President Donald Trump once cut off family payments for the medical care of his nephew, who had cerebral palsy, during a dispute over their inheritances.
The family's eldest son, Fred Trump Jr., became an airline pilot instead of joining his namesake father and younger brother in the real estate business, but his children believed they would one day share in the family wealth after their father died from alcoholism in 1981 at age 42, reported the Washington Post.
However, after Fred Trump Sr. died in 1999, Donald Trump and his siblings fought to keep most of the money themselves -- setting off a lawsuit a year later from Fred Trump III and Mary Trump accusing their relatives of persuading the family patriarch to change his will.
The future president responded by cutting off family company payments for medical care for Fred Trump III's son, William, who had cerebral palsy.
“When [Fred III] sued us, we said, ‘Why should we give him medical coverage?’" Trump told the New York Daily News at the time.
Fred Trump III told the court that his "aunt and uncles thought nothing about taking away my critically ill son’s coverage in an attempt to browbeat me into abandoning my claim in the probate contest.”
The future president has said he regretted constantly criticizing his older brother for staying out of the family business, but Fred Trump III said he didn't mind getting his hands dirty.
“You have to be tough in this family,” Fred III told the Daily News as the lawsuit simmered. “I guess I have what my father didn’t have. I will stick to my guns. I just think it was wrong. These are not warm and fuzzy people. They never even came to see William in the hospital. Our family puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional.”
The president has tried to downplay those interfamily disputes, and declined to speak at length about his punitive attack on his disabled nephew.
“One child was having a difficult time,” Trump said. “It was an unfortunate thing. It worked out well, and we all get along.”
Fred Trump III has not publicly spoken about the case since it was settled confidentially, but Mary Trump has nursed a grudge against her older brother for years -- which will spill into the open with the publication of her new book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” on July 28.
“Given this family, it would be utterly naive to say it has nothing to do with money,” Mary Trump said. “But for both me and my brother, it has much more to do with that our father be recognized. He existed, he lived, he was their oldest son, and William is my father’s grandson. He is as much a part of that family as anybody else. He desperately needs extra care.”