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[00:00:00]

From W.H y y in Philadelphia, I'm Terry Gross with Fresh Air. Today, Mary Trump talks about her uncle, Donald Trump, and her father, Freddie Donald's older brother, the black sheep of the family.

[00:00:14]

In her new memoir, Mary writes, quote, No one knows how Donald came to be who he is better than his own family. Unfortunately, almost all of them remain silent out of loyalty or fear. I am not hindered by either of those, unquote. In the book, she reveals that she provided documents to The New York Times for its 2018 investigation into Trump family finances, revealing that Donald Trump had engaged in dubious tax schemes, including instances of outright fraud that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents life in the Trump family.

[00:00:51]

Coming up on Fresh Air. Support for this podcast comes from the Newbauer Family Foundation, supporting W.H YYZ, Fresh Air and its commitment to sharing ideas and encouraging meaningful conversation.

[00:01:05]

My guest, Mary Trump, has broken her silence about her uncle, President Donald Trump, in her new memoir, Too Much and Never Enough. Her father, the late Freddie Trump, was Donald's oldest brother. You can tell by the title of her book what she thinks of her uncle's presidency. The book is subtitled How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. She secretly served as a source for a 2018 New York Times investigation into Trump family finances, including schemes to avoid paying millions in taxes.

[00:01:37]

The article also contradicted the story that Donald Trump has always told about being a brilliant dealmaker and a self-made billionaire and showed how much of his success he owed to his father, Fred Trump, and how he relied on his father to help bail him out of financial trouble. Fred Trump presided over a real estate empire. Mary Trump as a clinical psychologist by training who has taught graduate courses as an adjunct professor. Mary Trump, welcome to Fresh Air. Donald Trump has called your book a lie.

[00:02:09]

Have you spoken to him since publication?

[00:02:12]

No, I don't. I don't expect I will. When was the last time you did speak?

[00:02:18]

At my aunt's birthday party at the White House in April of 2017. Your father worked for his father, your grandfather, Fred Trump, and you worked he worked for Trump management. But he never rose in the organization. It sounds like he was always given fairly low level positions like overseeing maintenance and things like that.

[00:02:39]

And what he really wanted to do was be a pilot.

[00:02:42]

And when he became a pilot, your grandfather's apparently acted like this was like a really embarrassing, humiliating job for his son to have. It was like hav having a son who is a bus driver in the sky. Did your father feel really diminished by that? Yes. I think he never recovered from it, actually.

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You know, it started out. He had every intention of graduating from college and working for his dad, working his way up through the company and taking over someday. And, you know, perpetuating the empire. That was his plan. It wasn't a burden. It wasn't something he felt was thrust upon him. He actively wanted to do this. It wasn't until he actually started working for my grandfather, however, that he realized that my grandfather wasn't going to give him any real responsibility or respect.

[00:03:45]

And after three years, it became unbearable. So my dad, who had earned his private and professional pilot's licenses when he was in college, decided that he needed to make a change. And in 1963. Being accepted into training class at T.W. Way, which was the second largest carrier at the dawn of the jet age, was a really big deal.

[00:04:13]

And he was one of the few people to make it who was not trained in the military. So it was an even bigger deal to go from, you know, flying prop planes on your own to flying jets. He was also given the very coveted Logan Airport in Boston to L.A. X route. But after four months of incessant torment and humiliation from his father and his siblings, he just he just couldn't do it anymore. Because unfortunately, when one of the great tragedies of my father's life is that his father's opinion meant more to him than I think anything.

[00:04:54]

And it broken. Well, also, I mean, he was forced to leave the job as a commercial pilot because of his drinking. They basically told him either either resign or will fire you and then you'll lose your license to fly and you'll never be able to fly again. And it sounds like that that really broke him having to. Having to give up being a pilot. But but, of course, he knew apparently that he couldn't function anymore as a pilot because of his drinking and the drinking was really a problem.

[00:05:26]

I mean, you write about seeing him drunk, point a rifle at your mother laughing the whole time, and she was terrified. What was that experience like for you? It's actually my first memory. I was really young. I was two and a half when that happened. So I don't I don't remember the experience of the emotions that I may have felt in the moment.

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But I see it very clearly and I. No, that that that would that was, you know, the beginning of the end for my parents.

