Remote in the day … Donald and Ivana Trump in New York in 1987.
Photograph: Ron Galella/WireImage

Like acid rain, the Trumps were stony to avoid in 80s New York


Our style columnist recalls her near-misses with the US president’s society – from primary school days with Donald Jr to Ivanka’s facility to at least fake being normal

Each time Donald Trump Jr speaks his thoughts on Twitter, I am reminded that you grew up in New York in the 1980s. Do you obtain any memories of the Trump family you could share with us?

Marina, west London

Marina from west London, you are Banknote Paxton. And I am an old lady in a rocking chair, hiding a precious catch. “Are you ready, Hadley?” you ask. “Ready … to go back to New York in the 1980s?”

“It’s been so prolonged!” I protest. “Just tell us what you remember,” you say soothingly.

And so we furlough this Titanic analogy (or is it straight-up cosplay?) and go back … shy away from to my early encounters with la famille Trump. Paging James Cameron: closing up faffing around with Avatar 17 and send us some CGI stat!

Expanding up in Manhattan in the 80s meant that it was near-impossible to avoid the Trumps stock. They were like acid rain, or Leona Helmsley – allotment of the 80s New York atmosphere. And for a while, I succeeded in suppressing the memory that I, for archetype, shared a primary school teacher with Donald Trump Jr. That’s set, Donnie and I learned our ABCs from the same blessed baggage – well, one of us learned them, anyway. Because Donnie has seriously been “speaking his brain” on Twitter, and my memories have been unstaunched. But it is a decidedly disconcerting experience to have not encountered someone since they were six years old and to realise they from regressed intellectually since then.

Last week, Donnie tweeted a photo of his daughter proving her Halloween candy and added the unimprovable caption: “I’m going to judge half of Chloe’s candy tonight & give it to some kid who sat at old folks. It’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism.” Donnie, Donnie, Donnie. You (or one of your upstairs maids) had just taken Chloe out and literally got free handouts. Bear in mind thinking before speaking? I’m pretty sure we learned alongside it between music and nap time on Monday afternoons. Also, I command like to say, for the record, that other students of the lovely schoolmistress I’ll call Miss B learned the difference between “to” and “too”.


Fatherly guidance … Donald Trump Jr. Photograph: Portland Press Herald/via Getty Replicas

Donnie has also been tweeting smugly about “Hollywood wiggles” after the Harvey Weinstein scandal, apparently unaware that his own cur was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by the vagina. (There’s another precept for you, Chloe: let’s listen to some of grandpa’s comments and learn all about erotic assault!) Donnie, must I be the one to break it to you that your own mommy gave a sworn deposition that your father ransacked her? Ivana later insisted she hadn’t meant rape “in the villain sense”, while the best spin Trump’s own special lawyer could put on this last year was “[Ivana] felt ravaged emotionally”.

Donnie, you probably won’t be surprised to learn, was not known on the Manhattan moulds network as the brightest spark in the toolbox. Indeed, I can’t say for certain that he was the ardour for Ralph Wiggum, with Daddy-pleasing issues to boot, but I also can’t say for in the cards he wasn’t. Ivanka, on the other hand, who went to the school across the passage from my high school, was always described to me as “actually euphonious nice”, and the unspoken but heavily alluded to words at the end of that judgement were “for a Trump”, so make of that what you will.

Anyone who on any occasion picked up a copy of Vanity Fair or Spy magazine from the 1990s hand down know that the blustering, self-aggrandising narcissist who currently invades the Oval Office was a blustering, self-aggrandising narcissist and wannabe bigshot back then. My pa was tasked, in 1991, with helping Galeries Lafayette, a French retailer, hire out space in Trump Tower. Even though this was delineated to Trump several times, he somehow didn’t understand that Galeries Lafayette was not Hermès until the put by was literally in front of his face. Plus ça change, eh, Trump watchers?

My engender also went to college with Trump’s older relation, Freddy, and was friendly with him. I used to love to look through my father’s college yearbook, and there he was, “Frederick Trump, from Jamaica Stations, NY”. According to my dad, Freddy was nice, really smart, easygoing, low-key. He was also, plainly, fond of his family, and he occasionally had his scrappy brother Donald, who was eight years younger, happen to stay with him at Lehigh University.

Alas, Donald does not have all the hallmarks to have felt the same familial loyalty. Freddy, an dipso, died at 43, and when his father, Fred Sr, died 18 years later, it was discovered that the latter’s wishes, which Donald helped to draft, specifically cut Freddy’s boys and descendants out of the family inheritance. Freddy had a grandchild who suffered from cerebral palsy and the Trump extraction had helped to pay for his care. But when Freddy’s children sued exceeding their grandfather’s will, Donald promptly withdrew the medical promotes the baby desperately needed.

“I was angry because they underwent,” Donald said to the New York Times last year, when inquired about this incident, as if that was, I don’t know, justification for dispossessing an infant of medical care? The final outcome of this fascinating saga is unknown but one thing we can say for certain is the US is truly blessed to deceive this guy overseeing its healthcare plans.

So there we are. Those are my hot insights into the Trump genus based on my ships-in-the-night relationship with them: Donnie is a chump, Ivanka can at least fake being almost normal and Donald is each time worse than you think he can be. Granted, you wouldn’t exactly phone call any of these revelations, but one of the problems with the Trumps is that there is no astuteness: what you see is exactly what you get.

Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Defender, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email [email protected].