Most of us will remember the moment from October where Trump, fresh out of hospital after battling with coronavirus himself, appeared at a balcony on the White House and ripped off his face covering. Reporters remarked that he was breathing heavily during the photo op, which took place when he was still contagious.

Well, according to his niece, Mary Trump, the then-president was “in pain” when he did that gesture for the cameras.

“Doing his best Mussolini imitation, he took off his mask in a macho display of invulnerability. He clenched his teeth and jutted out his jaw, just as my grandmother did when she was biting back anger or clamping down on her pain. In Donald, I saw the latter.

“He was in pain, he was afraid, but he would never admit that to anybody – not even himself. Because, as always, the consequences of admitting vulnerability were much more frightening to him than being honest,” she writes in an excerpt of her new book, The Reckoning, which was published in the Guardian.

Donald Trump, a blonde white man in a navy suit, stands on a balcony at The White House and has his right hand in his right suit pocket.“He clenched his teeth and jutted out his jaw”Independent/Screengrab

The comments are not only supported by Trump’s appearance in that video, but also by a report from The New York Times in February that Trump’s condition was so severe, there were concerns that he would need to be placed on a ventilator.

Both Trump and his wife Melania tested positive for coronavirus on 2 October after Hope Hicks, a close aide, was found to have the virus. He left the hospital, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, on 5 October.

In a post to Twitter at the time, back when he had an account on the platform, he wrote: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Mary, who is a clinical psychologist, is Trump’s late brother Fred Trump Jr’s daughter. Her most recent book claims that America is reeling from post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of her uncle’s presidency.

As reported in Insider, she also detailed in her book how Trump neglected her concerns over her father’s burial.

Mary had asked Trump why her grandfather Fred Trump wanted her father’s ashes to be buried in the family plot instead of scattered in Montauk, Long Island, New York as he wished. And the former president apparently responded with: “It is what it is, honeybunch.”

Mary has long been critical of her uncle and has campaigned for his impeachment. She also helped fund President Joe Biden’s transition campaign, according to a disclosure document released by the General Services Administration earlier in the year.

The Reckoning is due to be published later this month.

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