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And it's also honestly, I mean, not that I ever saw my father be violent in that way again. But I never saw him not be an alcoholic or sorry, an active alcoholic. I missed all the good stuff. And he didn't. His drinking didn't really start until he became a pilot and got no support from his family and was completely undermined by him.

[00:06:38]

So, you know, they I. I think it's. Fair to say that his drinking ended his career as a pilot, but my grandfather. Caused the drinking. Obviously, the genetic component of alcoholism didn't didn't help, but I think if if treated differently and allowed to experience his incredible accomplishments. And, you know, if he'd had parents who were proud of him, I think that might have made a world of difference. Were you afraid of your father because your first memory was of him pointing a rifle at your mother?

[00:07:25]

No. Again, because I didn't I didn't really process it in the moment because I was so young and it was unsure. Very traumatic. So.

[00:07:36]

It was one of those things I just kind of forgot about. So, no, I wasn't afraid of him, even though he could be. He could be really moody and, you know, their God, there came to be a point where it was better if he was drunk than he was sober, because when he was sober, he was it was it was so dark and depressed. But I know I know I never felt afraid of him after that.

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But what I will say is that it's pretty shocking that other adults thought it was OK for me and my brother to be alone with him for, you know, days at a time. Probably in retrospect, not. Yeah.

[00:08:22]

It's a confusing story in the sense that, like, you blame your grandfather's kind of shunning and diminishing of your father with your father's alcoholism. But it sounds like your father maybe wasn't that well equipped to deal with stress and that might have alienated your grandfather more, who is so like achievement oriented. So it's a it's a kind of confusing cycle for a bystander like me, too, to read about.

[00:08:53]

Yeah, and I think that the truth is that my dad was just sort of constitutionally sensitive. He took things to heart. He took things. He took criticism, especially from my grandfather, very hard.

[00:09:08]

And I. Because he was the oldest son of the name names at my grandfather's namesake. My grandfather was very invested in my dad's being the son. My grandfather wanted him to be, you know, a killer who could take over and, you know, just be completely. Unfazed by anything and a tough guy, right? You know, who had no moral compunction about lying, cheating and doing whatever to promote the business. When he realized that my father was not that person, he treated him very harshly.

[00:09:49]

And, you know, used humility. He humiliated him and essentially made sure that my father would be exactly the opposite of the kind of person he wanted him to be. Yeah, it was just he just went about it entirely the wrong way and it, you know, it couldn't have ended worse than it did because my dad just wasn't that person. My grandfather didn't respect that and didn't know how to deal with it.

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Do you feel like your father couldn't be that person? And Donald Trump acted. The role of that person acted the role of the really competent, successful, self-made guy.

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I think it's more that initially he took on the persona of the killer and the the myth about the other stuff happened later. But it's always been a role he's he's played.

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In your memoir, you confessed that you were one of the sources for The New York Times investigation into Donald Trump's finances and the whole Trump family finances. What documents did you give to The New York Times reporters? After my brother and I were disinherited, we, you know, after several fruitless months of negotiation, decided to sue my grandfather's estate in the course of that lawsuit. We were entitled to documents that were subject to what they call the two three rule.

[00:11:26]

So it's two years before. And three years after. Or vice versa. I always forget the date of my grandfather's will. We were entitled to all of the documents pertaining to his personal finances, his personal tax returns, and all of the financial documents relating to all of his entities, which would have been in excess of four dozen buildings in Queens and Brooklyn. So you mentioned that you and your brother would disinherited. And just as a little bit of backstory, you considered your father the black sheep of the family.

[00:12:01]

You know, he became an alcoholic. He died in his early 40s. And after his death, when your grandfather died, your grandfather changed the world and wrote you and your brother out of the will, which you both thought was was very unfair, felt it was as if, like your father never existed in the Trump family. So picking up where we left off, Suzanne Craig, one of the reporters on the story, knocked on your door and asked to talk to you when she was writing the story and you turned her away.

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But she gave you her card and you eventually. Thought you should contact her. Why did you decide, after turning away the reporter from the Times, why did you decide to contact her and hand over some of the, you know, some or all of the documents that you had gotten? She over time, despite my intransigence, made a very good case that I might actually have something that could help concretely, as she put it. Rewrite the financial history of Donald and my family before then.

