Freidrich Trumpf, Elisabeth Trumpf, and Mary Anne MacLeod Trump -- All Immigrants

Freidrich Trumpf, Elisabeth Trumpf, and Mary Anne MacLeod Trump -- All Immigrants

Donald Trump’s grandfather, Freidrich, and grandmother, Elisabeth, immigrated to the United States from Germany, his mother, Mary Anne, from Scotland. In a matter of years, Freidrich became a rich man, moving from barber to café owner, to prostitution provider, to landowner. It’s a familiar and foundational story of America -- immigrant families, seeking a better life, settling and prospering in America. It is, moreover, the very definition of the unique character, energy and opportunity of this country.

Given his own family immigrant history, one might expect Donald Trump to embrace the richness of the melting pot, the energy of the newcomer, and the power of the blending of cultures. Indeed, one might expect him to fully and enthusiastically endorse America’s past and present of welcoming and nurturing immigrants. But, that sadly is not the case. Trump, turning his back on his grandparents and mother, seeks a Wall and funds the equivalent of storm troopers to eject mercilessly any and all “undesirable” immigrants.

But Trump has also turned a blind eye to his grandparents’ second immigrant experience. Fourteen years after immigrating to America, Elisabeth was overcome by homesickness and made him return to Germany. She and Freidrich returned in 1905 to rejoin his mother and family and begged the Prince Regent of Bavaria to be allowed to stay and be repatriated. Freidrich made a formal and impassioned plea, but was summarily denied and expelled from the country. In today’s parlance, Freidrich and Elisabeth were kicked out of the country they knew as children, forced to part from their families, and labeled undesirables.

How chillingly familiar today were Freidrich and Elisabeth’s experience. While not perfectly mirroring the experience of the 800,000 Dreamers in America, it is close enough to wonder how anyone with such a familial experience could threaten to totally disrupt the lives of today’s Dreamers. Nonetheless, Trump appears unmoved and filled with malice toward young men and women who are fully Americans, except for a piece of paper. Indeed, he seems eager to ruin the lives of a large number of innocent people who desperately need and want to remain in America. In fact, he is seriously threatening to do to them what the Prince Regent of Bavaria did to his grandparents.

Donald Trump has shown dramatically how he can totally dismiss history, even personal history.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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  • Your conscience

    July 01, 2019

    You are telling your opinion as if it were the actual truth. You are shamelessly misleading innocent people. Shame on you. I pray that your heart is moved and your soul forgiven for your sin of lying. Try to understand that one's opinion is not always what is the real truth. Your perspective is unique but prevents you from seeing all sides of the picture. You cannot know what is in someone elses heart. For example from my perspective you are a person filled with hate for a person you have never met. And because of your hate you intend to ruin his reputation with your words. You look like a bully to me. I sincerely hope I am wrong and have been misled by other people's hate. I will pray for you and the country we love

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