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  Mary Trump The Reckoning - Our Nations Trauma and Finding a Way to...  CSPAN  January 31, 2022 2:45am-3:51am EST

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authors funding for c-span 2 comes from these television companies and more including cox. cox is committed to providing eligible families access to affordable internet through the connect to compete program bridging the digital divide one connected and engaged student at a time cox bringing us closer cox along with these television companies support c-span, 2 as a public service. welcome, and thank you so much for joining us for this very special program with mary trump. i'm michelle meow host and producer of the michelle miao show and also a member of the board of governors for the commonwealth club of california if you're joining us for the very first time the commonwealth club is a 118 year old nonprofit non-partisan organization dedicated to the civic discussion of today's most
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important topics and issues. any views expressed here are those of the speakers the commonwealth club produces over 500 programs annually even during a pandemic head on over to commonwealthclub.org slash mms for more michelle meow show programming or commonwealth club dot org for future programs podcasts videos of past events and also the opportunity to support the work of the club. if you're joining us live on youtube use the chat box feature to send us your questions for our speakers. it's now my pleasure to introduce to you our speakers today. mary trump is a clinical psychologist with a phd from the derner institute of advanced psychological studies, adelphi university her first book too much and never enough how my family created the most dangerous man was an international bestseller and provided deep insight into
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america's 45th president. she's here today to talk about many things but most importantly her second and newest book the reckoning our nation's trauma and finding a way to heal our moderator today is molly jong fass. who is the editor at large at the daily beast and also host of the new abnormal podcasts. let's get our program started. enjoy the program. let's welcome molly and mary hi mary. hey molly. hi everybody. it's great to be here. it's very fun to get to interview you one day after i got you sued. i'm sorry, you know, i was actually telling somebody the other day that i really wish donald would sue me. because it would help book cells and turns out you're the reason i got sued all along. so thank you. i mean, it's you know, my editor at the daily beast sent me a text. it was like yo molly and i wrote
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back what's going on harry and he was like you're in this lawsuit. and i was just delighted but then my husband who's like an adult was like oh my god, you know. oh, what does this mean? you know, it's having a heart attack, but you know, i mean it is the i think the lawyer misspelled her own name at one point in the i'm not sure but there were i think she's not she's a very kind of trumpy lawyer. i think her office is in a strip mall or something, but just so you're aware if i do indeed have to pay a hundred million dollars. you're going to have to pay your fair share. just so quickly. let's go. i mean i'm good for it. i mean i have spokes here. i can probably sell them. you i'm kidding by lamb certainly not good for it. um, but so the i want to ask you i have a lot of questions for you obviously, but the biggest
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question is what first let's just talk this this lawsuit is a state lawsuit too. it's not a federal lawsuit and it's it's like they they did in westchester or some not westchester, but upstairs county duchess county, which i think is is central new york. yes slightly strange. that's my uncle rob lived there. so it is a little strange because he doesn't live there anymore, right? um, okay, so let's get to the book. the book called the reckoning. just came out and i want to talk to you first. i'm very proud of myself for having it right because you often i'm very disorganized, um for someone to talk to you about the first chapter, which is like incredibly autobiographical in a way that i really appreciate. can you talk to me about right talk a little bit about that first chapter and how you came to right? so personally because i know how i think we both are able to write about our families but not
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right about ourselves and and this is a departure for you. yeah, you know the first book obviously had a particular agenda attached to it and it really wasn't a memoir. in a way, and it certainly wasn't my memoir. so a lot of things that i might have been interested in writing about weren't really relevant to the task at hand and you know in large part the same is true of this book, which is not at all a memoir. it really has nothing to do with my family. however as you and i have discussed over the course of the last year covid has touched all of us it has traumatized a lot of people. it is retraumatized a lot of people and for probably obvious reasons. i took it really personally because my uncle is the one who
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is responsible for for this mass suffering and the mass death, which was kind of hard to live with but i also take it personally because i have ptsd i came into covid already having a complex btsd which just means it's something that happened over. it's trauma that occurred over a long period of time. and that's what a lot of us have been feeling for the last year and a half and i felt that. it was important for me to be honest about that for a couple of reasons one because it it gave me an in to the experiences people might be having that other people wouldn't have you know, i understand it not just clinically but personally. and we do mental health and
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mental illness really badly in this country, you know, we treat mental health like it's a luxury and mental illness like it's some still like some kind of moral failing and they're still stigmatized. and that is that gets in the way of our ability to heal so i felt you know if i can be straight with people about my own experiences and that helps. normalize the experience for some people then i'm happy to do that because we are all suffering so much, you know. i mean, i i know you and i have bonded about this before but i'm sober since i was 19, so and i love to talk about it because i feel like talking about being sober is a way to help other people and i didn't know that people could get sober until i saw you know, i mean it would have helped me a lot to know that there were so people got sober at 19 and stayed sober. so i agree. i think it's really wonderful
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when you can share your experience to help other people. talk to me though about the put do you go to hot? it's not cottonwood, right? it is i was just don't think i don't say that in the book. no, but i was like, you know one of the great things about being a sober is, you know, i'm trying to guess the rehab i was like mixed with aa people, you know, it has to be. um, but and but so did you what did did the program work? did you feel like the program worked? you know, i wasn't there long enough i went. i went into treatment two different times for various reasons, so the first time around i was there for three weeks and it should have been three months probably. but i had to go back to new york and then after about a month or so i was unraveling again and knew i needed to put the brakes on it, so i went back to tucson.
