The Daily Telegraph
Trump’s younger brother and ‘best friend’ Robert dies, aged 71, after suffering fall
President Trump’s softly spoken younger brother, who was a financier and property entrepreneur
DONALD TRUMP’S younger brother, Robert, died on Saturday at the age of 71, after reportedly suffering a brain bleed.
The president, who described his sibling as “my best friend”, had hurried to his bedside in a New York hospital on Friday afternoon, when the severity of his condition became apparent.
He had suffered a fall, and in recent weeks was unable to speak, a family source told The New York Times.
Robert had spent 10 days in another New York hospital in June, in the neurosciences intensive care unit, The Daily Beast reported.
Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter: “Uncle Robert, we love you.”
Eric Trump, the president’s second son, described him on Saturday afternoon as “an incredible man – strong, kind, and loyal to the core”.
Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and the president’s personal lawyer, also paid tribute, describing Robert as a man with “a big heart” who did a lot “to help New Yorkers in need”.
Robert was described as an affable member of the Trump clan who, unlike his two older brothers, was spared the crushing weight of expectations he would take over the family business. The youngest of five, Robert initially worked on Wall Street before eventually joining the Trump Organisation, where he was a low-key figure involved in the real estate side of the business.
Donald Trump once described him as “much quieter and easy-going than I am,” saying he was “the only guy in my life whom I ever call ‘honey’”.
Gwenda Blair, a Trump family biographer, said: “When he worked in the Trump Organisation, he was known as the nice Trump. Robert was the one people would try to get to intervene if there was a problem.”
In 1989 Donald put his younger brother in charge of his ill-fated Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and reportedly erupted in fury when the slot machines did not work for the opening.
The row was said to deeply upset Robert, and the pair were distant for some time – reuniting by the time Donald announced his run for president.
ROBERT TRUMP, who has died aged 71, was an American businessman and the younger brother of President Trump; during the 1980s he managed Trump Organisation business in the casino destination Atlantic City, where he was known to staff as “the nice Trump”.
In his book The Art of the Deal (1987), the future president described Robert as “soft-spoken and easy-going” and “very talented and effective”. He added: “Robert gets along with almost everyone, which is great for me, since I sometimes have to be the bad guy.”
Eager to break out from the shadow of his propertydeveloper family, Robert Trump began his career on Wall Street. One evening in May 1980, however, he was summoned to his brother’s apartment and persuaded to join the casino project. “There is nothing to compare with family if they happen to be competent, because you can trust family in a way you can never trust anyone else,” wrote Donald.
For a time Robert seemed to be acquiring his brother’s brasher ways. In 1984 he proudly showed off the new 39-storey Harrah’s at Trump Plaza, the 10th casino-hotel in Atlantic City. “It will be profitable from day one,” he enthused, of what was then the tallest building in the city, with its dark, reflective glass. By 1986 it was indeed the largest grossing casino in the city.
But in 1989 three Trump Organisation executives were killed in a helicopter crash and Robert was thrust into overseeing the launch of the Taj Mahal casino, a garish 17-acre temple of dice, dining and dalliances, also in Atlantic City. By every one-armed bandit there was a machine dispensing change – because “you never want to see a customer step away to get change”, he said.
Problems with the casino’s opening, however, presaged a falling-out with Donald, who was already blaming Robert on the grounds that his casinos were cannibalising each other’s customers. Gwenda Blair, in her history of three generations of the family, The Trumps, explained: “When the slot machines jammed [on] the opening weekend at the
Taj Mahal, he very specifically and furiously denounced Robert, and Robert walked out and never worked for his brother again.”
Robert Stewart Trump was born in New York on August 26 1948, the youngest of five children of Fred Trump, a prominent New York property developer, and his wife Mary Macleod, who had emigrated from the Isle of Lewis in 1930. His other siblings were Maryanne, who became a judge; Fred, an airline pilot who died of alcoholism in 1981, aged 43; and Elizabeth, a bank executive.
They grew up in the Jamaica Estates area of Queens, New York, where the boys spent summers and free time working in their father’s growing business. “Not your normal kids’ vacations,” Robert told The New York Times in 1983.
Donald enjoyed teasing his more reserved brother. On one occasion the pair were playing with building blocks. “I wanted to build a very tall building, but it turned out that I didn’t have enough blocks,” Donald wrote in The Art of the Deal. Robert agreed to lend him some, but on condition that they would be returned. However, when Donald finished creating his “beautiful building” he liked it so much that he glued the whole thing together. “And that was the end of Robert’s blocks,” Donald recalled.
Robert Trump studied at Boston University and managed his father’s properties in Brooklyn. He started in corporate finance at Kidder Peabody, later moving into property finance before joining his brother’s company.
Any tensions between Robert Trump and Donald had vanished by the time Donald ran for president in 2016. “I support Donald 1,000 per cent,” Robert told the New York Post. “I think he’s doing a great job. I think he’s got a great message.”
Robert Trump was, as he put it, “gainfully retired” at Millbrook, a village in the Hudson Valley, New York state. He was a regular patron of Monte’s restaurant, where the “RST All American Burger” was named in his honour: it consisted of half a pound of beef with cheese, lettuce, aioli and pickles accompanied by French fries cooked in truffle oil.
He was involved in community work, going into schools to talk with underprivileged children about business.
Trump recently failed to block the publication of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, a bestselling exposé by his niece Mary.
In The Art of the Deal Donald Trump observed of Robert: “I think it must be hard to have me for a brother, but he’s never said anything about it and we’re very close. He is definitely the only guy in my life whom I ever call ‘honey’”.
Robert Trump married, in 1980, Blaine Beard, a socialite and philanthropist whom he met at a fundraising event for a cerebral palsy charity and who encouraged him to adopt a lower profile. The marriage was dissolved in 2009. This year he married Ann Marie Pallan, his former secretary, who survives him, with his first wife’s son Christopher, whom he adopted.
Robert Trump, born August 26 1948, died August 15 2020