A few weeks before her first-ever live podcast show, Mary Trump, the niece of former President Donald Trump as well as one of his sharpest critics, says she’s still sorting out what the live event in L.A. will entail.
“We’re still working on format,” she says of taking “The Mary Trump Show” podcast to a live audience. “I think the core of the show is going to be what we do every week. Just have a group of people talking about the most important thing that’s happening that given day.”
Since the podcast debuted in December, Mary Trump’s Uncle Donald — and her audience’s enthusiasm to see him face legal consequences — has often been the focus of conversation. (On a recent show, a listener asked the host if she’d consider making a citizen’s arrest of the former president at a family gathering. Mary Trump replied that she no longer gets invited to such events.)
More recently, she says she’s tried to steer the conversations — with listeners, the political figures she interviews, and her squad of progressive pod-mates dubbed the Nerd Avengers — away from the former president and more to discussions of the upcoming midterm elections and what she sees as the ongoing threats to American democracy.
The live show on Friday, Oct. 21 at Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth in Los Angeles will include all of that plus a few surprises, Trump says.
In an interview edited for length and clarity, here’s what else she said about her journey from being a not-very-well-known member of the Trump family to one of its chief critics and a political polemicist with an ever-growing platform.
Q: This is your first live show — how do you see it unfolding?
A: We’re still playing around with things to add to the mix because we want it to be different. We want to give the people who are coming out live some bonus material, so to speak, because a lot of times when people do podcasts live on stage, it’s the same thing, which seems like a wasted opportunity to me.
Q: How did the podcast come to be? Did the folks at Politicon (the podcasting group that hosts her show) approach you or did you reach out to them?
A: I started thinking about doing a podcast back in the fall of 2020. And it just wasn’t the right time because of the elections. Then it wasn’t the right time because of the insurrection and then I was writing a book, which totally took up all of my time. Quite honestly, I just sort of dropped it or actually forgot about it.
Then Politicon approached me, and it just ended up being a really good fit. They’re really supportive and they basically let me do whatever I want. And it’s nice to have somebody taking care of all the technical stuff.
Q: How has the show changed since the first episodes aired?
A: The format has sort of evolved over time. I’ve always had the interview show, which is typically every Thursday. But every once in a while, I throw in an Ask Mary Anything Within Reason, which is what I call it because there are some things I don’t want people asking me.
Q: Tell me about July 2020, when you decided to go public about your uncle.
A: It had been really difficult for me in 2016 not to say anything. But I was also very well aware that my saying anything would not have made a bit of difference, because it would have gone the way of anything else. It seemed pretty clear that Donald had complete impunity to do and say whatever he wanted without repercussion, and I had no proof of anything.
But I knew Donald was going to be just the worst person to have that job. So late spring 2017 when Susanne Craig of The New York Times approached me and made it clear to me that I actually had documents in my possession that could help them, as she put it, rewrite the financial history of the Trump family.
That was when I thought, OK. I’ve been wanting to do something but now that I actually have a chance to prove something. Because I have these tangible documents, whatever it was, 40,000 pages of documents.
I had no intention of letting anybody know that I was a source. But as we know now, it wasn’t enough. It should have been. So many things should have been, but it wasn’t, even though it’s one of the most, if not the most, brilliant piece of investigative journalism I’ve ever seen. [Craig and two other New York Times reporters won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for stories in which Mary Trump’s documents provided information.]
The reason that had become possible (to speak out in July 2020) was because nobody could say any more that, you know, I was this disgruntled — well, I guess they could say I was this disgruntled niece — but they couldn’t say that I didn’t have solid proof of something.
Q: Why do you think podcast listeners, many of whom are not supporters of Donald Trump, remain so interested in him?
A: Thankfully, the focus is shifting away from Donald. Although, let’s be honest, he’s still a factor. He’s still a very, very big factor. It’s very difficult to know what would have happened if, after he lost, the Republican Party had done what they should have done, and just kicked him off the stage and he wasn’t a factor. Maybe I’d be on an island somewhere writing novels. But that, unfortunately, didn’t happen.
So people are still interested, but it’s less about him than it is about his impact. What’s going to happen to him? And a lot of what I get asked is about the future of this country, which, you know, is separate from him.
Q: Do you think he runs again in 2024, and if he does, what happens?
A: The more trouble he’s in the more urgent it becomes for him to run, or at least to claim he’s running. Whether or not he does that’s a different issue. The problem that has been revealed to those of us who aren’t legal experts is that judicial time runs much more slowly than political time. So being indicted isn’t going to stop him, in fact, being indicted only makes the case stronger for him that he needs to run.
I mean, probably the best-case scenario is that — I don’t know that this would ever happen, but it’s sort of my fantasy — that he runs. He’s challenged by somebody like [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis. He loses in the primary and then does everything in his power to make sure whoever beats him in the Republican primary can’t win. Or he runs third party. That would be fun.
But he is a very disruptive force. I still think that his running is a terribly dangerous thing because it’s a devastating commentary on this country’s complete inability to hold powerful corrupt White men accountable for anything, even armed insurrection against his own government.
The Mary Trump Show Live
When: 7: 30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21
Where: Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
How much: $20-$25
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