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and it was a it was an amazing experience. i wouldn't trade it for anything. unfortunately. it's an inordinately expensive and most it's out of the reach of most people which is why our government needs to do better funding a treatments for people's mental health issues. but i broke my foot like three days before i came home, right so my list of things that were was going to help keep me contained and motivated. i got thrown out the window because i wasn't going to be hobbling into manhattan on crutches, you know to help syrian refugees or whatever. it was i was planning on doing so that was that kind of got in the way of my healing but on the other hand if i hadn't broken my foot. i would never have i'm pretty
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sure i would not have. cooperated with the new york times. yeah, i and i wouldn't have written the book and we wouldn't be having this conversation. so let should we talk more about the book or should we talk about the new york times? um we're gonna go we're gonna do both. but yeah, i mean the new york times since we we've set up the segue. let's go there because it's relevant and they're getting sued by donald too for a hundred million dollars, which is that the only amount he knows. i think it may be it's just all all he has i don't know but he's like there other amounts of money. yeah, it's you think he'd go bigger, right or during i mean, does it need to be even like i don't okay. so yes continue though. yes. um, so the this lawsuit besides being completely frivolous and it's you could say it's probably
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retaliatory too because i'm suing him. and in fact, the lawsuit is in the same county so for various reasons. and the i don't know if it's a bad thing. i mean, i guess it's a good thing but it just underscores like how shoddy he is. you know, it's the worst reasoned. most poorly written thing that you you could be subjected to and it's so dramatic and silly and unserious. that it just it's infuriating that people like him are allowed to game the system and use resources that could be used for much more important things simply as a way to avoid and evade responsibility. you know, this is just a stalling tactic. i'm guessing well what some of the reporting i read said that it accused you of stealing
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documents that had actually been given to you. and smuggling them. you know, it's it's not cuban cigars. it's it's documents that yes, we're given to me in discovery right during yet another lawsuit 20 years ago because as i recently said, that's how my family communicates we sue each other lots of good love language. in their family it is if that happens when money is the only currency so but you know, i mean there are fan. i mean a lot of these new york families. have they have older patriarchs who try to screw the younger kids out of stuff. i mean i've had cousins where this you know, things like that. it's not so unusual, but the i think the the frequency of the trump family's you know, it's
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probably you know. also the presidency i'm sorry also him being president. yeah, that's a that still gives me the chills. i mean do i think so why so i want to just go back circle back for a second on the tax stuff? i it strikes me that you really did a huge service and that also by suing you he is actually confirming that all the documents that he said were fake are real. yes. yeah, i again it. it's amazing. how much of their brief is about? the success of my book the it's just quite incredible it quotes my book, you know.
