The Real Deal New York

Donald Trump’s kids take spotlight in presidential campaign – with mixed results

Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. make regular cameos on political TV

February 10, 2016 10:00AM
By Konrad Putzier

From left: Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

As Donald Trump continues his unlikely run for president of the United States, his three elder children have become fixtures on national television. But they aren’t necessarily as skillful with the media as their dad is, and the spotlight hasn’t always been kind to them. As Trump basks in the glow of his big victory in New Hampshire, here’s a quick roundup of the public roles Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump play in their father’s campaign.

Eric Trump
Title: Executive Vice President at the Trump Organization
Wild card: Owns Trump Winery in Virginia, a key swing state
Said about his dad: “He’s very passionate about himself.”

Eric Trump has been logging heavy airtime answering all the important questions pundits have thrown at him: Would his dad make a great president? What does it say about his dad that his kids turned out so great? And so on. Fishing for superlatives to describe his father, he tends to spurn the customary Trumpism “terrific,” preferring “absolutely amazing.”

Eric was either in a really weird frat, or he doesn’t know what waterboarding is, claiming on live TV that it “quite frankly is no different than what happens on college campuses and frat houses every day.”

On policy, he parrots his father but sounds less irate. Says people are “sick of the PC, sick of the nonsense.” Talks about infrastructure a lot.

When a CNN anchor asked Donald Trump, Jr. what traits Eric shares with his father, his response was they’re both good at “spatial visualization.” Make of that what you will.

Donald Trump, Jr.
Title: Executive Vice President at the Trump Organization
Wild card: Said to be fluent in Czech
Said about his dad: “Sometimes when I have a rough day I come back home and I can’t get away. He’s dominating every channel. I can’t get away. Big Brother is watching you at all times.”

Don Jr. wins style points for Trumpian hand gestures: flat, open palms, arms sticking out at a stiff 90-degree angle. (Eric does more of a lazy wrist flick when he talks) Also has that slightly hoarse Trump voice down pretty well. Likes to say “deals” a lot. Sample sound bite:

“You have people making deals that have never made other deals ever in their lives. And these are the deals that our kids and their kids behind them are gonna have to live with forever.”

Don Jr. had to spend several minutes on air defending his father’s proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S. and was visibly uncomfortable. Said something about a Muslim taxi driver telling him he supports Trump. The Fox News hosts were friendly and understanding, which probably helped.

Ivanka Trump
Title: Executive Vice President at the Trump Organization
Wild card: Has nearly 750,000 Instagram admirers
Said about her dad: “He would be amazing for women in this country.”

The most famous of Trump’s children and a successful entrepreneur in her own right, Ivanka stood on stage to introduce her father as he announced his presidential candidacy back in June. Her unofficial role in the campaign is to convince people that her father is a champion of women’s rights. It’s a Sisyphean task.

On CNN, she was asked to comment on Trump’s claim that no one would vote for his rival Carly Fiorina because of the way she looks and his suggestion that Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly asked him critical questions because she was on her period.

“Well I think a lot of the sensationalism around this was orchestrated – largely by the media,” she said, adding that her father “is not gender-specific in his criticism of people.”