Donald Trump, winning ugly

The New York Times reports on Donald Trump’s relations with his older brother Freddy Trump. According to the Times, Donald looked up to Freddy until he became an alcoholic. After that, Donald began to view his brother as an object lesson — a guide on how not to live.

Donald urged Freddy to give up booze and work in the family real estate business. Unfortunately, Freddie sank more deeply into alcoholism and died in 1981 at the age of 43.

Fred Trump, a real estate tycoon and the family patriarch, died in 1999. In his will, says the Times, he cut out Freddy, dividing most of the inheritance among his children and their descendants “other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.”

Freddie Trump’s children sued. They claimed that an earlier version of the will had entitled them to their father’s share of the estate, but that Donald and his siblings used “undue influence” over their grandfather, who had dementia, to cut them out. Donald, though, attributes his father’s decision to “tremendous dislike” for Freddy’s ex-wife (in Donald Trump’s world, how could the dislike be other than “tremendous”?).

At the time of Fred Trump’s death, his grandson — the son of Freddie — became the father of a child with cerebral palsy. According to the Times, the Trump family promised that it would take care of the medical bills.

However, when Freddie Trump’s children sued, Donald Trump (again according to the Times) “retaliated by withdrawing the medical benefits critical to his nephew’s infant child.” Trump explained to the Times that he “was angry because they sued.”


The Times doesn’t say what happened to the infant or how the medical bills were paid. Trump claims that the litigation was settled “very amicably.” Hmnn. Maybe if he hadn’t cut off medical benefits it could have been settled “tremendously amicably.”

Trump reminds us constantly that he’s all about winning, and there’s no denying that winning frequently requires playing hardball. But I agree with NR’s Ian Tuttle who says: “using a palsied infant as leverage isn’t playing hardball; it’s something else entirely.”