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Mary Trump Breaks Down The Childhood Basis For Trump's Love Of Dictators

Mary Trump went on CNN to explain the basis for Donald Trump's obsession with authoritarian dictators, which goes all the way back to his childhood.

Mary Trump; Donald Trump
CNN; Win McNamee/Getty Images

CNN's Christiane Amanpour spoke with clinical psychologist and niece of former Republican President Donald Trump, Mary Trump, about her uncle's well-documented admiration for dictators.

Amanpour began Saturday's The Amanpour Hour by stating:

"Former President Trump reportedly has an old friend in town next week. He's Hungary's right wing prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who has turned his country into the definition of an illiberal democracy. Orbán is said to be en route for a private meeting at Trump's Florida club, and they'll have plenty to agree on."
"Like their affinity for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who Orbán has courted publicly and Trump has praised for his, quote, 'strong control over Russia'. How will authoritarianism and Trump's admiration for these so-called strongmen play with voters in November?"

After introducing Mary Trump, Amanpour asked:

"Have you ever been surprised or is it true to type that your uncle showed such an affinity for people like Orbán or Putin or even, you know, Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, who he went, you know, miles and miles over to Asia to actually meet a couple of times?"

Mary Trump replied:

"No, actually, one of the things that should worry everybody about Donald is that he has never evolved beyond the kind of person he was when he was very young."
"And it's not at all surprising because he grew up in an authoritian household and because of the way my grandfather—who was a quite straight up sociopath—was [when] Donald became the favorite son and [Donald] knew what he needed to do in order to stay on my grandfather's good side, because he also understood what would happen to him if he didn't."

Mary Trump added:

"So [Donald]'s very comfortable in this milieu and it is extremely important to him that he get the benefit of associating with strongmen like Orbán and Putin, but also that he be on their good side."

You can watch the moment here:

Amanpour then played a clip of former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In a discussion about the dangers of a second Trump presidency to Australia, Turnbull stated:

"I mean, I've been with Trump and Putin. Trump is in awe of Putin."
"He's—when you see Trump with Putin as I have on a few occasions—he's like the 12-year-old boy that goes to high school and meets the captain of the football team, 'My hero'."
"It is really creepy."

You can see Turnbull's comments here:

Amanpour remarked on the similarity between Mary Trump's assessment of her uncle and Turnbull's.

Donald Trump's niece responded:

"Yeah, and I think what's important to know—that most people certainly wouldn't and it is really no laughing matter when at that point the leader of the free world is being described as a prepubescent child with a crush on an older, more powerful person—is what the consequences are."
"It's not simply that Donald knew that by fulfilling his father's demands to be the quote unquote 'killer', to be the successful one."
"It was understanding what would happen to him if he failed to do those things because he had an object lesson in my father, who was quite literally destroyed by his inability to fill the role my grandfather required of him."

Donald Trump went from the spare to the heir when his older brother—Mary's father Fred Trump Jr.—fell out of favor.

Fred Sr. was enraged over Jr.'s choice to become a pilot instead of joining the family real estate business. Donald and his father frequently publicly disparaged Fred Jr.'s career.

The pair likened being an airline pilot to driving a limo or a bus. Fred Jr. died in 1981—18 years before Fred Sr.—at just 42 years of age.

In retaliation for disappointing Fred Sr., Fred Jr. 's children were disinherited by their grandfather.

People concurred with the characterization of Donald Trump's—and his supporters'—attitude regarding authoritarians.

Amanpour also touched on the GOP 2024 presidential frontrunner's legal woes and what worries Donald Trump.

Mary Trump pointed out appearances are everything to her uncle—all flash with zero substance.

"I think it's really important to clarify it's not that he be successful. It's that he be seen to be successful."
"Because deep down, Donald knows that he is nothing of what he pretends to be."
"He’s nothing like the portrait he shows to the world or at least to those people who are inclined to believe the myths he tells about himself."

You can watch the full The Amanpour Hour segment with Mary Trump here: