Donald died at sea aged 34 when his sailing ship sank, a common fate for men in the region which was dependent on fishing. Some of the family's generations had been forced off their land as part of the Highland Clearances.
According to one genealogical account, displaced families in Mary's village lived in “human wretchedness” while nearby farmable land was used as game reserves. Local historians have said properties at the time were “indescribably filthy” and stated the families in the area had austere lives as fishers, farmers and peat diggers.
The outbreak of World War I weakened its economy and male population. With several siblings having already established themselves there and in Canada, MacLeod may have first visited the United States for a short stay in December 1929.
She was issued immigration visa number 26698 at Glasgow on February 17, 1930. On May 2, MacLeod left Glasgow on board the RMS Transylvania arriving in New York City on May 11 (one day after her 18th birthday).
She declared she intended to become a U.S. citizen and would be staying permanently in America. She was one of tens of thousands of young Scots who left for the United States or Canada during this period, Scotland having suffered badly the consequences of the Clearances and World War I.
Arriving in the U.S. with $50 (equivalent to $765 in 2019), MacLeod lived with her older sister Christina Matheson on Long Island and worked as a domestic servant for at least four years. One of these jobs appears to have been as a nanny for a well-to-do family in a New York suburb, but the position was eliminated due to economic difficulties caused by the Great Depression.
She was recorded as living in New York by April 1935 in the 1940 U.S. Census. Though the 1940 census form filed by Mary Anne and her husband Fred Trump stated that she was a naturalized citizen, she did not actually become one until March 10, 1942.
However, there is no evidence that she violated any immigration laws prior to her naturalization, as she frequently traveled internationally and was afterwards able to re-enter the U.S. MacLeod returned to her home area in Scotland often during the course of her life and spoke Gaelic when she did. In the mid-1930s, while MacLeod was living with her sister in Queens, she met Fred Trump at a party; on a subsequent visit to Scotland, she told her family that she had met her future husband.
They married at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on January 11, 1936, with George Arthur But trick officiating. The wedding reception for 25 guests was held at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.
The final birth led to an emergency hysterectomy, which she barely survived. She was generally a housewife but sometimes helped with her husband's real estate business, such as collecting coins from laundry machines in family-owned apartment buildings.
She raised the children in the Presbyterian faith of her upbringing. On January 20, 2017, incoming U.S. President Donald Trump took his inaugural oath of office using a copy of the RSV Bible given to him by his mother in 1955 when he graduated from a Presbyterian Sunday school.
She drove a Rolls-Royce that bore the vanity plates “MMT”, the initials of her name Mary MacLeod Trump. She also acted as a volunteer in a hospital and was involved in school activities and charities.
Those causes included betterment of those with cerebral palsy and efforts to improve the lives of intellectually disabled adults. The Trumps were active in the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Lighthouse for the Blind, among other charities.
She and her husband donated time, effort, services, and several medical buildings around New York. Moreover, a 228-bed nursing home pavilion at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where she spent years volunteering, is named solely for her.
Friends of the children observed fewer interactions with her than with him. In appearance she was slight of build but was known for an elaborate hairstyle, labeled in one account a “dynamic orange swirl”.
This bore a commonality with her son Donald, who once wrote, “Looking back, I realize now that I got some of my sense of showmanship from my mother.” In 1981, Trump ’s oldest son, Fred Jr., died from complications due to alcoholism.
As she grew older Trump suffered from severe osteoporosis. On October 31, 1991, at 79, she was mugged while shopping on Union Turnpike near her home.
She resisted the mugger's attempt to steal her purse, which contained $14, and was then knocked to the ground and beaten. She sustained broken ribs, facial bruises, several fractures, a brain hemorrhage, and permanent damage to her sight and hearing.
A delivery truck driver named Lawrence Herbert apprehended her 16-year-old assailant, for which he was later rewarded by Donald Trump with a check that kept him from losing his home to foreclosure. The mugger later pleaded guilty to robbery and assault, and was sentenced to three to nine years in prison.
