Trump Claims, Falsely, That His Father Was Born In Germany

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President Trump is frequently accused of lying. According to a Washington Post analysis at the end of 2018, the president made 15 false claims per day last year.

Sometimes Trump will tell a demonstrable lie when he has no viable or self-interested reason to do so, such as during a White House press availability on Tuesday while talking about NATO fee disputes with Germany.

“Germany, honestly, is not paying their fair share,” the president said.

“I have great respect for [Chancellor Angela Merkel] and I have great respect for the country. My father is German, right, was German, and born in a very wonderful place in Germany.”

Trump’s late father, Fred Trump, was not born in Germany. He was born in 1905 in New York City. Fred Trump’s father Frederick Trump, the president’s grandfather, was born in the Kingdom of Bavaria, in what is now Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1885. Fred Trump’s parents had briefly returned to Germany earlier that year, so it’s possible that Fred Trump was conceived in Germany, but the family was back in New York by the time Fred was born in October 1905.

Trump has said on multiple occasions, per an article in The Guardian in July of 2018, that his father was born in Germany, even though he wasn’t. Fred Trump, during his career in real estate, would sometimes claim Swedish ancestry, which the president himself did in some of his early books.

According to a CNN story published in 2017, citing a book called The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire, the Trumps soft-pedaled their German ancestry when they were in the real estate business because Jewish tenants may have been reluctant to do business with German landlords in the years following the Holocaust. Donald Trump, however, would later embrace his German heritage by the 1990s, serving as grand marshal of New York’s German-American Steuben Parade on more than occasion.

Fred Trump died at age 93 in June of 1999 after suffering from Alzheimer’s in his later years. Trump’s brother, also named Fred, died from an alcoholism-related illness in 1981 when he was only 43-years-old.

Ironically, one of Trump’s more famous lies also involved a false claim about the nation of someone’s birth. Trump claimed regularly, in 2010 and 2011, that President Barack Obama had been born in Kenya, and not in Hawaii, and that therefore he was ineligible to serve as president of the United States. Obama, in fact, was born in Honolulu.