KABUL, Afghanistan — Even in his mother’s womb, Donald Trump was unusually sensitive. On nights when his mother was distressed, he would become restless, turning and kicking.
Then, on a rainy autumn afternoon in a dusty village of about 200 adobe homes, it was time for his birth. There were no nurses or midwives, so a neighbor’s wife came to help. The newborn was calm. He had blonde hair, and perfectly normal feet and hands.
This is not Donald J. Trump, the son of Mary and Fred Trump. This is Donald Trump, the third child of Jamila and Sayed Assadullah, who was born in Shahristan district deep in the central Afghan province of Daikundi on Sept. 3, 2016, around the time his American namesake was preparing for his first presidential debate after winning the Republican nomination.
The baby Donald Trump got his name because of his father’s admiration for the tycoon Donald Trump.
Assadullah comes from a poor farming family, in a place where a good almond crop often made the difference between starving or not. But he earned a college degree, and had read Trump’s books, and watched him on television, which the family powered through solar panels provided in the village by an aid organization.
He hoped that naming his son after a famous real estate developer and television star would, somehow, rub off on the child’s fortunes.
But the hoped-for good luck has yet to appear. If anything, the naming choice has only added to the family’s misfortune.
The decision to give the child a non-Muslim name angered Assadullah’s relatives so much that the family no longer felt welcome in their village in Daikundi, and moved to a rental home in Kabul.
“I was reading Trump’s books,” Assadullah said in an interview in Kabul, as the young Donald Trump sat in his lap, his little fingers clinging to his father’s phone. “I read his book ‘How to Get Rich.’ Then I read about his background: about how he built the Trump Tower, how he became the leader of the party. I understood that he is a hardworking man. I thought if I name my son Donald Trump, then it will affect my son’s personality, his behavior.”
Assadullah said the immediate physical resemblance only helped in his conviction.
“When my son was born, his hair was completely blonde, and it matched Trump’s hair,” he said. “So when I saw his hair, I thought, ‘I will name him Trump.'”
For 10 days after the baby was born, he did not have any name. Traditionally, the grandparents get a first say on the name, and the newborn’s parents play along. Assadullah wanted to break with tradition, but his break was such a leap that he could not bring himself to tell the family. At least Jamila, his wife, agreed with him.
When Assadullah’s decision became public, his family first ridiculed him. Then the ridicule turned into anger.
“When I named my son Donald Trump, they were not happy,” Assadullah said. “They told me, ‘How you can select the name of an infidel for your son?’ ”
“So the relations with my family were not good after that,” he continued. “My father is an angry man. He told me that he could not tolerate the fact that I call my son Donald Trump. So I left and moved my family to Kabul.”