BORN TRUMP: Inside America’s First Family
By Emily Jane Fox
Harper Collins 2018
Reviewed by Rev. Karyn Packard
Of late, we are accustomed to seeing Emily Jane Fox interviewed on cable news programs related to her editorial relationship to the President’s fixer, Michael Cohen. Fox is a journalist for Vanity Fair. On TV, you experience her friendly and empathetic style. It stands out amidst the more authoritative voices that provide interpretation of our daily news. I experienced Born Trump through her same personal lens. You feel like you are reading a story in an entertainment journal. It is definitely not a book about politics. It is a book about people…this bizarre First Family that currently oversees our lives. The book does not expose sources and has no footnotes or bibliography. It is full of copyright errors and run-on sentences.
What it really is, is gossip. Very well-researched gossip, however. Ms. Fox interviewed friends, former classmates, colleagues, business associates, etc., to learn the ins-and-outs of our First Family. While some of the details are boring and already known to us, some are shocking, and some are really terrifying. We are introduced to the three unique sets of parenting styles: Donald and Ivana, Donald and Marla and Donald and Melania, not to mention the parenting that Donald himself received. We are up-front and personal with the lives and exploits of Eric, Donald Jr., and Ivanka (including Jared). Under-aged Barron is spared the scrutiny. Their ages span from 40-12 and Barron could be Don Jr’s son.
The reader gets a glimpse at the wedding guest lists for all the aforementioned pairings. This family is committed to appearances, and excess is the name of the game. Check out the wedding cake that is seven-tiered gold and white sponge, adorned with 2,000 sugar flowers, weighing in at more than 90kg. Only one problem. This behemoth was held together by a web of hidden wires that made it impossible to slice. The crowd was fed with back-up cakes. Only the staff could pull the pieces from the big cake off with their hands after the guests had left. There are so many of these scenes, you begin to anticipate them. There’s a trip to Slovenia to meet Melania’s parents where they spent 15 minutes together before Donald insisted on leaving. Then there’s Don Jr. arranging to ask Vanessa (now divorced) to marry him in front of TV cameras in a mall to get a discount on her ring. It all becomes so predictable. Check out Don Jr’s nickname in college – Diaper Don for wetting the beds of his fraternity brothers when he was drunk or Choad for Eric, a term that denotes a penis that is wider than it is long. Now there are some facts for the record books. Enough!
You really don’t need to read this book. However, it will give you some tidbits to share when you are out to dinner with friends. You will really not have learned much of substance, but you will, perhaps, have some added insight into just what life is like in Trumpland.