“Why should we give [William] medical coverage?”
July 1, 2020 2:02 AM   Subscribe

Donald said at the time that he supported a cutoff of medical coverage that had been provided by a family company for Fred III’s son, William, who had cerebral palsy. Donald Trump told the New York Daily News that when he and his siblings were sued by Fred III and Mary, he felt, “Why should we give [William] medical coverage?”

Mary Trump is telling the story.

Mary Trump continued her studies at Adelphi University, where she earned a master’s degree in psychology in 2001, a master’s in clinical psychology in 2003, and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 2010, a school official said. She has written Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

Her book has received a lot of pushback and the latest is that she's being required to prove why she should be allowed to publish her book. Judge orders Mary Trump to explain why her tell-all shouldn’t be barred from publication.

[a previous professor] Lebowitz said in a telephone interview that he has rarely had a student as exceptional as Mary Trump, who was featured in the Tufts commencement program as having won the award for top English student.

“She was just as smart and accomplished as any I’ve taught in 40 years,” Lebowitz said. “She took a seminar on William Faulkner with me and she wrote two absolutely stunning papers, long, deep and elegant. We studied an enormously complex, interesting writer and she got deeply into it because she is a deep thinker.”

Lebowitz, who is retired, recalled that when she entered his classroom more than 30 years ago, he learned of the weight she carried.

“I knew that her father had been a very sad story and that she was carrying the burden of that story,” he said.

Everything we know about the President's niece.

A Nightmare of Family Dysfunction.
posted by bendy (53 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wouldn’t it be great if something good, positive - resolving - comes out of the last four years? If, with the publication of this book we get a story of Trump and family that lets us say, “OK, that was horrible and we don’t have to do it anymore so let’s move on.”

The legal grounds for why the book should not be published aren’t clear, exactly: there was a NDA and the book violates it? Wouldn’t S&S have known this and taken steps to avoid it? Or is it just a delaying tactic by family Trump? (What I could well imagine).
posted by From Bklyn at 2:25 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


The Trumps sure know how to sell books.
posted by chavenet at 4:07 AM on July 1 [19 favorites]


The legal grounds for why the book should not be published aren’t clear, exactly: there was a NDA and the book violates it?...Or is it just a delaying tactic by family Trump?

Given that it seems anyone who's ever come into contact with Individual-1 has an NDA hanging over them, I wouldn't put it past him to have forced everyone in his family to sign NDAs, too. But, that doesn't preclude using a lawsuit as a delaying tactic, either. Trump loves to sue at the drop of a hat.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:12 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]


I'm very suspicious of this person. Having a former English professor string a bunch of weird superlatives together about you sounds like something Donald would pay someone to do. I'm going to go ahead and not pin all my hopes for this administration's demise on this book.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:21 AM on July 1 [27 favorites]


Indeed, Trump claims that his niece has indeed signed "a very powerful NDA."
posted by dobbs at 4:41 AM on July 1


I’ve posted this article here occasionally, but it’s one of the more interesting things I’ve read during the Trump years—a psychology professor (Dan P. McAdams) who specializes in building psychological profiles of the presidents took a look at Trump’s life before the 2016 election to try and predict his actions: The Mind of Donald Trump. More insightful and interesting than the usual “I read the DSM V and he’s a narcissist with dementia.”

(It looks like he just released a book this February as well, which might make a nice companion piece to Mary Trump’s.)
posted by sallybrown at 4:54 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


That Atlantic piece hasn't really aged all that well in the past four years. It's like when on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq there were Smart People writing 'what if the war doesn't turn out to be an unmitigated shitshow?' Seeing Fuckhead as a dementia-ridden narcissist may be well-worn ground but it is also a theory with solid predictive power.

Up until recently I would still have rated W as the worst president in history (what with that whole war of choice and all), but recently with the pandemic Shit-for-Brains has clearly surpassed ol' George W. The man has an anti-talent for leadership and governance. People will be using his administration for decades in hundreds of case studies in What Not To Do. It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn definitively from a family member that the worst president is also the worst human being.
posted by um at 5:48 AM on July 1 [14 favorites]


It's like when on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq there were Smart People writing 'what if the war doesn't turn out to be an unmitigated shitshow?

