It’s no secret that Donald Trump and his cabinet are not on the best of terms these days. But what about his relationship with his actual family? There are conflicting rumors out there as to whether or not the current White House resident is on good terms with his closest kin. It pays to know a little backstory on the family dynamic. Here are the secrets of Trump’s tumultuous relationship with his family. Some of it is more shocking than we anticipated, including the last person on Earth you’d expect to be helping Trump with speeches (No. 9).
1. Let’s start by looking at Trump’s family growing up
So much attention is put on Trump’s children. The sibling rivalry between Ivanka and Tiffany, the comparison of Donald Jr. and Eric, things like that. It gets forgotten that Trump is one of five children himself. And that his relationship with his siblings has a bit to do with how his relationships are shaped today.
Next: First, the brotherly rivalry
2. There’s brother Freddy
There has been a spotlight on older brother Freddy Trump, who died of alcoholism in 1981. He and Donald reportedly had a very antagonistic relationship. The two were quick to put each other down, with Donald scolding his older brother for not having ambition and Freddy scolding the younger Trump for being a nuisance. Since Freddy’s tragic death, the toxic relationship with Donald has spread to the rest of his family.
Next: It was only a matter of time before a lawsuit showed up on our list.
3. Freddy’s family sued Donald
When Fred Trump Sr. died in 1999, Freddy Jr.’s family members found themselves cut out of the will — a will that Donald helped draft. The family sued Donald for influencing Fred Sr. to cut them out of the will. Angry that he was being sued, Donald then went on to cut off medical funding for his nephew’s sick baby. (Gross allegations to which he has, in fact, admitted.)
Next: While we’re on the subject of Fred Sr.
4. Trump’s relationship with his own father
Such influence on Fred Sr.’s will is interesting, given that Donald had a tumultuous relationship with his father as well. Despite reports that his father gave him a large lump-sum to start his first business, Fred Sr. was a reported penny-pincher while his son constantly had a competitive eye on taking over the business and going big. The two were very different people — a relationship that surely shaped how Donald is with his own children.
Next: Not the father-son relationship we thought it was
5. How has the presidency affected Donald Jr.?
Although he’s the son that snags most of the spotlight, Donald Jr. still remains in the shadow of his fame-addicted father. In fact, there were reportedly points during Donald Jr.’s life when he would refrain from using his last name so he wouldn’t be associated with his father. And although he has been a vocal supporter, Donald Jr. has reportedly been “miserable” since his father became president.
Next: This relationship says more about Trump than it says about his kids.
6. What about Eric?
There really is something behind late night television making fun of the Trump’s third offspring. Eric has gone on record to say that his older siblings, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, basically raised him. (Which is consistent with reports that Trump has always been an overall “hands off” type father.) There have also been whispers that Eric, along with his older brother, is envious of how much attention Ivanka gets.
Next: While we’re talking about siblings that are competing with Ivanka …
7. What about Tiffany?
The only child shared with Trump’s second wife Marla Maples — more on her in just a minute — Donald’s youngest daughter isn’t seen as much. She is also often mocked for being in Ivanka’s shadow. This could be, in part, a product of the relationship between Tiffany’s parents. Trump and Maples divorced when Tiffany was only 5 years old, and she reportedly only saw him a couple weeks out of the year growing up.
Next: Tiffany’s mother isn’t immune to the tumultuous family bond either.
8. And what of second wife, Marla Maples?
She first made headlines when she was the “other woman” in the affair that broke up Trump and first wife, Ivana. But since splitting from the current POTUS after six years, Maples channeled most of her focus into raising their daughter Tiffany. While she attended his inauguration, the two don’t appear to have much of a relationship. (At least, not like the connection Trump has to first wife, Ivana.)
Next: Speaking of the Czech mother of three …
9. Then there’s his first wife, Ivana
Ivana’s tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband didn’t stop with their scandalous divorce in 1996. She has remained in the spotlight — sometimes supporting Trump, and other times slamming him. Ivana immortalized comments that she got a ton of money in their divorce when she poked at Donald in her cameo in The First Wives Club. Then again, she’s also said that she still helps him write his speeches. Ivana has also made a couple radical claims that mirror some of Trump’s most radical tweets — like when she claimed to be the rightful First Lady, over current wife Melania.
Next: The most watched of the three wives
10. Which brings us to his current wife, Melania
Perhaps it’s because most news surrounding Trump these days is negative. But it’s hard to deny that Donald’s relationship with his current wife appears to be incredibly strained. (You can thank images of her slapping away a hand-hold from her husband for part of that.) It didn’t make matters any better when a profile emerged calling Melania “miserable” in their marriage — or that Melania “liked” a tweet that her misery was mentioned in.
Next: Surely Trump’s relationship with his closest daughter isn’t helping his marriage either.
11. The relationship with Ivanka
We all know Ivanka — the well-spoken eldest daughter that Trump seems all-too fond of. Yet even with her White House perks, we haven’t heard much from Ivanka as the current presidency continues on. After being hailed as Trump’s “voice of reason” she has kept a very low profile. So low even, that she has been heavily criticized for not stepping up to speak when her father hasn’t. Have his actions at the White House developed a rift between the two? With all the secrecy that has surrounded her lately, it’s difficult to say.
Next: And then, there’s Trump’s relationship with “Mr. Ivanka.”
12. The relationship with his son-in-law Jared
It wasn’t that long ago that Jared Kushner seemed like Trump’s No. 1 go-to guy. But since suspicion that Kushner colluded with Russia has surfaced, the two haven’t been seen together quite so much. It gets worse for Jared, whose own family slammed him for telling a familial Holocaust-survival story as a means to support a tweet from Trump that many viewed as anti-Semitic.
Next: Oh yes, there are more children to talk about.
13. How does Trump’s youngest fit into all of this?
We hear very little about Trump’s youngest son, Barron. This is probably in part because he’s still years away from getting a driver’s license. But it could also be because he has been sent away to school and has distance from his father — which, given the “hands off” nature with which Trump raised his eldest sons, is really not all that surprising.
Next: Oh, and more siblings too!
14. What about the rest of Trump’s siblings?
Remember — Freddy wasn’t the only sibling that Trump had growing up. But you don’t hear much about the rest of the family. For starters, both older sister Maryanne Trump Barry and younger brother Robert Trump shy away from the spotlight. The two echoed support for Donald when he was running for president, but little to nothing has been heard from them since he has been in office. There is some info out there on sister Elizabeth Trump Grau, but not much is known about her current relationship with Donald.
Next: Taking all these fractured relationships into consideration …
15. Can any of these broken fences be mended?
Here is a question that is asked of most fractured family relations: Can things be patched up? Now, in the case of the deceased relatives, those bonds can’t be mended. But what about the rest of the Trump clan? It appears there are so many secrets and rumored difficulties, it’s hard to imagine any of it getting resolved. We’ll just have to sit back and see how these family matters continue to unfold.
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