The Many Fractured Personal Relationships Of Donald Trump

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Former President Donald Trump may have been placed on a pedestal by political supporters with die-hard affection, but his inner circle of personal and political relationships appears to be, well, a bit more tumultuous. The closer you get to the Trump fire, it seems, the higher the likelihood you'll get burned — or at least thrown under a bus. As one Vox writer claimed back before Trump was ever elected to the highest office of the land, "Trump's record makes it crystal clear that he's more interested in rapaciously extracting what money he can and doing what he wants, with little regard to laws, rules, or people who aren't Donald Trump." 

One might wonder, then: With this reputation for wreaking havoc on close associates, how does Trump attract and maintain any close relationships at all? People want access to wealth and power, and Trump touts himself as a kingmaker who can provide, and revoke, both. The ex-POTUS amassed millions of fans by marketing himself as an outsider who could shake things up in Washington, D.C. during the 2016 election. However, one highly-visible practice that indeed shook things up later on was setting records for staff turnover in a president's cabinet. 

From lovers to "fixers" to rich-and-famous friends, it looks as though Donald Trump has left a trail of destruction during his one-term presidency. Let's examine some of his many fractured personal relationships.

Michael Cohen was Donald Trump's 'fixer'... but then he started singing

The word "fixer" typically relates to wise guys, and that is exactly how former lawyer and self-described "fixer" to Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, claimed his ex-boss operates. Cohen wrote in his 2020 book, Disloyal: A Memoir — The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, that "Trump was like a mafia don ... I wanted to be his soldier in the worst way, and I was ready to pass any test put in my path." He also alleged (via The Guardian), "In some ways, I knew him better than even his family did because I bore witness to the real man." 

When Cohen previously found himself in legal hot water over his dealings with Trump, his former boss allegedly planted a hit piece against him (via Mediaite) in the National Enquirer, a tool Trump used frequently against his perceived enemies. Rather than persuading Cohen to keep quiet, this familiar tactic he had once employed for Trump motivated him to sing like a canary against him

Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal charges, including lying under oath to Congress, as part of a 2018 investigation into "hush-money" paid to Trump's former lovers during the 2016 presidential campaign, per Reuters. In February 2021, Cohen, who was serving the remainder of his three-year prison sentence at home due to coronavirus dangers, was interviewed by investigators probing the Trump Organization's "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct."

No more paradise by the boardroom lights for Donald Trump and Meat Loaf

Theatrical rock star Meat Loaf and TV star-turned-politician Donald Trump developed a bromance when the musician appeared on Celebrity Apprentice back in 2011. Meat Loaf told Express in 2020 that their friendship bloomed on set, noting, "I got on really well with him ... I went out for dinner with him a couple of times and nobody else in the cast did."

Trump likely adored Meat Loaf, in part, thanks to the ratings the "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" hitmaker produced. CBS News reports that Meat Loaf had an "epic meltdown" on Celebrity Apprentice, angrily accusing fellow contestant Gary Busey of stealing his art supplies while yelling, "I am the last person in the f**king world you ever f**king want to f**k with!" According to Business Insider, the highly-publicized episode drew a whopping 7.8 million viewers, which is like gold to notorious ratings-seeker Trump.

Sadly, the friendship between the two soured after Meat Loaf responded to a reporter's question about whether Trump would make a good president. The musician said that he thought Trump would excel in government economics. Meat Loaf later told Express that Trump reportedly took this as a personal affront to his other qualifications and confronted him at an Emmy nominations ceremony with, "What, you don't think I would make a good President?" And, poof! Their bromance was no more.

Chris Christie closed the bridge between himself and Donald Trump

Then-New Jersey Prosecutor Chris Christie met Donald Trump all the way back in 2002 through the latter's older sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, The New York Times reports. Republican operative Alan Steinberg claimed the two men are quite similar, saying, "They think they can just bully their way through. They both skirt the edge; they both have tendencies toward mendacity. It's the perfect bromance."

But bumps in the road were ahead. Christie prosecuted Jared Kushner's father, Charles Kushner, in 2005 (pre-Javanka; the couple didn't meet until 2007) for "tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions." So, when Jared and Ivanka Trump became a permanent fixture, Christie's presence in the Trump family orbit was a bit awkward. Still, Trump and Christie remained cordial... until they became rivals during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. Trump went on the attack, mentioning "Bridgegate" at a debate, claiming Christie "totally knew" about George Washington Bridge lane closures allegedly enacted as punishment to a Christie foe. After being clobbered in the New Hampshire primaries, Christie dropped out of the race, subsequently endorsing Trump (which blessed the internet with memes of Christie with a blank stare, suggesting he'd regretted this move).