I suspect we read it differently. The piece ends with a warning that Trump is a black hole with no motivating story beyond himself, which I took as a warning that all the possible upside of his personality traits like extroversion will be for naught. Exactly what’s happened.
posted by sallybrown at 5:53 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Yeah I guess I'm not seeing it. The closing paragraph amounts to a vague misgiving. It was plain all the way back in 2015 that he wasn't on any axis a normal person.

People talk about the black hole at the centre of his administration, the crime that is so large that it can be detected by its gravitational pull. Speculation about deals with Putin etc. I've come to believe that the truth is more prosaic: the black hole is his actual and real dementia and ongoing deterioration, covered up by his coterie of enablers, propped up by a steady regimen of pills, ignored by a credulous, lickspittle press. A sad and shitty end to a sad, shitty little life. We won't even get the satisfaction of seeing him tried for his crimes.
posted by um at 6:09 AM on July 1 [13 favorites]


actual and real dementia and ongoing deterioration

This bothers me. Suggesting his current actions are based on diminished mental capacity indicates he previously was rational and would have made different choices. Except he's been consistent in his choices his entire life.

The dementia is new, the corruption is longstanding.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:57 AM on July 1 [69 favorites]


The takeaway is from the New Yorker piece cited in the beginning: “an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.”

Even still, this hits the nail pretty much on the head:

In sum, Donald Trump’s basic personality traits suggest a presidency that could be highly combustible. One possible yield is an energetic, activist president who has a less than cordial relationship with the truth. He could be a daring and ruthlessly aggressive decision maker who desperately desires to create the strongest, tallest, shiniest, and most awesome result—and who never thinks twice about the collateral damage he will leave behind.
posted by chavenet at 6:58 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Up until recently I would still have rated W as the worst president in history

With the possible exception of George H.W. Bush, every Republican president in my lifetime has been the worst president in history. I'm approaching middle age.
posted by box at 7:11 AM on July 1 [65 favorites]


Resting your entire defense on “she signed an NDA,” I mean, sure, I guess that could be a solid legal defense? But holy hell, proudly saying the only reason someone can’t tell the world about all of the terrible things you’ve said and done is because of a legal document, it’s not denying you did the things.

I guess I’d be saying it’s the screaming hallmark of a shitty person with no sense of shame, but, well, duh.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:18 AM on July 1 [17 favorites]


Resting your entire defense on “she signed an NDA,”

It's not a defense, it's a punishment.
posted by Candleman at 7:23 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


This isn't the first time Trump and friends have tried to block an embarrassing book, not with "these things are false" but "these things are secret".
posted by entity447b at 7:29 AM on July 1 [21 favorites]


Candleman, entity447b says it better than I did. I meant his defense in the court of public opinion. It’s not that he’s denying doing the things being talked about, he’s relying on the NDA from the things he did being talked about. It’s gross, and I can’t imagine the kind of twisted mind that would deploy that sort of defense and act proud of having done it.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:38 AM on July 1


For NDAs to be enforceable, he must be paying them all decent amounts of cash. I think it's part of his evil brilliance that he's so adept at finding everyone's price. That he is still so able to do say says to me he is not demented, he just doesn't care at all about speaking clearly or listening to what others are saying and no-one ever calls him out for it.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:48 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


For NDAs to be enforceable, he must be paying them all decent amounts of cash.

IIRC Stormy Daniels beat her NDA, and Trump's attorney in that case was this very same guy. Trump paid Daniels 130k. I'm guessing Trump's NDA's are exactly as good as all the other Trump/Trump Admin litigation I've seen and at the end of the day, it'll be unenforceable.
posted by mikelieman at 7:57 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Using ablist attacks against Trump is not okay. There is nothing wrong with having a disability. There is nothing wrong with using a wheelchair. What is wrong with Trump is that he is a bad person.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:01 AM on July 1 [38 favorites]


With the possible exception of George H.W. Bush, every Republican president in my lifetime has been the worst president in history. I'm approaching middle age.

And what's amazing is they keep getting worse. Reagan? Awful, but probably not criminal. W? Should be tried for war crimes. Donald? Should be arrested on 120K counts of manslaughter, treason, you name it.
posted by Automocar at 8:02 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


I was disappointed to learn that a judge thinks the First Amendment requires having a reason why you are expressing yourself.

In any case, Trump was always a sociopath. Now he's a sociopath with nukes, and his word-salad replies to questions about his job in between the white power tweets are not reassuring, whatever that says or does not say about his health.

I don't know—the best time for this book to be published would have been before November 2016, but books get written when they get written, I guess.