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and it's just doing me a favor kind of and it is it's admitting my my lawyer the brilliant robbie kaplan summed it up best basically saying, you know that in essence this lawsuit is donald saying you know we need to shut her up because she's revealing the truth about what we did and we need to keep in place the document that prevents her from talking about all the crimes we can it's it is i mean, it really is a confirmation that the guy is pretty intricate and it's the same thing with the my fraud lawsuit against them which alleges they stole quite a large sum of money from me after my dad died when i was 16, and he was 42 even though they were my trustees at the time. they don't argue that they didn't commit fraud. they say that there's a statute
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of limitations that's passed. so it's the same kind of thing. sort of mad that he the rnc didn't have to buy hundreds of copies of your book. you know like with don jr. like i feel like a residual hostility like your book actually became a bestseller and no had to buy all the copies. yeah, and listen, i i'm happy people bought it of course, and i hope it it served a purpose and people found it useful. in fact, that is one of the gratifying things a lot of people have said that they recognized their own families in it and it helped them feel validated or whatever, but the fact that my book sold in a day more copies than his first book sold in 30 years. it's pretty cool. i'm now let's talk about this book because which i'm so pleased with myself for having it. i'm just gonna put it up here all the time. um, but it does it's really an interesting book because you talk about yourself and then you
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go into the history of america. yeah. going it takes a turn. because when when i started thinking about the next book in fact you and i spoke about this at the time. it was last october, i think. it was much more about the concerns. we were going to be facing when we started emerging from covid if we ever did, you know, i really believe that once we started. coming out of our apartments and houses. we were all going to be confronted with things that we hadn't been able to confront because as i say you can't deal with your trauma while you're being traumatized and you know, whether it's the ptsd or depression anxiety substance abuse disorders serious mental psychiatric disorders, like schizophrenia stress disorder all that stuff and and then i realized that can't really write about that in an effective way
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one because it was a big question mark into it's that's a policy thing that you know in that needs to be dealt with through policy. so we were then. at this incredible point of crisis. we were in the second wave of covid. we had this serious economic crisis ongoing. and deep political crisis we were a month away from an election that was uncertain and the fact that there was uncertainty was mind-blowing to me that at that point a 250,000 americans were dead because donald and yet there was a better than 40% chance that he might get four more years in the oval office. um, so i thought it was just extraordinary me that this country got to this place. in what seemed like a very short
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period of time how how did this happen? and i realized that just as with trauma um in general and ptsd in particular in order to get through it. because you you can't sure btsd, but you can learn how to manage it in order to get to that point. you need to face not just what happened to you, but the feelings. you felt while it was happening. and that's why either trauma gets suspended in time because it never gets processed and the feeling gets split off from it. and you can't get past it. it will continue to affect you. on a day-to-day basis unless you go back and you do that hard work and it's a terrible thing to ask somebody to do quite honestly, and i really we need to do that as a country.
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yeah, because one we're we're in this amazing amount of trauma now, but we always have been and it's never been addressed and the white people who committed the trauma or sorry committed the atrocities that led to trauma have never acknowledged their role let alone a tone for it and i really think that's partially because of major things one is the fact that white supremacy always has been in continues to be operative in america and to we never hold powerful white men accountable for anything, right and i think that those two things lead us directly to donald john trump. it is incredible to me. that so many people are like and trump is going to go to jail and you're gonna see and and meanwhile, i see no imminent jailing.
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no it i mean do you right well? i mean, it's it's a terrible indictment. of where we are because it suggests that we haven't evolved at all and and if you consider that robert e lee who was the greatest trader to this country. he owned and tortured other human beings. and he was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. um, not only did he not get imprisoned. he went on to lead a very successful life as a university president and when he died the university was named after him. washington and lee university, i think it's still called that and in 1973 or four. president gerald ford pardoned him yeah, so, why would we expect?
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a powerful white man who has committed crimes with impunity and and committed other transgressions with impunity for his entire life right and been allowed to fail upwards so spectacularly, why would we expect that? there would be justice and that is a very sad commentary on not just where we are but where we might be headed. one of my yeah, i mean it seems it seems likely and you know, of course we're talking about robert e lee who is one of trump's favorite generals and who i recently learned via whatever trump's little message. app or whatever it is what he publishes those sort of paragraphs or he talks about was actually very good general though, of course, he wasn't but no. i mean and he would have kicked -- in afghanistan. apparently the guy is like but a
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friend of mine called me yesterday and was like trump is going to win trump is gonna run run again and he's gonna win. what do you think? i mean, it's like the anxiety that all of us have even the words for years away. i think it depends on a few things. i'm much less sanguine about it than i was in november december of last year because at the time there was no way to know how far although i suppose. i should have i swear. i feel like charlie brown in the football far too often because i'm a democrat, but there was no way to know how far they were going to take it in terms of allowing him to spread the big lie that the election was stolen from him to the extent that they were going to repeat the big lie and fail to allow president biden president-elect biden's team to get access.
