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There are 4,788 poor souls named Trump in America — and they're sick of the election

Zachary Crockett
Ronaldo Schemidt | AFP | Getty images

Don Trump is fed up.

"Is the election over yet?" he asks me over phone. "I'm ready to get my life back now."

To be clear, this is not the schismatic Republican nominee. This is a 62-year-old technician from Virginia who prides himself as a "free-loving Democrat." But today, Don has become a guilty-by-association casualty of the prominent Trump's antics: He cannot hand over his credit card in a restaurant without being chided. He is coaxed into political debates at backyard barbecues.

Armed with one-liner retorts — "No relation"; "Not my uncle"; "I'm with Hillary" — he lives in a perennial state of verbal self-defense. Since the election, his surname has become a gadfly.

Don is not alone. According to Whitepages data, he is but one of 4,788 people in America who share the last name Trump.

America's Trumps are educators, doctors, and machinists. They're anti-liberal leftists, Christians, and immigrants. They span 46 states, from the remote reaches of Alaska to the sun-bleached shores of Florida. Most don't bear any discernible relation to the man on the Republican ticket.

For many Trumps, America is not as great as it used to be. What once served as a funny icebreaker, or even a source of adulation ("In the '80s, they'd think I was rich!" one elder Trump told me) is now an invitation to be ridiculed.

I tracked down a dozen Trumps from all across the US and asked them how their surname has been affected by Donald Trump's presidential run. Here's what they had to say.

When America was great for Trumps

The Trump surname wasn't always cause for embarrassment.

Don Trump grew up just outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia, in a small town, and for 15 or 20 years he enjoyed relative normality. In the 1980s, a young, brash business tycoon who shared his name started getting a lot of press, and things began to change.

"A taxi driver, or a waiter would look at my card and say, 'Ohhh, The Art of the Deal!'" says Don, who later moved to Norfolk to work to mechanical repair work. "To a lot of working people, Trump meant money and success. I'd get treated nicer — they thought I was a rich relative."

The elder Trumps I talked to enjoyed relative peace until Donald Trump's TV show The Apprentice debuted in 2004. But even then, the inquisitions were lighthearted.

"'You're fired!' jokes were a weekly thing," says Gary Trump, a 45-year-old semi-retired businessman from the West Coast. "In the business world, you always need a good icebreaker; that was mine. It was fun."

"Back then," he adds, "there wasn't [as much] animosity around the Trump name."

David Trump, a personal trainer from Burke, Virginia, recalls a similar experience:

"Before Trump ran for president, people would ask, 'Are you rich?' in this fun and playful way," he says. "Now they still ask if I'm related, but the tone of the question is completely different. When I say no, instead of a fun and playful response, it's this like sigh of relief. They now always make a point to show that they don't agree or support him."

Polls show that at least 91 percent of Americans are familiar with Donald Trump — yet 70 percent view him unfavorably. More specifically, 59 percent say he lacks any remote sense of decency (among minorities, and young voters, this rises to 66 and 76 percent, respectively).

For namesakes like Gary and David, this means that the halcyon days of Trumphood are over. Trumps in America have entered their darkest hour.

The dark side of being a Trump

Kris-Stella Trump is an immigrant.

Born in Estonia, she went on to study in England, at Oxford and Cambridge. In 2008, she was offered a fellowship, came to America, and earned a PhD in political science from Harvard.

"I got a lot of comments about how weird it was to be a Trump studying the adverse effects of economic inequality," she says. "In pre–Trump candidacy times, I'd say, 'I wish I were related, because then I'd be rich.' That joke got me a free upgrade on a flight once."

But since Donald Trump entered the presidential race in June 2016, things have been markedly different for Kris-Stella.

"I've become a lot more defensive about my name," she says. "He's so divisive — people love him or hate him — so I have to tread carefully."

For Kris-Stella, day-to-day transactions have become a psychological nuisance. "Every time I hand over my credit card or ID, I go through this internal process," she says. "Sometimes there's a really big mood change when a person sees my name, and I'll wonder if I'm being treated differently just because of that."

