Certainly I’ve already read my daughter Mary Trump’s book Too Much and Never Enough. And I’m proud it’s the bestselling book in the nation. No matter what Donald says, he knows this deal’s a winner, though not for him.
I admire Mary’s years of study in clinical psychology and her careful analysis of my father Fred Trump. He was a government-subsidized builder of ghastly high rise apartments, a racist landlord, a rough rent collector, and a cold and authoritarian bastard at work as well as in our large home in Queens.
I must, however, disagree with Mary’s oft-stated conviction that my father and Donald destroyed me and in effect shoved me into the grave at age forty-two. They probably could’ve tried harder to help me but during my long earthly decline I usually understood there was something intrinsically wrong with me. Mary is a clinical psychologist, not a psychiatrist and therefore not an expert in psychopharmacology. She attributes everything to relationships and emotions, and they’re quite important, but psychologists often fail to perceive what every psychiatrist knows: many chronic mental problems begin with chemical imbalances in the brain.
I had a great financial opportunity working for Trump Management. In my mid-twenties, though, I told my father I’d rather fly than build and maintain apartments. I’d already served in the Air Force Reserves and earned a great job as a commercial pilot for Trans World Airlines, flying the prestigious Boston to Los Angeles route and soon was offered training in the new 747s. But I turned the big jets down. I didn’t want more responsibilities and a longer commute to the airport. I wanted to get away from my wife and two infants and relax on my small boat with buddies who liked to drink and smoke.
“You’re going a little heavy there, aren’t you, Freddy?” they sometimes said.
“No, you pick up the pace.”
I was going too fast, all right, and in a few months TWA told me to either resign and keep my pilot’s license or they’d fire me and I’d lose the license. I chose the former and right away got a job with a small airline and then another but those opportunities only lasted about a month. I could fly, no doubt about that, but discovered that heavy drinking at night left me groggy the next day. Aviation officials wouldn’t tolerate that. I needed a job. You know who I called. He took me back but soon after Donald, eight years my junior, graduated from college and joined the firm, our father, in front of employees, shouted, “Donald’s ten times more valuable than you.”
That would humiliate anyone but, as I’ve confessed, my serious drinking and chain smoking predated the worst family problems. I knew I couldn’t compete with Donald in the real estate business. It didn’t matter whether he possessed technical and management skills. He was a leader and visionary and my father adored him. Frankly, if I’d been the father I’d have chosen Donald, too. I just had so much anxiety. While Dad and Donald planned major deals, ethical or not, I liked to slip away for a smoke and a drink, lots of them. My wife left me. That hurt but probably not as much as having two kids and a woman bugging me when I was hungover and depressed.
My father and Donald weren’t sympathetic but why should they have been? When a middle-aged guy’s back living with his parents and loaded and ill much of the time and can’t do even a maintenance job, he’s going to be treated liked dirt. I was in a frail and frightening state the final time I went to the hospital. My mom and dad didn’t come with me. Donald went to the movies. They got the call soon enough.
I’m sorry I couldn’t do better for my kids. Almost twenty years later my father died of Alzheimer’s, and I’m certain Donald and my youngest brother and two sisters manipulated him into rewriting his will and virtually disinheriting my two kids. Donald, uncharacteristically modest, claimed my grandparents’ estate was only worth about thirty million dollars. In fact, it was worth at least ten times that. Mary and her brother Fred III challenged the will and Donald promptly cut off health insurance for Fred’s chronically ill son. A couple of years later my kids settled for a lot less than I would’ve gotten but if I’d lived Donald probably would’ve devised ways to acquire my inheritance.