Mary Trump, the niece of President Donald Trump who recently published a tell-all book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, spilling the details of her relationship with her family and the Fred Sr. and Donald Trump’s alleged role in squeezing Mary out of the family business and her father out of help for his alcoholism, recently went on NPR’s All Things Considered to talk about her uncle’s recent Coronavirus diagnosis. The appearance on the popular, national radio show came shortly after the very contagious, and also ill, President went on a drive with the Secret Service outside of the hospital mid-COVID-19 treatment to wave to his supporters, putting his Secret Service staff at risk of COVID-19. But could President Trump even admit if he’s feeling ill? Mary Trump doesn’t think so.
Mary explained on the episode that she believes that the United States is in the position that we are in due to COVID-19 because “[Trump] cannot admit to the weakness of being ill or of other people being ill.” This inability to accept illness — or deal with it — comes from the top, says Mary, from Trump’s father and Mary’s grandfather, Fred Trump. According to her, any type of illness was seen by Fred Trump as “unacceptable. Which sounds incredibly cruel, but happens to be true.” This attitude towards illness, she says, rubbed off on the President.
One story Mary revealed on the show was that when her grandmother, who had osteoporosis, would return from physical therapy, her grandfather was “unable to tolerate it… As soon as she’d start showing that she was in physical pain… he’d leave the room,” she said on the show. Apparently, Fred Trump was really into Norman Vincent Peale, a motivational speaker who extolled the “power of positive thinking,” so much so that, according to Mary, “he took to such an extreme level that it was toxic… it left no room for expressions of what he considered negativity of any kind, you know, sadness, despair, being physically ill.” Indeed, this toxic positivity often leads to people suppressing legitimate pain, illness, or problems, and is in itself a potential expression of toxic masculinity. This exact philosophy might make it hard for Trump to admit when he’s really feeling ill — because illness might be seen as “unacceptable” by him.
President Trump has been a long-documented germaphobe — who can forget the video last year where he scolded a White House staffer for coughing in the Oval Office — and on the 2016 campaign trail, Hope Hicks, who is believed to potentially have been the person who infected the president, would administer hand sanitizer to him constantly. He often avoids sick people and refuses to give out handshakes. All of that being said, this ethos is in deep contrast with the fact that he’s still eschewed basic tenets of pandemic prevention, still having mask-less meetings and traveling with large entourages. The White House COVID-19 outbreak has potentially been traced back to the official announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as the new Supreme Court Justice nominee, an event in which dozens of GOP lawmakers and political operatives sat packed together, mask-less, both in and outdoors.
As of Monday, Trump was still at Walter Reed Medical Center undergoing COVID-19 treatment.