The US president has shared his feelings about the loss of his younger brother who passed away on the weekend, calling into US network Fox News to reminisce about his sibling.
Robert Trump, 71, died Saturday night (local time) after being hospitalised in New York. The president visited his brother at a New York City hospital on Friday after White House officials said he had become seriously ill.
Calling into one of his favourite shows, Fox & Friends, Mr Trump spoke about the pain of losing his brother.
“This was not a great weekend. It’s very hard. You knew it was going to happen, but still when it happens it’s a very tough thing,” the president said.
“He was a great guy. He was a tremendous guy. He was my friend. I guess they say best friend, and that’s true. And losing him, not easy.”
In a characteristically rambling diatribe, Mr Trump described how his brother was never jealous of his success, and how angry he was about the coronavirus pandemic originating in China.
“Well we did interact and he was always there and he was, you know, he wasn’t a jealous person, he was a very smart guy.
“He would be there and he would be behind me and if I became, if I had the number one show, if I had a big success and no matter what I did, whether it was real estate deals or anything else, he was right there. In many cases he helped me,” Mr Trump said.
“There was not an ounce of jealousy. He would go around talking about how great this is for the country and it’s so incredible and he was my biggest fan.”
According to the president, his brother was particularly angry at China, where the novel coronavirus pandemic began.
“He was so angry with China because of what happened where the plague came in and they shouldn’t have allowed it to happen, they could have stopped it, he was so upset by that ... More than people would be upset. A lot of people have already forgotten, and you can’t forget. But he was a fantastic guy.”
‘A true narcissist’: Tribute raises eyebrows
A transcript of the president’s on air tribute was posted online by US political journalist Laura Bassett, who wrote: “This is what Trump had to say about his brother who just died.”
Many online remarked about the strangely self-aggrandising nature of his tribute to his brother, a hallmark of the man and his presidency.
“Trump has said many awful things over the years, but I'm not sure anything has been so nakedly munted, psychologically speaking, as this 'eulogy' for his dead brother,” commented Australian author Shaun Crowe, who works as a speechwriter for the Australian Labor party.
Democratic strategist Greg Pinelo, who worked on the Obama campaign, was also stunned at the president’s reflection of his brother’s passing.
“Making his brother's death into another bizarre, pathological expression of toxic narcissism that's uncomfortable to be subjected to,” he wrote online.
“This supposed eulogy tells us nothing about his brother, but all about how Trump tolerated his brother because he showed no jealousy at Trump's successes. A true Narcissist,” another person noted on Twitter.
Robert Trump, 71, was a businessman who avoided the spotlight and was known for an even keel that seemed almost incompatible with the family name.
Prior to his passing, he along with his president brother, tried to prevent the publication of a book by their niece Mary L Trump called Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
The book explored the family environment created by Fred Trump Sr when his sons Robert and Donald were young, and how his cold and cut-throat parenting style shaped the president’s worldview.
Trump seeking White House funeral for brother
The cause of death was not revealed. Trump told reporters on Friday that his brother was “having a hard time” with an undisclosed illness. A person familiar with the situation said the brother had been on blood thinners.
The president is reportedly eyeing a White House funeral service for his brother later this week.
“We’re looking at Friday. And we may do just a small service right here at the White House,” Mr Trump told reporters Monday (local time) as he departed Washington on a trip to the Midwest.
The president said such a service would be a “great honour” for his sibling.
“I think he’d be greatly honoured. He loves our country. He loved our country so much. He was so proud of what we were doing and what we are doing for our country.”
‘End this chaos’: Michelle Obama backs Joe Biden
The Democratic convention kicked off on Monday (local time), which will see Joe Biden officially take the party’s nominee for president in the November 3 election.
The first day of the virtual conference saw the likes of former Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders and former first lady Michelle Obama deliver speeches in support of the 77-year-old nominee who currently leads Mr Trump in the polls.
“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is,” Ms Obama said.
“So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will... If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.