A pint-sized bully who loved to pull girls’ hair and once lobbed rocks at a toddler in his playpen. A loud-mouthed classroom know-all who could never admit he was wrong and boasted of giving the music teacher a black eye. And a sporting show-off who yearned to hear the crowd’s applause… but who would smash his baseball bat in fury if he didn’t win.
Arrogant, over-bearing, thin-skinned, determined, and not exactly great with the ladies — does this portrait of a child growing up in Fifties surburban New York sound like a certain grown-up (well, sort of grown-up) currently strutting the world stage?
It was Aristotle who said “Give me the child until he’s seven and I will show you the man”, and Donald Trump, now 73, would certainly agree. The 45th U.S. President insists he’s much the same character now as he was when he was in junior school.
According to Trump Revealed, a new biography compiled by Washington Post journalists who spoke to dozens of people who knew Trump as a child, he’s not wrong. The psychological resemblance is uncanny, and not a little disconcerting.
Born in June 1946, Trump was the fourth of five children to Fred Trump, a ruthless Queens builder and property developer, and his Scottish-born wife, Mary, an immigrant who had fled poverty on the Isle of Lewis and met Fred at a dance in New York. Trump Sr was a dour, authoritarian patriarch who dressed in a jacket and tie even at home.
They were the envy of their neighbours with a chauffeur, cook, colour television, intercom system and two Cadillacs with consecutive personalised number plates (virtually nobody had one back then but, of course, the showy Trumps had two).
Donald — with his ten-speed Italian racing bike and a huge, elaborate model train set — made the local children green with envy.
He clearly left an impression on his neighbours, classmates and teachers because so many could remember at least one chilling anecdote about him 60 years later.
When a ball bounced into their garden, he threatened to tell his father and the police about those responsible.
Dennis Burnham, who lived next door, was a toddler when his mother briefly put him in a playpen in their garden. She returned a few minutes later to find the current U.S. president, then aged five or six, standing at his fence throwing rocks at the little boy.
His mother warned Dennis to “stay away from the Trumps” as they didn’t want him “beaten up” by the family bully.
Another local child, Steven Nachtigall, now a 66-year-old doctor, said he never forgot Trump, a “loudmouth bully”, once jumping off his bike and pummelling another boy.
The disturbing image remained in his brain decades later, he said, because “it was so unusual and terrifying at that age”.
The 45th U.S. President insists he’s much the same character now as he was when he was in junior school
Young Donald — whose nicknames at school included Donny, The Trumpet and Flat Top (for the blond pompadour hairstyle he had even as a child) — picked mercilessly on his own little brother, Robert, a quiet and sensitive child.
The future property tycoon later liked to boast how he once stole Robert’s building blocks and, so pleased with what he built, glued them together so his brother could never use them again.
With his siblings, Donald went to a smart private primary school called Kew-Fores, where he quickly became notorious for being unruly, going around with a gang of boys who pulled girls’ hair and talked during class.
“He would sit with his arms folded with this look on his face — I used the word surly — almost daring you to say one thing or another that wouldn’t settle with him,” recalled former teacher Ann Trees.
It’s an image that anyone who saw one of the 2016 Republican presidential debates can easily imagine.
Ditto, a former classmate, recalled a boy who would never admit he was wrong, no matter how trivial the subject. “He had a reputation for saying anything that came into his head,” he added.
Trump spent so much time in detention that the punishment was nicknamed “DT” in his honour.
When he was seven, he yanked classmate Sharon Mazzarella’s pigtails. She chased him downstairs and smashed him over the head with her metal lunchbox.
Trump admits he was a troublemaker at primary school. “I liked to stir things up and I liked to test people,” he said years later. “It wasn’t malicious so much as it was aggressive.” Trump bragged for a long time that, aged eight, he almost got expelled for giving his music teacher a black eye “because I didn’t think he knew anything about music”.
However, it later emerged he had exaggerated. The teacher, Charles Walker, remembered Trump as supremely attention-seeking. Told on his deathbed that Trump was running for president, he reportedly remarked that even at ten, Donny had been a “little sh*t”.
“When I look at myself in first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same,” Trump told a biographer.
“The temperament is not that different.”
From most other adults, such an observation would sound endearing. Now, as he stands with his finger on the nuclear trigger, as President of the United States, it’s more than a little terrifying.
~via Daily Mail