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to very vital materials because remember thousands of people were still dying every day from covid and donald decided that it wasn't of interest to him anymore to the extent that it ever was and there was no way to know that there was going to be an insurrection incited by donald against his own government. so i felt at the time. that he would go the way of jimmy carter and george h.w. bush and become irrelevant and his crushing defeat because look he didn't lose as badly as he should have right and it's demoralizing that 12 million more people voted for him in 2020 than did in 2016. however, he did lose by eight million votes right and probably more humiliating than that is he couldn't blame the republicans because they outperformed expectation. i did much better. then they should have so he can't blame them for his loss
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because they did pretty well. so i figured he was never gonna go over that narcissistic injury injury because as you know, there's nothing worse than losing in my family. you may as well just jump off cliff. now i'm not so sure because as continues to happen and it never ceases to amaze me everything seems to be breaking his way. crazy, yeah, it is. i mean i do think like i feel like with the republicans they kidnap themselves and hold themselves hostage like they had a moment to get rid of trump. they could have done it and they decided like oh, no don't want to alienate the base. oh, no, what will you know, like don't want to and now i mean trump is finding is trying to find a challenger to go after mcconnell. which i mean is really fun for me as a democrat but like they
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they should have known this guy was not you know, he's not there for republican. i mean whatever republican policies are anymore, i guess tax cuts for rich people and racism. i mean, i guess he is there for the race. okay. all right. no, never mind. he is there for the republican values because those are the new republican values but like right but i mean, it strikes me that he has the party had sort of let trump transform them. honestly, i don't think he transformed them. i think he just revealed them. i i think that they had they didn't just have one opportunity to take an off-ramp away from him. they had dozens of such opportunities starting in 2015. um, and i think part of it is that starting with say the tea party. for example, the republican, you know that motivated the base and
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the republicans felt like hey these reckless crazy people on the far right are helpful for us. so we're gonna let that monster roam free, but will be able to control it down the road right? but then the tea party basically took over the republican and kind of that you know that they have devolved to this point because if they weren't like this all along they wouldn't have allowed donald to remain in in the primary. let alone run in the general right? so or they certainly would have gotten rid of him after the first impeachment. you know, they would have convicted him in the senate right? so time after time they decided to stick with him and i don't think it's that it's because they're afraid of the base. i think it's because he
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represents exactly what they believe in to the extent that they believe in anything. and the republican party elected republicans. are the republican base a hundred percent of elected republicans at every level of government at this point represents that 25% right? no, i mean you look at marjorie taylor green. i mean, i don't want to but i mean that's a great example of someone who is completely batch it but from a very wealthy family. i mean, that's a joke. she's from a wealthy family. she parachuted into her district, right? because she saw it was winnable and then she pretended to be folksy like a sort of page out of the george w bush playbook and i think that's a really what you're talking about. i mean i was thinking about this because i was thinking about trump it does the same thing, right? he pretend you folks even though he went to an ivy league college and and w did the same thing too
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though. w was more i think was he more sophisticated than donald? i don't think so. i mean close a tv surrounded himself with more sophisticated people that's for yes, but but probably a lot of them are were equally as evil. yes, that's entirely turn it important to get to um. i do you yeah, i mean, i don't know it strikes me that the a lot of the history you talk about in this book is not like there does seem to be a civics education problem country. yeah, it's terrible and not only that i think they're they're always has been because we we've taught civics in the past and it's been a long time since we have as if it's sort of unrelated to our lives. yeah, it's one class junior year in high school or something. we need to start teaching civics
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again, but we also need to make it relevant to kids lives and we need to teach it every year that they're in school from first grade on so that they understand why it's important to know how our government works and why does that matter to their day-to-day lives and why they should be interested and stay. up to date on what's going on in politics and around the world the other thing we need to do is teach critical thinking and i think maybe even more importantly at this point we need to teach media literacy. that seems like a really important thing the other thing yeah media literacy is like that that i mean again the problem with where we have this conservative media, that is not bound by any any any kind of relationship to the truth whatsoever and we have a congress that can't figure out how to regulate the internet nor do they necessarily want to i
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mean you watch those congressional facebook hearings and using to yourself, like these people are not going to be able to create regulations. um, but i do think it is, you know, we are it's it feels very hopeless sometimes to me. um, do you find that or yeah, i do and that's hard to say because this might surprise some people but i'm well used to be anyway, a really quite optimistic person which doesn't make any sense considering the family i come from but you know, we all have our it is increases and but i try not to go there because we did. snatch democracy from the jaws of a autocracy on november 7th. we did that that is a rarity in human history. and i think if donald did anything and of course, he didn't do it on purpose because
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he doesn't know anything. he he showed us just how fragile our are. yeah and he we now have an opportunity. if the democrats decide that they care about democracy more than they care about the filibuster or whatever they're doing we have an opportunity to not just to shore up our institutions but reimagine them. which really does need to happen because one of the things i write about is how counterintuitively one of the most anti-democratic institutions in this country's history has been the supreme court. oh, yeah, so we need to do something about that and we can we can add four seats tomorrow. we need to make sure that the because this is the weird thing the institutions that were designed to protect protect us from people like donald. led to him and then he further
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weakened them, you know the state department. it's going to take a generation to repair the damage. he did to the state department. can you believe that your uncle was allowed to appoint three trumpy supreme court justices? i mean and i have to tell you with amy coney barrett like i remember talking to someone who's in from trump world and he was saying, he's saving amy. call me barrett for when ruth bader ginsburg dies, and i thought like that's right. that was the worst thing i'd ever heard and it was actually true and i mean it's just so horrible. i mean, i feel like those three dresses, you know, kavanaugh who was had all these allegations and then you know, he was gonna he was gonna get borked and he would have had he not screamed at everyone and then trump had decided that he loved him. i mean it was like it was like watching a horror movie.
