been bankrupt and. And they were treating him like he was a king. Right.

S4: And look what’s happening now.

S3: So back to your father. Sort of pleasure in life. I keep thinking of this prank or he’s he has a friend. They he had a friend kind of hijack a hearse and and and one of them gets in a coffin anyway. It just exactly the kind of thing you can’t imagine Donald doing. There’s something so humorless and kind of sterile about him. Is he happy? Does he think he’s winning?

S4: All right. Two very different questions. OK, good. And there’s no way he could be happy because the myths that have been created about him and that he’s perpetuated it and believes about himself are always in constant danger of disintegrating. And on some deep level, he knows that. So, you know, he’s very much always living in the moment, you know? So how can you be happy? And again. Yeah. Is there interpret this other than Gall’s, which I mean, if I play if I did any one thing as much as he played golf and was still and never improve that it I, I would be miserable. Yes. And also, how can you be happy if you don’t laugh or appreciate humor. And you know what that says to me because my grandfather also does laugh is that laughing is to make yourself vulnerable. You know, it’s to let down your guard in some way. It’s to lose a little bit of control and that can happen.

S6: That is not allowed to happen. So. So, no, I don’t believe he’s happy or unfortunately, I don’t believe he’s capable of being happy because of, you know, it wasn’t something to aspire to in my family.

S3: Honestly, I think that the the question only seems important because in your kind of assessment of his psychology and thence and someone like Bandy Lee talking about him, he’s not a person who though he is not happy, he’s not a person who would seek therapy. He’s not something someone who would. Get a diagnosis from a doctor. He can instead have his mental capacities evaluated from a distance. But it seems unlikely that he would ever want to kind of go inside, even if it on the promise that it might make him happier. Does that seem true?

S4: Well, imagine how terrified. Yeah. Imagine how terrifying that inside is.

S3: I can’t, right? I think your point that he doesn’t sleep very much and that he’s chronically sleep deprived. Which also Dave Eggers made on this point he made on the show. He he he thought that, like you. That there’s something about how little he sleeps. Maybe he just gets no rdm sleep to process what’s happened to him. I’m just guessing. But there’s something to that point that he’s sleepless all the time right now, too. Does he think he’s winning? Because what’s galling to in watching him is he thinks, you know, like, like a person on Adderall or cocaine or something or he seems to think, even though he’s so cruel, even though he’s falling in the polls, even though he’s not as healthy as he or smart as he thinks he is, it just is annoying and it just vex vexing that he’s seems to act like he’s a winner here.

S4: He doesn’t have a choice. Yeah. And that goes way back. So does he think he is. He has to think he is. You know, and it’s it’s again I apologize. I can’t remember the. The psychologist name but he referred to Donald as the episodic map and a way you had him on your show. The episodic man. Yeah, the strange case of Donald Trump, I think, was his book.

S3: Yeah, yeah. You get it. We’ll look back at that.

S6: Yes. And I thought, you know, I thought that that was a really interesting way to frame him.

S4: But, you know. It’s not that he doesn’t have a story, you know, an arc. The problem with Donald is that it’s it it only lasts like a millisecond, you know. And it’s the story he tells himself is I won. I’m winning. I’m going to win. Yeah. And that just gets recycled in every moment. And that’s why he’s so defensive.

S5: And he employs so many defense mechanisms against anything that would contradict his troops.

S3: And what if he gets like a cold shutter? I mean, there are there must be some people among your your uncle, your other uncle and your aunts or your cousins or just someone that has some intimation that there’s a better way or much more honest way to live. Trump does not seem to have that information. I mean, is there no part of him or maybe Tiffany or Baron who just, you know, sees a movie or has for a second an idea that there’s a goal of honesty and integrity in this life and has at least a shudder of thinking, wow, I don’t live that way. Does do any of your family or aside from you or or does Trump himself, would he ever be vulnerable to something like that?

S4: Donald, no. I think I think we. I think that’s pretty clear by now. Unfortunately for us. Yeah. And yeah, I think yeah, I think there are people in my family.

S6: I you know, I can’t really speak to my cousins with any particular insight because I don’t know them any better than than anybody else. They’re much younger than I am. So we didn’t grow up together. You know, Don is twelve years younger of August, 16 years younger. So we didn’t really cross paths except the holidays. And, you know, obviously with that age difference, my family didn’t exactly try to bring us all together. So, you know, I think Robert is very much like Donald in a lot of ways. Yeah, I think I think there are other people who have the capacity. But because other lessons were learned that sort of overrode those instincts they had or those inherent capacities that they just don’t take hold.

S4: You know, essentially an act of kindness can easily be undone.

S6: Like, if, you know, if you’re generous to somebody and then they cross you in some way or they look at you funny. I mean, the act of kindness goes out the window in any sense of caring goes out the window and you’re you’re a left of, you know, completely at their mercy. So it’s almost as if they’re those impulses towards kindness. They’re very self-conscious about them and almost feel guilty about them.

