Donald Trump's approach to military service is well established — the president-elect avoided the draft five times, once for bad feet — but it turns out his grandfather shared his reluctance to head to the front line for his country.
Friedrich Trump, Donald's grandfather on his father Fred's side, was kicked out of Germany in 1905 for failing to complete mandatory service, according to a royal decree unearthed by a historian and submitted to German newspaper Bild.
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He was permanently banished for emigrating to the U.S. in 1885 without giving the authorities notice of his departure, thus blocking his repatriation and establishing the Trump family in America for good.
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Historian Roland Paul turned up a document ordering "American citizen and pensioner Friedrich Trump" to leave what's now called the Rhineland-Palatinate region "at the very latest on 1 May," the Guardianreports. He'd been born there in 1869 but had escaped to the United States as part of the gold rush. Having made his fortune and avoiding service, he tried to resettle in Germany to no avail.
"Friedrich Trump emigrated from Germany to the USA in 1885," Paul told Bild. "However, he failed to de-register from his homeland and had not carried out his military service, which is why the authorities rejected his attempt at repatriation."
The handwritten letter has been found in a German archive in which Donald Trump's grandfather unsuccessfully fought his expulsion from the country for failing to perform mandatory military service (Image: APLandesarchiv Speyer via AP)
Trump wrote to Bavarian Prince Luitpold begging the "well-loved, noble, wise and just" leader not to deport him, the Associated Press reports. The request was rejected, laying the groundwork for the impending Trump dynasty.
In fact, Friedrich Trump traveled back to the U.S. after the ruling on a steamship with Elizabeth while she was three months pregnant with Trump's dad Fred, never to live in his native Kallstadt again.
Friedrich Trump grew up in the village of Kallstadt. He emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 in 1885. (Image: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Friedrich went on to become a businessman in the U.S., owning a hotel and several restaurants. His wife Elizabeth and their son Fred expanded it into the Elizabeth Trump and Son real estate business, which Donald subsequently grew into Trump Organization LLC.
And the rest, as we know, is a very sorry history.