If she really believes he's a danger, I hope she'd do the world a favor by taking one for the team, releasing her work into the public domain, and let the chips fall where they may. Once it is public record, that's it.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:08 AM on July 1 [12 favorites]


Reagan? Awful, but probably not criminal

Reagan and Bush Sr. were in all likelihood criminals, just based on the Iran-Contra scandal and alleged secret deal with Iran to delay the end of the hostage crisis until after the 1980 election, but never mind these petty matters.

posted by mubba at 9:09 AM on July 1 [50 favorites]


Automocar, not sure I'm with you on Regan, Iran-Contra alone provides enough fodder for that.
posted by Carillon at 9:11 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


a psychology professor (Dan P. McAdams) who specializes in building psychological profiles of the presidents took a look at Trump’s life before the 2016 election to try and predict his actions: The Mind of Donald Trump.
To me, this article seems like a prime example of why you should not diagnose at a distance. In spite of noting that Trump rarely speaks the truth, he uses Trump's own narrative about his life as the basis of his analysis.
On the other hand, I like the way the author points out that Trump is a void, that there is nothing behind the orange mask. I think it is true that he is driven by anger and fear at almost mythical levels, and that this is exactly his appeal for his fans. Why is he so angry and so scared?

I think the Mary Trump book could be an interesting read. Not because it tells "the truth", I think the Trump family is one of those disfunctional families where there is not a truth, but several disparate truths, that change over the years. But because it can give us a different perspective on this weird and dangerous person who has triggered so much catastrophic change in the US and in the world. I don't know if I'll read it if he isn't reelected. Then I will just want him to go to jail ASAP.
posted by mumimor at 9:14 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Reagan? Awful, but probably not criminal.

Nah, the only reason he wasn't imprisoned for Iran Contra is because the next POTUS was a) his vice and b) really eager to get over that investigation and 'look ahead'... They all want to look ahead, because they're all crooked - and not just 'corrupt and grifty' crooked, but downright 'will collaborate with an enemy/use homegrown brownshirts to win an election' crooked: Nixon tweaked 1968 with the Viet Cong. Reagan tweaked 1980 with Iranians. Dubya tweaked 2000 with some good old electoral intimidation (and an assist from a partisan court), and we all know what happened with Donny.

In that way, at least, he's not that much of an outlier.
posted by pseudophile at 9:15 AM on July 1 [27 favorites]


Iran/Contra was the least of Reagan's many crimes. By one account, he watched and did nothing while 90k Americans died of AIDS. Negligent homicide seems like a charge that should stick, if not murder itself.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:23 AM on July 1 [16 favorites]


Speaking of Reagan, I'm eagerly awaiting next month's release of Reaganland, the latest installment of Rick Perlstein's multi-book chronicling of the rise of right wing politics in late 20th century American politics. His three previous books Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, and The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan are must reads.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:24 AM on July 1 [15 favorites]


And what's amazing is they keep getting worse. Reagan? Awful, but probably not criminal. W? Should be tried for war crimes. Donald? Should be arrested on 120K counts of manslaughter, treason, you name it.

And let's keep in mind that 100% of the Republican presidents of the 21st century got the job despite getting fewer votes than their opponents.
posted by nushustu at 9:35 AM on July 1 [16 favorites]


Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Some of those alter the course of history.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:43 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Wouldn’t it be great if something good, positive - resolving - comes out of the last four years?

Well yeah, so far we've gotten the Me Too movement, and racial justice/police overhaul movement to name a couple, both of which are obviously products of people's pent up rage against Trump and would not have happened if Hillary were in the House.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:29 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Sometimes something bad is the beginning of something good. The two world wars were terrible, but they each left a space for good things to happen that shaped the 20th century, because truly great leaders took the opportunity of the crises. On the other hand, some crises don't lead to renewal or redemption, and all are a mixed bag. We got the modern welfare state out of WW2, but we also got the Cold War.
That doesn't mean I believe we needed Trump to be elected in order to progress. But perhaps we didn't need Hillary or Bernie either. What is it with all these old people? We live in such difficult times, and somehow there is a global lack of leadership. There are a few stand-outs like Jacinda Ardern, but not enough to do what needs to be done.
posted by mumimor at 10:46 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Good global leadership seems like an anachronism. The two "world leaders" of the late 20th century are two that have failed rather miserably in the 21st. Our next world leader is succeeding because of, not despite, its totalitarian leanings.
posted by meowzilla at 11:10 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


We live in such difficult times, and somehow there is a global lack of leadership.

