Trump’s family: a constant in chaos

Donald Trump’s administration has been the most tumultuous in modern history, with a record number of cabinet secretaries and civil servants resigning or being fired.

But throughout it all, the president relied on a steadfast group of advisers who offered him unwavering support: his family.

Their loyalty was shown again this week as Mr Trump launched a last-ditch legal bid to block his successor Joe Biden from entering the White House.

On Thursday, his second-eldest son, Eric Trump, appeared alongside his wife Lara – who is also a campaign adviser – at a hastily organized press conference in Philadelphia that exposed the president’s unsubstantiated accusations of election fraud in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, flew to Atlanta, where he claimed to raucous supporters that “magic boxes” of ballots were appearing at polling places nationwide.

Their role as chief cheerleaders has become all the more important as few in the Republican establishment have been willing to support the president’s baseless claims of mass voter fraud – a betrayal that has not gone unnoticed. to Mr. Trump Jr.

“I think Democrats are used to this from a Republican Party that hasn’t had a backbone. You won’t see that this time around,” Mr. Trump Jr said, with his girlfriend — Trump campaign chief financial officer Kimberly Guilfoyle — by his side. “This party is gone and whoever does not fight. . . should go with it.

It was emblematic of the unusual role Trump’s adult children played in his administration and during his two campaigns. His immediate family are among the very few Trump surrogates who have the president’s ear and can present a more nuanced portrait of the man.

Each of the children and their partners played a different role in Mr. Trump’s White House drama, which at times felt like a cross between The west wing and Succession.

Eric and Trump Jr have taken on the role of “pit bulls,” as one person who knows the president’s eldest son put it, aggressively attacking their father’s enemies.

The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, took a softer approach. This week, she borrowed talking points from some top Republican leaders, taking to Twitter to voice support for “free and fair elections” while insisting that “every legally cast vote must be counted.”

Eric Trump and his wife Lara led allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election © REUTERS

Her husband, Jared Kushner, stayed behind the scenes. The New York Times reported that it was working on the phones to find a reputable Republican establishment figure who could credibly make the case for Mr Trump’s continued victory, so far without much success.

While the role of the Trump children in his administration and affairs is unprecedented in modern history, their work as surrogates in recent days echoes the scandals of the Nixon administration.

“What Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka are doing now reminds me of the Nixons’ daughter, Julie, who once stood in for her father at a press conference as the Watergate investigation raged” , said Kate Andersen Brower, author. several books on the White House, including Team of five and First women.

“They have their backs to the wall and they are coming together, no matter how insane their efforts may seem,” Ms Andersen Brower added.

Since Mr. Trump announced his long-running presidential bid in 2015, his three adult children from his first marriage to Ivana Trump and their wives have been by his side. They are among the very few to have survived the president’s four-year term, as Mr Trump fired one aide after another for perceived disloyalty.

In the White House, Mr. Kushner handled a sprawling policy portfolio ranging from criminal justice reform to Middle East peace, while Mrs. Trump had a broad tenure that at one point temporarily included the seat of his father at the G20.

Mr. Trump’s two eldest sons remained in New York to run the family business. But they continued to take part in ceremonies, such as traveling with the administration on a state visit to the UK.

All of his adult children – including Tiffany Trump – have secured prime speaking spots at this year’s Republican National Convention, as have Ms Guilfoyle and Lara Trump.

And when Mr Trump revealed in early October that he had tested positive for coronavirus, forcing him out of the campaign trail, it was his children who took his place at fundraisers and crisscrossed the country to keep his hopes alive. of re-election.

People who know them say that we don’t know what the children will do now that they are no longer the first family.

Mr. Trump Jr, who has embraced his father’s “red meat” appeal, will likely try to stay in politics, support pro-Trump Republicans and perhaps one day run for office himself, said the person who knows him.

A person who knows Mrs Trump and Mr Kushner said the couple hadn’t spent much time thinking about their next steps because “they thought they were going to win”. But it would be surprising if either simply returned to their previous business ventures – their eponymous fashion line and property portfolio.

“It’s a question of what [president Trump] wants to do,” the person said. “If he wants to run again in 2024, that could also impact what they can do.”

Although the couple may have once had ambitions to regain their own lives and social status in New York, they slowly came to terms with the fact that they would not be welcomed in Manhattan by some members of their former circle.

“They were trying to have their cake and eat it too; stay friends with their friends in New York and have Trump,” the person said.

“Over the years they realized it was impossible . . . I think they kind of did everything to [the idea of] “We don’t care about our past life. We are Trump Republicans and this is our world.

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