Mary L. Trump

American clinical psychologist and author

Mary Lea Trump (born May 1965) is an American psychologist, businessperson, and author. She is a niece of President Donald J. Trump. Her 2020 book about him and the family, Too Much and Never Enough, sold over one million copies on the day of release.

Mary L. Trump in 2021


  • I can't say that there was a last straw... but... the horrors at the border, the separating of children from their parents, the torture, the kidnapping and the incarceration... in cages was unthinkable, unbearable... I needed to take a leap.
    • "Mary Trump On Why She Wrote Her Book: 'I Needed To Take A Leap'" (Jul 16, 2020) MSNBC, 0:21.
  • [Maryanne Trump Barry] thought that because [Donald Trump] was a man without principle, nobody would vote for him. She was horrified by the white evangelical embrace of his candidacy because she knew that he had no deep convictions about religion... and considered going to church a photo-op.
    • "Mary Trump describes family dynamics in new book about Donald Trump" (Jul 16, 2020) Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos interview, 2:46.
  • Donald needed somebody to take the SATs when he was at Fordham in order to get into Penn. ...[I]n New York City, the name Joe Shapiro isn't exactly unique.
  • The brilliance of the reporting, the analyses... and the story cannot be overstated. They were... incredibly complex... financial devices that my family used to cover up... not easily decipherable. ...I was utterly blown away... to find out just what had happened within the family... These were my aunts and uncles that just happened to be my trustees... [C]learly I didn't benefit from the role that they were supposed to play in protecting my financial interests when I was younger. ...Essentially my role ended when I handed over the 40,000 pages of documents, but if The Times story is anything to go by, I think there's a lot more to uncover.

