Trump ‘never gave a penny’ to island his mother grew up on, documentary claims
Mary Anne MacLeod frequently returned to Lewis and gave financial assistance to Scottish island
American banker Elizabeth Trump Grau (L) her brother US president Donald Trump, and their mother Mary Trump as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Florida, 1995. File photograph: Davidoff Studios/Getty Images
A new TG4 documentary about Donal Trump’s mother has claimed the US president has done nothing to help the Scottish island where she grew up.
Mary Anne MacLeod was from the the Isle of Lewis in the outer Hebrides. She was born in a village called Tong, five kilometres outside Stornaway, the main town on the island, in 1912.
The TG4 documentary entitled Máthair Trump (Trump’s mother) returns to the village of Lewis where Ms MacLeod was born and left in 1930, arriving in the United States on the day after her 18th birthday.
Ms MacLeod married Fred Trump in 1936.
Ms McLeod frequently returned to Lewis and gave financial assistance to repair the village hall and the Bethesda Hospice on the island.
“You’d never be able to tell that Mary Anne Trump left the country. That’s how she was for us anyway. I remember my parents came one day and asked her for dinner one night,” island local Alice MacKay tells the documentary.
“And you’d never think listening to them that Mary Anne and her sister had ever left. They didn’t even have an American accent. Donald never gave a penny.”
Mr Trump only paid two visits to his mother’s birthplace, once as a child, the second time in 2008 on his way to promote his golf course in Turnberry.
Ms MacLeod was the youngest of 10 children born to Malcolm MacLeod, a crofter (farmer) and fisherman and his wife Mary. She grew up in a Scots-Gaelic community where English was the second language.
Lewis had levels of immigration to the United States similar to the poorest Irish communities. Several of her siblings had already left for the United States.
The problems of rural isolation was compounded by the devastation wrought on the island by the first World War - more than 1,000 men from Lewis were killed and a further 200 died on January 1st, 1919 when a troop ship returning from the battlefields of Europe was sunk by a mine.
Running like a thread through the documentary is the story of a special friendship between Ms MacLeod and Agnes Stiven, her teenage penpal, from the east coast city of Dundee, who in later life wrote a beautiful memoir of their relationship.
They were separated for 60 years after Ms MacLeod left for the United States. Their friendship was rekindled in 1995 after Ms Stiven watched a documentary on ITV about Donald Trump and realised that her old friend was the then tycoon’s son.
The pair were reunited and rekindled their friendship which ended with Ms MacLeod’s death in 2000.
Máthair Trump airs Wednesday 11th December, 9.30pm on TG4