Mary Trump describes family as 'malignantly dysfunctional'

President Trump's niece speaks out to ABC News about why she wrote a book about her family and what she wants people to know about the president.
8:44 | 07/15/20

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Transcript for Mary Trump describes family as 'malignantly dysfunctional'
More from my exclusive interview with president trump's niece author of the new memoir "Too much and never enough: How my family created the world's most dangerous man" and had to fight in court to portray this. It all begins with your grandfather. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. You say he is a sociopath. Yes. What do you mean by that? He had no empathy. He was incredibly driven in a way that turned other people including his children, his wife into pawns to be used to his own ends. If somebody could be of service to him, then he would use them. If they couldn't be, he excised them, and in my father's case tragically he was not of use. You write Donald following the lead of my grandfather and with the complicity of silence and inaction of his siblings destroyed my father. Yeah, that was hard to write. Much harder to witness. You say that was a hard sentence to write. I left out the next sentence. Okay. I can't let him destroy my country. Ah, yes. That sounds pretty arrogant, so let me explain what I mean. I feel as I write in the book that there are so many parallels between the circumstances in which my family operated and in which this country is now operating. I saw firsthand what focusing on the wrong things, elevating the wrong people can do, the collateral damage that can be created by allowing somebody to live their lives without accountability. If I can do anything to change the narrative and to tell the truth, I need to do that because I don't believe the American people had the entire truth four years ago. Why didn't you write the book four years ago? I thought long and hard about saying something. I knew that if I had said anything I would have been painted as a disgruntled disinherited niece who just wanted her 15 minutes which obviously is being said about me Sass's exactly what the white house says, a book of falsehoods, basically you're lying for money. If I had wanted money or revenge I would have done this ten years ago when it was infinitely safer but neither one of those things interested me. You do write that he once had a spark of kindness. Yeah. I think he did. One of the unforgivable things my grandfather did to Donald was he severely restricted the range of human emotion that was accessible to him, which makes it -- What does that mean? It means that certain feelings were not allowed. Like? Sadness, the impulse to be kind. The impulse to be generous. Those things that my grandfather found surp flewous, unmanly -- Your father got very ill, deathly ill and get a phone call from your grandfather. I remember that conversation verbatim. My grandfather got on the phone, he said, your dad's sick. Is it serious? He's in the hospital but it's not serious. But, you know, why am I calling you at 10:00 on a Saturday night I was thinking to myself if it's not serious. I said, is it his heart? He had open heart surgery three years earlier at the age of 39. And he said, yes, it's his heart and I said, well, then it is seous. Yes, it's serious, but don't worry about it. Call your mother in the morning. And as I found out two minutes later when I called my mother to find out what was going on, my father had died two hours More or less alone. Completely alone. Obviously with strangers surrounding him but no family. You write that his brother went to the movies. Yes. Yeah, that shocked even me when I heard about it. You know, it was bad enough -- it was probably worse, honestly, that my dad's parents just sat in the library in the house waiting for a phone call. I will never know why they didn't go to the hospital to be with their son who was clearly dying. So maybe it isn't surprising that Donald didn't think he needed to be there. Maybe that would have looked bad to his father. And maybe sitting around waiting for the phone call was too burdensome. I don't know, but, you know, I've often wondered what movie did he go to see that seemed more compelling than sitting with his dying brother, but I'll never know. For many years after your father died you were taken care of by the trump family. Uh-huh. Then Fred trump dies and you have the impasse. Yeah. I just want to clarify you say taken care of. The sense in which that's true is no different than from the sense in which it's true for anybody else in my family. When it was all settled, when the lawsuit was done, did you think it was a fair settlement? No. But I didn't have enough information to understand in what way it wasn't fair and at the time, again, it's a very long time ago and I was very close with my grandmother so a lot of it for me was wrapped up in the quite honestly devastation, I felt, when she let us go so easily because of money, so that was much more important to me than the other side of it and it certainly made the dealing with the money issues harder, because -- But it was all about the money, wasn't it? I'm a trump, you know. Everything is about money in this family, but I'm also different from them and for me what I understood and one of the reasons it was so devastating was that money stood in for everything else. It was literally the only currency the family trafficked Your brother is not happy with the book. I believe that my brother is entitled to his privacy and his opinion and I am completely supportive of whatever relationship he has with my family and whatever choices he This is a hard question but I'm going to ask it anyway. Is writing the book an extension of the dysfunction of the family? Probably. You know, I didn't write it as a form of therapy or anything like that. In fact, I would have preferred not to write it. It was quite difficult, and I sometimes feel I would have been better off not knowing some of the things I now know. She packed a lot into the book and we're going to have a lot more tomorrow with Mary trump. All right. She certainly has a lot to say, Coming up next that growing

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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