The Trump Files: Why Donald Called His 4-Year-Old Son a “Loser”

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on September 1, 2016.

If you’re hosting a TV show that claims to be a “roadmap to the American Dream,” who better to turn to for tips on success than the Trump family? So in 2006, CNBC’s Donny Deutsch brought Donald Trump, Jr. onto his show, The Big Idea, to get the “next-generation billionaire secrets” on how to make it big. Trump Jr.’s lesson, passed down from his dad at an early age, was simple: paranoia.

Seven o’clock in the morning, I’m going to school—hugs, kisses, and he used to say a couple things. ‘No smoking, no drinking, no drugs.’ I think a great lesson for any kid. But then he followed up with: ‘Don’t. Trust. Anyone. Ever.’ And, you know, he’d follow it up two seconds later with, ‘So, do you trust me?’ I’d say, ‘Of course, you’re my dad.’ He’d say, ‘What did I just—’ You know, he thought I was a total failure. He goes, ‘My son’s a loser, I guess.’ Because I couldn’t even understand what he meant at the time. I mean, it’s not something you tell a four-year-old, right? But it really means something to him.”

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate