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Some say actions have spoken louder than words. In 2020 Mary Trump's book certainly made an impact on many minds. Some agreed, others called it drama, but either way, everyone had an opinion.
American psychologist and author, Mary Lea Trump’s new book “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” has sent shockwaves across the country. A new book, written by President Trump’s niece, paints the Trump family as the creators of who Donald Trump is today.
Reading between the lines.
The tell-all examines Mary L. Trump’s own experiences with the family and their implications on President Trump’s leadership. “Too Much and Never Enough” is a scathing criticism of the President and his family.
What does the book say?
Mary L. Trump is Donald Trump’s estranged niece, and she never makes the reader doubt that. In her latest book, she refers to her uncle as “Donald,” never giving him the title of President. Mary Trump describes the Trump family as antagonistic and selfish in their dealings with each other.
For example, she states that President Trump’s older brother, Fred Trump Jr., was denied affection by her grandfather Fred Trump. The latter didn’t find value in his eldest son’s duty as a National Guard and a TWA Pilot member. He disdainfully called pilots “bus drivers in the sky” and thought his eldest son was weak.
Donald Trump added insult to injury by humiliating his brother while their mother, Mary, stood by and watched. Fred Trump Jr.’s early death at 42 due to alcoholism credited to this psychological pressure.
A significant portion of the book goes over what Fred Trump Sr. did that molded Donald Trump’s outlook on the world. So much so that The Times called it in large part a biography of Fred Trump Sr. This is what Mary L. Trump’s book is mostly about: how Fred Trump Sr. molded his family into narcissists, including Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump is turning American into a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family.” -Mary Trump-
Mary L. Trump’s opinion is her own experiences and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. While her credentials are beyond doubt, the book has an anti-Trump bias and is intended as a “takedown.” Mary Trump has openly said that she would ask her uncle to “resign,” and so her book isn’t meant to be considered ‘fair and balanced.’
The book also touches upon Donald Trump’s various affairs and marriages. Notably, it imposes upon Ivana Trump, his first wife, who had a gift-giving ritual that often included showing contempt.
Mary notes that she received several gifts, including an expensive handbag with a used Kleenex inside. She also received a single gold lamé shoe with a four-inch heel with plastic-wrapped candy inside. These anecdotes called into question. Mashable has noted that the proofs presented against Donald Trump by Mary often take the shape of unverified anecdotes.
The book is full of contradictions. Mary L. Trump’s father, Fred Trump Jr., is painted as a sympathetic figure who was unloved by his father. Mary opines that there was no evidence to suggest that her father “lacked skills to run Trump management.” However, she recounts one of her earliest memories is catching her father aiming a rifle at her mother and laughing.
He even bought a ball python and put it in a tank between his wife and laundry room; he also hinted in the book that he flew planes drunk and had affairs with flight attendants. The framing of that narrative, however, is one that casts Fred Trump Jr. as a victim. The ones that are doing the victimization are both Donald Trump and Fred Trump Sr. One can’t help but think that in part, the book is Mary’s version of avenging her father’s tragic early demise.
Does the book contain stunning revelations that contextualize the President’s leadership?
The short answer is, “not really.” Donald Trump has been a divisive figure ever since he entered the fray of politics. According to the Gallup poll, President Trump currently has an approval rating of 38%. That’s 7 points lower than his 45% approval rating on inauguration day. Those that disapprove of him will likely be encouraged in their opinions due to the book. Those that approve of President Trump will probably be undeterred by the book’s claims and dismiss it as ‘fake news.’
However, “Too Much and Never Enough” serves as a window into the private life of Donald Trump. The details found within the book positively project forward the remarks and decisions that Donald Trump has made ever since he entered the political arena.
Take, for example, his father’s disdain for his brother’s passion for flying and enlisting in the National Guard. This detail perfectly matches Donald Trump’s remark about John McCain’s capture by the Viet Cong. Fred Trump Sr.’s obsession with material wealth also matches Donald Trump’s constant praise of his wealth. He said, “Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” and “I’m really rich.”
Besides his wealth, Donald Trump’s policy decisions, precisely foreign policy, make sense in light of the book. Trump is characterized as a narcissist, but that’s not news since his demeanor and self-aggrandizing are common knowledge. It perfectly aligns with his nature towards foreign leaders that praise him, including Kim Jong Un and Emmanuel Macron.
Each time Trump has been more liable to make a deal, he has been more agreeable if praised. Those world leaders that refuse to massage the President’s ego get the cold shoulder, quite literally. He even cut his 2019 NATO trip short after world leaders caught bad-mouthing him in a secretly filmed video.
Mary L. Trump also writes in the book that Donald Trump primarily skated through life. His father’s allocation of millions to his name early in life ensured he didn’t have to work. Trump’s abandonment of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria comes to mind at this instant. He claimed that 3000 people never died from the Hurricane and that the territory received too much aid. A billionaire President not caring about a region that can’t vote is a cliché. The recent revelations that he mulled overselling the territory after the Hurricane is the cherry on top.
Fred Trump Sr.’s career as a slumlord masquerading as a land developer seems to have rubbed off on Trump. Scams like Trump University and the Trump Foundation have become quotable anecdotes about his dishonesty both in politics and business.
However, President Trump’s presidency has been touted an economic success. During his pre-pandemic administration, 6.7 million jobs were added. In total, there were 7 million job openings, and this outnumbered job seekers by 1 million.
Not just that, but American workers of all ethnicities and backgrounds saw their unemployment rates reduced. These included Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those without high school diplomas. It amounted to a 50-year low in the country’s unemployment rate.
Wage-over-wage gains have also hit their fastest pace in a decade (year-over-year increases of 3%). In November 2019, wages had risen by 3% or over for 16 months straight. Stock prices hit record highs, and paychecks grew at a rate of 2.5% after inflation; homeownership also increased. That was then. Today tells another story.
President Trump’s stance on China has led to a trade war. However, it has brought China to the table to reduce the country's astronomically high $26.5 trillion debt. Billions have reduced the debt owed to China.
These numbers indicate economic change that shows Donald Trump’s impact on the American economy. Mary Trump’s book doesn’t discuss his business acumen or financial prowess shows its shortcomings.
Mary Trump’s book’s bias becomes apparent when these successes are in front of it. The fact that she regards her uncle with complete disdain is clear. However, it is often that the personal and political aspects are entangled. Donald Trump’s presidency is proof of that. Mary Trump’s complete denial of the President’s economic successes and tough stance on China shows that she’s uninterested in balance.
The details of the book are almost meaningless, aside from providing a good read. The narcissism, egoism, and childishness that Donald Trump exhibits have filled countless articles and opinion pieces. “Too Much and Never Enough” is another addition to the catalog of Trump’s history. That is all.
Most of all, the insights gained from the book are already known to the public. If the book is supposed to sway those few undecided voters on the fence, it may succeed. It has already sold 1 million copies. However, “Fire and Fury” sold about 1.7 million, and it changed very little. That said, Mary Trump’s tell-all may be the most exciting tell-all written about the President.