S3: Wow. As signs of weakness. So as you may know from a piece I wrote about this at your book in The L.A. Times, which I hugely admired. Thank you. I did find the book unspeakably bleak. It’s like Frank McCourt’s memoir of his abject poverty. It’s probably more depressing, more grueling than that, even though I think they were like scraping flower off other people’s floors, you know, to make Irish soda bread. The one that brought me to serotonin zero was your observation that the Trump signature dish. I can hardly see this mashed potato. Please help me. You just dropped to that point in. And I just I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Yeah. Tell me about this relation. Glamour and dreariness and just absolute banality in the aesthetic of the family.

S4: Yeah. I’m going to make you feel worse. I didn’t know that there were other kinds of lettuce until I was in my 20s.

S3: This court had to rule out before you did.

S4: Done. Definitely. Oh, yeah. You know, it was I think it’s it’s time for hope from the fact that my grandmother was from this tiny village on a tiny island off the west coast of northwest coast of Scotland. And what was an awful cook, you know, like we had rice out of a box and which is fine. You know what? She still couldn’t cook properly. And just, you know, Russian dressing hysterically enough was a really big thing. And it was the Russian dressing that’s basically Manet’s ketchup and relish mixed together. So I think part of it is that my grandfather didn’t really care, like he was a man of very basic appetites, you know, give him a raw steak and a bone to chew on. And that’s that’s what that’s that’s all he needs. Right. So it’s not really surprising that that people in that family would grow up to be feeling starved. You know, they were. And that’s what’s so weird. They were even with all of that money. Like, not Donald, but certainly Mariana, my dad. They were starved of everything.

S3: So after Trump praised Gilbert Center’s love to Gallant, Glenn Maxwell, David Epstein accomplice. And I started thinking again about, sadly, why do I do this to myself? Your uncle’s sexuality, just because that’s where I go. And you know what’s amazing to him for for a self-described womanizer is that he’s like us, has this he there’s no romance. He enjoys women in this kind of sadistic connoisseurship of describing their bodies. You think he probably didn’t even know your name at times. And also would comment on your body. Yeah. The Access Hollywood tape, which is supposed to be so astounding about what Aulet? She is the one where he says he’s moving on Nancy O’Dell like a bitch. It’s always amazed me that his chief romantic move is to take her shopping for furniture. It’s like maybe you I are a living room set at Ethan Allen. It’s just not exactly erotic. And so what’s so what’s the deal with sexuality and the Trump man? I’ll let you not think about your own father, but I mean certain like it’s similar to the starvation around the mashed potatoes. Just no pagination, no sense of romance. Nothing. Nothing human about it.

S5: Well, but that’s exactly right. And, you know, we can look a lot of at a lot of things this way in the context of this family. There’s something that, you know, an activity or a need that all human beings share. But for them, the actual human element of the need or the activity is completely elided. So the thing that makes it actually worth having doesn’t exist for them.

S4: So. Right. So if it’s more about that, that’s it.

S5: So for women, because my grandfather had a bit of a reputation, too. It’s it’s the objectification of them as objects to be taken controlled. And I think that’s part of you know, it’s not so much about the physical pleasure as it is about, you know, the control or the getting away with something. But then it’s also this weird way. He has certainly and I don’t know about my grandfather, but of, you know, reducing women to their parts. Yeah. So, like, he can’t even see them as fully whole human beings. Yeah. And how can you engage in any substantive, interesting, romantic, loving way with somebody, if that’s that’s the only perspective from which you can say see them. But, you know, experience.

S3: Yeah, OK. I have to to get you to say at least one thing about the badly installed Acey window units down and one of the apartments, Trump apartments you grew up in just because that seems to describe everything. You grew up in the Trump protectorate, but you were totally unprotected and then disinherited your own father. His his his brother and father wouldn’t even give him an apartment with integrity that wouldn’t have wind whistling through it. How did that happen?

S5: As soon as my dad came back from Marblehead, you know, and this is one of the great tragedies, his is career AGW. It lasted for four months before my grandfather broke him. He was he didn’t matter anymore more. You know, he he was a punching bag and somebody who wasn’t worth worthy of consideration. So then neither could anybody attached to him, because, of course, after my parents got divorced, we continued to live in that building and that apartment. So and I have the same situation with an air conditioner in my room, you know? So they just. We weren’t you know, my dad wasn’t contributing in the way that he was, you know, divinely supposed to. Right. So. He needs to be erased and therefore anybody coming from him needs to be erased, and that’s that’s actually what they ended up doing.

S3: Thank you so much for being here, Mary, and for speaking up about your family and such an enlightening way where we just keep our fingers crossed in November and, you know, stay in touch.

S5: Exactly. This is so awesome. What a great interview. Thanks for joining. Really appreciate it.

S7: Married Trump is the much in demand author of Too Much and Never Enough How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. That’s it for today’s show. What do you think? Give us your five star reviews on Apple podcast or wherever you listen to us and then come at us on Twitter. I’m at page 88. The show is at Real. Trump cast our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan and engineered by Richard Stanislaw. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump cast.

S3: You must be exhausted, but you’re doing great in all these interviews, and this one was clearly the best.

S5: Of course I agree with you. It was this was no way. I mean, I love the way you approach things. It’s so interesting. And, you know, it keeps people on their toes. And I love that. I’d love to come back sometime if you’d have me. Oh, good.