Trump made the comments during an exclusive interview on “Fox News Sunday” a few days after his niece’s tell-all, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” set a first-day record for Simon & Schuster after the publisher said Thursday it sold 950,000 copies, including presales. During the interview Trump called his niece’s book “stupid” and “vicious.”
Host Chris Wallace noted that one of Mary Trump’s “main points” is that she said President Trump’s father Fred Trump Sr. damaged the whole family.
Speaking on ABC News on Thursday she said, “He learned to become the killer you mentioned. The man who needs to succeed at all costs … who will do anything to get attention, financial rewards and to win.”
During the exclusive interview, Wallace asked President Trump, “Do you see any truth in that?”
“My father liked to win,” Trump said in response. “My father was a very good man. He was a strong man.”
“It’s disgraceful that she said that,” he continued, then noting that she was “not exactly a family favorite” and “we didn’t have a lot of respect or like for her.”
“I would’ve never said that except she writes a book that’s so stupid and so vicious and it’s a lie,” Trump went on to say. “My father was a great, wonderful man.”
Mary Trump is a clinical psychologist and the daughter of the president’s older brother, Fred Trump, Jr. who died in 1981.
The president stressed that his niece is “not a person that I spent very much time with,” adding that now he is “glad” he spent “very little time” with her.
Wallace then noted that the president has “developed a pretty thick skin over the years from decades of attacks in New York tabloids” and the press as well as his political opponents in Washington, D.C.
“But even for Donald Trump, does it hurt you at all to be attacked in such personal terms by a member of your own family?” Wallace asked the president.
“Yeah,” Trump said in response. “It hurts me more about attacking my father, not being kind to my mother. I have a mother who was like a saint. She was incredible. She was an incredible woman and she [Mary Trump] was nasty even to my mother.”
“She’s a very scarred person,” he continued. “She was not much of a family person.”
The president went on to say that he thinks his father was “the most solid person I’ve ever met and he was a very good person.”
“He was a very, very good person,” Trump continued. “He was strong, but he was good.”
Trump acknowledged that his father “was tough on me” and “tough on all of the kids,” but stressed he was tough “in a solid sense, in a really good sense.”
“For her to say – I think the word she used was psychopath – what a disgrace,” Trump continued. “She ought to be ashamed of herself. That book is a lie.”
After Mary Trump’s book went to print, Robert Trump, the president’s younger brother, filed a legal action in June to stop the book’s release, citing a nondisclosure agreement she signed in 2001 in a settlement over her inheritance.
A New York judge last month said the publishers weren’t bound by the NDA and lifted the restraining order on Mary Trump last week, freeing her to give interviews.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.