For several weeks we’ve been hearing about Mary Trump. She is President Donald Trump’s niece, and her new book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Most Dangerous Man in the World,” has been described as a scathing takedown of the president. I listened to it on Audible, because I love tea, both literally and figuratively. As far as books go, it’s okay. I imagine it confirms what “Never Trumpers” suspect; and Mary comes off as a resentful niece to his supporters.
The main thing that you should know before reading this book is that Mary has written it using her family as a case study. It is written like the product of years of psychological research on a dysfunctional family with a century-long history of depression, insomnia and sociopathic behavior. The only thing I can compare it to is “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” meets “The Royal Tenenbaums.” These are wealthy people with first world problems and no one comes out looking like a peach, not even Mary.
Most of the book reviews focus on the tax returns and money, but this is not the tea. Mary alleges that they left her father out of her grandmother’s obituary and didn’t mention him in the eulogy. That’s savage. Here are my takeaways from the book:
- Mary Trump likens her uncle to a guiltless, conscious-less Frankenstein. These are her exact words. She never refers to him as her uncle, only as Donald.
- It is 100 percent about the money. She and her brother sued her aunts and uncles over their grandfather’s will. They split what would have been her father’s share among the four living siblings and she is big mad about it. The Trump children allegedly said their father’s billion-dollar company was only worth $30 million.
- Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, was exiled from Germany for dodging military service. As Mary tells it, Friedrich fled to the U.S. He later returned to Germany to marry his wife Elizabeth, but then the family was forced to leave Germany because the government found out about him fleeing military service. He died before they left, and Elizabeth and Frederick, Sr., (Donald’s father) moved to America.
- According to Mary, no one in the family has ever had respect for military service. When Don, Jr. expressed an interest in going into the military, Donald and Ivanna threatened to disown him.
- Mary’s father, Fred, Jr., was a pilot much to her grandfather’s chagrin. He harassed him until he quit flying and came to work for the family business. After Mary’s father died from alcoholism, her grandfather continued to pay child support and alimony to her mother, but Ivanna later had her cutoff. It’s “Knives Out” level first world problems.
- Mary resents her grandfather most of all. Much of the book is about Frederick Trump being a shrewd businessman and emotionally distant father. It’s also worth noting that her grandmother suffered from postpartum depression and hysteria for most of her children’s lives. Her description of it is really like reading “The Yellow Wallpaper” or “A Doll’s House.”
- She implies that Trump Management, the grandfather’s company, was successful. However, she says that Trump Real Estate, Donald’s company, took out six-figure loans on a monthly basis in order to stay open. It’s suspected that he may have been going broke before running for president.
- Mary says that Donald had a $400,000 personal monthly allowance from the banks. I don’t know enough about money to know how you get a six-figure monthly allowance from a bank after repeated bankruptcies. This feels like a lie. Someone, anyone, please advise.
- I imagine that the reason why the family wanted to stop this book from coming out is that Donald hired Mary to be the ghostwriter for his book, “The Art of the Comeback.” She worked in Trump Tower and traveled with him for the book. During one of those travels, while Donald was still married to Marla Maples, she walked in on her uncle courting a 28-year-old model named Melania.
- Ivanna Trump missed Ivanka’s wedding shower. The reasons are still unknown, but Mary says that the Kushners thought that they were too good for the Trumps. I imagine trying to marry Russian Protestants with German Catholics and Jewish people can get complicated.
- *BONUS* Charles Kushner (Jared Kushner’s father) hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, taped the encounter and sent it to his sister at his nephew’s engagement party. Charles also spent three years in prison for helping clients file false tax returns. Yes, you read that right.