Populists and dictators are always waiting in the wings, ready to fill that vacuum.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:23 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Iran/Contra was the least of Reagan's many crimes.

Paraquat is often overlooked. Reagan brought it back to widespread foreign and domestic use.
posted by Brian B. at 11:43 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Folks, folks, I’m totally down with Reagan being a criminal, but I don’t think it’s as cut and dried as W or Donnie. Then again I was 8 when Reagan left office.
posted by Automocar at 3:18 PM on July 1


I would like to hear a solid legal analysis of the likelihood of Trump prevailing on this. It's a book with a legit claim to be of significant public interest about a public figure, and they're claiming that a 20-year-old NDA (which was associated with the settlement of a disputed inheritance) should foreclose the public from learning what's inside it. Which makes it a contractual dispute.

Contracts class was a long time ago but I find it hard that a court would forbid someone from breaching a contract rather than allowing the breach and imposing damages. That's what the damages clauses are for in such a contract. Presumably the publisher would happily pony up the $250K or whatever was included in the NDA.

The First Amendment should prevail over any given contractual claim, especially when the contract itself contains the remedy for a breach.

I'd love to know what Trump is claiming would be his damages: would it be all the profits he would lose from no longer being able to bilk the Secret Service for staying at his resorts?
posted by suelac at 3:22 PM on July 1 [10 favorites]


Yeah, it was startling to me to see it framed as “author needs to prove the book can be published.” Surely the whole point of the first amendment is that you can say what you want until someone else proves you can’t?
posted by nickmark at 3:29 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Folks, folks, I’m totally down with Reagan being a criminal, but I don’t think it’s as cut and dried as W or Donnie. Then again I was 8 when Reagan left office.

I am old enough to have watched the Iran-Contra hearings when they were aired. It's as cut and dried as W or Donnie. Reagan was a criminal.
posted by Lexica at 3:38 PM on July 1 [26 favorites]


> With the possible exception of George H.W. Bush, every Republican president in my lifetime has been the worst president in history. I'm approaching middle age.

with the exceptions of george h.w. bush and eisenhower, every republican president in the lifetime of someone 90 years old has been the worst president in history.

okay i don't actually believe this: harding was a disaster at least as bad as nixon, and jackson was a grand guignol nightmare almost beyond compare, and really all those wretched old slaver fucks from the 18th and 19th century were hideous. you can almost sort all the early presidents into two categories:
  1. presidents who were monsters
  2. presidents who were from boston
i think we can generally say that presidents are a bad idea and we should get rid of them. no more presidents.

posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:41 PM on July 1 [10 favorites]


I would like to hear a solid legal analysis of the likelihood of Trump prevailing on this.

To simply delay the release of the book past the election would be a win, no?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:02 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


To simply delay the release of the book past the election would be a win, no?

You're not wrong, but prior restraints are so contrary to the purpose of the First Amendment that I would expect this to be heard, and resolved, fairly quickly. Consider the Bolton book: the district court didn't waste a minute kicking it out, despite the risk of classified information being released.

It's true that the Bolton book would likely contain more relevant political news than Mary Trump's book, but Trump also claimed there that Bolton had signed an NDA.

Law school was too long ago, I'm gonna go see if Popehat has anything to say on this...
posted by suelac at 5:22 PM on July 1




This reasoning by the judge struck me as being particularly important in these times.
But he also pointed out that an agreement reached two decades ago to protect the Trump family’s privacy may have been altered by the fact that Donald Trump had in the interim become the president.

“The legitimate interest in preserving family secrets may be one thing for the family of a real estate developer, no matter how successful,” Justice Scheinkman wrote. “It is another matter for the family of the president of the United States.”

posted by haiku warrior at 6:55 PM on July 1 [11 favorites]


I don't have a lot of hopes for this book and I don't plan to buy or read it -- I don't need it to tell me that Trump is an abusive monster, I am already quite sure of that.

But if I could wish for it to accomplish one thing, it would be this: I would like to see the litigation around it create another major crack in the dam of NDAs that Trump has used for years to hold back a flood of stories that depict him as he truly is, rather than how he wishes to be seen.

