Book calls Trump ‘a terrified little boy’

Family feud: Niece Mary Trump claims that her aunt called uncle Donald a “clown”. © Peter Serling

Can Donald Trump survive the wrath of his niece? A devastating new book paints the president as a psychologically unhinged fraud. The diagnosis is personal and poisonous – but is it deadly?

Mary Trump is a clinical psychologist. She is also the US president’s niece.

In 2017, she leaked family tax documents to the New York Times, fuelling their Pulitzer Prize-winning exploration of the president’s financial history.

Now, she has a book coming out. Its title: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.

The book alleges that Trump cheated in his university applications, paying someone to take his exams.

It recounts uncomfortable moments where Donald would lie about his niece in front of others and even make lewd comments about her breasts.

Beyond the anecdotal, Mary leans on her academic background, writing that her uncle has all the markers of narcissism.

She also claims that he displays signs of several personality disorders and, most scathingly, a “long undiagnosed learning disability that for decades has interfered with his ability to process information”.

Trump’s niece attributes many of these troubling character traits to her uncle’s upbringing. According to her, Trump’s father, Fred, was “a high-functioning sociopath.”

Donald was raised to be harsh while also being spoiled by those around him. As Mary Trump writes, “Honest work was never demanded of him, and, no matter how badly he failed, he was rewarded in ways that are almost unfathomable.”

But this manipulative environment also “short-circuited Donald’s ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion” and has left him “a terrified little boy” always in need of having his ego flattered.

Mary says that her book must come out now for political reasons. “Donald’s failings cannot be hidden or ignored because they threaten us all," she writes, accusing the president of showing “impotence in the face of tragedies”.

She believes that “no one is less equipped” to run the country at this time and that, if her uncle is re-elected in November, it could mark “the end of American democracy”.

Mary writes how, in 2016, she was dismayed that the US public “had chosen to turn this country into a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family”.

But for the president’s associates, the book is just another attempt to get rich off the controversial topic that is Donald Trump, by spewing “falsehoods”.

“Mary Trump and her book’s publisher may claim to be acting in the public interest, but this book is clearly in the author’s own financial self-interest,” the president’s deputy press secretary told Business Insider magazine.

The journalist Michael Wolff and the former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, have both penned best-selling tomes on Trump’s chaotic presidency.

A memoir, entitled Melania and Me, by the US First Lady’s former aide is next up, due for publication on 1 September.

But never before has there been so personal an attack as that delivered by Mary Trump.

So, can Trump survive the wrath of his niece?

Trump card

Very likely. Trump has had all manner of accusations and criticisms thrown his way, yet still he remains in office. While there is no guarantee he will win the next election, it is unlikely that one book – especially one so mired in personal vendettas – will be the main cause of his defeat. He may have psychological flaws but, as the book acknowledges, he also has “charisma”. It’s served him well so far.

No. There comes a point when all the bad things said about the president create a clear pattern. Trump lies a lot, he is self-centred, he has no idea what he’s doing. While the same will be true of others in power, Mary writes that because of his “unique personality flaws”, foreign leaders find him easy to manipulate. This book reminds everyone of the danger of having such a man in control of the USA.

You Decide

  1. Do you believe everything that Mary Trump has to say about her uncle?
  2. Do you think the publication of this book will help to defeat Trump in November’s election?

Activities

  1. Write a short scene from a film in which the younger Donald Trump bribes someone else to take his exams for him.
  2. Imagine you become a famous figure one day and your enemies want to bring you down. Without exploring anything too controversial, write a short news article about what some people might write about you

Some People Say...

“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’m not hindered by either of these.”

Mary Trump, clinical psychologist and author

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
We know that the president did not want the book to be published. Trump’s brother, Robert, sued his niece in an attempt to stop the publication. “She’s not allowed to write a book,” Donald Trump told news website Axios just last month. It is the first time that a family member has been so publicly critical of him.
What do we not know?
We do not know how much we should believe Mary Trump. While it might be appealing to see the often-controversial President as insecure and easy-to-manipulate, reality is often more complex than a sensational diagnosis. We cannot know how much of Trump’s behaviour today is directly a result of his upbringing. It is also unclear if these revelations will change anyone’s mind about Trump and have any effect on his political prospects.

Word Watch

Pulitzer Prize
One of the most coveted prizes in US newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition.
Markers
In medical terms, a characteristic or sign of an illness or condition.
Narcissism
The display of self-centred, arrogant thinking and behaviour, along with a lack of empathy. The word comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water
Scathingly
Harshly critical.
Fred
Donald Trump’s father and Mary Trump’s grandfather. He was a real-estate developer, building and managing over 27,000 apartments in New York City. When he died in 1999, he was worth up to $300 million (£238m).
Sociopath
Someone whose personality and behaviour is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
Ego
Someone’s ego is their sense of their own worth. Some people, who are egotistical, push this sense of pride outwards, talking about themselves a lot and needing a lot of attention.
Malignantly
In a way that shows a strong wish to do harm.
Falsehoods
Lies.
Tomes
An especially large, heavy book.
First Lady
The wife of the president of the USA. In this case, Melania Trump.
Wrath
Extreme anger.
Mired
Stuck or entangled in something you can’t get out of.
Vendettas
A long, bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone.

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