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Mary Trump's book chronicles how a dysfunctional family 'created the world's most dangerous man'

Dylan Stableford and Jenna McLaughlin
·Reporters
·5 min read
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Mary Trump’s new memoir about her uncle, President Trump, alleges that what she describes as a dysfunctional family — and a psychologically abusive father — “damaged” his worldview.

The book, titled “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is due to be published next week. Mary Trump, 55, is a trained clinical psychologist and daughter of the president's late older brother, Fred “Freddy” Trump Jr., who died of alcoholism when she was just 16.

The president’s younger brother, Robert Trump, tried to stop the publication of the book, claiming it violates a confidentiality agreement Mary signed years ago. But a judge ruled last week that the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, could go ahead with its release, now set for July 14.

An advance copy of the tell-all obtained by Yahoo News includes numerous examples of Trump family trauma — and “twisted behaviors” exhibited by the future president.

A tortured father-son relationship

"In order to understand what brought Donald — and all of us — to this point, we need to start with my grandfather and his own need for recognition,” Mary writes of Fred Trump Sr., the family’s patriarch, “a need that propelled him to encourage Donald’s reckless hyperbole and unearned confidence that hid Donald’s pathological weaknesses and insecurities.”

According to Mary, Fred Trump Sr. routinely mocked her father, and Donald had plenty of time to learn from watching his father “humiliate” his older brother.

“The lesson,” Mary writes, “was that it was wrong to be like Freddy: Fred didn’t respect his oldest son, so neither would Donald.”

Fred, in turn, would manipulate Donald’s desire to please his father, according to Mary.

“Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits,” she writes.

“By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it,” she continued. “The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everybody else.”

Donald Trump, center, sits with hands folded at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., April 6, 1990, before the start of grand opening ceremonies. Trump attended the gala with his parents, Mary and Fred, and sister US District Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, right, and brother Robert Trump, left, and his wife Blaine Trump, third from left wearing green. Trump was dateless. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Donald Trump, center, at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., before the start of opening ceremonies in 1990. Also attending were his parents, Mary and Fred; sister Maryanne Trump Barry, right; and brother Robert Trump, left, and his wife, Blaine, third from left. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

The death of Trump’s older brother

Fred Trump Jr. died of an alcohol-induced heart attack when he was 42. According to the book, he was sent to the hospital alone before he died. On the night of his death, she writes, Donald went to see a movie.

To Mary, her father’s death was the culmination of years of abuse.

“Donald, following the lead of my grandfather and with the complicity, silence, and inaction of his siblings, destroyed my father,” she writes.

Cheating on the SATs

Mary claims the president paid someone to take the SAT on his behalf. The high score helped him get into Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he has claimed he graduated with the “highest grades possible.”

(Trump’s name, though, is not on the dean’s list that was published by the Daily Pennsylvanian in 1968, the year he graduated.)

In 2019, Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer, testified to Congress that Trump directed him to “threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.”

‘He has no principles. None!’

After he launched his bid for president in 2015, Donald’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry called her brother “a clown” and predicted his presidency “will never happen.” She also mocked him for courting evangelical Christians.

“What the f*** is wrong with them?” Maryanne said, according to Mary’s account. “The only time Donald went to church was when the cameras were there. It’s mind-boggling. But that’s all about his base. He has no principles. None!”

A ‘paean to his own greatness’

Mary Trump recalls Fred Trump Sr.’s funeral in a scene that will sound familiar to anyone who has seen Trump give a speech.

“For the most part, in ways both oblique and direct, the emphasis was on my grandfather’s material success, his ‘killer’ instinct, and his talent for saving a buck,” she writes. “Donald was the only one to deviate from the script. In a cringe-inducing turn, his eulogy devolved into a paean to his own greatness.”

“It was so embarrassing,” she adds, “that Maryanne later told her son not to allow any of her siblings to speak at her funeral.”

The president’s complex ‘pathologies’

In the book, Mary calls her uncle a textbook narcissist, but believes his psychological issues go well beyond that.

“The fact is,” she writes, “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.”

Mary adds: “Donald is today much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information. Donald’s need for affirmation is so great that he doesn’t seem to notice that the largest group of his supporters are people he wouldn’t condescend to be seen with outside of a rally.”

The White House response

The president has not commented publicly on Mary’s book or its allegations.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, was asked by reporters Tuesday about the forthcoming tell-all.

“Well, he’s not her patient — he’s her uncle,” Conway said. “And I think family matters are family matters.”

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