Ruth Nemzoff wrote this article with Ellen Offner, Principal, Offner Consulting, LLC, Healthcare Strategy & Program Development
Whoa! Some people want us to judge Donald Trump by his children. As always he's deflecting our attention from his flaws. But the sick humor in this one can't go unnoticed. It's typical narcissistic behavior. And typical Donald Trump. In his book, he bragged about never spending a night at home. Their three mothers, and their nannies, probably deserve much of the credit for raising the Trump kids, and of course the grandparents in Czechoslovakia and Slovenia. But the mothers, wives number 1 and 2, are missing in the political action, and the kids do not acknowledge their mothers during all the hoopla about their father, who is the source of their wealth and power. But perhaps not their daily care. How did a reality-television star, now the presumptive G.O.P. nominee, raise such normal kids? On some level, he did it by outsourcing the job. Trump and his first wife, Ivana, left their young children in the care of two Irish nannies and, for a time, their maternal grandparents, before sending the kids off to boarding school (Eric and Donald Jr. to the Hill School; Ivanka to Choate). "My father is a very hardworking guy, and that's his focus in life, so I got a lot of the paternal attention that a boy wants and needs from my grandfather," Donald Jr. told New York Magazine.
Tiffany, daughter of Marla Maples and Donald Trump, was raised in California by her mother, to whom she is very close, the offspring of a scandalous, short-lived relationship. In 1990, it was reported that The Donald was cheating on first wife Ivana with Marla Maples, an aspiring actress and former Miss Resaca Beach Poster Girl. Ivana reportedly confronted Marla on the ski slopes of Aspen and roared, "You bitch, leave my husband alone." Marla was quoted on the front page of The Post crediting Donald for "the best sex I've ever had." Soon after, Marla appeared in a wink-wink ad for No Excuses jeans; the day of the advertising campaign's launch, she was served with papers from Ivana's lawyer, demanding to know how long she had been seeing Donald. Donald and Ivana's divorce was settled -- with her reportedly receiving $20 to $25 million -- in 1992. A year later, Marla gave birth to Donald's daughter Tiffany -- so named for the famous Fifth Avenue jewelry store adjacent to Trump Tower. The baby was months old when her parents tied the knot at the Plaza Hotel. How can Donald Trump malign Bill Clinton for his dalliances?
There has been no mention of these women who did the actual work of bringing up the kids while Father Trump built his empire and sought ever younger and more alluring women to court, romance, impregnate, and in some cases ultimately marry. And this shameless womanizer has waffled on reproductive rights--no wonder! Certainly as a role model of fidelity and consistency he fails; he gets high marks for unabashed womanizing. He met wife number three, who plagiarized part of her Republican Convention speech, at church while still married to wife number two. He was not a great model of business ethics either. How many bankruptcies did he have? Bankruptcy means the people you owe money to get nickels on the dollar. Typical Trump, his wives did the hard work of raising the children, who have turned out well, and he takes the credit. And one of the greatest philanderers of all time acts like he embodies fidelity and purity! He is the ultimate fraud -- in business and in life!
Although those of us who've been lucky enough to have our kids turn out to be good contributing members of society know we worked hard, we also know that good peers, good health, and good luck also contributed to their well-being. Donald's wealth gave him the luxury to place his kids in good situations. I suspect his status gave him the freedom to leave work once or twice to cheer them on at a game or play unlike the immigrants in low-paying jobs he bashes and wants to deport. Would he be claiming his responsibility for child-rearing if his kids were selling drugs?
Like all of us we have to claim the bad with the good. The tricky thing about parenting is that even the best parents sometimes turn out kids who go astray. And shockingly and not very commonly even the worst parents sometimes bring up stellar children. I wish we knew the recipe.
Speaking of recipes. The Donald is a perfect fit. Blames others when things don't go right, takes the credit when they do. He yells a lot 75 minutes at a clip. He tries to disgrace those who disagree with him. He takes up all the air time. He is always right. He calls himself a winner and everyone else a loser.
You can judge Trump by his kids if you want (and they appear to be hard-working and accomplished), but the psychiatrists judge him by his symptoms. He gets a high rating on the narcissism scale. "For psychologists, it is almost impossible to talk about Donald Trump without using the word narcissism. Asked to sum up Trump's personality for an article in Vanity Fair, Howard Gardner, a psychologist at Harvard, responded, "Remarkably narcissistic." George Simon, a clinical psychologist who conducts seminars on manipulative behavior, says Trump is "so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example" of narcissism. "Otherwise I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true." Shmuel Ben David "Sam" Vaknin is an authority on the subject of narcissism, having written the widely read and very favorably reviewed book, Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited and Narcissistic and Psychopathic Leaders. He writes: "You just have to look at Trump's business history to extrapolate America's future under a President Trump. Narcissists are unstable and go through repeated cycles of self-destruction (with other people usually paying the heft of the price). Narcissists tend to be divisive, vindictive, confrontational, aggressive, hate-filled, raging, incoherent, judgment-impaired, and irrational. Narcissists are junkies: they are addicted to attention ("Narcissistic Supply") and will go to any extreme to secure it. Narcissists are liars, confabulators, and miserable failures (although some of them, like Trump, are geniuses at disguising the fact that they are, in fact, losers). Is this the kind of person you want in the White House?