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yeah, or really really bad reality reality television, you know, which is kind of the same thing. it it's on speakable that. because people are so bought so attached to the way things have always been. that they are unwilling to take a step back and realize that this system as it currently exists is rigged against democracy and we cannot survive if we don't meet that challenge and do something about it, right? i mean the fact that the supreme court now six out of the nine justices represent about 30% of the population. and are handing down decisions that 70% of us. are horrified by should tell us something. the problem of course is that the system is rigged in favor of republicans, so they're not
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going to do anything about it. um, which means we need to play hardball and that's something one i think democrats are terrible terrible at which is why. you know biden has to stop being an institutionalist to the extent that he can need to listen to other people and he and schumer need to do everything in their power either. to get mansion and cinema on board or i buy it needs to start doing things without the senate. yeah. i mean it i think that's right, and i think that the idea of democrats not being the good guy, you know, i mean this it strikes me that there's such an innate feeling democrats feel like i mean i have you know on the podcast i have senators and congress people on all the time and they say things like well if we legislate well, then people will know and i mean the american rescue act was this
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huge success and so republicans took credit for it. even though they voted against it to be all over it against it and then you even see saw people like madison madison hawthorne like saying, you know, we did this for you and it's like nobody. um, so no, it's really striking to me it is and then to have on the left to the extent that they actually are on left saying that we need to play by the old rule book which by the way the republicans burned to ashes and doesn't exist anymore, but they're they're so dedicated to playing by that rule book. is no longer with us in order to save democracy right that they're willing to allow us to slide into a theocratic apartheid state because that's what's happening. it's a really weird way to go about saving democracy and another weird way to go about saving democracy is to pretend you can make common cause with a
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party that is fascist at this point. well there i mean like i agree but even if you were to say, oh, that's hyperbole. they are anti-democracy. they are anti voting which is if you are that then you are fascist right? like there are no, you know a plus b equals say so icons right plus violence plus i mean the way that republicans have like decided that the interaction was like tourism and something that people do normally is pretty wacky stuff, but i mean even just like the way republicans have had have encouraged their own supporters not to take the vaccine. that's where it gets very strange to me. i think i think about that a lot. because it's one thing not to care about other people. i think that's completely on brand. for a lot of republicans.
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um, it's another thing entirely to be willing to put yourself your children people you love at of dying from a totally preventable virus and i was actually speaking to ruth benign a while ago about that very issue, and she made a really good point that gun culture. which is just taken over. the republican party basically over time diminish the value of human life to right when when clinging to a piece of metal is more important to you than the lives of five and six year olds then. you know, why? do you care if five and six year olds wear masks or social distance or quarantine when exposed to a virus? yeah, it still mind-blowing but i that's the only thing that makes sense to me. i mean that makes a lot of sense
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and it's funny because you do see all i mean the future of the republican party if it's not trump is ron desantis and ron desantis has been you know, killing off and people his supporters pretty at a pretty good clip now and i mean and also i mean the thing that kills me at someone who used to remember republicans being pro-business, that was a long long time ago is that he's like suing the cruise lines because they want to use vaccine passports and he doesn't want them to i mean there is this real auto attacker, you know autocratic streak and the party that is really become sort of the mainstay. yeah, and what's really infuriating is that for people like descendants and tucker carlson? it's all performative right your posturing their vaccinated. you know their children are vaccinated. well, the joke is when people ask tucker carlson if he's vaccinated, he asked them some
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very personal and often inappropriate question in the hope that then yeah. i've seen that with journal twice with journalists. he said they've said are you vaccinated and then he asked you know, do you have relations with your wife or something? that's very right in a way. i mean, the problem would talk across is he's very smart. i mean the you know, he's also just gonna we're all gonna die because of him, but so i think that he does this very, you know, good way he's good at intimidating people. but it is no i mean i fox news. i mean, i don't know if these people are vaccinated, but i do know that fox news has a 90% vaccination rate and a vaccine passport system, which makes me think that a lot of these people may be vaccinate. well, it's company policy, right? i don't think they have a choice. exactly, so you know and as you said he's smart, right fortunately, right and so it's
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just and that's that's i think. the disadvantage they have us at if you don't believe in anything and all you want is power. there are no lines. you won't cross right? and i think that's i also think republicans and i think this really worked for trump in in 2015. he was never bound to the truth at all. no at all. so well hillary would say something that wasn't exciting trump would just say like i'm going to get you cold jobs, you know, i'm gonna make coal gray again, right? i'm gonna hit no, but you know, i mean even mitch mcconnell is not going to get up there and say like we're gonna make coal great again because he's he knows that cole is dead, but trump had none of that relationship with the truth at all. yeah, and he's really good. i mean, unfortunately i hate giving him credit. for anything, but he's quite good at reading a room and we
