Just Another Dysfunctional Family?
I know how hard it is to write a book because I currently have four on sale. I was skeptical when I first learned that Mary L. Trump, the niece of the President of the United States, wrote a book about the Donald’s family. Was this just another person trying to make money on a ghosted, tell-all work of semi-nonfiction or was it real? I subscribe to the latter.
Mary Trump is a psychologist, businessperson and author with several impressive degrees from Tufts, Columbia and a Ph. D from Adelphi University. I’m not in love with the title of her book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, but seeing that she sold one million copies during the first release week, what in the hell do I know? I’ve read the book. It’s well-written and tells the unvarnished truth about what she saw growing up as the daughter of Fred and Mary Trump’s oldest son, Donald’s brother, Freddie. Her father died in In September 1981 at the age of 42 from an apparent heart attack because of his alcohol abuse. Mary was sixteen when her father passed.
The writing is compelling and the story, whether you like Donald Trump or not, has a magnetic pull. It’s almost a textbook about what she terms the “sociopathic” nature of Fred Trump, the patriarch of the family and Donald’s dad. President Trump had no protection from the many forms of his father’s criticism and pushback. After reading this book, I now totally understand so many things about Trump. Living the last four years of Trump-world forced me to build a giant arch out of bricks, but I couldn’t find the keystone. This book provides exactly that.
I pledge to not give away too much of the book here because I highly recommend you read it. Still, I need to offer a reasonable spoiler alert because I am about to dig a little more deeply into this book about Trump’s past. Mary’s book informs that Trump’s limited vocabulary is not the product of a concerted effort to streamline or dumb down his messages. It’s not a strategy. It’s how he talks, and it was the way Fred Sr. talked. The fact that “nasty” is Trump’s go to term to express disgust for women was his father’s trope.
The President can go on TV and say that the family never liked Mary Trump and that he has had only slight interaction with her, but he also is quite aware that Mary, and her brother Fred Trump III (known as Fritz), sued the family to contest Fred Senior’s will. The two grandchildren were cut out of any benefits even though their grandfather and uncle Donald used secret payments to a shell company for years as a tax shelter. Reading the book, I saw that most of the known timelines and historical details she delivers are totally accurate. Why make up the rest?
The contents of this book deeply troubled me. After getting through its 225 pages, a cloud of depression washed over me. I knew families in the 1950s who had the same kind of grip on their children, and the familial manipulation of one of my high school friends led to his suicide. I came out of my funk when I realized how wonderful a childhood I had. This book will lead you to an understanding of why Donald wears the same suit every day, why he sits and stands the ways he does and why his signature is so bold and strange, It’s all there. Trump is a copy of his father in some ways, but also has his own personal layers of disfunction beyond the sociopath and narcistic personality disorders bestowed by his father. The byproduct of constant abuse, bullying and putdowns by his father led to Donald’s supreme defense mechanisms, an undeserved supremacy complex, frequent gloating and constant lying. Remember, this is not an armchair analysis by Mary Trump. She holds a Ph. D in clinical psychology.
After absorbing her story, I am profoundly fearful that Donald Trump’s mental instability makes him completely unfit for the office of president. Mary writes, “He is as incapable of adjusting to changing circumstances as he is of becoming ‘presidential.’” Over the years, a common media myth has been Trump’s need to surround himself with people who are totally loyal. What I learned from reading this book is that it’s not loyalty Trump wants and needs. It’s obedience.
The book Too Much and Never Enough clearly explains why “Donald takes any rebuke as a challenge and doubles down on the behavior that drew fire in the first place, as if the criticism is permission to do worse.” This is what happened after the attempted drive-by impeachment earlier this year. It makes Senator Susan Collins’ comment that Trump has learned his lesson after trial to be one of the densest thoughts of all time.
The book highlighted a significant reality of the family structure. I have never been a big fan of a family’s lack of imagination when naming children. Why reuse names or fashion similar names of parents, grandparents and others in the family tree? Remember that Frederick is the writer’s German great grandfather, Fred is the grandfather and Freddie is the father of Mary L. Trump. Confused? Mary is the granddaughter of Mary Anne McLeod and the niece of Maryanne, Donald’s oldest sister. The fact that Donald Trump named his son Don, Jr. is just a continuation of this stupid scion obsession. By the way, Donald’s youngest son is named Barron because Trump used John Barron as a pseudonym when calling newspapers in New York to leak information. Because of the similar names, it’s often a struggle to keep all the stories straight when reading Mary’s book.
While she didn’t say so directly, I learned from Mary Trump’s book that Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States, suffers from an intellectual incapacity. Mary hints at learning disability and says that Trump paid another to take his SAT exam so he could get into the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The book doesn’t allude to any large contributions to Penn by the Trump family, but those records have been sealed. The school is instructed to say only, “Donald Trump is an alum of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds an undergraduate degree in business.”
It doesn’t take a Ph. D to observe the President’s weak reading skills. When using a teleprompter during a speech, Trump mixes up words, mispronounces terms and has pitiful phrasing. His attempt to loosen things up by adding little comments often distorts the meaning of the message, or worse, makes it redundant and repetitive. Read this book and you will fully understand Mary’s claim that Donald Trump’s vindictive personality is driven by exposure to too much privilege and copious amounts of neglect. I won’t lay out her full premise here, but the fact there was no love in Trump’s family, unless it was connected to money, makes it easy to understand some of his negative behaviors.
No one is left unscathed in Mary Trump’s book, not even her own father. There are so many times I wanted to kick my Kindle when reading about how everyone did whatever Fred Trump wanted and now no one confronts the Donald, no one pushes back because Trump is just one, big, living lie. He’s carries with him the baggage of his inadequacies and requires and demands enormous amounts of adulation and praise. Mary Trump is right. He has not significantly advanced emotionally from a little, four-year-old child and he has the vocabulary of a 14-year-old boy.
Mary’s book is a total A+, and I believe you will agree with me after you read it. Donald Trump must be removed from the White House in January. He must be eradicated from the Presidency and sent back to New York to stand trial. After Mary L. Trump’s revelations, I would not be surprised to see many of his family members being investigated for tax fraud and other illegal activities. She offers no proof, but Mary Trump knows more than she wrote.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conservation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”