* Originally published in December 2016.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was one of the more intriguing parts of his full portrait. He expressed deep admiration for Mary, who passed away in 2000 at 88 years of age, having stated in his book “The Art of the Comeback”: “Part of the problem I’ve had with women has been in having to compare them to my incredible mother, Mary Trump.”
At the same time, her humble beginnings in a Scottish fishing village and background as an immigrant have had seemingly little impact on Donald as regards his sympathy – or lack thereof – for those who come to America seeking a better life.
So it was interesting to find this 1994 interview with Mary Trump, plucked from the archives of RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster.
The brief segment, from Bibi Baskin’s show “It’s Bibi,” featured the famed Irish tenor Frank Patterson in conversation with Mary Trump. It took place at the (since bankrupt and closed) Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where Patterson was playing two concerts.
She talks about the first time they met, at Booth Memorial Hospital, when Mary was there recovering from injuries after being mugged.
She delves into her Scottish origins, born in “a little town called Stornoway, on the Island of Lewis, way up in the Hebrides, way up in the Hebrides. Beautiful little island.
“I grew up there, came to New York, met my husband, went back to Scotland, came back to New York to get married.”
She describes Ireland and Scotland as being “very intertwined.”
Donald was not in Atlantic City with them that weekend because he’d received a call from Steven Spielberg asking him to make a cameo in a movie, and “of course he didn’t want to say no.” (According to IMDB the only cameos Trump made that year were in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “The Little Rascals,” neither of which Spielberg worked on, but who knows?)
She talks about the pain of losing her oldest son, Fred, who died of alcoholism in 1981 at just 43. “Our oldest daughter [Maryanne] is a federal judge… and of course there’s Donald and Robert and Elizabeth,” she says.
Patterson says that it’s been a privilege for him to know the Trump family. “They’re wonderful people. It’s amazing, when you come to America, you know, this is the kind of thing that happens – you just meet so many wonderful people.”
One also can’t help but notice that Trump seems to take after his mother in the hair department.
As this New Yorker article about Mary Trump put it:
“Both mother and son shared a penchant for dynamic hair sculpting, as for years Mary Trump appeared in photos with a dramatic orange swirl. Slight in frame, she took to New York City’s streets draped in furs and jewelry, a far cry from the teen-age girl who set sail during the Great Depression. ‘Looking back, I realize now that I got some of my sense of showmanship from my mother,’ Trump wrote in his 1987 book, ‘The Art of the Deal.’ He recounted how his mother was ‘enthralled by the pomp and circumstance’ of watching Queen Elizabeth’s coronation on television. ‘She always had a flair for the dramatic and grand. She was a very traditional housewife, but she also had a sense of the world beyond her.’
People on Twitter also caught on to the similarity earlier this year.
Make fun of Donald Trump's hair all you want. It's a tribute to his sweet, old mom. pic.twitter.com/Oh48DjF66r— James Nolen (@jamesnolen) July 26, 2016