Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

The Immigrant Roots of Nativist Donald Trump

How the grandson of Friedrich Trump from Kallstadt, Germany, became the voice of U.S. anti-immigration policy.
A silhouetted Donald Trump speaks to the media in July 2015.
A silhouetted Donald Trump speaks to the media in July 2015.AP Photo/Scott Heppell

Back in June, Donald Trump simultaneously launched his presidential bid and established himself as the raging id of American politics by making his now-infamous remarks about Mexican immigrants being rapists. His willingness to say out loud what many in the United States are evidently thinking has translated into robust poll numbers that show little sign of flagging.

Trump, of course, is not a Native American himself. His mother was Scottish and his family on his father’s side was German, a group that was itself sometimes reviled by immigrant-fearing demagogues over the years.