[00:13:10]

I had completely forgotten about the existence of those documents that had been almost 20 years in the past. I didn't think about it anymore. It had ended very badly for me and there was no no reason to revisit it. But when she made it clear that those documents, if they were still in the possession of the attorney who would handle the lawsuit for me, could be analyzed properly, there could be a lot of really valuable information. So finally, for the first time, I felt like I could do something tangible.

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So within a few weeks of deciding to call her, I had I had gone to my attorney, my former attorney's office and gotten all 19 boxes, which included 40000 pages or so of all of the documents I mentioned earlier. And in the next year, the investigative team did this extraordinary job of forensic accounting and hardcore digging into all sorts of other sources and contacts. And they came up with what I think is one of the most brilliant pieces of investigative journalism I've ever seen.

[00:14:34]

Certainly the longest.

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Do you know what the reaction in the family has been? Now that everybody knew that you were the one who handed over the documents? The only response I've seen is the tweet that Donald sent last week, referring to me as the seldom seen niece whom both of my grandparents couldn't stand, apparently.

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So that's all I know. I'm sorry. I'm assuming that they're not pleased. And the lawsuit is also probably an indication of that as well.

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Right. Was it your impression that your grandparents couldn't stand you? My grandfather couldn't stand either one of my parents. So he didn't. Well, I don't think he felt warmly towards anybody, but I was in somebody he particularly considered. And I you know, I don't take that personally because I think the only person in my family he really cared about after his own fashion was Donald. I was very close with my grandmother, however. So I don't believe for a second that what Donald said is true, at least up until the lawsuit.

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Now, I don't know how she felt about me after that, during the investigation. The reporters for The Times drove you around to all of your grandfather's properties. All of his buildings. I think they were on 90 of them. You had no idea that many of these buildings were part of his real estate empire. Tell us a little bit about that trip, visiting all these places and what your reaction was and what you learned about your family from being taken to these places.

[00:16:13]

Yeah, it was extraordinary. And actually, we've spent about nine hours driving all over Queens and Brooklyn. And we did not actually get to see all of the properties. There were so many of them. I had always known that my family had money, although, you know, I grew up in Jamaica, so we didn't. I had the Jamaica, Queens, just for anybody. Right.

[00:16:39]

I'm sorry. Jamaica, Queens, which is a town next to Jamaica Estates where my grandparents lived. It's an entirely different kind of down. It's working class, lower middle class, much more racially diverse. Back in the 70s.

[00:16:54]

So seeing just the vastness of his holdings made me realize in a way I never had.

[00:17:03]

Just how much money this man must have had. And it changed my perspective about the pettiness of their treatment of me and my brother. So what are some of the things you learned from the New York Times investigation into Trump family finances that you didn't know and that really surprised you and maybe changed your impression of what was going on with your family? First of all, related to what I said earlier about just seeing how many properties my grandfather on, they put it in in numerical terms that were quite honestly mind boggling to me.

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You know, when when my grandfather died, we were told that his estate was worth about 30 million dollars. And it turns out it was closer to a billion. So that's that's hardly a rounding error for the first time in my life.

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I understood just how much money my family had and just how much money my grandfather was grandfather's business and properties were worth. And did you feel cheated when you found out? Yeah. They had used egregiously misrepresented valuations of properties. I had a SHERAN to craft a settlement agreement that, as it turns out, was much to my disadvantage. So that was a fraudulent. If I'm not mistaken, you own shares in some properties you didn't even know you own shares in.

[00:18:43]

That's true. Yeah, and that, you know, that's been one of the more Eye-Opening things because. Marion, Robert and Donald weren't just my aunts and uncles.

[00:18:56]

You know, which should have been enough for them to look out for my interests, considering my dad, their brother died when I was 16. But they were also after my father died, my trustees'. So they had a fiduciary responsibility. To make sure not only that I didn't get taken advantage of, but that I understood what I had so that I could make informed decisions going forward. And of course, neither of those things actually happened.

[00:19:31]

As I recall, some of the things that were done in the family were like less than legal. And did that change your impression of the family's financial success? Yeah, I, along with everybody else, had had bought into the myth of Donald's being a self-made man and being a brilliant developer. I had no idea that none of that was true because everybody acted like it was true. So that was I mean, I had started to learn that, you know, over time, certainly in the late 80s and the 90s when he was starting to get into trouble, but I'd never realized it had been like that since the beginning.