Too Much and Never Enough (2020)Edit

: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man
  • Through the French doors, I could see the meeting... Vice President Mike Pence... Paul Ryan... Chuck Schumer, and a dozen other congresspeople were gathered around Donald, who sat behind the Resolute Desk. The tableau reminded me of my grandfather's tactics: he always made his supplicants come to him... and he remained seated while they stood.
    • Prologue, p. 3.
  • The first thing I noticed about the Executive Dining Room was its beauty... The second thing... was the seating arrangement. In my family, you could always gauge your worth by where you were seated...
    • Prologue, p.5.
  • When Maryanne's turn came, she said, "... We've come a long way since that night when Freddy dumped a bowl of mashed potatoes on Donald's head because he was such a brat." Everybody familiar with the legendary mashed potato story laughed- everyone except Donald, who listened with his arms crossed tightly and a scowl on his face, as he did whenever Maryanne mentioned it. It upset him, as if he were a seven-year-old boy. He clearly still felt the sting of that long-ago humiliation.
    • Prologue, p. 7.
  • When Donald announced his run for presidency on June 16, 2015, I didn't take it seriously. I didn't think Donald took it seriously. He simply wanted the free publicity for his brand. He'd done that sort of thing before. When his poll numbers started to rise and he may have received tacit assurances from... Vladimir Putin that Russia would do everything it could to swing the election in his favor, the appeal of winning grew.
    • Prologue, p. 8-9.
  • "He's a clown," my aunt Maryanne said during one of our regular lunches at the time. "This will never happen." I agreed. We talked about how his reputation as a faded reality star and failed businessman would doom his run. "Does anyone even believe the bullshit that he's a self-made man? What has he ever accomplished on his own?" I asked. "Well," Maryanne said, as dry as the Sahara, "he has had five bankruptcies."
    • Prologue, p. 8-9.
  • We thought the blatant racism on display during Donald's announcement speech would be a deal breaker, but we were disabused of that idea when Jerry Falwell, Jr., and other white evangelicals started endorsing him. Maryanne, a devout Catholic since her conversion five decades earlier, was incensed. "What the fuck is wrong with them?" she said. "The only time Donald went to church was when the cameras were there. It's mind boggling. He has no principles. None!"
    • Prologue, p. 9.
  • Nothing Donald said during the campaign—from his disparagement... to his mocking... —deviated from my expectation... I was reminded of every family meal I'd ever attended during which Donald talked about... ugly fat slobs or... losers... [C]asual dehumanization of people was commonplace at the Trump dinner table. What did surprise me was that he was getting away with it.
    • Prologue, p. 9.
  • After a decade during which Donald floundered, dragged down by bankruptcies and reduced to fronting for... failed products... The Apprentice traded on Donald's image as a brash, self-made deal-maker, a myth that had been the creation of my grandfather... that astonishingly, considering the vast trove of evidence disproving it, had survived into the new millennium... [I]n 2015, a significant percentage of the American population had been primed to believe...
    • Prologue, p. 11.
  • [L]ies, misrepresentations, and fabrications are the sum total of who my uncle is...
    • Prologue, p. 11-12.
  • In order to get Donald, his psychopathologies, and the meaning of his dysfunctional behavior, we need a thorough family history.
    • Prologue, p. 12.
  • His ability to control unfavorable situations by lying, spinning, and obfuscating has diminished to the point of impotence in the face of the tragedies we are currently facing. ...His egregious ...mishandling of the current catastrophe has led to a level of pushback and scrutiny that he's never experienced before, increasing his belligerence and need for petty revenge as he withholds vital funding... from... governors who don't kiss his ass sufficiently.
    • Prologue, p. 14.
  • To hedge his bets he enlisted Joe Shapiro, a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him. That was much easier to pull off in the days before photo IDs and computerized records. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.
    • Ch. 5 Grounded, p. 72.
  • Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits. Fred didn't groom Donald to succeed him; when he was in his right mind, he wouldn't trust Trump management to anybody. Instead, he used Donald, despite his failures and poor judgment, as the public face of his own thwarted ambition. Fred kept propping up Donald's false sense of accomplishment until the only asset Donald had was the ease with which he could be duped by more powerful men. There was a long line of people willing to take advantage of him. In the 1980s, New York journalists and gossip columnists discovered that Donald couldn't distinguish between mockery and flattery and used his shamelessness to sell papers. That image, and the weakness of the man it represented, were precisely what appealed to Mark Burnett.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, p. 196.
  • By 2004, when The Apprentice first aired, Donald's finances were a mess (even with his $170 million cut of my grandfather's estate when he and his siblings sold the properties), and his... "empire" consisted of increasingly desperate branding opportunities such as Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, and Trump University. That made him an easy target for Burnett. Both Donald and his viewers were the butt of the joke that was The Apprentice, which, despite all evidence to the contrary, presented him as a legitimately successful tycoon.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, p. 196.
  • In Donald's mind, he has accomplished everything on his own merits, cheating notwithstanding. How many interviews has he given in which he offers the obvious falsehood that his father loaned him a mere million dollars that he had to pay back but was otherwise solely responsible for his success? It's easy to understand why he would believe this.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, p. 197.
  • Nobody has failed upward as consistently and spectacularly as the ostensible leader of the free world.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, p. 197.
  • Donald today is 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.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, p. 197.
  • 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.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, pp. 197-198.
  • His deep-seated insecurities have created in him a black hole of need that constantly requires the light of compliments that disappears as soon as he's soaked it in. Nothing is ever enough.
Donald Trump's
Bring Back Death Penalty
ad, The NY Times (1989)
  • This is far beyond garden-variety narcissism; Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be. He knows he has never been loved.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, pp. 197-198.
  • The full-page screed he paid to publish in the New York Times in 1989 calling for the Central Park Five to be put to death wasn't about his deep concern for the rule of law; it was an easy opportunity for him to take on a deeply serious topic that was very important to the city while sounding like an authority in the influential and prestigious pages of the Gray Lady. It was unvarnished racism meant to stir up racial animosity in a city already seething with it. All five boys... were subsequently cleared, proven innocent via incontrovertible DNA evidence. To this day, however, Donald insists that they were guilty—yet another example of his inability to drop a preferred narrative even when it's contradicted by established fact.
    • Ch. 14 A Civil Servant in Public Housing, p. 204.
  • While [hundreds of] thousands of Americans die alone, Donald touts stock market gains. As my father lay dying alone, Donald went to the movies. If he can in any way profit from your death, he'll facilitate it... then he'll ignore the fact that you died.
    • Epilogue: The Tenth Circle, p. 209.

