It’s going to be a week of highs and lows for Donald Trump and members of his family. First, the four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on Monday to formally nominate the president for reelection. At the same time, the Trumps are battling a probe by the New York State attorney general’s office, which is investigating whether the family business committed fraud. This is separate from another fraud investigation underway, by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, for which the president has been ordered to hand over his tax returns.
There is also the fallout from new revelations about what Donald’s oldest sister Maryanne really thinks of him (it’s not good). These come courtesy of Maryanne and Donald’s niece Mary L. Trump (who, as we all know by now, is the author of that scandalous tell-all published in July), who secretly recorded her aunt. Then there is talk of another upcoming tell-all by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump’s ex-friend and former adviser, who claims to have secretly recorded tapes of the First Lady speaking ill of her husband and stepdaughter Ivanka. And just last week, President Trump buried his younger brother Robert, whom he called “his best friend.”
Scandals are generally par for the course in powerful dynasties and while the president is the most famous—or infamous—member of his family, the Trumps are a large and diverse clan. And as with most families, there are good eggs and black sheep and favorites. Some love the spotlight, others keep a low profile. Here is a primer on Donald Trump’s family tree: his parents, four siblings, five children, and the nieces, nephews, and grandchildren in between.
Fred & Mary Trump (Parents)
Donald Trump’s parents, Mary and Fred Trump at a gala in NYC, 1999.
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Fred Trump amassed his fortune in real estate (it was his multimillion-dollar loan that helped his most famous son, Donald, expand that empire in Manhattan). He started his company in Queens with his mother Elizabeth in 1927 (his father Frederick died in the 1918 influenza pandemic), first calling it E. Trump & Son before later renaming it the Fred Trump Organization. The Trump family’s penchant for scandals—and governmental investigations—seems to have originated with its patriarch. In 1927, Fred was arrested for participating in a Ku Klux Klan march in Queens. He was also investigated twice for profiteering, first by the Senate in 1954 and then by the State of New York in 1966. And not long after Donald joined the business in 1971, the two were sued by the Justice Department for violating the Fair Housing Act. There were several instances of tax fraud as well.
Fred married Scottish immigrant Mary MacLeod in 1936 and had five children: Maryanne, Fred Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, and Robert. Fred’s authoritarian parenting style is no secret and despite his $300 million net worth, he was famously frugal and opposed to ostentatious displays of wealth—a quality Donald has not inherited. Fred died in 1999 from pneumonia (he had also battled Alzheimer’s for six years) and Mary died a year later.
Maryanne Trump Barry (Oldest Sister)
Donald Trump with his oldest sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, 2008.
First-born Maryanne Trump Barry, who is nine years older than Donald, is a retired U.S. federal judge. She began her career in 1974 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and one of only two women at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. In 1983 she was nominated by President Reagan to the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey, and then in 1999, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where she served until her retirement in 2019. Her only son, David William Desmond, from her first marriage, is a psychologist in New York. She was widowed in 2000 when her second husband, lawyer John Joseph Barry, died.
Barry has not publicly commented on her brother since his ascension to the White House. However, over the weekend, her niece Mary L. Trump, author of the explosive tell-all about the Trump family that was published last month, released hours of secretly recorded conversations with her aunt in which the latter can be heard criticizing President Trump. “His goddamned tweet and the lying, oh, my God,” Barry says in one recording. “He has no principles. None. None,” she says in another. She also seemed to validate the claim Mary had made in her book that the president cheated on his SATs.
Fred Trump Jr. (Oldest Brother)
Fred Trump Jr., left, in 1966.
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The eldest Trump son had been Fred Sr.’s first choice to take over the family business, but ultimately proved a poor fit for that dream. He instead became a pilot, a career choice that resulted in ridicule from Fred Sr. and Donald. Eventually, Fred’s worsening alcoholism forced him to quit flying, move back in with his parents, and get a job doing maintenance work for his father’s company. He had two children, Mary and Fred III, with his ex-wife Linda Clapp. Fred Jr. died in 1981, at age 42, of a heart attack brought on by his alcoholism.
Mary L. Trump (Niece)
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man
Simon & Schuster amazon.com
This summer, Fred Jr.’s daughter, a clinical psychologist, published Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, a book revealing several highly unflattering details about the Trump clan and all its dysfunction. But this wasn’t her first clash with her family. Mary and her brother Fred III filed a lawsuit after their grandfather Fred Sr.’s death in 1999, when they discovered they had been cut out of his will. They alleged Donald took advantage of his father’s Alzheimer’s to convince him to change the will. In return, Donald and his siblings Maryanne and Robert dropped their niece and nephew from the family health insurance plan. The matter was settled confidentially.
