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The Big Answer


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Born Trump: Inside America's First Family

a book by Emily Jane Fox

(our site's book review)

To Understand Trump, You Must Know His Children

The Amazon blurb says that Who is Donald J. Trump? To truly understand America’s forty-fifth president, argues Vanity Fair journalist Emily Jane Fox, you must know his children, whose own stories provide the key to unlocking what makes him tick. Born Trump: Inside America's First Family is Fox’s dishy, deeply reported, and richly detailed look at Trump’s five children (and equally powerful son-in-law, Jared Kushner), exploring their lives, their roles in the campaign and administration, and their dramatic and often fraught relationships with their father and with one another.

Reexamining the tabloid-soaked events that shaped their lives in startling new detail, Born Trump: Inside America's First Family is full of surprising insights, previously untold stories, and delicious tidbits about their childhoods (ridiculously privileged and painful, in equal measure) and the extraordinary power they now wield. As a version of this new kind of American royalty they wish to be, they are ensconced not in palaces but in Trump Tower and the White House.

Even before Trump’s oldest child, Don Jr., was born, Donald told friends that he wanted at least five kids—to make sure there was a greater probability one would turn out just like him. His vision didn’t pan out exactly as he’d imagined, but Trump’s children each inherited some of his essential traits—as one source says, “collectively, they make the whole.”

British tabloids - July 5 2011
Born Trump: Inside America's First Family is full of tabloid-soaked events, surprising insights, previously untold stories, and delicious tidbits about their childhoods (ridiculously privileged and painful, in equal measure)

Ivanka is a media-savvy, hyperskilled messenger with her father’s self-promotional ease but without the brash.

Don Jr. has the most contentious relationship with his father yet seems prone to endlessly repeat his mistakes.

Eric embraced the family’s real estate business but has, in surprising ways, charted a more independent course than his siblings.

While Tiffany grew up mostly separate from her father, she inherited Trump’s perspective as an outsider—his unique combination of assurance and insecurity.

And there is Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, whose own family drama and personal ambition is a crucial thread in this saga.

Come for the vision of Trump as a father—a portrait of the president at his kindest and cruelest. Stay for the revelatory gossip, including the truth about the firings of Christie and Manafort, the inside scoop on Donald’s three marriages, why Ivanka and Jared are “bashert,” and how this family of real estate tycoons have become the most powerful people in the world.

Come for the vision of Trump as a father—a portrait of the president at his kindest and cruelest. Stay for the revelatory gossip, including the truth about the firings of Christie and Manafort
Come for the vision of Trump as a father—a portrait of the president at his kindest and cruelest. Stay for the revelatory gossip, including the truth about the firings of Christie and Manafort

All Thirty Binders of the Trump Transition Plan Were Tossed in a Trump Tower Dumpster

"He [Christie] shows how the literal trashing of Christie's transition plan put the new administration in the hands of self-serving amateurs, all but guaranteeing the Trump presidency's shaky start. . . . Christie put Jared Kushner's powerful father behind bars—a fact Trump's son-in-law makes Christie pay for later. In Christie's own words, here is the essense of the book and its handling of the devastated, sabotaged transition: 'Here are the facts of the Trump transition: The day after Trump was elected, he was handed a detailed road map that would have avoided many of these pitfalls and launched him on a far more promising path, a plan that was fully consistent with his values, his campaign promises, and his publicly stated views. But that plan was thrown in the trash. Literally. All thirty binders were tossed in a Trump Tower dumpster, never to be seen again. Steve Bannon, Rick Dearborn, Jared Kushner and others, for their own selfish reasons, got rid of the guidance that would have made their candidate an immensely more effective president and would have saved him an awful lot of heartache, too. In so doing, they stole from the man they’d just helped elect the launch he so richly deserved." (Source: Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics, Chris Christie, The Big Answer)

Jared tosses all thirty binders of the transition plan in a Trump Tower dumpster, never to be seen again, all because of ego because he disliked Christie, and sadly, the Orange Oligarch let him do it, helping him pour crap all over the Trump presidency
Jared tosses all thirty binders of the transition plan in a Trump Tower dumpster, never to be seen again, all because of ego because he disliked Christie, and sadly, the Orange Oligarch let him do it, helping him pour crap all over the Trump presidency


Steve Bannon told Christie 'The kid’s been taking an ax to your head with the boss ever since I got here, it’s been constant. He never stops. Ancient bitterness, I guess.'
Steve Bannon told Christie 'The kid’s been taking an ax to your head with the boss ever since I got here, it’s been constant. He never stops. Ancient bitterness, I guess.'


