The next generation’s terrible trio, and two we’ll leave alone.
By Gail Collins
Hey, what do you think the Trump kids are up to? Been a long time since we checked.
Not that they’re keeping low profiles. Eric, for instance, made news recently when he seemed to claim Democrats created the coronavirus to hobble the Trump campaign.
“They think they’re taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time,” he said on Fox News. “You watch — they’ll milk it every single day between now and Nov. 3, and guess what — after Nov. 3 coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear.”
Eric’s defenders said he was simply claiming Democrats were using a national health crisis for political reasons. But the Second Son seemed to be talking about something more dire and well organized.
“Make no mistake … this is a very cognizant strategy that they’re trying to employ,” he told interviewer Jeanine Pirro. In fact, he said “cognizant strategy” twice.
Maybe that could become a campaign slogan: “Make America Cognizant Again.” About time.
At the same time, Donald Jr. was calling Joe Biden a child molester. Ivanka was helping head up a food program, and that would certainly be no cause for complaint if her husband hadn’t been busy casting doubt on whether there’d be a presidential election this fall.
The president and his three oldest kids shared some quality time in the headlines this week when a fraud suit against the four of them moved ahead one step in the courts. Aggrieved investors claim they were lured into what turned out to be a pyramid scheme that did little but pile up cash and pay Donald $450,000 speaking fees.
In the vast universe of litigation against various Trumps, this is pretty much par for the course. Just remember: A family that gets sued together stays glued together.
Average citizens are probably familiar with Eric through TV comics’ jokes, in which he’s portrayed as a sort of dim bulb. Meanwhile Donald Jr. — the one whose semiautomatic rifle has a cartoon of Hillary Clinton behind bars — has a more colorful public image, thanks to all his social messaging, and a much bigger role in the re-election effort, where he’s a regular stand-in for his father at political events.
Last weekend Junior got a lot of attention when he suggested Biden molested children. All in fun, of course. That was on his Instagram account (2.8 million followers). “See you later, alligator,” said the post next to Biden’s picture. “In a while, pedophile,” returned an alligator in an adjoining picture.
This attracted the spotlight. Junior responded by simultaneously declaring himself shocked that people couldn’t take a joke (it had a laugh emoji!) and posting pictures of Biden affectionately greeting children at public events.
A few years ago I read a book by Junior’s mother, Ivana, who became headline fodder back in the day when Trump was having an affair with another woman and wanted the entire city of New York to know that he was committing adultery. Donald Jr. was around 12 at the time. Before that, he had broken his leg due to a babysitter’s inattention. And Ivana reported that once, when she was out of town, he and Eric called hysterically to report they’d found their nanny dying in the basement.
After I read the book I swore I would never write anything bad about the guy again. And in general, the national rule should be to keep politicians’ children out of the headlines. Really, they have enough to live with. But Junior’s pedophile post wiped out any guilt I had about criticizing a man whose only claim to fame is being the son of one of the most awful people in American history.
Trump has five children, and we are all in agreement that Barron, 14, is to be left alone. Tiffany, 26, is the love child whose birth — accompanied by her father’s wild penchant for publicizing his affair — broke up Trump’s marriage with Ivana. She just graduated from law school and so far, she’s avoided controversy — or even much attention of any kind.
Back in 2016, when Trump got elected president, he boasted about his kids to Fox News thusly: “I’m very proud, because Don and Eric and Ivanka and — you know, to a lesser extent ’cause she just got out of school, out of college — but, uh, Tiffany, who has also been so terrific.”
Definitely leave this woman alone.
But what about Ivanka? She’s been the administration’s cheerleader for social distancing, then took off with her family on a drive to Dad’s golf course in New Jersey. But her unforgivable sin was bringing in Jared Kushner as a top Trump adviser. Fresh from his performance in bringing peace to the Middle East, Jared is now floundering around as a coordinator of the White House coronavirus response. His most memorable moment recently came when Time asked him if America could be confident the election would still take place in November.
“I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” he responded.
Remember, if the president gets re-elected they’ll all be back for four more years.