“Don’t. Trust. Anyone. Ever.”—X-ray meets psychoanalysis and balance sheet in this sharp-edged look at the workings of America’s most dysfunctional gang.
When your father is angry, absent, and egomaniacal, it stands to reason that you might turn out a little different from other people—and especially if you throw a lot of money into the equation. So it is, writes Vanity Fair senior reporter and former White House intern Fox, that the Trump family, formed of wives and ex-wives and mistresses and their various offspring, has emerged, with the patriarch’s peculiar brand of tutelary wisdom: Don’t ever trust anyone, even if that anyone is a member of your own family. In one small but telling passage, Trump asks a confidant what to do with two sons of such divergent abilities as Don Jr. and Eric; when told that he should give the smarter all the challenges he could come up with and the less smart all the challenges he could handle, the answer came back that it was a nice idea, less nice in practice, “because they figure out that’s what you’re doing.” By Fox’s account, the most real-worldly of the sons is Don Jr., who carved his own course for at least a time, even if he morphed into “a yapping attack puppy, trailing wherever he went the senior attack dog with the much bigger bark.” Canine metaphors aside, Melania comes in for the tiniest amount of sympathy, and perhaps Ivanka too, though a juicy bit of dish comes with the author’s account of the zeitgeist-innocent first daughter’s ill-conceived and certainly ill-delivered homily to working women, a failure that, one publishing executive says, "was a bloodbath.”
High-level gossip of a kind, but a well-sourced, train wreck–fascinating look at the makings of Clan Trump, “so uniquely suited for the second decade of the twenty-first century and its fame-obsessed, money-hungry, voracious twenty-four-hour cycle of a culture.”