ABC News Exclusive: Mary Trump Interview with Stephanopoulos (Jul 16, 2020)Edit

ABC News. A source.
  • [Fred Trump] had no empathy. He was... driven in a way that turned other people, including [family]... into pawns to be used to his own ends. If somebody could be of service... he would use them. If they couldn't be, he excised them.
  • In my father's case, tragically, he was not of use.
  • Unfortunately for Donald, he could be of use... Donald had many years of watching my father be the wrong one. ...Clearly he learned the lesson from watching his almost 8 year old brother be punished for being kind... generous... sensitive, for having interests outside of what my grandfather thought was acceptable. ...[H]ang out with his friends... boat and fish and fly... He was not a killer.
  • Donald... had to sacrifice whatever goodness there may have been in him once, whatever capacities of experiencing the full range of human emotions, to my grandfather... at the cost of all of us.
  • He learned to become the killer... who needs to succeed at all costs, who recognizes that other people are expendable, who does not need to take responsibility, who will do anything to get attention, financial rewards and "to win."
  • [T]here are so many parallels between the circumstances in which my family operated, and in which this country is now operating. I saw... what focusing on the wrong things, elevating the wrong people, can do... the collateral damage that can be created by allowing somebody to live their lives without accountability... continuing now, on a much grander scale.
  • If I can do anything to change the narrative, and to tell the truth, I need to do that because I don't believe the American people had the entire truth 4 years ago.
  • Outside of New York I don't think people really... understood the truth behind his business record, and his financial failures, which are legion and serial.
  • Donald has always been protected and continues to be protected from his inadequacies... incompetence... lack of knowledge, from his failures... [H]e's always had support from more powerful people... protecting him from his mistakes, or from people who would try to hold him to account; and he's always been amply financed.
  • How do we gauge this man's ability to function in the real world, as he's never really had to. ...[T]hat ... is quite terrifying.
  • He's utterly incapable of leading this country, and it's dangerous to allow him to do so.
  • One of the unforgivable things that my grandfather did to Donald... he severely restricted the range of human emotion that was accessible to him. ...[C]ertain feelings were not allowed: sadness... the impulse to be kind... generous... Those things that my grandfather found superfluous, unmanly... a stupid waste of time... were punished; ruthlessly punished.
  • [M]y dad couldn't change who he was, so he was... dismantled over time.
  • Donald tried his very best not to be destroyed in the way my dad was... so he ended up with a very narrow range in which he could safely operate as a human being; so it's created this quite dangerous situation.
  • My grandfather was an adherent to Norman Vincent Peale's doctrine of positive thinking. ...It allowed room for nothing else, and there are times in our lives when we are legitimately distressed... sad... in pain. ...[T]o be prevented to feel those feelings honestly and openly is a form of torture.
  • [M]y grandmother who was [often] sick.. and broke bones more times than I can count because of her osteoporosis, was in agony much of the time. ...She'd come home from the hospital... and just moving was extraordinarily painful for her; and my grandfather could not tolerate it. ...[I]t impinged on this idea... that everything had to be great at all times... [T]he only people who suffered for that were the people who were actually in pain... anybody... in the family who showed the weakness of being human.
  • Everything's about money in this family, but I'm also different... [M]oney stood in for everything else; it was literally the only currency the family trafficked in... I knew that it was also about love, and to be disinherited... shut out entirely... was to be told quite explicitly that you don't count, and you are not loved.

