Maryanne Trump Barry, the older sister of former President Donald Trump, has passed away at the age of 86. Barry was a longtime federal judge who retired in 2019 amid investigations into alleged family tax schemes.
As the eldest daughter of the Trump family, Barry lived a very different life from her celebrity businessman brother before later getting caught up in controversies surrounding him.
Federal Judge Appointed by Reagan and Clinton
Maryanne Trump Barry was born in 1937 and graduated from Mount Holyoke College and Columbia University. She earned her law degree from Hofstra University in 1974 and became an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey that year.
In 1983, Republican President Ronald Reagan appointed Barry to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Later, in 1999, Democratic President Bill Clinton elevated Barry to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.
Barry developed a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense judge over several decades serving on the federal bench. She took senior status in 2011 before fully retiring in 2019 at the age of 82.
Eldest Sister of Donald Trump
While not as famous as her younger brother, Maryanne Trump Barry led an accomplished legal career in her own right. Yet she still got pulled into Donald Trump-related controversies in her later years.
As the eldest daughter of the Trump family, Barry helped raise her four younger siblings – Maryanne, Fred Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, and Robert. Fred Jr. passed away in 1981, while Robert died in 2020.
Barry maintained a fairly close relationship with Donald as he transitioned from real estate developer to reality TV star to U.S. president. She publicly supported her brother’s political aspirations.
Caught Criticizing Brother’s Policies and Character
However, behind the scenes, Maryanne Trump Barry showed sharp criticism of Donald Trump’s politics and personality. Recordings secretly made by her niece Mary Trump exposed the judge harshly assessing her presidential brother.
On the tapes, Barry condemned Trump’s immigration policies, saying undocumented immigrants deserve a path to citizenship. She also mocked her brother’s exaggerated claims of academic success and lack of principles.
The recordings provided an insider’s view of deep misgivings within Trump’s own family about his fitness for the presidency. This contradicted Maryanne Trump Barry’s outward support for her brother.
Investigated for Tax Scheme Before Retirement
At the time she retired as a judge in 2019, Trump Barry faced active investigations into potential judicial conduct violations. The probe centered around longstanding accusations that the Trump family had engaged in fraudulent tax schemes.
As reported by the New York Times, the Trumps allegedly formulated plans to grossly undervalue their parents’ real estate assets. This enabled the siblings to dodge millions in gift and estate taxes when inheriting the properties.
While denying any willing involvement, leaked documents suggested Maryanne Trump Barry benefited substantially from these tax avoidance schemes. The judicial inquiry into her actions was halted upon her retirement.
Eldest Trump Sibling Led Different Life
Unlike Donald Trump, Maryanne Trump Barry did not seek fame or fortune. She pursued a legal career in relative obscurity and only gained public notice later as the former president’s sister.
As a woman who came of age in the 1950s and 60s, Barry represented a different generation of the Trump family. Though not immune from controversy, she largely avoided the constant chaos that engulfed her younger brother.
With Barry’s passing, Donald Trump remains the most prominent member of the family that shaped his ambitious and volatile personality. Her death marks the end of a distinctly different Trump era.