Speaking to reporters in the White House Tuesday, President Trump misstated his father’s place of birth as Germany, rather than New York City.
“My father is German, right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany,” Trump said during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is from Norway.
Trump’s father, Frederick Christ Trump, was born in the Bronx on Oct. 11, 1905.
Tuesday’s misstatement was not the first time that the president has incorrectly identified his father’s birthplace. In a 2018 interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Trump did the same.
“I was there many, many years ago,” the president said of the European Union, which was not founded until 1993. “Meaning, my parents were born in the European Union. I love these countries; Germany, Scotland, they are still in there, right?”
During a visit to Scotland last July, Trump told reporters, accurately, that his mother was from Scotland, but he repeated the misinformation about his father.
“Don’t forget both of my parents were born in EU sectors — my mother was Scotland, my father was Germany.”
Trump’s grandfather Friedrich was indeed born in the German town of Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. Friedrich immigrated to the United States in 1885, at the age of 16, but did so before fulfilling his military service. In 1905 the kingdom of Bavaria wrote Friedrich a letter ordering him never to return.
Seeking to distance himself from his German heritage, Trump’s father, Fred, a prominent builder in New York, went on to claim Swedish heritage, probably for business reasons.
“He said, ‘You don’t sell apartments after the war if you’re German,’” Trump’s cousin John Walter told the Boston Globe. “So he’s Swedish, no problem.”
Trump himself pushed this false narrative in “The Art of the Deal,” saying his father had emigrated “from Sweden as a child.”
By 2000 Trump dropped the ruse, admitting that the story had come about because “being from Germany didn’t necessarily play so well for a period of time.”
For the record, the president was born in Queens, New York, at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on June 14, 1946.
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