The best time for that would have been years ago, but as the cliche goes, the second best time is now. Now would still be a great time for him to begin to utterly and permanently lose control over the narrative of his life that he has self-constructed and to be revealed for the pathetic loathsome figure that he truly is.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:38 PM on July 1 [21 favorites]


Diagnosing a person's mental health remotely is pretty sketchy. The important thing about the ramp walk and the inability to drink without using both hands is that the President may have an illness that affects his mental competence. I'm not confident he has ever had much in the way of intellectual capacity, but signs of dementia make his presidency even scarier.

Shoutout to everyone commenting that Reagan was corrupt, too.
posted by theora55 at 6:44 AM on July 2


So what do NDAs accomplish except protecting the wealthy from accountability?
posted by thelonius at 7:11 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


So what do NDAs accomplish except protecting the wealthy from accountability?

IN THEORY, there's a use-case for protecting intellectual property rights, for example, I want to hire you for Super_Seekret_Project, and want to ensure that when I don't hire you after I tell you about Mind_Blowing_Idea which Super_Seekret_Project implements, you won't go and write your own Super_Seekret_Project and interfere with our business plans.
posted by mikelieman at 7:56 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Via Jim Acosta of CNN reporting on Trump speaking earlier this morning: Trump on resurgence of virus as cases are spiking in several states: “We are putting out that life because it’s a bad life that we’re talking about.”

130k dead Americans in the space of a few months, and counting. I hope her book sparks the conversation we need to have.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:14 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


Ford is definitely not among the worst of presidents. He was mid-level forgettable. Pardoning Nixon was wrong-headed but pardonable.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:15 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


A day after her potentially explosive book gets go-ahead, Mary Trump asks court to lift restraining order against her (WaPo / reprint) "saying in an affidavit filed Thursday that she was misled by the family into signing a confidentiality agreement in an inheritance case two decades ago. [...] In her affidavit, Mary Trump said she “never believed” the confidentiality agreement in the inheritance case could restrict her from writing a book about “the conduct and character of my uncle, the sitting President of the United States, during his campaign for re-election.” She said she decided that writing a book was necessary after her uncle was elected president. [...] Mary Trump said in her affidavit that, in agreeing to the inheritance settlement, she relied on asset valuations of the family estate provided to her by Donald Trump and his siblings that she said have since been proved to be inaccurate. “I relied on false valuations provided to me by my uncles and aunt, and would never have entered into the Agreement had I known the true value of the assets involved,” she said. She said the inaccuracy of the valuations was revealed in a 2018 investigation by the New York Times of family finances." [Affidavit pdf, filed July 2, 2020]
posted by katra at 10:00 PM on July 2 [8 favorites]


“I relied on false valuations provided to me by my uncles and aunt, and would never have entered into the Agreement had I known the true value of the assets involved,” she said.

Nice maneuver by her lawyer. They are going to make the terms of the NDA an issue if Trump tries to litigate it. That opens up the opportunity to look into all of Trump's financial information and tax returns. I bet Trump backs down before allowing discovery. Meanwhile, though, Mary is benefiting from the Streisand Effect, or should we call it the Trump Effect.
posted by JackFlash at 9:50 AM on July 3 [10 favorites]


Ken White discussed technicalities of the (flimsy, performative) lawsuit on a KCRW podcast earlier this week.
posted by jon1270 at 11:31 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I don't have a lot of hopes for this book and I don't plan to buy or read it -- I don't need it to tell me that Trump is an abusive monster, I am already quite sure of that. -
Nerd of the North
Fair enough: I got a copy when it came out on July 14. Most of the book reviews got the gist of it. One worth checking out:

Book World: The real villain of Mary Trump's family tell-all isn't Donald. It's Fred. (WaPo/ reprint; Carlos Lozada)

Mr Lozada also tweeted out a long list (twitter part 1; part 2 or threadreaderapp ) of interesting bits that didn't make the review.
First, Mary Trump is funny! She captures people in quick, memorable descriptions. On seeing the VP in the WH, for instance:

"Mike Pence continued to lurk on the other side of the room with a half-dead smile on his face, like the chaperone everybody wanted to avoid." (2)
It's a short work, and a fairly quick read. It covers the very, very dysfunctional family dynamic that produced and enabled Donald Trump, up to the authors estrangement from the family in 2000. Mary Trump suggests patterns of authoritarian behavior that attracted Donald throughout his life. The last couple of chapters establish Donald Trump as we know him today. An epilogue that goes up to early June reinforces the central themes: how inadequate Donald Trump is to the moment, why that happened, and how dangerous he is as President.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:09 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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