Mary Trump beamed-in for a virtual interview with the women of The View on Thursday and the panel had many thoughts — many good, some bad, some a little bit confused — about her bestselling memoir about her family and her uncle Donald Trump.
While co-hosts Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin had Mary, a 55-year-old clinical psychologist, expand on different details from her book, Too Much and Never Enough, Meghan McCain had different questions for her.
The panel’s main conservative voice made clear that, as a rule, she viewed Mary’s memoir skeptically.
She also pushed Mary to explain her motives to people who, in McCain’s words, assumed she was seeking money.
“I think I’ve made it clear to your publishers: I don’t like books like this,” McCain, 35, told Mary. “I don’t like family tell-all books, especially when it comes to families with fame and power, because they’re told from the one side and often the subjects are villainized to the point that I don’t actually end up believing the stuff written.”
McCain, daughter of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, continued: “There have been books about my family which are complete and total garbage, told from a skewed perspective, and at the end of the day you get a really good paycheck out of it. But I don’t think it’s that legitimate.”
To that, Mary replied: “You’re entirely entitled to your opinion. I think if you read the book, you see that I bring to the story my very deep experience within the family. I’m not some stranger writing it — I’m his niece.”
“I am not extended family,” Mary said. “Donald’s my dad’s younger brother and my cousins, Donald’s children, are completely irrelevant to the story I was telling, which is in my view the foundational narrative about my family and how Donald became the person he is.”
.@MeghanMcCain to Mary Trump: “What do you say to people like me who think this is just a great way for you to get a paycheck right now?”
Trump: “If I had wanted to cash in… I would have done this ten years ago… and I would not have been taking the risks that I’m taking.” pic.twitter.com/grPPGHYcHt
— The View (@TheView) July 23, 2020
Tasos Katopodis/Getty; Mary Trump/Twitter From left: President Donald Trump and Mary Trump
Simon & Schuster
“If I had wanted some measure of revenge, if I had wanted to cash in, as you say, I would have done this 10 years ago when Donald was still a very public figure and I would not have been taking the risks that I’m taking,” Mary told McCain.
“I mean, we’ve all seen how whistleblowers fare in this administration,” she continued. “So I would much have preferred not to do this. But I felt it was extremely important that the American people have all of the information they need in order to make an informed decision.”
“But you weren’t concerned enough to not go to the White House and have dinner with him,” McCain told her, adding that, in her view, Mary has “a complicated relationship with [the president] and this family that I don’t understand.”
Citing the fact that the Trump family has largely disavowed Too Much and Never Enough — even going to court to try to stop its release — McCain challenged Mary on how involved she was with her aunts and uncles and cousins and what should be made of the fact that Mary visited the White House in 2017.
“I do think if you were probably close to that family you would probably know your cousins, Don Jr. and Ivanka, on a level that you clearly don’t,” McCain told her.
Mary Trump on why she calls her grandfather, Pres. Donald Trump’s father, a “high-functioning sociopath” who she says destroyed Donald: “My grandfather treated everything as a zero-sum game. If you weren’t winning, you were losing.” https://t.co/26VZnZVVIL pic.twitter.com/BeaWhKJ007
— The View (@TheView) July 23, 2020
Mary, in turn, said “to focus on these things is to take away from my the actually important things I write about in the book.”
“Families are extremely complicated,” she said.
Of her 2017 dinner at the White House, which she recounts early in her memoir, she explained on The View: “The administration was at that point less than four months old. I was going there for my aunts’ birthdays, not to take advantage of Donald’s position.”
And as directly as McCain had pushed back on Mary — saying she had dinner with the president three years ago on the “taxpayers’ dime” — Mary was just as forthright.
“I’m not entirely sure why you’re so focused on my cousins who, again, are so much younger than I am,” she said. And: “I did not go to the White House on the taxpayer dime, that’s a quite absurd thing to say.”
Elsewhere in her View interview, Mary elaborated on some of what she wrote in her memoir, which she said was a combination of her memories growing up in her family, conversations with key players an reliance on various documents and past news reporting.
The five Trump siblings, including Donald Trump
Mary told Hostin that religion had “no importance … whatsoever” to the president, who has described himself as a champion of evangelical Christians, and she that “growing up, I never known anybody in my family actually to interact with a person of color.”
Rather, she said she witnessed anti-Semitism and the use of racial slurs.
Echoing the savage view of her family’s bonds, whose dysfunction she said traces to patriarch Fred Trump Sr., she told Behar:
“It goes back all the way to my grandfather because in my family, and this can’t be emphasized enough, weakness of any kind was fatal. It was a fatal flaw. But it wasn’t just weakness of character. Illness was considered weakness.”
The White House has said her book, which her publisher said has broken sales records since its July 14 release, is full of “falsehoods.” Her uncle Robert unsuccessfully sued her to try to stop it and said it was a “disgrace.”
“Mary Trump, a seldom seen niece who knows little about me, says untruthful things about my wonderful parents (who couldn’t stand her!) and me,” the president tweeted last week.