In a new biography on Donald Trump's relationship to the women in his life, Newsweek's Nina Burleigh described the ways in which the president loves and fears women — and the compromises those women made in exchange for the riches he bestows upon them.
In an interview with New York magazine, Burleigh described the deal Trump's women made — "long-term enslavement" — in exchange for power or financial security as evidenced by the title of her book, Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women.
"My original interest in this subject stems from wondering what kinds of women would want to be with a man like Trump," the writer told New York. "Most women I know find it close to impossible to imagine why Melania, this gorgeous woman who could have any guy — hot guys! Fun guys! — would choose this oaf. So why’d she do it? And what does it say about women’s place in 2018? Because it’s so archaic."
"A lot of women," Burleigh noted, choose men like Trump "because they don’t see other ways to get power."
In the case of Melania, however, financial security was more important — whereas power was of more interest to his first wife Ivana.
The president's relationships with women, Burleigh noted, are "very transactional." Her interviewer noted that the relationships described in Golden Handcuffs often "seem devoid of romance, almost joyless," but the writer noted that there's one woman he may have truly loved.
"He may have really loved Ivana," Burleigh said. "Someone described a scene to me of them kissing on a bridge and him looking besotted. But again, what’s love to him? It’s maybe not what we think of as love."
The writer also added that Trump's grandmother, a German immigrant, was a very influential figure in the president's life and "original Trump" — but has been "written out of history."
"His grandmother was this stern, probably cold woman who came from a tiny village in Germany," Burleigh said. "Then suddenly her husband dies, leaving her with three young children and a small nest egg. To survive, she transformed it into the Trump Organization in the 1920s."
"They tell it now as if Fred started the whole organization at age 16," she added.