- Mary Trump wrote that Donald Trump's use of the phrase "it is what it is" to dismiss COVID-19 deaths brought back a childhood memory.
- Mary, the daughter of Trump's late brother Freddy, said her family used the phrase to minimize others' suffering.
- She recounted how Trump used it when she brought up concerns about her father's burial in 1981.
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Mary Trump, former President Donald Trump's niece, wrote in her newly-released book, "The Reckoning: Our nation's trauma and finding a way to heal," that her uncle's use of the phrase "it is what it is" to dismiss the rising COVID-19 death toll last year brought back a chilling childhood memory.
Mary, the daughter of the ex-president's late brother Fred Trump Jr., said her family often used the phrase to minimize others' suffering.
"That was a popular expression in my family, and hearing it sent a chill down my spine," she wrote. "Whenever my grandfather, my aunt, or one of my uncles had said it, it was always with a cruel indifference to somebody else in despair."
She wrote that her uncle used the phrase to brush off her concerns that their family hadn't abided by her father's burial plan after he died in 1981 of a heart attack caused by alcoholism. Mary was 16 at the time.
"Donald had said it to me at my grandparents' house in Queens when I'd asked him why my grandfather insisted that my father's ashes were to be buried in the family plot instead of scattered off the coast of Montauk, as he'd wanted," she wrote, adding that her uncle replied, "'It is what it is, honeybunch.'"
The ex-president infamously downplayed the mounting death toll from the coronavirus during an interview last August, when nearly 156,000 people in the US had died of COVID-19 and more than 1,000 were dying every day.
"They are dying, that's true. And it is what it is," Trump told Axios reporter Jonathan Swan. "But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can, it's under control as much as we can control it."
In her tell-all 2020 memoir, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," Mary wrote that no family members accompanied her father to the hospital on the night he died. In her new book, she likened her father's lonely death to the many who've died of COVID-19 without loved ones by their side, as hospitals restricted entry to non-patients.