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saw this recently at his. mass death event in alabama, right? he told everybody to get vaccinated. and then they boot him and he turned on a dime and we'll never say that again. yeah, so in real time he can make those shifts which is weird because one could call that admitting you were wrong. and then correcting yourself. so the fact that he couldn't do that with covid is pretty depressing, but he's really good at doing it to keep people liking it. yeah. all right. i think we should go to michelle and let michelle ask some of the questions from the the internet chat. so cool. thank you both. yes, we've got lively discussion and plenty of questions for you mary. the first one is the level of psychological reconstruction we
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need to do as people is overwhelming. how do we appeal to others when we're also full of resistance? what is the sweet spot to trigger engagement? well, you know, it's gonna be different for everybody. sometimes you have to meet people people where they are and sometimes that means just giving them. room to get there on their own right? you can't force people i used to work in a clinic that specialized in substance abuse disorders and a lot of the patients there were mandated by court. to go to treatment doesn't work. if you're resisting if you're that resistant, then it you cannot. force it on somebody, you know, so. part of it. i mean i'd say the first thing we need to do is we need to focus on ourselves. you know, you you can't give
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people that much if your own resources are depleted and i think it's kind of where we all are right now. so as hard as it is to believe that we still are still here 18 months later. we need to remember that we are all still suffering greatly and even if not like i i live in new york mileage in new york. it's so much better now a lot of people are vaccinated, you know, we're still wearing masks indoors and all that stuff. so i feel relatively safe there, but we're not totally out of the woods and again, even though luckily so far. it hasn't been anybody close to me, but two thousand americans are dying every day still for no reason. um, so the very first thing we need to do is is assess where we are get help if we need it, but also remember that, you know, we're all still a little bit isolated and we're all still in the process of emerging from
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what has been very traumatic and continues to be so we need to stay connected. um, we need community, which is very to do when you we have been so isolated for so long and we need to take steps every day to make sure. that we are giving ourselves what we need or asking for things that we can't do for ourselves, you know, so. resistance is a tough. a tough thing to deal with especially when the way i used to think about it is it's as if we were at war and all of us went to war at the same time. we all served in some capacity. some of us had deskjub some of us were on the front lines and everything in between and we all came back at the same time. so. we need to understand that that we are all going through it and just like i do this all the time with people if annoyed with them
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or upset with them. i just take a step back and say well, you know what? it's covid. it's very likely covid. and so we need to be forgiving to ourselves. we need to be forgiving to other people and hope that when people are ready to seek help or you know your council that they will ask and that we will be able to be there for them and for ourselves. what are your thoughts regarding being named in a suit by donald trump when it comes to the discovery phase where he would be exposed to details of his businesses business practices all while under oath. it doesn't seem to have thought that one through. does he i know i'm thinking of sending him flowers. actually, i might not because you know, i'm saving all of my money for when i have to pay him that hundred million dollars, but i listen. i think it's extraordinary
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extraordinarily unlikely. there will be a discovery phase here because he never gets to that point. you know. however that might be different with my lawsuit. against them because i'm not going to drop it. and i will see it through. so i think that's what he needs to be more worried about and i again, i think that's one of the reasons this his lawsuit against me happened because i at least i'd like to think i've got him freaked out a little bit. mary was your complex ptsd related to dealing with your father and his history with a family. was it cathartic for you? thank you for admitting it. no, it had not it had nothing to do with my dad or his family, although they didn't help. but that way they sort of certainly compounded. the drama but listen, i anybody
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who's grown up with an alcoholic parent understands that that does. that does put a burden on any child. who has to deal with that and i especially when? that person's family is so cruel. um, so no dad had nothing to do with it. however, i wouldn't be at all surprised if he had some form of ptsd himself. given the unspeakable cruelty he was subjected to like practically his entire life. if we're traumatized now, what do you think would happen if trump gets elected again in 2024. what do you think are the chances of him getting elected in 2024? hmm i honestly think we need to work. i will answer the question, but i think right now we need to be
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very concerned about what happens in 2022. because if the republicans win back the house or gained more seats in the senate. i think it at that point it's over. um, i i hate saying that i believe it's true. so we need to focus on that if we're lucky. and democrats increase their margins preferably in the senate. then yeah, then 2024 becomes the next. most important election of our lifetime i think as i was saying to molly earlier, i believed immediately after the election that he wouldn't run again because he'd been so humiliated and then the republicans proved themselves to be even more craven than i gave them credit for. and have enabled him to retain power to remain influential.
