Meet the Trumps: How America’s first family arrived in New York on a steamship from Germany in 1885 and built a sprawling empire in 4 generations
Donald Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump — born Friedrich Drumpf — emigrated to the US from Germany in 1885 at the age of 16.
Friedrich Trump. Wikimedia Commons
Friedrich Trump was born in Kallstadt, Germany, and arrived in New York
on a steamship.
“He didn’t know English. He couldn’t possibly have known English. He didn’t have anything like a high school diploma. He was literate, but in German,” Gwenda Blair, the author behind the 2000 book “The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire,” told the Washington Post.
Friedrich Trump’s family in Germany had modest means and ran a small vineyard. Once he landed in New York, he lived with his older sister on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
A few years later,
Friedrich moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he ran multiple businesses, like restaurants and hotels, across the region in former mining towns during the Gold Rush.
For years, the family claimed they were Swedish.
An aerial view of the Salvator Church of Kallstadt, Germany, 11 January 2018. Uwe Anspach/picture alliance via Getty Images
In 1902, Friedrich married Elisabeth Christ, a former neighbor in Kallstadt.
Friedrich Trump wrote an obsequious letter, practically begging the Prince Regent for a residence permit. BILD
Elisabeth, who was 11 years her husband’s junior, was five when Friedrich first left Germany. He met her during a visit home in 1901.
Elisabeth moved to America with her husband after their wedding. By then, Friedrich was an American citizen. He shuttered his businesses on the West coast and
turned his attention to Queens.
In 1904, the family went back to Germany only to be deported shortly thereafter.
Government officials ruled that Friedrich be deported as he had never fulfilled his mandatory military service and had failed to notify authorities of his move to the US. Friedrich wrote a letter to prince regent of Bavaria in 1905 requesting that he be allowed to continue to live there, but his petitions were rejected.
Upon their return to the US in July of 1904, Friedrich, Elisabeth, and their daughter lived in the South Bronx neighborhood of New York City.
Friedrich Trump died of the Spanish Flu in 1918.
Women working for the Red Cross make masks during the pandemic flu in 1918. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Friedrich Trump was 49 years old when he fell sick in May 1918. He started feeling ill in the afternoon and died “almost immediately”
according to the Washington Post and biographer Gwenda Blair.
Per estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 675,000 people died of the Spanish Flu pandemic in the US.
Friedrich and Elisabeth had three children: Elizabeth, Fred, and John.
Donald Trump’s uncle John, an expert in the early days of high-voltage energy. Courtesy MIT Museum
Elizabeth, Friedrich’s oldest and only daughter,
served as a bookkeeper for her younger brother Fred during his early years in the real estate business. Her son, John Walter, was a self-appointed Trump family historian.
Friedrich’s youngest son, John, has received significant media coverage over the past few years, in part because of President Trump’s
repeated mention of his uncle throughout his presidency. At one point, he called his uncle “a great super genius.” Most recently, John’s name came up while discussing the coronavirus.
John Trump had a storied career as an engineer, working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for over 40 years. Among some of his most noted contributions was a breakthrough in X-Ray technology that
advanced cancer treatment and research.
Frederick Christ Trump, Donald Trump’s father, was born in 1905 shortly after his parents were forced to move back to the US from Germany.
Donald Trump with his father, Fred. AP/MediaPunch Standard
Per a 2018 Independent story, Fred Trump’s first business venture was when he started adding garage extensions to houses as a teenager.
Fred Trump built his career as a real estate mogul in the mid-1900s through construction projects in Brooklyn and Queens and parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia during World War II.
His July 1999 New York Times obituary called him a “self-made man” who built “27,000 apartments and row houses in the neighborhoods of Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.”
In 1973, the Justice Department
sued the Trump Management Corporation for “discrimination against [B]lacks in apartment rentals.” Fred and Donald were both named as defendants on the suit. Donald Trump called the charges “absolutely ridiculous.”
At the time of his death, his estate was estimated to be somewhere between
$250 million and $300 million.
NYT investigation found that President Trump has received over $400 million from his father’s real estate empire, adding that “much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes.”
Responding to the Times investigation, the Trump family said, “All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid. Our father’s estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother’s estate was closed in 2004. Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago, and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls.”
In 1936, Fred Trump married Mary Anne McLeod, a Scottish immigrant.
Donald Trump with Mary McLeod Trump. Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
Trump’s oldest sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, 83, is a retired federal judge.
Maryanne Barry Trump. Julie Jacobson/Associated Press
Barry has degrees from Mount Holyoke College and Columbia University. She has a son, David Desmond, who is a clinical psychologist.
Town & Country magazine, she was nominated to the US District Court by President Ronald Reagan 1983 and the US Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1999.
“I knew better even as a child than to even
attempt to compete with Donald. I wouldn’t have been able to win. He was building models when he was very young. Huge buildings,” Barry told New York Magazine in 2002.
Fred Trump Jr.’s career was a mixture of aviation, entrepreneurship, and joining the family business.
Mary Trump’s father, Fred Trump Jr., is pictured in 1966. Louis Liotta/New York Post Archives /NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty
A Washington Post article referred to Fred Jr. as “tall, blond and movie-star handsome” and “the opposite of Donald Trump — soft-spoken, playful, and often joking.”
Fred died in 1981 at the age of 46. He had struggled with alcoholism, and President Trump has said that Fred’s death has had a
“tremendous impact” on him.
Fred had two children with his wife Linda Lee Clapp — Fred Trump III and Mary Trump, both named after his parents.
On June 14,
the Daily Beast reported that Mary Trump was set to publish a tell-all book about the president. The book, titled “Too Much and Never Enough,” reveals that she was a source in the NYT investigation into the family’s finances.