[00:20:17]

So that was interesting in terms of their willingness, though, the lengths they were willing to go to hide funds, evade, commit fraud. It didn't honestly surprise me because. You know, I never really thought of them as being the most upright people on the planet, for example, the entity called All Co. was a huge part of what The New York Times was able to discover through my.

[00:20:49]

I think predominantly through the documents I gave them. And it was essentially a shell corporation that the sole purpose of which seemed to be siphoning money out of my grandfather's legitimately successful company to lower its value so they could just hide all of this cash and then simultaneously lower their tax burden is just breathtaking to me.

[00:21:16]

If you're just joining us, my guest is Mary Trump. Donald Trump's only niece. Her new memoir is called Too Much and Never Enough. We'll be right back after a short break. I'm Terry Gross and this is Fresh Air.

[00:21:32]

This message comes from NPR sponsor State Farm. State Farm fits seamlessly into your life, allowing you to easily manage your coverage, pay your bill and even file a claim with the State Farm mobile app. And they really get to know you. Thanks to a network of 19000 agents, you'll have someone local to talk you through options that fit your personal needs when you want the real deal, like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. My guest is Mary Trump.

[00:21:58]

She's written a new memoir about life in the Trump family. She says she's written this family history in part to get a complete picture of her uncle Donald Trump's psychopathologies and dysfunctional behavior. She has APHC from the Donor Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies and has taught graduate courses in psychology. You've said that there were things you learned writing this book that you may have been better off not knowing what things. I believe that was that was mostly in reference to my dad.

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I'm grateful to have learned some things.

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I honestly knew very little about his successes in his life. You know, he was always presented as a an alcoholic loser, which, you know, to my enduring shame, I bought into that assessment of him.

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So I was really happy to learn more. I mean, it was bittersweet, of course, but I was happy to to learn about his his career as a pilot. I spoke to some of his friends who remember him so fondly. He was so loved by his friends, if not by his family, that that was that was really gratifying. On the other hand, it was devastating to revisit or learn for the first time just just how he suffered at my grandfather's hands and how little, if at all, his siblings.

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You know, helped him or stood up for him. It's I had already known that they had allowed him to die alone in a hospital he'd never been in before, which. It's something I will never forget or ever be able to shake, but to know that he had suffered alone before that for years. Yeah, it's it's it's still difficult for me to process regarding your father toward the end of his life.

[00:24:11]

He was kind of broke and. Well, at least you thought he was and he he was very sick because of the alcoholism and other health issues. He ended up living with his parents, which are also Donald Trump's parents. And when he got really sick and needed a hospital, like the family called for an ambulance. Nobody went with him to the hospital. And you also write that like, you know, Fred Trump and his wife had connections to the hospital.

[00:24:46]

I think there is a wing named after Trump. So, like, they could have placed a call and said that, you know, their son was being taken an ambulance, but like nothing, no support. And you were very upset learning that. Of course, it's. Unforgivable, inexcusable and cruel beyond words, because, as you said, my parent, my grandparents donated millions of dollars to Jamaica Hospital and also a lot of money to Buth Memorial Hospital, which was in Flushing.

[00:25:24]

And my grandmother had spent a lot of time at both of those places because she was very often injured because of her osteoporosis. So, yeah, there there is a building named for them. I have to pass by it every time I take the Long Island Railroad train into Manhattan. And yet. Yeah. They called an ambulance and the ambulance took them to a hospital. That was five minutes from where the building where I grew up. I was in boarding school at the time.

[00:25:57]

And nobody in my family had ever been to that hospital before. So there were no connections. And I you know, I don't know what my grandparents were thinking. It's very possible they knew it was too late because my dad had been very ill at their house for weeks without there doing anything about it. So the indifference to he's 42 years old.

[00:26:25]

And I didn't understand. I mean, I knew that was of course, it's it's way too young to die. But I didn't understand just how young it was until I reached forty. So the fact that they just didn't feel that he was worth the effort. And honestly, now, at this time in particular, it's it's resonating in a completely different way because one of the horrors of the disease we're all grappling with now and trying to escape is that people have to die alone because it's so contagious.

[00:27:07]

And that connection and the fact that Donald is doing nothing. Not only nothing to mitigate or solve it, but he's doing it seems like he's doing everything in his power to make it worse so that more people are going to die alone without their families with them. It's kind of hard to process.

[00:27:28]

Your great grandfather, President Trump's grandfather, died of the flu during the 1918 flu pandemic.

[00:27:36]

How much of that death of the flu during the pandemic was a part of family history?

[00:27:44]

I actually didn't know about my great grandfather's death and the circumstances of it until I read about it a couple of years ago. And in fact, I'd never heard anybody in my family talk about my great grandfather in any way. When I was growing up. So there's no way for me to know what Donald may have heard. But I always found that kind of odd.

[00:28:11]

Donald Trump was sent to military school, the New York Military Academy. And this was against his protests. Why was he sent there?

[00:28:22]

And hoody. Who do you have that information from? Who told you why he was sent there? My my grandmother told me stories and, you know, I think it was a combination of things. He was a student at a school in Forest Hills that my my grandfather was a trustee for. He's on the board of trustees and dolls. Behavior, as he grew up, became increasingly belligerent and uncontrollable. So I think that was causing some problems. I think my grandfather probably found it.

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It's not embarrassing than inconvenient that one of his children was getting into all sorts of trouble at a school. He was associated with at home, where my grandmother certainly had to deal with Donald more than my grandfather did because he was at work all the time. He was incredibly disrespectful to her. He didn't listen to her. He was a slob. He tormented in one way or another. I think he tormented all of his siblings. But certainly by then, you know, the older kids were out of the house.

[00:29:30]

And Robert was the the most frequent target of his bullying. And the situation with my grandfather, my grandmother, sorry, and the situation at school kind of came to a head at the same time. And my grandfather, who had not yet entirely given up on my father and who had not yet really started to notice Donald very much decided it would make his life easier. And my grandmother was not about to stop him. She she told me she was relieved when Donald went away because he had made her life so difficult.

[00:30:11]

Let's take a short break here and then we'll talk some more. If you're just joining us, my guest is Mary Trump. Donald Trump's only niece. Her new memoir is called Too Much and Never Enough. We'll talk more after a break. This is Fresh Air.

[00:30:24]

In Minneapolis, business owners daughter is called out publicly for racist anti black tweets. Fighting to save his business and trying to make amends. He calls on a prominent black Muslim leader for help. He's an Arab Muslim. And I said, I'm here to tell me what to do. Hear what happens next. Listen to Code Switch from NPR.

[00:30:47]

Let's get back to my interview with Mary Trump. Her new memoir about the Trump family is called Too Much and Never Enough. Donald Trump is Mary's uncle. Your father had such a hard time working with his father. Within Trump management. And your father, us? I think also I had a hard time watching his brother Donald Trump rise in the organization while your father couldn't rise in the organization after your father's death. I mean, I guess years after your father's death, Donald Trump asked you and he was still, you know, a businessman and in real estate, he asked you to write his book, The Art of the Comeback.

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This was his sequel to The Art of the Deal. And you you accepted the job of helping him write it. Why did you want to work with him after having seen what you thought was a very dysfunctional. Family business and very dysfunctional relationship between your father and Donald Trump. I as a kid. Basically bought into the family line about my dad. You know, I hate saying this because it it makes me feel so horrible. But. You know, I.

[00:32:21]

Because I didn't really know much or much detail about his past. I believed the tail they spun that he was just this failed. Guy, you know, who just couldn't accomplish anything. And I thought it was his fault. So after he died. Or, you know, years after he died. We just kind of continued as if. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened. We didn't talk about him, really. You know, when my family did talk about my father, it was to say that, you know, essentially he was handsome and kind and kind, was always said as if it were, you know, not really a compliment.

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You know, that that that would explain why he failed in life, because he was kind. But, you know, I wasn't aware at the time of the truth behind.

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What had happened between my dad and my grandfather and between my dad and Donald? How did you find that out? Well, part of it was just distance and, you know, hearing more about the things he had accomplished and also just getting older and understanding psychology more and understanding Donald more and realizing that that is still a lot of the stories that had been spun weren't really true, like the stories about Donald success, for example, or my father's failings.