Mary Trump's insider interview on 'most dangerous' President (Jul 26, 2020)Edit

EXCLUSIVE: 60 Minutes Australia. A source.
  • I needed to tell the [origin] story of the family because there's so much at stake.
  • It's forcing the media to have a conversation that they've never wanted to have, and never have had, which is about Donald's psychological health.
  • He's dangerous because of the power that attaches to the office he holds... because he's so susceptible to powerful, smarter... people. It's very easy to get him to do your bidding. ...[W]e've seen a lot of evidence of that. You need just flatter him, and... whether you're Kim Jong-un or Vladimir Putin, he'll... stop the sanctions or he'll look the other way when you start building more nuclear missiles. It's quite terrifying, and in addition to that, we're talking about somebody who's quite unstable... [T]he more pressure he's under (because he's completely out of his depth here)... the more cornered he's going to feel and the more he's going to lash out... [T]hat's what we need to watch out for in the next few months.
  • We're talking about a man who has control of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. That makes him more dangerous than... other people, because he has the nuclear codes.
  • [Fred Trump] is the origin... the ground zero of all of the family dysfunction... I believe that he was a sociopath. ...He had no real human feeling for anybody, including his children, and was quite adept at using people to his own ends; and if he found them not to be of use, he had no compunction about discarding them. ...[H]e enjoyed humiliating other weaker people a great deal.
  • To make it worse... for Donald, when he was very young, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 approximately... his mother, who was really his only source of human connection and comfort... got very ill and was, to all intents and purposes, absent from his life. So he suddenly found himself, so young, basically alone in the world because my grandfather was incapable of filling the void left by my grandmother's absence. ...Because of the very vulnerable age he was [at] when she became sick, I think on some level he experienced that as a betrayal. She didn't have the capacity to heal the rift, even after she was [physically] able to, and I think that stuck with him...
  • [P]erhaps the final betrayal was when he was sent to the military academy because he was behaving so horribly and nobody could control him... [M]y grandmother told me much later that she was relieved when he left.
  • I can't speak to whether he hates women, but what I can say because I grew up with it, is that women were... considered second class citizens. ...[I]t explains his casual cruelty to women and... the ease with which he objectifies them. ...[H]e certainly doesn't seem to ever have had any real deep emotional connection with wom[en], or well I guess with anybody, quite honestly. But he objectifies women and uses them in a way he certainly doesn't do with men.
  • My Dad was incapable of being what my grandfather wanted and needed him to be. So that was... a lesson that Donald took to heart. He understood on a deep level that to be like Freddy, my Dad, to be kind, to admit to mistakes, to have interests outside of the business and making money, was essentially to be destroyed.
  • Donald learned that you could never admit you're wrong. That was considered a weakness and we've seen that, starkly, with the Covid 19 situation. He didn't do anything right away, and then when it was almost past time to do the right thing that would have meant admitting that he hadn't done the right thing in the first place. ...[T]hat wasn't going to happen, so the situation got worse and worse... [C]losely related to that was this idea of the power of positive thinking, which my grandfather really bought into... [E]ssentially, he took it to such an extreme that it became a kind of toxic positivity.
  • Donald learned that in order to be, not just protected from his father but favored by his father, he needed to be this larger than life, great, fantastic... Part of it was the toxic positivity, and part of it was just... having to convince Fred Trump Sr. that... Donald belonged on the planet and... should survive, and should succeed, and he needed to make it clear to Fred that Donald could be of use to him.
  • Money is the only currency in the family. ...It literally stands in for everything else: love, affection, respect. It's understandable that... my family members would cling to it so desperately, and want to acquire it.
  • Once my Dad was out of the family business and was branded a failure, he and anyone connected to him (which would have been me) no longer mattered. So there was this level of thoughtlessness around us. So luckily we were able to laugh about it, because it's really not very funny, although some of the presents were quite hysterical... to have your uncle and his wife, who were extraordinarily wealthy, give you a 3-pack of underwear for Christmas... was a bit beyond the pale... My mom... was even lower on the totem pole than I was... Donald didn't even recognize that they were presents that he had given me.
  • I do feel that I have to do whatever I can to make sure that people are informed and understand exactly what's going on with this man.
  • I was actually a bit surprised at how surprised people were by the SAT story when... the book first came out, just as I was surprised at the reaction to... his use of racist and antisemitic language because, look what he does... It shouldn't surprise anybody that it started that long ago,.. especially since my grandfather also believed that you do whatever you need to do to succeed: cheat, lie, work with the mafia, whatever.
  • This is a man who bankrupted casinos, which is a hard thing to do, and then was given a TV show in the early 2000s that portrayed him as this real estate mastermind. So... every failure along the way has been met with more money thrown at him by the banks, more glowing media coverage about what a brash, brilliant guy he is. ...It's taken a lot of people to help him fail upward. ...[H]e may be useless, but he's got a lot of power. They're willing to put up with, or overlook, or ignore entirely his behavior, his crassness and his incompetence.
  • It boils down, really, to a simple message. Donald isn't going to get better... he's going to get worse. That should make people think long and hard about how they cast their next vote.
  • I knew this simply because of my family knowledge, and as a clinician. There is no bottom... to... how bad this can get, to how egregious his behavior can be.
  • [W]e've already seen... that he's capable of... either acting badly or refusing to act in a way that would be appropriate to protecting the country, and the people in this country. So... as we go, and maybe the worse he's doing in the polls or the more threatened he feels, and the more stress he's under... There are going to be consequences to that, unfortunately. I don't know what they are, but we need to be prepared.
  • There's a big difference between having compassion and understanding for what somebody went through as a child, but that changes once you become an adult human being. Plenty of people have had horrible childhoods, and grow up to have empathy for other people and to care about doing good in the world. Donald is not one of those people, and he needs to be held accountable.

The Reckoning (2021)Edit

: New York: St. Martin's Press. The Reckoning: Our Nation's Trauma and Finding A Way to Heal. All quotes are from the 2021 First Edition hardcover.
  • In administration after administration and across centuries and decades, crimes- against decency, against democracy, and against humanity- have been committed by presidents, legislators at all levels of government, the judiciary, and ordinary Americans without punishment, reprisal, or justice for the victims. Then Donald came along and left them all in the dust.
    • p. 53
  • Donald was incompetent, but others in Donald's administration were anything but. What they built was a lean and ruthless machine for advancing fascism. With the help of some luck, complicit institutions, an unprepared media, and a party of willing converts, that machine largely succeeded.
    • p. 139

Quotes about Mary TrumpEdit

  • Mary Trump’s father, Fred Jr.... died of an alcohol-related illness in 1981, when she was 16 years old. ...[S]he infuses the volume with her background as a clinical psychologist to analyze her uncle. ...Decades ago ...Trump asked her to help write his book The Art of the Comeback. She says she did research ...but ...the publisher eventually sought someone with more experience ...Mary Trump says, she was told that she was told that her grandfather’s estate was worth $30 million. But after being contacted by a reporter for the New York Times in 2017, she retrieved boxes of financial papers that she says showed the estate was actually worth $1 billion. She writes that she became a key source for the newspaper’s 2018 investigation of the family finances, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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