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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."
-Mary L. Trump, PhD, TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN
“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.” - p. 196
“Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits.” - p. 195
“Child abuse is, in some sense, the experience of ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’.” - p.26
“I hope this book will end the practice of referring to Donald’s ‘strategies’ or ‘agendas,’ as if he operates according to any organizing principles. He doesn’t. Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself. Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth—that he is none of those things—is too terrifying for him to contemplate.” - p.17
There are 351 quotes posted in goodreads:
Also, the book mentioned an Oct 2, 2018 NYTs article "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father." It is well worth a re-read:
President Trump has been fighting a subpoena seeking his tax returns by Congress and the New York State prosecutors.
My quotes below stay away from the Trump family saga except Trump's alleged hiring someone to take his SATs. The rest of the quotes are on the inappropriate sexual comments to the author, his oldest brother's daughter (similar comments to his daughter Ivanka from various other sources), willingly to be manipulated press, and Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aware of the Wharton School’s reputation, Donald set his sights on the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, even though Maryanne had been doing his homework for him, she couldn’t take his tests, and Donald worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted. 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. Not leaving anything to chance, he also asked Freddy to speak with James Nolan, a friend from St. Paul’s, who happened to work in Penn’s admissions office. Maybe Nolan would be willing to put in a good word for Freddy’s little brother.
As formal as Mar-a-Lago was in some ways, it was also much more casual than our usual family gathering places, so I felt comfortable wearing a bathing suit and a pair of shorts to lunch, which was being served on the patio. Donald, who was wearing golf clothes, looked up at me as I approached as if he’d never really seen me before. “Holy shit, Mary. You’re stacked.” “Donald!” Marla said in mock horror, slapping him lightly on the arm.
At a very deep level, his bragging and false bravado are not directed at the audience in front of him but at his audience of one: his long-dead father.
In those days, Penn was much less selective than it is now, accepting half or more of those who applied. In any case, Donald got what he wanted. In the fall of 1966, his junior year, he would transfer from Fordham to the University of Pennsylvania.
On October 2, 2018, the New York Times published an almost 14,000-word article, the longest in its history, revealing the long litany of potentially fraudulent and criminal activities my grandfather, aunts, and uncles had engaged in. Through the extraordinary reporting of the Times team, I learned more about my family’s finances than I’d ever known.
On the few occasions he was asked about his positions and policies (which for all intents and purposes don’t really exist), he still wasn’t expected or required to make sense or demonstrate any depth of understanding. Since the election, he’s figured out how to avoid such questions completely; White House press briefings and formal news conferences have been replaced with “chopper talk” during which he can pretend he can’t hear any unwelcome questions over the noise of the helicopter blades.
In 2020, his pandemic “press briefings” quickly devolved into mini–campaign rallies filled with self-congratulation, demagoguery, and ring kissing. In them he has denied the unconscionable failures that have already killed thousands, lied about the progress that’s being made, and scapegoated the very people who are risking their lives to save us despite being denied adequate protection and equipment by his administration. Even as hundreds of thousands of Americans are sick and dying, he spins it as a victory, as proof of his stunning leadership. And in the event that anybody thinks he’s capable of being serious or somber, he’ll throw in a joke about bedding models or lie about the size of his Facebook following for good measure. Still the news networks refuse to pull away. The few journalists who do challenge him, and even those who simply ask Donald for words of comfort for a terrified nation, are derided and dismissed as “nasty.”
He is as incapable of adjusting to changing circumstances as he is of becoming “presidential.” He did tap into a certain bigotry and inchoate rage, which he’s always been good at doing. 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, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, and Yusef Salaam, 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.
With millions of lives at stake, he takes accusations about the federal government’s failure to provide ventilators personally, threatening to withhold funding and lifesaving equipment from states whose governors don’t pay sufficient homage to him.
The lies may become true in his mind as soon as he utters them, but they’re still lies. It’s just another way for him to see what he can get away with.
“Get even with people who have screwed you,” Donald has said, but often the person he’s getting revenge on is somebody he screwed over first—such as the contractors he’s refused to pay or the niece and nephew he refused to protect. Even when he manages to hit his target, his aim is so bad that he causes collateral damage.
Donald didn’t drag his feet in December 2019, in January, in February, in March because of his narcissism; he did it because of his fear of appearing weak or failing to project the message that everything was “great,” “beautiful,” and “perfect.” The irony is that his failure to face the truth has inevitably led to massive failure anyway. In this case, the lives of potentially hundreds of thousands of people will be lost and the economy of the richest country in history may well be destroyed. Donald will acknowledge none of this, moving the goalposts to hide the evidence and convincing himself in the process that he’s done a better job than anybody else could have if only a few hundred thousand die instead of 2 million.
It would have been easy for Donald to be a hero. People who have hated and criticized him would have forgiven or overlooked his endless stream of appalling actions if he’d simply had somebody take the pandemic preparedness manual down from the shelf where it was put after the Obama administration gave it to him.
If he’d alerted the appropriate agencies and state governments at the first evidence the virus was highly contagious, had extremely high mortality rates, and was not being contained. If he’d invoked the Defense Production Act of 1950 to begin production of PPE, ventilators, and other necessary equipment to prepare the country to deal with the worst-case scenario.
While thousands of Americans die alone, Donald touts stock market gains.
Acknowledging the victims of COVID-19 would be to associate himself with their weakness, a trait his father taught him to despise.
If he’d allowed medical and scientific experts to give daily press conferences during which facts were presented clearly and honestly. If he’d ensured that there was a systematic, top-down approach and coordination among all of the necessary agencies. Most of those tasks would have required almost no effort on his part. All he would have had to do was make a couple of phone calls, give a speech or two, then delegate everything else. He might have been accused of being too cautious, but most of us would have been safe and many more of us would have survived. Instead, states are forced to buy vital supplies from private contractors; the federal government commandeers those supplies, and then FEMA distributes them back to private contractors, who then resell them.
In Donald’s mind, even acknowledging an inevitable threat would indicate weakness. Taking responsibility would open him up to blame. Being a hero—being good—is impossible for him.
The same could be said of his handling of the worst civil unrest since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is another crisis in which it would have been so easy for Donald to triumph, but his ignorance overwhelms his ability to turn to his advantage the third national catastrophe to occur on his watch. An effective response would have entailed a call for unity, but Donald requires division.
Donald’s monstrosity is the manifestation of the very weakness within him that he’s been running from his entire life. For him, there has never been any option but to be positive, to project strength, no matter how illusory, because doing anything else carries a death sentence; my father’s short life is evidence of that.
Donald's ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father's money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself. Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth - that he is none of those things- is too terrifying for him to contemplate.
It's extraordinary that for all of the attention and coverage that Donald has received in the last fifty years, he's been subjected to very little scrutiny. Though his character flaws and aberrant behaviour have been remarked upon and joked about, there's been very little effort to understand not only why he became who he is but how he's consistently failed up despite his glaring lack of fitness.
“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.”
- Actual quote from a July 2018 unofficial campaign rally in Montana at which Donald Trump described things, as usual according to many fans, “as they are”.