Retrieved November 19, 2016. On March 10, 1942, the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn made Mary Trump a naturalized citizen ^ a b c d e f “Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88”. Donald Trump : The Rise of a Rule Breaker.
Donald Trump's Scottish mother was a low-earning migrant”. Trump's mother : From a Scottish island to New York's elite”.
^ “Fact Check: Was Donald Trump's Mother an Illegal Immigrant?” Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power.
The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate. ^ “Pictured: Donald Trump inherited his mother Mary's hairstyle, plus much more”.
“What Bible did Donald Trump use on Inauguration Day?” “Meet Donald Trump's siblings, the oldest of whom just retired as a federal judge”.
^ “Update; Youth Is Sentenced In Robbery of Mrs. Trump ". ^ Trump Makes the Holiday Brighter For New Yorker Who Rescued His Mother ".
^ “Update; Youth Is Sentenced In Robbery of Mrs. Trump ". “A Visit to the Trump Family Graveside Took a Very Truman Turn”.
Today, it’s still a more-than-two-hour ferry to reach the Scottish mainland from Steinway, the isle’s largest town (current population : around 6,000). In rain boots, they’d trudge through mud, wind, and water every Sunday to worship at the Steinway High Church, writes journalist Nina Burleigh in her book Golden Handcuffs : The Secret History of Trump ’s Women.
Stay, and her main job prospects would be weaving the local Harris Tweed or working as a fishing girl curing herring. In relatively short order she met Fred Trump, an up-and-coming builder, at a dance; they married in January 1936, at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.
That brings us to the flip side of the warm familial cocoon, as described by Philip Larking: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad.” During the course of reporting his 2005 biography Trump Nation, journalist Tim O’Brien recalls that Donald only spoke of his mother after extensive prodding.
She had a major health scare when Donald was a toddler, nearly dying when she hemorrhaged in the aftermath of her youngest son Robert’s birth, which resulted in an emergency hysterectomy and subsequent complications. But Mary pushed through her health issues, always there to attend to and entertain her family: “When the lights went up, she was the star” of the household, her oldest daughter Maryanne Barry recollected to Trump ’s biographer, Glenda Blair, echoing Donald ’s claim that he learned showmanship from his mother.
In her later years, the older Mrs. Trump styled her hair in a grand blonde bouffant, perhaps providing Freudian inspiration for her son’s gravity-defying hairstyle today. She was active in charitable causes supporting mentally disabled men, women, and children and those with cerebral palsy.
Donald ’s mentions of his mother in public remarks and books are generic; usually, he just calls her “beautiful.” “He talked about her in classic homemaker, sexist terms. The man with a tweet for everything has but a handful of tweets mentioning the woman who raised him, the most frequent refrain (four times) being her advice for life: “Trust in God and be true to yourself.” (Fred’s adage: “Know everything you can about what you’re doing.”) It’s the quote Donald invoked in the introduction to his 2004 tome Trump : How to Get Rich.
These values are tricky to pin down: As president, he favors evangelical pastors but is skeptical of the concept of asking for forgiveness, which would be akin to ordering a hamburger, hold the meat. The family attended a Presbyterian church in Queens for decades, but Mary and Fred switched to Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan in the seventies to worship with the self-help evangelist Norman Vincent Peale, best known for the controversial best-seller The Power of Positive Thinking, a few years before Donald married Ivana there.
Donald, too, absorbed Peale’s lessons of positive thinking and personal branding, exemplified by his swaggering return to the Isle of Lewis in 2008 on his campaign to build a Scottish golf course. When he returned in 2008 campaigning to build his Scottish golf course in Aberdeen shire, he spent a grand total of 97 seconds in his mother ’s childhood home, as recorded by accompanying press scrum.
But Donald himself judged it as a strong union: “I always told my father I made more money than him, but he had a very successful marriage, he really did.” Perhaps his mother as a judge of character is all Trump ever understood about her, and why he prefers hardening his father’s influence and wisdom.