On Tuesday night, businessman and outspoken politician Donald Trump claimed victory in the GOP's New Hampshire primary. As he did so, he stood on stage, flanked by his large and well-known family, including his wife, Melania, and his daughter, Ivanka. And in a rare, gracious moment, Trump called attention to his late older brother, Freddy Trump, Jr., and other members of his family, both on and off the stage.
My fantastic brother Robert, who is watching right now with Ann Marie, and I want to thank my brother, my late brother, Fred, what a fantastic guy. I learned so much from Fred. Taught me more than just about anybody. Just probably about even with my father, a fantastic guy. So I want to thank Fred. He's up there and he's looking down also.
Trump has called Freddy his "opposite," saying that his older brother was loved by everybody. But that's not to say that Freddy's life was absent of drama — on the contrary, Freddy, who was eight years older than Donald, seems to have been responsible for more of the Trump family's drama than anything that the Donald's outspoken antics could have caused. Even still, Donald thanked his late brother, as well as his deceased parents, during his victory speech following Tuesday's primary election. It was a particularly humanizing moment for a candidate who often seems larger than life.
As it turns out, there's plenty more to the story of Freddy than Trump let on during his speech, and each detail contributes to that humanizing narrative that seems so different from anything Trump would say in a typical campaign stop.
From an early age, it was clear that Freddy was not the typical Trump. He wasn't passionate about the business world and he didn't take criticism from his cutthroat father very well. As Donald has said previously, he was able to learn from Freddy's struggles.
I watched him, and I learned from him.
Rather than joining the family's real estate empire, Freddy became a pilot. He settled down, but he also settled into drinking. He died at the age of 43 after years of alcoholism. When the Trump family patriarch, Fred Sr., passed away, Freddie Jr.'s children were notably left out of their grandfather's will.
Since kicking off his campaign last year, Trump has often appeared at campaign events with his large family. He rarely seems to get personal, though. He is known for talking numbers, not telling stories. On Tuesday night, he didn't have to tell a story, though. He mentioned his late older brother and that was enough to show a different side of him, even if only for a moment.