President Trump is looking into whether he can take legal action to stop Mary from publishing the book,
the Daily Beast also reported days later.
Elizabeth Trump Grau, 78, has stayed out of the family business.
Elizabeth Grau and nephew Donald Trump Jr. attend the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010, in Palm Beach, Florida. Lucien Capehart/Getty Images
In “The Art of The Deal,” President Trump called Elizabeth “
bright but less ambitious.”
Elizabeth attended Southern Virginia University and went on to work at Chase Manhattan Bank, although there are conflicting reports of her exact role at the financial institution.
She’s married to producer James Grau. The couple lives in Florida.
Robert Trump, 72, the youngest Trump sibling, is a former top executive at The Trump Organization.
Donald Trump and Robert Trump in the crowd after speaking during an election rally on Wednesday, November 09, 2016. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
told Page Six in 2016 that he supported his brother running for president “one thousand percent.” He also donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory PAC.
He’s currently retired and living in Hudson Valley, New York.
Donald Trump married his first wife Ivana Marie Zelníčková, a former skier and model, in 1977. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Ivana became a US citizen in 1988.
Family portrait of Ivana Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump, and Ivanka Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 1998. Davidoff Studios/Getty Images
Ivana and Trump were married for 14 years and have three children together: Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka. The couple broke up amid reports of
infidelity on Trump’s part.
During their marriage, Ivana was involved in her husband’s business in varying capacities — running various hotels and casinos, and designing the interiors of properties.
In 2017, Ivana said that President Trump had made her
an offer to be the ambassador to the Czech republic. She said she turned it down because “it’s four years in Prague, so bye-bye to Miami, bye-bye to New York in spring and fall, bye-bye to Saint-Tropez in summer.”
published a book titled “Raising Trump” in 2017 about raising her children. “Donald might not have been the greatest husband to me, but he was a good father to the kids,” she wrote.
Ivanka Trump, Trump’s oldest daughter, is a Senior Advisor to her father.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he believed his daughter, Ivanka Trump, would make a “dynamite” ambassador to the UN. Carlos Barria/Reuters
Named Ivana after her mother,
she goes by her nickname, “Ivanka.”
Ivanka, 38, attended Georgetown University for two years. She transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where she secured a degree in economics.
Ivanka starting modeling as a teenager and walked the runway for Versace,
as Business Insider previously reported.
She’s also dabbled with helping the Trump Organization in deals and negotiations as well as
starting her own lifestyle brand — The Ivanka Trump Collection.
After assuming her role in the White House, she stepped down from both the Trump Organization and her fashion line. When Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and others dropped her fashion line, citing poor sales,
she shut down her brand in 2018.
She’s married to real estate developer Jared Kushner, who is also a senior advisor to the president. They have three children: Arabella, Joseph, and Theodore.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, Trump’s sons, have taken charge of running the Trump Organization during their father’s presidential term.
Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. speak during a ribbon-cutting event at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in The Bronx. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Donald Jr., 42, and Eric, 36, went to the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University, respectively. They’re both executive vice presidents at Trump Organization.
Donald Jr. was married to actress and model Vanessa Trump for 13 years and has five children with her. He’s
currently in a relationship with former Fox News television host Kimberly Guilfoyle. Guilfoyle was formerly married to the Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom.
Eric is married to television producer Lara Trump and has a son with her. They’re expecting a second child in August. In 2018, E News called them “
the most normal, least controversial couple” in the Trump family. He has made media appearances on networks like Fox and CNN to defend statements made by his father.
Eric has been involved with his father’s 2020 reelection campaign, specifically with establishing a rapport with high profile donors and campaign finances,
as Business Insider previously reported.
Trump married Marla Maples in 1993 and separated after four years of marriage, per a 1999 New York Post story.
Marla Maples and her young daughter Tiffany Trump in November 1995. Paul Hurschmann/AP
Their daughter, Tiffany, was born in October 1993. Two months later,
the couple got married at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman wrote that “where Ivana was the austere European with royal aspirations, Maples was a beauty queen from the Bible Belt.”
After separating from Trump in 1997, Maples raised Tiffany in California. Tiffany, now 26,
graduated from Georgetown Law School in May 2020.
Speaking to NYT in 2019, Marla said, “I’m not in the White House. I have friends on both sides. I will just walk in the middle. I’ll do everything I can to remind people that any type of anger or judgment can truly have such a negative impact on ourselves, and absolutely on our environment.”
Trump has been married to Melania Trump, born Knauss, since 2005. They have one son, Barron Trump, who is 14.
First lady Melania Trump visits the historical site of the Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Carolyn Kaster/AP
Melania Trump was born in Slovenia and moved to New York in 1996 when she was 26 years old.
Her White House profile says she appeared in “high profile ad campaigns and [worked] with some of the best photographers in the fashion industry.”
Per a Brides story, Melania and Trump met when he was on a date with another woman. Guests at their wedding included Bill and Hillary Clinton.
One of her most widely-known efforts as the First Lady is the “Be Best” initiative focused on
“major issues facing children today.”
The program has been criticized for
lack of proper policy or a path towards concrete legislation. In May 2020, CNN’s Kate Bennett wrote that “most of its accomplishments in terms of advancing funding for children’s issues under the banner of ‘Be Best’ come via partnerships with programs that already exist within the federal government.”
Washington Post correspondent Mary Jordan
is publishing a book titled “The Art of Her Deal” that includes accounts of Melania renegotiating terms of her prenup after Trump’s 2016 election win and a contentious relationship between with Ivanka.
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(the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)