Mary shares a daughter with her ex-wife; Fred III is a director at commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield and has three children with his wife Lisa.
Elizabeth Trump Grau (Older Sister)
President Trump’s other older sister used to work at J.P. Morgan. She is married to documentary producer James Grau and the two live in Palm Beach.
Donald Trump with his sister.
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Robert Trump (Younger Brother)
The late Robert Trump hugging his older brother Donald on the election night, November 2016.
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The youngest of Donald’s siblings died earlier this month in New York City, at the age of 71. Unlike his other brother Fred, Robert had a close relationship with Donald. “He was not just my brother, he was my best friend,” said the president, who arranged for his brother’s funeral to be held at the White House. Robert joined the family business and rose up the ranks to become a top executive at the Trump Organization before retiring in Millbrook, New York. He was married to society figure Blaine Trump for 25 years and adopted her son Christopher Hollister Retchin from a previous marriage. Earlier this year, he married his longtime secretary-turned-girlfriend Ann Marie Pallan.
Melania Trump (Third & Current Wife)
First Lady Melania Trump at the White House, July 2020.
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President Trump married Slovenian-American model Melania Knauss in 2005. They had met seven years earlier while Trump was going through his second divorce from Marla Maples. The lavish wedding reception took place at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach and was attended by a long list of celebrities, including Hillary and Bill Clinton. A year later she gave birth to their son, Barron. After her husband moved into the White House in 2017, Melania and Barron chose to stay in their Trump Tower penthouse on Fifth Avenue. While the official reason for mother and son’s delayed move to D.C. was so Barron could finish the school year at NYC’s Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, a book on the First Lady—The Art of Her Deal by Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan—alleges it was so Melania could renegotiate her prenup.
Donald Trump, Jr. (Oldest Son)
Donald Trump Jr. at a campaign rally for his father, 2019.
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Donald Sr. had three children with his first wife Ivana. Donald Jr., the eldest, has been managing Trump Organization assets with his brother Eric during their father’s presidency. He is officially the company’s executive vice president. Donald Jr. played a significant role in the 2016 campaign, and as his speech on the opening night of this week’s Republican National Convention indicates, he will do the same for 2020 as well. He was married to model Vanessa Haydon for 13 years (and with whom he has five children) before their 2018 divorce. Since then he has been dating former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Ivanka Trump (Daughter)
Ivanka Trump at a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, March 2020.
Alex WongGetty Images
Ivanka Trump, who has long been acknowledged as Donald’s favorite child, has taken on a far more active role in the White House than her brothers. After her father’s election, she left her role as EVP at the Trump Organization to become Senior Adviser to the President. Her husband, fellow real estate scion Jared Kushner, did the same, and the couple moved to D.C.’s tony Kalorama neighborhood with their three young children, Arabella, Theodore, and Joseph.
Eric Trump (Second Son)
Eric Trump with his wife Lara in Scotland, 2017.
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Donald and Ivana’s youngest child is the executive vice president at the Trump Organization and the president of Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is also reportedly managing campaign finances for the 2020 election while his wife Lara, a former television producer, helps spread the Trump message on TV. The couple have two children, Eric “Luke” and Carolina, The latter, who was born last summer, is President Trump’s tenth grandchild.
Tiffany Trump (Second Daughter)
Tiffany Trump (right) with her mother, Marla Maples, at New York Fashion Week, 2017.
Jamie McCarthyGetty Images
President Trump’s only child from his second marriage to actress Marla Maples graduated from Georgetown Law School in May. But 26-year-old Tiffany is most famous for her Instagram account, where she entertains her 1 million followers with snapshots of her “Rich Kids of Instagram”-esque life—staring out the window of Air Force One, in the White House driveway before the State of the Union address, on the red carpet of the amfAR gala in Cannes, and with her father in the Oval Office.
Barron Trump (Youngest Son)
Barron Trump with his parents, President Trump and First Lady Melania, on the White House South Lawn, 2019.
Chip SomodevillaGetty Images
Fourteen-year-old Barron, the son of President Trump and First Lady Melania, keeps the lowest profile of all of Donald’s children. And unlike the children of former presidents, who have all attended the elite Sidwell Friends School, Barron is the first presidential child to be enrolled at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. He is starting his freshman year—virtually—this fall.
Leena Kim Associate Editor Leena Kim is an associate editor at Town & Country, where she writes about travel, weddings, arts, and culture.
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