Donald Trump’s mother, Mary Anne Macleod, is in many ways a study of contradictions. Born dirt poor in Scotland and abused by wealthy landowners, by her middle age she was obsessed with wealth and made sure everyone knew she was rich. And her own personal insecurities about her impoverished upbringing juxtaposed with her later prosperity were passed on to her kids; in particular, her son Donald. As Newsweek reports, understanding Mary Macleod is the key to understanding the 45th president’s own insecurity.
Childhood In The Most Desolate Place On Earth
Tong, a little village in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, which are themselves a desolate patch of islands halfway between Reykjavik and nowhere, was the birthplace of Mary Macleod in 1912. Villagers eked out a living pulling fish from the icy waters and desperately trying to coax crops out of the rocky soil. Wars, shipwrecks, and evictions at the hands of wealthy English landowners, who wanted the land for fishing and hunting, decimated the male population of the islands. By the time Mary was in her late teens, several of her sisters had already taken off for a better life in America, where they found menial work as domestic servants. To Mary, it was better than life in Tong, and she headed to New York to join them.
Marriage To Real Estate Developer Fred Trump
Fred Trump was an up-and-coming builder and real-estate developer when he married Mary Macleod in 1936. The family made their home in Queens, which at the time could best be described as “downmarket.” Nevertheless, within a few years, he was loaded.
Mary, for her part, took to wealth like a moth to a flame. She wore furs while she was chauffeured about Queens in a Rolls Royce. Donald wrote that his mother, mesmerized, watched Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, enjoying the trappings of pomp and circumstance, while her much more humble husband begged her to turn the TV off.
Inheriting His Mother’s Fondness For Wealth
Newsweek writer Nina Burleigh writes that Donald’s obsession with wealth, and his own personal insecurity, comes from the contrast in his mother’s early poverty and later wealth. The reason his homes and buildings are so opulent, says Burleigh, is because of Trump’s need to surround himself with the trappings of wealth. His marriage to Ivana, a woman who herself was known to enjoy the finer things in life, cemented that need to display his wealth.
Macleod, for her part, never forgot her humble roots. She returned to Tong whenever she could and would speak in her native Gaelic rather than English.
Donald, by contrast, seems to have distanced himself from the rest of his family. His few living relatives on his mother’s side, mostly second cousins, don’t like to talk about him. During the campaign, one cousin, Mairi Sterland, told a journalist that she couldn’t even fathom Donald being POTUS.
And as to what his mother might think of what Donald has become in his life?
“I think his mother would be horrified.”