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“He’s Feeling Terrible Fear”: Mary Trump on Donald Trump’s Indictment

America’s sharpest Donald Trump critic speaks on her uncle’s state of mind, political future, and whether he has a conscience.

Illustration by The New Republic

No one in the United States has written with more eloquence and insight about Donald Trump than his niece Mary, a clinical psychologist whose 2020 book Too Much and Never Enough sold one million copies on its first day on the shelves. New Republic editor Michael Tomasky spoke with her Monday afternoon, the day before her uncle was scheduled to present himself to south Florida federal authorities for arraignment on the 37 counts filed against him last week by special prosecutor Jack Smith.

On the charges themselves: “I don’t think there’s any case that can be made in defense of his actions.” On his state of mind: “He’s feeling terrible fear.” He’s lashing out, Mary Trump said, because “lashing out has always worked before.” Somehow, he has always slid out of situations just by outlasting his adversaries—with more money, more lawyers, more time, more patience. “For Donald, it has almost always been about running out the clock,” she said.

But this time, she thinks, things may be different. He’s never faced an opponent with quite the kind of time and resources that the United States Department of Justice has. She thinks this feels like the beginning of the end. But she still believes he’s very likely to be the GOP nominee, even if he’s indicted two more times. She still thinks the Republican Party will follow him off the cliff. But, she adds, we can’t lose our sense of outrage. “Donald is going to do what Donald does,” she said. “It still should shock us.”