Trump was supposed to be Christie's friend but he threw Christie under the bus about Bridgegate as well as the Trump transition team, and he enjoyed it—some friend!
Trump was supposed to be Christie's friend but he threw Christie under the bus about Bridgegate as well as the Trump transition team, and he enjoyed it—some friend!

The Trumps Are Easy Targets to Write About

"Trump and his family set great store by appearances. Look beyond the surface of things, however, and whatever the occasion, you’ll find so wide a selection of cheap metaphors for the wobbly way their universe operates, you’re truly spoilt for choice. . . . If everything in Trump Land is flashy, super-abundant and wholly exorbitant, it’s also superficial, shoddy and almost entirely mean-spirited. At first, to put it mildly, this is queasy-making. . . . Their lives, being all riches and no rags, afford neither reporter nor reader even the slightest change of tone or pace. . . . the Kennedys they are not. How unutterably stupid-seeming they are, and how unspeakably tedious reading about them is. . . . Fox’s book is a gossipy family study; by design, it touches on politics hardly at all. Still, from her brief account of the transition, we learn that Trump wanted nothing to do with the team working on it [which bit him in the ass bigtime later, as cited above] . . . All in all, it fairly makes you weep, though whether from boredom or because no fewer than three of these people are now installed in the White House, it’s sometimes hard to say." (Source: Born Trump: Inside America’s First Family by Emily Jane Fox review – it will make you weep, Rachel Cooke, the Guardian)

The Trumps belong on 'The Apprentice', firing contestants (you're fired!), not in the oval office, firing staffers and cabinet members
The Trumps belong on 'The Apprentice', firing contestants (you're fired!), not in the oval office, firing staffers and cabinet members

This review by Rachel Cooke was a hit job on both the Trumps and Emily Jane Fox's book Born Trump: Inside America’s First Family. Let's face it, these were easy targets. A boring gossip book about a clan of rich, spoiled, gilded Trumplanders who are in way over their heads in a White House that epitomizes the last place on earth they belong. Rachel Cooke did what liberals do: bitch about conservatives, Republicans, and specifically the Trumps. The Trumps belong on The Apprentice, not in the oval office. Many people probably watched it because Ivanka is so gorgeous (Emily Jane Fox calls her "the media mastermind" as well as "very glamorous"), others because Donald is such a good showman, and still others because there was nothing else on. But the Trumps were in their element there, supporting their brand, reality show stars to the last. Or so we thought. But then the Donald got the bright idea of running for president—mostly to get attention, which he's addicted to. The scheme backfired and he won, and his face looked like THIS:

Donald got the bright idea of running for president—mostly to get attention, which he's addicted to. The scheme backfired and he won, and his face looked like THIS
Donald got the bright idea of running for president—mostly to get attention, which he's addicted to. The scheme backfired and he won, and his face looked like THIS

What Trump hit pieces are never going to discuss is how lucky we are someone who has the courage to express disgust for the whole political correctness farce is in the White House. Because none of the Democrats will ever have such courage, we'll be voting for Trump in 2020, since the curse of political correctness is wrecking the country and the 2020 Democratic platform shows that these PC obsessed radicals plan to make everything much worse, even though 80% of the voters do not want this political correctness farce. See Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture.

"By the time Fox gets to some serious conclusions about the Trump children, there have been so many reports of raw rumor that it’s hard to know what to believe. . . . Some of the book’s delicious bits sound plausible. Did people at Ivanka’s publisher judge that her book was 'devoid of emotion' and wonder whether she was human? I can imagine people in New York publishing making such remarks. But does such sniping add to our sense of who Ivanka is? Or does using insults from anonymous sources merely indicate that neither Fox nor other reporters have gotten close enough to see beyond Ivanka’s carefully manicured public image? . . . how does the portrait of Ivanka as a robot comport with the assertion that she is a 'much more nuanced, relatable, aspirational person' than her public image might indicate? . . . There are, however, at least a dozen detailed, delightful descriptions of Ivanka’s dresses and gowns." (Source: Privileged lives of the Trump children, in ‘golden handcuffs’, Marc Fisher, Washington Post)