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And then more recently, it was in conversation with my aunt Marianne, who was quite adamant about correcting the record to me about my dad. I wish she had done something when he was alive. But, you know, it was it was at least helpful to hear it from her. Now, I guess, you know, better late than ever.

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You had no experience writing books. What do you think your uncle asked you to help him write The Art of the Comeback? Were you going to be the official ghostwriter? Yeah, that was his plan. Unfortunately, I can't say that he hired me because he thought I was a brilliant writer. He hired me because Tufts University had sent him a letter that I had written in support of a professor of mine who was up for tenure. And I think I wrote it maybe my senior year right before I graduated.

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And they were sending it him as a fundraising ploy. He's like, look how much Mary loved Tufts and look how great our professors are. Duff's. She wrote this letter and I realized later that he hired me. Partially because I was his niece and he felt like, you know, he didn't really have to pay it back, pay that much attention to me or, you know. Take my requests for his time seriously. And also at the time, I didn't realize he was hiring me and his publisher had no idea he was doing it.

[00:35:56]

But mostly he hired me because he thought I was really good at making other people look good. And right. So was the editor found out that you were going to be Donald Trump's collaborator on his book? They took you off the project because you had no experience. Were you offended by that or did you think like, yeah, that's that's a good idea. I really shouldn't be doing this. I don't have the experience. You know, it's interesting.

[00:36:23]

I I didn't think my not having experience was an issue because, you know, I had a master's degree in English. I'd been studying English literature my whole life. I've been writing academic papers, you know, since high school. I had a masters degree. And it wasn't you know, it was a it was Donald's book. It wasn't like I was writing a Eugene O'Neill play or something. So the only thing that bothered me was when I was told that you can't sit down at the piano for the first time and play a Mozart concerto.

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It's like, well, you know, I have been writing in the English language for some time now. And I hardly would compare Donald's book to a Mozart concerto. But, you know, whatever, it wasn't going anywhere because Donald wasn't sitting down with me for an interview. And it's very possible that I wouldn't. I didn't have the relevant writing. I mean, I didn't have the relevant writing experience. And maybe that would have made a difference in the long run.

[00:37:25]

But it was for me, it was much more about just not having access. I saw him every day. I spoke to him every day. He wouldn't sit down for an interview. He'd made it impossible.

[00:37:36]

He did give you some pages that he had written which were not exactly germane. Tell us what was in the pages. Yeah. You know, the the awful thing is I was so excited because I thought, finally, I'm going to have something to go on. And it just turned out to be about 10 pages. A transcript from a recording he had made. You know, speaking into a microphone. And it was page after page of his ideas about women.

[00:38:09]

You know, his his evaluation of them almost entirely of their physical appearance or their bearing.

[00:38:18]

And most of it was just it was so dripping with misogyny. I just. It was hard to read and I never looked it again and certainly didn't plan to use any of it.

[00:38:32]

That reminds me of once when you visited him in Mar a Lago and you were wearing a bathing suit.

[00:38:39]

He said, hey, you're really stacked. That's not a good thing to say to any woman, but to say to your niece, that is I don't know. What was your reaction when your uncle said that to you? Yeah. Well, now I would say it's really creepy. But at the time, it just it shocked me. Partially because it was the first time it was like he'd never seen me before, you know? And to be fair, it is probable it is the first time anybody outside of my immediate family had seen me in a bathing suit.

[00:39:14]

You know, anybody who has related to because we weren't that kind of family, you know, we didn't go on vacations together. We didn't go to the beach together. So we'd never seen me in a bathing suit before. But, you know, I was twenty nine. I wasn't a kid. And I was pretty, you know, unflappable, I think. But it was really embarrassing. And I just wanted to hide. Did it affect your relationship?

[00:39:40]

Oh, no, no. Because, you know, and this is one of the problems, it's it's it's just what he does. He says these outrageous things that are hurtful or insulting or wildly inappropriate. And people laugh it off and don't hold them to account. And he fills total impunity to continue doing such things. And he does.

[00:40:02]

Let's take a short break here and then we'll talk some more. If you're just joining us, my guest is Mary Trump. Donald Trump's only niece. Her new memoir is called Too Much and Never Enough. We'll talk more after a break. This is Fresh Air.

