What do we know about Donald Trump’s siblings?
The former president has never been the kind of politician who keeps their family out of the spotlight. Moreover, anyone who has so much as peeked at some headlines in the past few years knows that his five children are in them as much as he is.
We won’t talk about Trump’s children today, but about Trump’s siblings. They’ve had their share of the spotlight as well, and family history became a hot topic in 2020 with the explosive release of Mary Trump’s tell-all book, “Too Much and Never Enough.” You can find it here.
The daughter of Donald’s brother, Mary, spilled the tea in her book, delivering an unprecedented look at her entire family dynamic. Apparently, Donald’s sister, Maryanne, was one of Mary’s most vocal sources.
When Maryanne died in 2023, she left behind a complicated legacy, bringing up a fascinating question: What went on behind the scenes, and were there other less known tidbits out there about the Trump’s siblings? Let’s find out some intriguing facts about them!
1. Maryanne Trump Barry had reportedly doubled down on her thoughts about her brother
We start with the most famous of Trump’s siblings. After her passing, Donald paid tribute to her sister, lauding her as a beautiful and elegant woman, “with a presence like no other,” and a great judge. Some voices said the two had mended fences, but inside sources claimed that this absolutely wasn’t the case.
In 2020, a recorded conversation between Maryanne and her niece, Mary Trump, went public, and it was stuff that included comments that ranged from confessing to doing homework for him as a kid to stating that “it’s the phoniness and this cruelty.” She also added that “Donald is cruel.”
The inside sources stated that while they had been close, the release of the audio had driven a bit of beef between them. So yes, not all of Trump’s siblings were fine with their brother’s behavior.
2. Why didn’t Maryanne join the family business?
Another bombshell dropped on the 2020 release mentioned above was the confession that she had asked Trump for help in securing an appointment as a federal judge. Her request materialized as a recommendation from her brother’s attorney, Roy Cohn.
Maryanne said that although it was the only time she asked her brother for anything, she wasn’t thrilled that he had apparently never let her forget it. So, it may be fair to say that Trump’s siblings got preferential treatment, but with a price. So why didn’t Maryanne go into the family business instead?
In 2002, some journalists did some digging work, and they discovered an article where she explained that she knew better even as a kid than to even try to compete with Donald. “I wouldn’t have been able to win,” she added.
3. Fred Trump Jr. joined a Jewish fraternity
Fred Trump Jr. was the second child after Maryanne, who was the oldest one in the family. Since she was never intended to take over the family business, it was Fred Jr. who was always seen as the one who would do that. Similar to other Trump’s siblings, he wasn’t what his family expected him to be.
Fred Jr. had no interest in taking over the family business and instead had the goal of becoming a pilot. While Donald Trump’s stated that his brother struggled with opioid addiction, a tidbit reported by some sources has some insight into just how much Fred Jr. had wanted to stay away from this family.
He even joined a Jewish fraternity when he went to college. Initially claiming to have Jewish ancestry, Fred Jr. was allegedly part of the Lehigh University fraternity. His friend Bruce Turry recalled that the fraternity move may have been Freddy’s “first attempt to make his statement to his father.”
Read on to discover other unknown facts about Trump’s siblings!
4. The end of a dream for Fred Jr.
Not all of Trump’s siblings got into politics. Although Fred Jr. was pressured by family to lean toward real estate, he stood his ground and followed his calling—flying. His father eventually secured him a job with TWA as a pilot, but Fred Jr.’s struggles with alcohol had completely gripped him within a matter of years.
After getting married in 1962—he had been flying for a bit at the time—he stepped down from that. While his family claimed he set aside his flying career voluntarily, Bob Kavula, the vice president of the TWA Retired Pilots Association, showed a different side of the story.
When journalists spoke to him, Kavula said that Fred Jr. didn’t even finish his year-long probation, as he was “terminated because he had a drinking problem.” Furthermore, one of his longtime friends, Annamaria Forcier, suggested he was forced to work for the family firm.
Trump’s siblings had the resources to live a good life, but did they enjoy the process? Who knows…
5. Fred Jr. pulled strings to get Donald into college
Donald Trump went to Wharton, and he recalled those days multiple times, saying the college was “super genius stuff” and claiming he was a “great student.” Some disagree with that, with one of his classmates saying that Trump was never going to have to study a lot because “he was going to get a gentleman’s degree.”
While details like these are known, there’s a story that may have slipped through the cracks: Fred Jr. allegedly pulled some strings to get his brother accepted in the first place. So, it’s safe to say that Trump’s siblings played a role in his political career.
Fred Jr. happened to be friends with someone who was working in the admissions office of the Wharton School of Finance. His name was James Nolan, and he ended up being the only one who interviewed Donald.
According to him, getting into the school was, at the time, “not very difficult,” adding that he wasn’t struck by the fact that he was sitting before a genius.
6. No one really knows anything about Elizabeth Trump Grau
Not all of Trump’s siblings are famous people. Elizabeth Trump Grau is Trump’s last surviving sibling, and… that’s pretty much everything people know about her.
At some point in 2020, it was thought that she stepped out of the shadows to support his brother’s presidential campaign because of a post on a Twitter account called @thebettytrump. However, it wasn’t her; some right-wing media outlets picked up on it. Journalists from Vice reached out to her, and she stated that she doesn’t even belong to Twitter.
Elizabeth is such a private person that she wasn’t mentioned much in her sister’s headline-making book. According to an inside source, the brother and sister aren’t particularly close.
7. Robert Trump, the video game mogul
Robert Trump passed away in 2020, and the then-president Trump issued a statement saying, “He wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend.”
We know that Robert was the youngest of Trump’s siblings and that he tried to stop the publication of his niece Mary’s book. It’s also known that he has spent most of his life as an executive in the family business, but what most people don’t know is that he held a surprising position on the board of directors of one of the video game industry’s biggest powerhouses.
The name of the company is ZeniMax, which may not ring any bells. The games it oversees will, though: It’s the parent company of Bethesda Game Studios, which is behind the “DOOM,” “Elder Scrolls,” and “Fallout” franchises.
If you liked our article on Trump’s siblings, you may also want to read Trump vs. Biden: What Do Their First Two Years of Presidency Look Like?