The disgraceful story of what Donald Trump did to his own nephew will tell you all you need to know about him.
Donald Trump faced criticism of a different sort earlier this year after it was revealed that he allegedly withheld funds that paid for the medical bills for a sick infant during a bitter family feud over money.
The story was part of an expose published by The New York Times detailing Trump’s relationship with his older brother, Freddy.
As The New Yorker reports, “The article contained some interesting stuff about the young Donald Trump. And, buried toward the end, it also referred to an incident that says something about the adult Trump, what sort of a person he is, and what kind of President he might be.”
“In 2000, during a family dispute about the details of his father’s will, Trump, who was by then fabulously wealthy in his own right, cut off benefits from the family health plan that were paying for the medical care of his nephew’s seriously ill young son,” The New Yorker continued.
The 1999 incident was detailed by Heidi Evans in an article published by The Daily News on December 19, 2000. Evans, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for her editorials on behalf of Ground Zero workers, began her piece with the following:
Even when it comes to a sick baby in his family, Donald Trump is all business. The megabuilder and his siblings Robert and Maryanne terminated [Fred Trump, III] their nephew’s family medical coverage a week after he challenged the will of their father, Fred Trump. “This was so shocking, so disappointing and so vindictive,” said niece Lisa Trump, whose son, William, was born 18 months ago at Mount Sinai Medical Center with a rare neurological disorder that produces violent seizures, brain damage and medical bills topping $300,000.
Fred Trump, Sr., Donald’s father, died on June 25, 1999 “at age 93 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years,” according to The Daily News. Fred Trump, III, spoke at the funeral telling mourners “that his grandfather was a generous man who had always shown an underlying responsibility to those in need.”
While Fred delivered his eulogy, his wife, Lisa, sat in one of the front pews, pregnant with their third child. That night, after returning to their home in Greenwich, Conn., Lisa went into labor. All seemed well at first. But 48 hours after baby William Trump was born, he turned blue in his mother’s arms, his body stiffening and then shaking uncontrollably. It was the first of many devastating seizures to come. What followed for the next harrowing six weeks of his life were brain scans, spinal taps, blood tests and heart-wrenching visits to three hospitals, including Yale Medical Center. Doctors eventually diagnosed William with infantile spasms, a rare disorder that can lead to cerebral palsy or autism and a lifetime of care.
“We just don’t know what William’s future holds, what he will be able to do in his life,” said Lisa, a full-time mom. During the baby’s three-week stay at Mount Sinai, Robert Trump [Donald’s brother] called to assure his nephew that whatever the child needed would be covered by Precise, the Trump company medical plan. Round-the-clock nurses. Neurologists. Pulmonologists. Emergency room visits when William stopped breathing twice in the first eight months of his fragile life. “We were so relieved when Robert called,” Fred remembered. Robert’s call to Fred and Lisa was followed by a July 19 letter from a Trump company lawyer to the family insurance broker, which read: “Please instruct Precise to pay 100% of all costs relating to baby William’s care, notwithstanding any plan limits (percentage, number of visits, or maximum dollar amount); and … whether or not they are deemed by Precise to be medically necessary.”
The New Yorker explains that:
The situation changed in March, 2000, after Fred III and his wife, Lisa, filed suit in Queen’s Surrogate Court, claiming that Fred, Sr., who died in June, 1999, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that his will had been “procured by fraud and undue influence” on the part of Donald, his brother Robert, a New York businessman, and his sister Maryanne, a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey. The will had divided most of their father’s estate, which was worth somewhere between a hundred million and three hundred million dollars, between the families of his surviving children, leaving considerably less to Freddy’s descendants than to other siblings’ children.
Trump and his siblings insisted that the will accurately reflected their father’s wishes. After the challenge, it didn’t take them long to retaliate. On March 30th, Fred III received a certified letter telling him that the medical benefits provided to his family by the Trump organization would end on May 1st. The letter prompted Fred III to return to court, this time in Nassau County, where a judge ordered the Trumps to restore the health coverage until the dispute was resolved.
Unapologetic, Donald Trump told The Daily News: “When [Fred 3rd] sued us, we said, ‘Why should we give him medical coverage?'” Asked by Evans whether he thought cutting the funds could appear cold-hearted considering William’s medical condition, he responded, “I can’t help that. It’s cold when someone sues my father. Had he come to see me things could very well have been much different for them.” Donald also stated that “It’s sort of disappointing. They sued my father, essentially. I’m not thrilled when someone sues my father.”
“You have to be tough in this family. I guess I have what my father didn’t have. I will stick to my guns. I just think it was wrong,” Fred told The Daily News, adding: “These are not warm and fuzzy people. They never even came to see William in the hospital. Our family puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional.”
Freddy’s sister, Mary Trump, told The Daily News “My aunt and uncles should be ashamed of themselves. I’m sure they are not.”
Jason Horowitz of The New York Times recently interviewed Donald Trump and reported on January 2, 2016 that: “Mr. Trump said that the litigation had been settled ‘very amicably’ and that he was fond of Fred III, who works in real estate, though not for the Trump organization.”