Jeff Trump, a young Southern carpenter whose Roman nose and blond hair could qualify him as blood kin, has fared worse.

"A few months ago, I was at a liquor store in Vermont — Bernie Sanders country," he relates. "When I showed the [cashier] my ID, he looked at me like I was crazy. He goes on this long rant about Trump and tells me I should be ashamed. I'm like, all right, bro, just give me my f-----g beer and I'll be on my way."

Out of fear, "Yasmin" Trump, an Iranian immigrant, requested I change her first name for this article.

"As someone who doesn't extoll the virtues of Trump, I'm scared to put my name out there," she says. "There are unstable Trump supporters out there with wicked minds. ... There is so much polarization around this man that's it plausible something bad could happen if they knew who I was."

Yasmin, who works in a public government position in Washington, DC, married into the Trump name 23 years ago. Since Trump's political rise, she's had her fair share of name-related interactions — including a recent spat with a gas contractor who came to fix a leak in her home. ("He saw my name and wanted to rant about Trump," she says, "and I was like, 'The leak is this way!'")

A first-generation immigrant, Yasmin reports that Trump's politics do not sit well with members of her family. "I have Muslim grandparents," she says. "Obviously, they are not voting for him."

But Yasmin says she and her kin often just try to make the best of an unfortunate circumstance. As a joke, she once auditioned for The Apprentice — "Horrible experience," she laughs — and her teenage son dabbled with the idea of running for student body president with the promise to "Make High School Great Again."

Others, like Noah Trump — a med school student and South Carolina native who is currently teaching English at an orphanage in Chiang Rai, Thailand — have tried their best to see the brights side of things.

"I honestly rather enjoy sharing the Trump name," he says. "I'll occasionally tweet at [Donald] asking for inheritance money, or tag him in Facebook posts. It's kind of fun at times."

"If he’s elected, I may change my name"

Most Trumps I spoke with say they get an average of two or three comments per week about their last name — some lighthearted, others vitriolic. It's been enough for some of the clan to consider a name change.

"My children have joked about changing their names," says John Trump, an Air Force veteran, journalist, and fine bourbon enthusiast from North Carolina. "One of my sons plays baseball, and he wears his name on his back — a lot of 'here comes the prez,' that type of stuff. It's my name, but I don't enjoy the connection."

David Trump, an actor and University of Alabama grad student, concurs.

"A last name carries with it the accomplishments and responsibilities of your forefathers," he tells me from the Texas Shakespeare Festival. "I do not want to be associated with a message of hate, bigotry, foolishness, selfishness, and corruptness."

Even Kris-Stella, the Harvard PhD — a women who's vowed to always keep her last name — is reconsidering her stance after a recent engagement.

"If Donald Trump loses, I'm keeping my name," she declares. "But if he gets elected and does something terrible ... I'm not going to rule it out."

Of the 14 Trumps I spoke to, five identified as Republicans. Only one claims he will vote for Donald Trump this November.

The Trump, who wishes to remain as anonymous as this article permits, is a proud American in his mid-40s and lives in the United States' Trump capital: Portland, Oregon. He's a straight shooter — brash, combative, and insulted that I've Facebook messaged him out of the blue.

"What's it like sharing a name with [Donald] Trump?" I ask.

"What's it like sharing a name with Davy Crockett?" he retorts. "That guy killed innocent people."

It's true: all of our names carry historical baggage. My own namesake, Davy Crockett — a man who's since been iconized as a coonskin cap–wearing frontier hero — was also partly to blame for the decimation of Western Native American tribes and Mexican natives. Aggrandizing folklore has been kind to the name: today, most comments I get do not come from a place of visceral disgust.

As the election winds down, and a Clinton victory becomes imminent, the Trumps of America may soon be out of the spotlight. But a return to normalcy seems unlikely: Donald Trump — the famous one — won't go quietly into the night.