Christie certainly must regret attending Amy Coney Barret's SCOTUS nomination and Trump's debate prep at the White House, as he ended up with coronavirus thereafter and spent a week in the hospital in October 2020, per NPR. NBC New York reports that Christie has since jumped off the Trump train.

Donald Trump's friendship with Anthony Scaramucci ended in... a Scaramucci

When your name becomes a colloquialism, you're officially famous. Longtime Donald Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci had such a short stint as White House Communications Director in 2017 that an 11-day period is now frequently referred to in political circles as "a Scaramucci." (Scaramucci himself calls it a "Mooch.") He went out with a legendary profanity-laced rant to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza, to whom he thought he was speaking off-the-record. Oops. Instead of throwing the White House newbie a bone, Lizza released a recording of the conversation, which ultimately led to Scaramucci's forced resignation.

Scaramucci continued to publicly support Trump after leaving the White House, but the two eventually parted ways. Vox reports the reasons for the Mooch's abandoning ship were Trump's escalating racist, sexist, and divisive rhetoric and, finally, what Scaramucci called Trump's "catastrophic" visit to survivors and family members of victims of the mass shooting El Paso, Texas. 

In August 2019, Scaramucci wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post, explaining, "The negatives of Trump's demagoguery now clearly outweigh the positives of his leadership, and it is imperative that Americans unite to prevent him from serving another four years in office." He added, "I thought Trump, despite his warts, could bring a pragmatic, entrepreneurial approach to the Oval Office. I thought he could be the reset button Washington needed to break through the partisan sclerosis. I thought he would govern in a more inclusive way than his campaign rhetoric might have indicated ... I thought wrong."

Ivana Trump realized her marriage was over on a ski slope

The woman to whom Donald Trump was married during his rise to fame as a New York socialite, Ivana Trump, is the mother of three of his five children. The couple met at a New York fashion show in 1976, Elite Daily reports, and married within a year. Their rich-and-famous lifestyle was well documented in the 1980s, but as the decade waned, so did their marriage. Trump began his now-famous affair with second wife Marla Maples in 1987, which was reportedly the main catalyst for the Trumps' divorce.

A serious accusation beyond infidelity, Ivana claimed during her 1990 divorce deposition (via The New Yorker) that her soon-to-be-ex husband had raped her in 1989 following a cosmetic procedure. This allegation was initially shared with the public in Harry Hurt III's 1993 book, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump (republished in 2016). When the allegations resurfaced as part of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Ivana issued a statement obtained by CNN that read in part, "I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit."

Ivana said in her 2017 memoir, Raising Trump, that she knew her marriage was over when Maples approached her at a ski resort in 1989 and said, "I'm Marla and I love your husband. Do you?"

Marla Maples understands the 'be careful what you wish for' adage

Donald Trump's divorce with Ivana Trump was finalized in 1992, followed in 1993 by Tiffany Trump's birth and her parents' wedding two months later. Marla Maples and Donald had a passionate love affair, but familiarity breeds contempt, and the honeymoon was over shortly after these lovebirds made their union official. A notorious philanderer, Donald didn't let a little thing like wedding vows stop him from pursuing extracurricular activities during his second marriage.

Maples told The Daily Telegraph (via the New York Post) that their marriage was "built on an illusion," adding, "I thought that I could change him. But he won't change." Maples moved with daughter Tiffany to California after the couple's 1999 divorce to raise her outside of the spotlight that follows her father, but told The New York Times in 2016 that Tiffany wanted "to get to know her father better and spend time with him like his other children did." 

Speaking with People that same year, Maples said, "Her daddy is a good provider with education and such, but as far as time, it was just me. Her father wasn't able to be there with day-to-day skills as a parent. He loves his kids. There's no doubt. But everything was a bit of a negotiation."

Kanye West didn't love lockdown when it came to Donald Trump

After Kanye West revealed his support for Donald Trump during a November 2016 concert, his vocal approval of Trump's election win led to a Trump Tower meeting during Trump's transition to the White House, The New York Times reported. Trump also met at the White House with West's then-wife, Kim Kardashian, who approached him about issues of criminal justice reform, per CBS News.

