Donald Trump Doesn't Drink Alcohol. Here's Why

In an intimate and candid 2015 interview with the Daily Mail, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke about the difficult life of his older brother Fred, who died in 1981 at age 43. Trump said his brother was a "great guy" and had the "best personality, much better than mine — the 'best-looking guy,'" according to the outlet. But Trump also noted that Fred had a problem with alcohol. His older brother "had a very, very, very tough life because of alcohol," Trump explained. "Believe me. Very, very tough, tough life."

"But it just broke my heart the way he died," Trump added. "It was ridiculous, if you think about it. He had so much in front of him. So much." However, Fred's death, as brought on by his struggle with alcoholism, taught Trump an essential life lesson, which he shared with the Daily Mail: "This is why I don't drink, ever. I just don't do it," he said. "Fred told me not to, and I saw what happened to him when he didn't follow his own advice."

Trump reiterated this point in an interview with The Washington Post when he said: "He was so handsome, and I saw what alcohol did to him even physically . . . and that had an impact on me, too." Has familial alcoholism impacted Trump's presidency? Some experts say yes.

How Donald Trump's decision has impacted his presidency

While Donald Trump has been seen sipping wine for either religious or diplomatic reasons, per The Telegraph, he doesn't drink alcohol. After watching the demise of his older brother Fred, Trump vowed that he would never drink. When speaking to The Washington Post, Trump speculated about his life had he begun drinking: "Let's say I started drinking, it's very possible I wouldn't be talking to you right now. There is something about the genetic effect."

In an opinion piece for Newsweek, author Susan Cheever, who discusses coming from an alcoholic home herself, wrote about the impact alcoholism has on family members, even if they don't drink. She supplied a laundry list of typical traits in siblings of alcoholics: they are often "control freaks, hyper-competent because somebody has to get things done... shockingly honest and occasionally suffused with rage."

Whatever the deeper effects of familial alcoholism are, there's no doubt that Trump was shaped by Fred's struggle. It has even impacted his presidency, as he told the Post that he has a special interest in dealing with nationwide addiction: "I guess you could say now I'm the chief of trying to solve it. I don't know that I'd be working, devoting the kind of time and energy and even the money we are allocating to it. . . . I don't know that I'd be doing that had I not had the experience with Fred."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).