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Have you noticed that the American public seems especially hungry for any tell-all book which spills stale tea on Donald Trump? It’s happened time and time again, especially with former members of the Trump administration, all of whom knew what they were getting into and all of whom claim that they eventually “lost faith” with Trump months or years later. None of those people are heroic in the least. I kind of feel the same way about Mary Trump, Donald Trump’s niece (daughter of Trump’s older brother Fred Jr.). Mary has written a tell-all book about their family called Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.. The book is already a massive success, like all anti-Trump books, and within the first week, more than 950,000 books were sold. As I said, I don’t think Mary Trump is a hero, and maybe she doesn’t think of herself that way either. Her brand seems to be “telling it like it is.” I guess? Mary sat down with the Washington Post to talk about her family, the book and why she didn’t come out in 2016. Some highlights:
The Trump family soap opera, writ large: She says watching the country’s leadership devolve into “a macro version of my incredibly dysfunctional family” was one of the factors that compelled her to write her book. Much like in her extended family, Mary Trump said, a similar dynamic [to how Fred Trump, “a sociopath,” terrorized his family] is now playing out on the national stage, with Trump simultaneously possessing “an unerring instinct for finding people who are weaker than he is,” while also being “eminently usable by people who are stronger and savvier than he is” and eager to exploit him.
On Trump’s racism: Assessing the current moment, in which Trump has amplified racism and stoked the flames of white grievance and resentment, Mary Trump said that the president is “clearly racist,” but that his behavior stems from a combination of upbringing and political cynicism. “It comes easily to him and he thinks it’s going to score him points with the only people who are continuing to support him,” she said. Mary Trump said that growing up in her family, her experience was one of “a knee-jerk anti-Semitism, a knee-jerk racism…Growing up, it was sort of normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-Semitic expressions.”
Who she blames: Within the Trump family, Fred Trump was the chief enabler. But now in the White House, Mary Trump said, the blame starts with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner — both senior advisers — but expands more broadly to include his “chiefs of staff who went along thinking that they could have some kind of influence, only to find that they didn’t.” Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “perfectly willing to put up with all sorts of egregious behavior to get his own agenda through,” she said.
On Ivanka in particular: Asked about the perception by some that Ivanka Trump is in some ways a steadying force on her father, Mary Trump said that was not her assessment of her cousin in the slightest. “I think she’s the one who disproves that on an almost-daily basis. She doesn’t do anything. She spouts bromides on social media, but either she tries to have an impact and fails, or just isn’t interested in having an impact. I can’t think of one thing she’s done to show that she’s moderate or a moderating influence.”
Why she didn’t come forward in 2016: Mary Trump writes that she considered coming forward to try to stop Trump’s election during the summer of 2016, and ultimately decided against doing so — a decision she doesn’t regret, in part because she believes nothing could have prevented his election then. “I’d seen enough in the last few years to know that no one thing is going to make a bit of difference. This is going to be — using the expression loosely — death by a thousand lashes, right, and maybe in this case it’s going take a million lashes, so it’s more about adding to the record of egregious things that have happened and for which there has been no accountability. But more than that, I also felt a responsibility to make sure that people are as informed as possible when November comes, because I do not believe that was the case in 2016 at all.”
[From The Washington Post]
I mean… she’s right? She tells a story of being at dinner with the extended Trump family back in 2017, months after Trump’s election, and it feels kind of clear that the reason she didn’t come forward in 2016 was because she was still on the “inside” of the family. So that’s questionable. But everything else she says feels true. Especially the “death by a thousand lashes” – there will be no silver bullet, clearly, to getting Trump and his cronies out of power. There is no one turning point, no one story. It will have to be the accumulation of death, destruction, racism, misogyny, hate, white supremacy, baby cages, and all of these tell-all books. And yes, Ivanka is the f–king worst.
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