Maryanne Trump Barry, older sister of former President Donald Trump, has died. The 86-year-old former federal judge was found at her home Monday morning, according to the New York City Police Department.
The NYPD confirmed that officers were sent to Barry’s Manhattan home just before 4:30 a.m. and discovered a deceased 86-year-old woman. The cause of death was not immediately clear. Her death was confirmed by a judicial official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the news hadn’t been announced publicly by either the court or Trump’s family.
Barry was the eldest of Fred and Mary Anne McLeod Trump’s five children. She obtained her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 1974. She became an assistant U.S. attorney that same year in New Jersey. In 1983, she was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by President Ronald Reagan. In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where she served until her retirement in 2019, though she had taken senior status in 2011 and inactive senior status shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
Though Barry rarely spoke publicly about her brother, their niece, Mary L. Trump, purportedly recorded her surreptitiously in 2018 and 2019.
The Post’s story about the recordings appeared one day after the White House hosted a private memorial service for Robert Trump, the president’s younger brother, who died Aug. 15, 2020, at age 71.
The recordings of Barry were made by Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who published a scathing tell-all book on the president and their family.
“Donald is cruel,” Barry told her niece in the secretly recorded conversation in 2018.
“All he wants to do is appeal to his base. He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this,” she allegedly said in the recording published by the Post, referring to the Trump administrations’s so-called zero-tolerance policy at the U.S.-Mexico border that led to children being separated from their parents amid immigration court hearings. The policy was later rescinded.
Barry, who reportedly was under hospice care for cancer, is survived by one son, New York psychologist David William Desmond, from her first marriage to David Desmond.
While the former president has not commented publicly on the news of his sister’s death, Donald Trump Jr. addressed the news briefly following his court appearance Monday to testify on behalf of the defense in the ongoing civil fraud trial in New York.
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., spoke briefly about his aunt as he exited a Manhattan courthouse Monday, calling it a “rough day for myself and my family,”
Trump Jr. told reporters after testifying in a civil fraud trial that he had been informed of the news as he pulled up to the courthouse Monday morning.
“I’m very close with her grandson. We hang out all the time. And so it’s obviously a rough day for that,” he said.