Fred Trump (1905-1999). Put another 50 lbs. on him, dye his hair blonde, dye his skin orange, give him a comb-over, remove the vest and put him in a dark blue suit with a necktie tied too long, and you have Donald.
Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio identifies the male influences, including his father, who trained Donald Trump in his “Law of the Jungle” philosophy and convinced him that bullying works and only success matters.
[F]or those of us who have followed Trumpâ€™s career from the start, the worldview he has trotted out to the public is no surprise. Some people seem shocked that he embraces torture without compunction; openly admires the suppression of freedom by Chinese and Russian dictators; and shows little grasp of ethics, governance or constitutionalism, as evidenced by his insistence that the U.S. openly engage in war crimes (by killing the families of terrorists). Or that he often seems ignorant of history and the economic benefits of free trade, dismissing the U.S. alliance and trading system that won the Cold War as â€œobsolete,â€ calling regularly for punitive tariffs and insisting over and over again, â€œWe never win anymore,â€ as if trade were a zero-sum game (which it is not). Or that he relishes the idea that people at his rallies punch each other, suggesting that his supporters â€œknock the crap out ofâ€ any disrupters.
But, as Trump’s biographer, I can tell you these views fundamentally define the man. And if youâ€™re lookingâ€”or perhaps hopingâ€”for something more, you shouldnâ€™t expect to find it. If you are seeking reassurance that the man who could be the next president of the United States possesses a coherent political philosophy or ethical foundation other than this rather pre-Enlightenment code of behaviorâ€”that he subscribes to the ideals of the Founders, or has studied and understood American democracy, human rights and our Constitutional systemâ€”you wonâ€™t get it.
Rare if not unique in American politics, Trumpâ€™s views and provocations are consistent with his biography.