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and are also behind the scenes god knows what's happening but out in the open they are in every state trying to enact voter suppression laws aimed squarely at preventing democratic leaning voters. promoting so if they can rig the system in only three states. against us and they're make it impossible for democrats to win statewide elections in arizona, georgia, pennsylvania, for example, then donald would run because he wouldn't. be able to lose. and he needs the powers and protections of the oval office. he needs them and he knows he needs them. so we need to hope. for the first time in this country's history that a powerful white man who committed egregious crimes against his country and against the people of his country is held
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accountable. whether he needs to go to prison, but not sure that's going to happen. he needs to be impoverished he needs to be kept from running for office again, you know there. is there the section 3 of the 14th amendment makes it impossible for insurrectionists to run for public office that needs to be invoked. so and there's also the question of his health. he's not a young he's he's an old 74 and he's in terrible shape. so, you know, there's and he's very mentally he has serious mental illness, which is untreated what you notice of him. i'm sorry. what's your diagnosis of them? um, i don't diagnose him because i kind of technically i can't but we just need to look at his behavior to know that you know, whether it's it's technically
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this or not. he he's an incredibly antisocial person rules. don't apply to him. he lies. he's a prolific. liar, he lies with without compunction. sorry with confunction. i don't remember. anyway, he lies a lot. it has no no qualms about doing so and he's cruel. has no empathy. and as i've been saying for a while, and i know molly you have two. he will if he feels threatened. and we're seeing how this is playing out. he will do anything in his power to take all of us down with him. so whether he's a sociopath or a malignant narcissist or something else we are at still unbelievably. at the mercy of a person who literally doesn't care if we live or die unless we support it.
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we have a question from the audience. do you think that democracy will still be here in 20 years? that depends entirely on what happens between now and 2024. it really does we either. get through 2024 with a democracy. shaken, it's weakened. but intact to the extent that it ever has been. and we do the work to sure it up in ways that it really has always needed to be, you know expanding the franchise to everybody who's eligible to vote. and failing that i know democracy won't be here in 20 years, and i'm not sure what would be because for the united states to become a an autocracy.
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the devastating to the entire planet and this is a question that is pretty popular in the youtube chat, but it was also one of my questions and that is will you ever consider running for public office? i'm going to say something really political right now. i have no plans. that's right. honestly, i i don't know simply because i i'd never thought about it. um and so what i am asked that question. i can't say no because i've never really given it that much thought what i will say, however, first of all, i live in new york. so what good what good would it do there are plenty of people with my politics writing for things who have more experience than i have. but for now, i like i really like what i'm doing. um, i have a lot of opportunities to do things that i would never have been able to
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do before and i also think that at the moment i'm more effective on the outside. you know, i don't i never have to pull punches. i'm not beholden to anybody and i mean obviously any any decent person with integrity who's a politician shouldn't do those things either. um, but you know, it's also it wouldn't really leave me a room to do much else if i were in politics, so i'm yeah, i like i like being on the outside, honestly. the new woodward book reveals that vice president mike pence was talked out of going along with donald trump's coup by none other than dan quayle. did dan quayle save democracy. no. no, but you know credit for standing up. and saying because all he did was tell mike pence the truth about the situation he was in
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there was nothing he could do and i think i'm guessing pence also spoke to other people because he was probably trying to find somebody who would tell them what he wanted to hear which is yeah sure. you can overturn the results of the election. um, but i think it's hysterical that it's down quail. um, i hope spelling has gotten better. since last we heard from him, but no and in fact, i'm still not sure democracy has been saved at all. but anyway. just a couple more questions before we turn it back to molly for her final questions. are you optimistic or pessimistic about our future as a country? yeah, i i can't be pessimistic we need. as hard as it is we need to hang on to hope and as i said earlier, we we did something extraordinary in november. um, you know, we were well on our way to a very dark place and
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we ended up with joe biden as our president and kamala harris is our vice president. that is not nothing. so i am hopeful also, i think. hanging on the hope allows us to stay connected and energized like if we think it's hopeless then why bother you know, we all need to we all need to bother like we need to vote in such overwhelming numbers in 2022 just for things to be even. because the system is so stacked against us with gerrymandering and voter suppression and the electoral college etc. so you know, there's no reason to give up yet. there's not so i know it's hard especially because of covid but you know, we need to hang in there and realize remind yourself every day. there are so many more of us than there are of them. it's a great segue to the lost and final question from our
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audience and our youtube chat here mary. how can we best continue the fight without getting burnt out even though that's what you just said. i know it's hard but keep going what would you recommend for emotional sustenance in this long protracted battle that we're all in? um well, i said earlier, you know, it's really important to stay connected and realize that we're not alone and i know that's been very hard. it's been hard for me last year and a half not to feel that at times but you know. do things like this join other online communities if if you can or in person ones if they exist where you are and they're safe do take care of yourself. i i know that sounds basic, but it's hard under these circumstances. it's hard to eat properly and exercise when there's so much also this going on around us. um, but those are really important. i mean though, it's not just because you'll you'll feel better physically, but you'll