Marc Fisher's review (Washington Post) is a thoughtful review that sticks to facts rather than fake news
Marc Fisher's review (Washington Post) is a thoughtful review that sticks to facts rather than fake news

Marc Fisher's review of Born Trump: Inside America's First Family takes the high road, and resists the easy targets Rachel Cooke found irresistible. There is no reliable, evidence-backed way of supporting the insulting attributions about Ivanka, and we choose to give Trump's gorgeous daughter the benefit of the doubt. Given the wealth and upbringing and sudden thrust into the political limelight, we see a woman doing a great job of making the best of a stressful situation. Is it jealousy that makes women take swipes at world-class beauties? Who can say? But adding dirt to the gossip mill is not the job of a reviewer. Writing thoughtful reviews that stick to facts rather than fake news is. Mr. Fisher gets credit for not simply hopping onto the Trump hate train

Adding dirt to the gossip mill is not the job of a reviewer. Writing thoughtful reviews that stick to facts rather than fake news is. Marc Fisher gets credit for not simply hopping onto the Trump hate train
Adding dirt to the gossip mill is not the job of a reviewer. Writing thoughtful reviews that stick to facts rather than fake news is. Marc Fisher gets credit for not simply hopping onto the Trump hate train

Trump's Kids

"'Even though he didn't spend a lot of time with them, his presence is overwhelming,' Fox says. 'The emotional hold he had over his kids was really strong.' . . . On the possibility that Ivanka Trump helped convince her father to sign an executive order on June 20 to end the separation of families at the U.S. border . . . [Fox should have stopped right there since she is merely guessing, and blaming Ivanka for not being taken seriously by a sexist father is in itself sexist.]" (Source: 'Born Trump' Examines The 'Emotional Hold' The President Has On His Family, Terry Gross interviews author Emily Jane Fox, NPR)

America has by some estimates twelve million illegal aliens spread across the country, arguably performing jobs many U.S. citizens won’t accept, but at the same time, as critics explain, they soak up social services
America has by some estimates twelve million illegal aliens spread across the country, arguably performing jobs many U.S. citizens won’t accept, but at the same time, as critics explain, they soak up social services

"Ivanka’s friends think she’ll run for president one day [works for us!]. . . Through all the interviews of Ivanka’s close associates, one theme runs rampant in Born Trump: her preternatural ability to spin a message, an eye for business opportunities, and a high level of comfort in the spotlight. . . . None of the family expected Trump to win the election [no one did! including the Donald] . . . The Trumps were basically absentee parents. Ivana and Donald preferred to hire expensive nannies and drivers to deal with their children rather than doing the legwork themselves, and that trend continued once Ivanka went off to Choate, in rural Connecticut. Donald didn’t visit her often and called even less, but he did make time to send her mail a few times a week — mail that usually consisted of newspaper clippings about him." (Source: Born Trump: 13 wild revelations about the first family, Seija Rankin, Entertainment Weekly)

By Fox’s account, the most real-worldly of the sons is Don Jr., who carved his own course for at least a time, even if he morphed into 'a yapping attack puppy, trailing wherever he went the senior attack dog with the much bigger bark' title=
By Fox’s account, the most real-worldly of the sons is Don Jr., who carved his own course for at least a time, even if he morphed into “a yapping attack puppy, trailing wherever he went the senior attack dog with the much bigger bark"

"By Fox’s account, the most real-worldly of the sons is Don Jr., who carved his own course for at least a time, even if he morphed into 'a yapping attack puppy, trailing wherever he went the senior attack dog with the much bigger bark.' . . . High-level gossip of a kind, but a well-sourced, train wreck–fascinating look at the makings of Clan Trump, 'so uniquely suited for the second decade of the twenty-first century and its fame-obsessed, money-hungry, voracious twenty-four-hour cycle of a culture.” (Source: BORN TRUMP: Inside America’s First Family, Kirkus Reviews)

High-level gossip of a kind, but a well-sourced, train wreck–fascinating look at the makings of Clan Trump
Born Trump is High-level gossip of a kind, but a well-sourced, train wreck–fascinating look at the makings of Clan Trump

