President Trump said he regrets the pressure put on his brother Fred Trump Jr.—who died in 1981 as a result of alcoholism.
“I do regret having put pressure on him,” President Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post, recognizing that taking over their father’s business “was just something he was never going to want.”
“It was just not his thing. … I think the mistake that we made was we assumed that everybody would like it. That would be the biggest mistake. … There was sort of a double pressure put on him,” the president said.
Back in 1990, during a CBS interview, he made an a keen observation.
“Perhaps it was my fault and perhaps my father’s fault for egging him on to business because he wasn’t good at it because he didn’t like the business,” Trump said at the time.
Freddy, as everyone called him, was the firstborn son, so he was given the name of his father.
Fred Jr. saw flying as an honorable profession, his friends said. He applied to be trained as a pilot for TWA and passed a rigorous set of requirements to enroll in a 1964 class of about a dozen students.
President Trump said he was astonished to find his older brother, reading aviation books in hopes of fulfilling his dream of being a TWA pilot, instead of running a Trump company.
“Come on, Freddy, what are you doing?” Trump has recalled saying to his brother. “You’re wasting your time.”
Fred flew for a number of months as a secondary pilot but descended into alcoholism and died at 42 years old in 1981.
The president told The Washington Post that seeing his brother succumb to alcoholism has influenced not only his goals for his administration but his personal lifestyle, be they alcohol-related or opioids.
“He was so handsome, and I saw what alcohol did to him even physically … and that had an impact on me, too,” President Trump said.