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feel better emotionally in psychologically as well. so the other thing i would also say is you don't have to informed about everything all the time. you know, it's hard to just listen doesn't the bet it's all bad news, right? so if you need to tap out tap out for a while. refresh, you know re-energized and understand that, you know, we we all are gonna have each other's backs here, and we're not going to do anybody including ourselves any good if we burn out right, so and and there are also things that you can do that don't expose you to the toxicity all the time. you know do voter registration drives. do stuff like that, you know. thank you so much. i'll turn it back over to molly for your final thoughts and questions. we got about five minutes left. i want to say one last thing. i want to add to what you just
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said because i think it was good. but also run for your school board. hmm. i mean they those get there the craziest people in the world are running for your school board. so it's really good. i mean, i don't think it will be the relaxing moment of zen that you need to tell. i mean, i think mary has a very good point though about like tapping out for mental health. you know, i'm i pay a lot of attention to what's going on, but i give myself like the summer i took like a week where i just like didn't even know what was happening, you know when i was just with my teenagers and and i think that was very relaxing because teenagers are very relaxing as you and i both know it's very and they're also delightful and they say very nice things to you about. what a great parent you are. um it constantly yeah. really good humbling exercise. um, but i do think that it's a
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really good point that we have to take care of our mental health. it does feel very kind of crushing and scary and and i would also say like voter registration is how democrats won georgia voter registration is like a really big part of this whole thing and stacey abrams and latasha brown from black voters matter like those two women and they're and all of the volunteers that they assembled really did do a lot of other registration. so while voter registration feels like calming because it is not like a terrifying you know kind of jerry springer show, you know event it actually is very useful and i think that's really important. yeah, and it's good to have a sense of agency, right you're doing something productive. yeah, it's really good. i i want to ask you one last
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question if you feel what is the thing that you want people to take away from this book? um i think i want people to understand in a really deep way that the only way for us to heal whether it's personal or as a country is to be honest. and to take responsibility where necessary. um, you know, especially white people take their privilege for granted to the extent that they don't even know it exists most of the time and a lot of people don't admit it exists ever. and somehow taking responsibility for things as fallen out of fashion. so if we want to get better as a country we and by we are right now. i'm just talking to the majority of white people.
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we need to take responsibility not yes. i didn't you know, i'm not responsible for slavery. no, but i need to be very honest about the fact that i've benefited from a system that privileges whiteness. yes, right. so if i fail to take responsibility for that, then i'm contributing to the problem. i'm perpetuating. the the evils that have gotten us to this point, so there's nothing harder or more. productive and useful than looking in the mirror and being honest with yourself and that's what we all need to do. mary i'm so glad i got to do this and i'm so grateful to call you a friend. i just asked so things is awesome. also happy you were able to be here with me and michelle. thank you so much and everybody.
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for putting this together this was this is awesome. pick up a copy of your book today the reckoning our nation's trauma and finding a way to heal. thank you to mary trump and molly jong fast for this very open conversation. thank you to all of you for joining us here and the commonwealth club of california for providing the platform to find out more programs more information about the commonwealth club head to commonwealth club dot org. enjoy the rest of your evening your day. take care of yourself. stay strong. stay healthy. we'll next time. and you've been watching book tv every sunday on c-span 2 watch nonfiction authors discuss their books television for serious readers and watch them all online. anytime had book tv.org. you can also find us on twitter facebook and youtube at book tv. just as stephen breyer recently announced his plans to retire
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from the supreme court appointed by president clinton in 1994. his departure will provide president biden with his first supreme court nomination last october justice breyer discussed his latest book the authority of the court and the peril of politics. here's his response to protesters asking him to retire. how do you respond to people who normally would say it more gently than bringing a sign to one of your speeches? but how do you what do you say to people who? argue that you should retire as soon as possible while the democrats have the senate majority. that's the basic issue that those those protesters that's their point of view. i've said pretty much what i have to say. there are a lot of considerations and i don't want to add to what i've had to say tonight because i notice every time that i had something it becomes a big story and so the less i add the better and it's i think i'm not from pluto.
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i think i knew it was gentleman thought and i think i have most of the considerations in mind and i simply have to weigh them and think about them and decide when the proper time is i've also said that i don't i hope i don't die on the supreme court and there we are. to watch the full program search stephen breyer at book tv.org. thank you, carrie. and thank you everyone for joining us today. i'm very excited to be hosting this panel of distinguished speakers. so if you'll permit me, i'll go through the the roster here. we've got ditra filial. who's the author of the secret lives of church ladies. i venture to say one of the most successful fiction books from a university, press in the past years. it was published in 2020 by west virginia university, press the short story collection won the 2021 penn faulkner award