In the past few years, there have been so many revelations from Trump World that you’d be forgiven for asking yourself: is there really anything else to say? Donald Trump’s niece, Mary, thinks so. Her new memory,. Too much and never enough: how my family created the most dangerous man in the world, offers an intimate look at the president’s childhood and psychology, and is remarkably forceful about his motive: to overthrow Donald Trump. In the Thursday episode of What Next, I spoke to Washington Post reporter Shane Harris about what we can learn from the President’s portrait of Mary and what they have in common with the Oval Office exposure of former national security adviser John Bolton. , The room where it happened. This transcript has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Mary Harris: Talk a little bit about who Mary Trump is.
Shane Harris: Mary Trump is the daughter, one of two children, of Fred Trump Jr., who is Donald Trump’s older brother, often named Freddy. Freddy was one of Trump’s five children and, early in life, he was the alleged heir to Trump’s real estate business, and of course it didn’t work that way. Mary Trump grew up around her father and extended family, as well as her mother. Her parents divorced when she was younger. Her father becomes this black sheep, so to speak, of the Trump family and is actually living quite a different life from that of her younger brother and other siblings.
She describes a family heavily controlled by Fred Trump Sr., the father of Donald Trump. I think she even calls him a sociopath.
She at one point calls him a sociopath and says that what he does is co-opt others towards his ends. Her argument there is that that’s what Fred Trump did to Donald Trump when she realized that Freddy was, in her eyes, good for nothing and that she wasn’t going to be the heir or heir that she expected her to be. It is a family in which the father’s disappointment is what the children fear. They are just your rules. He is not a physically abusive man, as she describes him, but definitely emotionally.
And he paints in the image of his father and uncle two very different reactions to the elderly Trump. Her father is someone who is much more sensitive, much more internal and a bit removed from his father, even though he is trying to please him, but he cannot meet his expectations. Donald, on the other hand, embodies what his father would see as “the killer”. He has the instinct to always win, to beat other people, that life is a zero sum game. So there is a kind of natural instinct for Donald to always demonstrate this aptitude to his father. And what’s really fascinating is that as Donald Trump ages, he writes, his father begins to envy him for his ability to not only beat other people, but to circumvent conventions and break the rules. All the things we now know Trump did as president he did when he was younger in the business world, and his father is somewhat amazed at his own son and cannot believe how he has gone beyond what he was. I hoped to create. She compares him to Frankenstein’s monster.
So I feel like we can’t go much further without exploring Mary Trump’s motivations. She is liberal and says that at the beginning of the book she does not want to be reelected. It was also cut from family wealth.
So is. After her father had been dead for some time, her grandfather dies, and it is time to divide her estate or distribute it among the surviving children. She sees her father essentially erased.
And she sued for this.
She refused to sign the will, which would have left it in succession. So she and her brother delayed the works for two years, with lawyers coming and going. Eventually, she and her brother signed an agreement, the terms of which are not disclosed. But most importantly, when she does that, she does it believing that the total value of her grandfather’s estate is around $ 30 million. Later she discovers that it is actually a billion dollars. So now she believes she signed this agreement and the accompanying confidentiality requirements, which accompany it with false pretenses, and that the family let her down, which is an argument that is now arguing why that confidentiality requirement should no longer be valid.
She comes to this from a point of real wrong and frankly, admirably, she exposes everything in the book. She is not hiding it. And there are parts in which, frankly, it is difficult to separate to a certain extent that complaint from the painting she is painting. But she is also painting a portrait that has been developed by journalists in some cases. We have heard stories about the Trump family and how they operated. And that portrait really aligns pretty much with what we’ve heard elsewhere. So while you have a bone to choose from at the same time I think you are giving a pretty credible picture of what family life was like.
Mary Trump has a PhD. in psychology There have been so many chair psychologists who have looked at this president from the outside and tried to analyze what is going on in her mind, so it is interesting to me to see a real psychologist with real access trying to put into words the motivations for how the President is behaving well.
Yes I agree. This book is both a family memory and a work of psychoanalysis, if I can use that term. You know, she’s careful not to say I am diagnosing you with the following conditions.. She poses conditions that he could have and seems to indicate that he probably does. But she says: The man you see before you today is a product of the following influences, and this is what I think is happening in his mind, and these are the black holes that he constantly tries to fill.
For her, it all comes down to two big ideas. One is that her parents never loved her. They never raised her. And so he is constantly trying to fill this void that he never received from his parents. And the other is that he is living in a constant state of fear. It is fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of contempt. And I think we see it clearly in the way that he’s constantly exaggerating everything. Everything is the best. It is the best. It’s number 1. Remember when you got into that salad of words where you talked about how you tested negative for coronavirus, but kept trying to say it was positive? It tested negatively in the positive direction. It was like this strange urge to say positive, positive, positive, not negative.
After reading this book and Bolton’s book, I wonder what you think each of these authors wanted to accomplish with what they wrote.
I think both Bolton and Mary Trump want Donald Trump not to be elected again. I think they are trying to forcefully warn people about what they see as the danger of their presidency and their personality. So in that sense, they have a lot in common. I think what differs is that Bolton really wants people to focus on what he sees as the damage Trump is doing to the institution of the presidency and the way he is perverting the political tradition in the United States and the risk That causes a long time. long-term. What Mary Trump is doing is trying to explain the person of Donald Trump as a product of this cauldron he grew up in, as someone who is the end result of a family culture that appreciated loyalty and aggression above empathy. , sharing and disinterest. It is much more a personal representation.
Do you mind that John Bolton or Mary Trump waited to present these allegations and put them on their own terms so that they could benefit from them?
As a journalist, I want to encourage all public officials and everyone close to someone trained so that when they are ready, they can go out and speak. And, in principle, I don’t see anything wrong with being compensated for the work. Bolton’s decision to publish seems more problematic to me in the sense that he had the opportunity to testify before Congress, leaving aside that he has an argument as to why he was unable to do so. The cynical argument, which convinces me more and more, is that he wanted to do that because he wanted to promote the sale of books. And he still seems quite dismissive with all the effort at impeachment, so I’m not sure he felt so bad that he didn’t take the opportunity to testify before Congress.
However, Mary Trump is different. The moment is remarkable. It will come out shortly before an election, though they sped up the release date in part due to these legal battles they’ve been involved in. But she writes in the book about how she struggled with the question of whether or not to speak. out, and she’s honest about the process she went through in deciding to do it. She could have talked during the election, and she talks about it, and frankly I think she needs to say a little more about why exactly she didn’t. But at least she’s honest with her fight about when to talk. And now, although it could be said that it is a bit late, if you thought it was important for people to know it four years ago, you are putting all your cards on the table.
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