Ivanka Trump

"In her first year, she [Ivanka] worked to help secure congressional votes and public support for the Republican tax plan — including pushing for expansion of the childhood tax credit — and has championed paid family leave, science and technology education, and other issues. . . . Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said[:] 'She had a couple of staffers, but she really ran the discussion. I was impressed with how smart she was [she speaks 3 languages] and how informed she was and how passionate she was about a cause that is not closely associated with Republican leaders. I just really liked her, right off the bat.' " (Source: What Ivanka Trump is really like behind closed doors, Adapted from a story by The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker, the Lily)

'Everyone can relate to, in some way, how shaped they are by their parents' flaws, their parents' failures, and these kids happen to have a very flawed, very difficult father. He didn't know how to parent,' says Fox (bad parenting illustrated)
'Everyone can relate to, in some way, how shaped they are by their parents' flaws, their parents' failures, and these kids happen to have a very flawed, very difficult father. He didn't know how to parent,' says Fox (bad parenting illustrated)

"But Ivanka, whom he sometimes calls 'Baby' in official meetings, is 'unique.' If Trump sees any of his children as his heir apparent, it’s Ivanka. 'If she ever wanted to run for president,' he said, 'I think she’d be very, very hard to beat.' In the White House, she has projected herself as a cosmopolitan peacemaker, dedicating her efforts largely to issues such as women’s economic empowerment, workforce development, and the fight against human trafficking. She is not a conservative, she enjoys telling people. She is a 'pragmatist.' . . . Having Ivanka as a focus proved convenient to many Republicans, especially white suburban women, straining to rationalize support for a nominee whose style they detested. Following Trump’s victory, even some Democrats pinned their hopes on Ivanka. Hadn’t she met with Planned Parenthood? Al Gore? It all seemed reason enough to believe that the new first daughter would keep her father’s worse impulses in check." (Source: Inside Ivanka’s Dreamworld, Elaina Plott, the Atlantic)

Emily Jane Fox said 'I was like, you know what? This is not necessarily what I want to cover. I don't know what I want to cover, but politics feels like a horse race.’
Emily Jane Fox said 'I was like, you know what? This is not necessarily what I want to cover. I don't know what I want to cover, but politics feels like a horse race.’

Ivanka is certainly between a rock and a hard place, as an advisor in the White House. People were upset about her father's ideas, beliefs, and actions, many of which betrayed racism, xenophobia, anti-environmentalism, sexism, misogyny, and lack of compassion. His daughter is very much the opposite, but is stuck with sticking up for him out of loyalty, even if it pains her seriously. People wanted her to be a moderating influence on her father. They needed this. So they took all of their fantasies about Ivanka changing his mind about destructive ideas and placed them on her shoulders and when she wasn't able to change them, however much she tried, they assigned blame to her. If they'd been paying attention, they'd have noticed the obvious: Trump takes very little advice from anyone. The president does whatever the hell he wants to do—and he always has.

It is sad and dangerous to have a spoiled man-child as president. But he's a mixed blessing because he is totally right to reject and belittle political correctness
It is sad and dangerous to have a spoiled man-child as president. But he's a mixed blessing because he is totally right to reject and belittle political correctness

The idea that he would suddenly change his personality and act more like an adult rather than a spoiled man-child being impulsive, stubborn, rash, and impetuous was naive at best, ignorant at worst. Adults take counsel from those who know more than they do, but spoiled man-child that he is, he ignores advice because he loves the power feeling of being what Dubya Bush called "the decider." He eats junk food instead of real food in spite of his doctor's advice. It is sad and dangerous to have a spoiled man-child as president. But he's a mixed blessing because he is totally right to reject and belittle political correctness, while the liberals are totally wrong to have it as their religion, forcing it on the mainstream media, the universities, and the Hollywood community.

Trump is a mixed blessing because he is totally right to reject and belittle political correctness, while the liberals are totally wrong to have it as their religion, forcing it on the mainstream media, the universities, and the Hollywood community
Trump is a mixed blessing because he is totally right to reject and belittle political correctness, while the liberals are totally wrong to have it as their religion, forcing it on the mainstream media, the universities, and the Hollywood community