[00:40:14]

We're only months away from Election Day and every week or even every few hours, there's a new twist that could affect who will win the White House.

[00:40:23]

To keep up with the latest, tune into the NPR Politics podcast every day to find out what happened and what it means for the election.

[00:40:32]

Hi, it's Terry Gross inviting you to check out our new online archive.

[00:40:37]

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[00:40:57]

Let's get back to my interview with Mary Trump. Her new memoir is called Too Much and Never Enough. Donald Trump is so fixated on numbers when he can use it to prove that he's best and has sometimes changed the numbers or not know what the real numbers are and put that in service of proving that he's best. And he's done that with with money, overstating how much he has, bragging about test scores, about his cognitive test, about the size of crowds at his inauguration, about the size of crowds at his rallies, his TV ratings, all numbers to prove.

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Like, I am the best. What I do is the best.

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Was he that way before? Like, did you notice that before he became president? Oh, yeah. That's that's the one thing we can say about Donald is he has been consistently himself for decades. I can't really think of any way in which she's evolved or changed from the person he was when he was a teenager. Now, obviously, I wasn't alive when he was a teenager, but there's a reason my dad nicknamed him the Great I Am. When Donald was twelve.

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What did he mean by that, he meant that, you know, nobody could be as good. Donald was always the best and claimed to be the best that everything and the greatest and etc.. So, yeah. It started very early on. And I believe that initially it was just a way to make sure that my grandfather. Never for one second mistook Donald for being like my dad. So one of the things I think you kept from your family.

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Correct me if I'm wrong here, is that you're a lesbian. There's two. Like one or two references to it in the book. And you were fertile, you realized you couldn't tell your grandmother because she was going all homophobic on the fact that Elton John was going to be performing at Princess Diana's funeral or memorial. So is that something you had to keep a secret from your family?

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Yeah. You know, it didn't really feel that way because by then I was in my thirties. I was really close with my grandmother and saw her a lot. But, you know, everybody else had kind of gone their separate ways and we saw each other holidays. And, you know, it wasn't that big a deal that they didn't know. Like, it didn't affect my life that much. And with my grandmother, I just figured, you know what?

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She's she's older. She said in her ways, like, why bother, you know? Which probably says a lot about where I was at the time. And it also says a lot about, you know, how I was willing to bend over backwards to to give these people a break that they didn't deserve. But, yeah, at the time, it just it didn't seem like it mattered that much. I was just living my life separately from all of that.

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And she didn't need to know.

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What are some of the anti-gay policies or legislation advocated by your uncle and his administration that have affected you that that you feel strongly about? You know, they all affect me, whether they affect me personally or not, but I believe it started with no longer allowing trans men and women to serve in the military. And I had to be honest, I kind of lose track because he's he's. And again, I don't necessarily think it's him. I think it's people.

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He's elevated to positions they shouldn't have. Who are, you know, are there whispering in his ear that this needs to happen or who were just crafting policy and just having him go along with it because he thinks it'll play well with his base. So, you know, beyond policy, it's it's also and the same could be said for how he's handling the racial division in this country. It's it's his rhetoric or his acting is if certain things don't matter.

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You know, I mean, there's an epidemic of hate crimes against black transwoman in this country in particular. There is, you know, totally innocent black men. Women and children are being murdered with impunity every day in this country. And. It it's just it's either his silence on these matters or his siding with the transgressors. So, you know, I honestly, I've lost track of the policies because the ones worse than the next and it becomes kind of mind numbing.

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You know, I am in a position of great privilege where I don't have to be personally impacted by a lot of what's going on or what's been done by this administration. And yet it's just so obvious that as just as a human being, you know, even if if I'm not directly being threatened. It's just awful to witness how many people are being harmed in one way or another by what's been going on since January 2017.

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Mary Trump, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Terry, thank you so much for having me. It's been a real honor speaking with you, and I really appreciate all your time. Mary Trump's new memoir is called Too Much and Never Enough. Fresh Air's executive producer is Danny Miller, our technical director and engineer is Audrey Bentham. Our interviews and reviews are produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Roberta Sharrock, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Heidi Saman, Teresa Madden.

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They are Challenger and Joe Wolfram are associate producer of digital media is Molly C.V Néstor. Seth Kelly directed today's show. I'm Terry Gross.