Four days after the official July 4, 2020 announcement of his own candidacy, West told Forbes he was "taking the red hat off" and running as the "Birthday Party" candidate, a candidacy confirmed by the Daily News following West's Federal Election Commission filing. West indicated that he withdrew support from Trump after learning he took cover in the White House bunker during the Black Lives Matters protests nearby. "It looks like one big mess to me," the musician said. "I don't like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker." It seems Trump and West still have at least one thing in common: they appreciate a show of strength.

When questioned about whether his ill-fated 2020 run was a spoiler candidacy, intended to siphon votes from future President Joe Biden, West replied, "I'm not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy." A source close to West told Hollywood Life, "The next time Ye would want to be in the White House is with him being the president himself."

Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian investigation and the friendship

Within a matter of two years, former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions went from being despised by Democrats and marginalized by most mainstream Republicans due to comments viewed as sexist, racist, or homophobic, to those same people actually feeling sorry for him. Why? Because then-President Donald Trump was publicly berating his then-Attorney General for having done the right thing. Sessions' offense was simply recusing himself from the Russia investigation, a move that irked Trump to no end because he wanted his Attorney General's protection.

But let's back up a bit. As a vocal opponent of illegal immigration through America's Southern border, Sessions saw ideological similarities between himself and Trump, so he rolled the dice on a Trump candidacy in 2016. CNN reports Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump, but the bet he made on Trump ultimately went bad and their professional relationship ended in acrimonious disappointment. 

"As the world knows, the President disagreed with me on recusal, but I did what the law required me to do," Sessions, who was later called "weak" and dismissed by Trump in 2018, told the press in 2020 (via CNN). "I was a central figure in the campaign and was also a subject of and witness in the investigation and could obviously not legally be involved in investigating myself." While Trump never forgave the supposedly "disloyal" Sessions for his recusal, Sessions seemingly grew tired of being Trump's verbal punching bag

Donald Trump's 2020 election loss opened Geraldo Rivera's eyes

The beginning of the end of journalist Geraldo Rivera's close relationship with Donald Trump was when the latter refused to concede the 2020 presidential election and incorrectly claimed the election had been "stolen" from him. 

In December 2020, shortly after publicly stating that Joe Biden had won fair-and-square, Rivera opened up about the state of their friendship while discussing Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic on FOX News, stating (via the Independent), "I don't mean to be petty or partisan. I just want you to know that as [Trump's] friend — even if he may not be speaking to me right now because of my position on the election being over — but I think, I insist that we have to recognize the role he played, the 45th president, in defeating a pandemic that has been so devastating to America and the world." (Quick fact check: Trump did not defeat the pandemic.)

The following month, Rivera claimed the loss either "made [Trump] crazy or revealed a dysfunction I had refused to see" in a tweet, noting that he'd officially reached a breaking point after witnessing the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol, in which Trump "unleashed a mob to make war on their own government. 5 [people's lives] to their doom." The January 2021 insurrection was the turning point for many of Trump's longtime friends and allies, as several GOP House members joined Democrats in voting to impeach the then-president — Rivera himself also supported the move.

Mary Trump has had Uncle Donald Trump's number for years

Hardly anyone saw Mary Trump, the daughter of Donald Trump's older brother, Fred Trump, Jr., coming. When she burst into the public eye with her July 2020 book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, it was hot news! The tell-all book revealed Trump family secrets and offered an analysis of Mary's then-presidential uncle's pathology.

As Town & Country reports, Mary's only prior public foray into airing Trump family laundry was in 1999, when she claimed her uncle had persuaded his father (her grandfather) to change his will while he was sick with dementia — making it so the late Fred Jr.'s family "would [receive] a far smaller portion of Fred Sr.'s estate than they expected." In September 2020, Mary revived the lawsuit.

In a November 2020 piece written for The Guardian, Mary claimed, "I've always known how cruel he can be. Shortly after the 2016 election, when I'd see him being particularly cruel, I would think about how he treated my father [... who died of alcoholism at 43]. He took away our family health insurance after his father, my grandfather, died — this was when my nephew needed round-the-clock nursing care, which we then couldn't afford. That is the kind of man he is." She later added of her uncle losing the election, "The worst thing Donald's looking at isn't financial difficulties or the prospect of jail. It's becoming irrelevant. I don't think he would ever recover from that."