Trump’s siblings doubted their brother could repay them because his collection of condominium buildings, casinos, hotels and other assorted properties was collapsing under the weight of billions of dollars in bank loans he couldn’t repay. So they made him pledge his future share of his father’s estate as collateral and loaned him the money. Trump gave me his “word” that none of that had happened, but I wrote about it anyway. When he later unsuccessfully sued me for libel he was forced to acknowledge under oath during the litigation that he had, indeed, borrowed from his family.

“We would have literally closed down,” a former Trump Organization employee with direct knowledge of Trump’s attempts to keep his company and himself afloat told me in 2005. “The key would have been in the door and there would have been no more Donald Trump. The family saved him.”

It wasn’t really the entire family that saved Trump, of course. It was Fred, the man who held the purse strings. And the president, who is 72, has spent about five decades pretending not only that his father never rescued him from bankruptcy but that he played a minimal role in his business successes.