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Fred Trump

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Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (1905—1999) was an American real estate developer. He is the father of Donald Trump, as well as the United States Appeals Judge Maryanne Trump BarryWikipedia's W.svg. Proving the "Christ" part of his name to be true, in the New York State census of 1925, Trump listed his profession as "carpenter".[1]

Fred Trump built his fortune by profiteering off the US government housing contracts during the post-WWII building boom. Trump was investigated by a 1954 US Senate committee and never charged with a crime, but his tactics are reminiscent of his son's real estate tactics (self-dealing, inflating prices, and shifting risk to other parties while keeping capital).[2][3]

Before his death in 1999, Fred Trump suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for six years. The disease has a genetic component; hopefully it is not the case with his son. America already had an Alzheimer president. He became sick with pneumonia in June 1999 and was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died a few weeks later.[4][5][6]

Views on race[edit]

His racism re-emerged into public debate when his son launched his presidential campaign, with pundits noticing the extent to which "like father, like son" worked out here.[note 1][7] Although it may never be known with certainty what Fred Trump's views on race were, it has been established that the 21-year old Fred was arrested "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so"[8] at a Ku Klux Klan rally-cum-riot in Brooklyn, New York.[9][10] What is not known about this arrest is whether Fred was a Klansman, a fellow traveller or an innocent bystander. However, it is relatively certain that he was not the sort to walk into the hood, shake hands with the Bloods and the Crips, then bust into a soulful, powerful rhythm and funk solo. Donald Trump was asked about the veracity of his father's arrest by the New York Times, Donald flat-out denied it, claiming that his father never lived at 175-24 Devonshire Road as Fred's residence was listed in the original 1927 news report.[10] It has, however, been established that Fred did indeed reside at that address at the time of his arrest.[10] One article on the riot, however, stated that all seven arrestees were all wearing Klan attire (Long Island Daily Press on June 2, 1927).[10]

This might all have been an unimportant footnote in the Trump family history if Fred wasn't a racist, or if Donald had been courageous and repudiated his father's alleged racism, or even if Donald wasn't a racist. Alas, there are some serious doubts.

Fred lied about his German ethnicity to his Jewish tenants and clients by claiming he was of Swedish ancestry[6] — a lie that Donald repeated in his autobiography Tony Schwarz's biography "nonfiction work of fiction" Trump: The Art of the Deal.[11][12] (Where's the birth certificate, Donald?)

In the 1950s, Woody GuthrieWikipedia's W.svg lived as a tenant in one of Fred's buildings (named Beach Haven) and wrote some heretofore unpublished songs about Fred:[13] This:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project

and a rework of his song "I Ain't Got No Home":

Beach Haven ain't my home!
I just can't pay this rent!
My money's down the drain!
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven looks like heaven
Where no black ones come to roam!
No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain't my home!

Fred continued his racist housing policies for several years after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made discrimination in housing illegal.[10] The Trump Management Corporation (TMC) was sued by the federal government in 1973 for refusing to rent to African Americans.[14][10] The lawsuit was initially resolved in 1975 without an admission of guilt.[10] Fred was in charge of TMC until 1971, when Donald took control, which meant that both Fred and Donald were being accused of racial discrimination. In 1978, TMC was again charged with a discrimination lawsuit for violating the original terms of the 1975 agreement.[10] In 1983, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal found that two "Trump Village" residences were 95% white.[10] Donald has dismissed this Fair Housing litigation against him as just one of many such cases. However, according to one of the prosecuting attorneys, Elyse Goldweber, "It was an important, significant step for enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. It was a big deal."[15] Troublingly, Donald is still continuing his fight for the right to discriminate by nominating the completely unqualified Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carson, who is African American, once referred to fair housing as a "mandated social-engineering scheme" and equated it with communism.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. Donald himself has frequently claimed "great genes", despite biological determinism being a pseudoscience: Statement on Donald J. Trump Record of Health, Donald Trump says his late uncle, an MIT professor, was proof of family's smart genes

References[edit]

  1. NY State Census, Queens, NY
  2. Ike Didn't Like Donald Trump's Dad at All: The Donald may love citing President Eisenhower on the campaign trail, but it looks like Ike wasn't a big fan of Trump's father, Fred by Michael D'Antonio (11.22.15 10:00 PM ET) The Daily Beast.
  3. FHA Investigation Hearings Before The Committee On Banking And Currency United States Senate Eighty-Third Congress Second Session Pursuant To S. Res. 229. Afternoon Session (July 12, 1954) + "Trump, Fred C., Beach Haven Apartments, Jamaica, N.Y.: Statement", pp. 395-420.
  4. Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post. 
  5. King, Steve (October 1, 2015). "Does Donald Trump have dementia?". Death and Taxes.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93 by Tracie Rozhon (June 26, 1999) The New York Times.
  7. Dean, Michelle (March 26, 2016). "Making the man: to understand Trump, look at his relationship with his dad". The Guardian. 
  8. In 1927, Donald Trump's father was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens by Philip Bump (February 29, 2016) The Washington Post.
  9. 1927 news report: Donald Trump's dad arrested in KKK brawl with cops by Matt Blum (9:26 am Wed Sep 9, 2015) Boing Boing.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 All the Evidence We Could Find About Fred Trump's Alleged Involvement with the KKK by Mike Pearl (March 10, 2016) Vice.
  11. Donald Trump Even Lies About Being Swedish (He's Actually German): A Swedish website teases the world's most famous comb-over for continuing to peddle his grandfather's fake origin story by Michael Daly (03.24.16 10:02 PM ET) The Daily Beast.
  12. Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All: The Art of the Deal made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth—and regrets it by Jane Mayer (July 25, 2016) The New Yorker.
  13. Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump's Father by Thomas Kaplan (January 25, 2016) New York Times.
  14. Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City by Morris Kaplan (October 16, 1973) The New York Times.
  15. Inside the government's racial bias case against Donald Trump's company, and how he fought it by Michael Kranish and Robert O'Harrow Jr. (January 23, 2016) The Washington Post.
  16. Ben Carson, Trump's HUD Pick, Once Called Fair Housing 'Communism': The retired neurosurgeon turned Trump adviser has little direct experience with fair-housing issues, but that didn't stop him from once likening the discrimination laws to communism by Gideon Resnick (11.27.16 10:05 PM ET) The Daily Beast.