He says he’s a dealmaker, has lots of energy, and he’s rich. But there’s another argument for Donald Trump’s character that the candidate has made only modest use of, though it might be among his most potent: He has a great looking and highly successful brood of children.
They haven’t garnered attention in the way many celebrity offspring do, by flaunting their riches or provoking outrage. Rather, they’ve buckled down and worked, mostly for the betterment of the Trump organization.
“I have some very smart people in my organization, and my children are very smart,” Trump said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. “You know, and you know Ivanka, how smart, and she’s got a great sensibility.”
Donald Jr., 37, Ivanka, 34, Eric, 31, Tiffany, 22, and youngest son Barron, 9, all make a political case, with their successes, for Dad’s judgment and stability.
Trump recognized early in the GOP primary season the asset his children were — down-to-earth kids who are well-educated, hard workers, and to friends and business associates alike, just good people. Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. have all joined their father as serious surrogates on the campaign trail. An impressive feat juxtaposed with the TMZ fodder producing children of other famous moguls.
“They’ve grown up to be people we’re really proud of,” said Trump of his children.
“It is true that one of the biggest applause lines is when I talk about my daughter Ivanka,” he said last fall at a campaign book launch event in New York.
Already, he told Hannity, she is his “guide” on women’s issues.
Now that most of the five are grown, he describes them as resilient.
“Children are tougher than you think,” Trump said of their years in the spotlight. “They’ve grown up to be people really proud of.”
Indeed, as Trump continues to be hammered for his brusque manner, the insults he slings at his opponents, and for the oft-vague way he talks about his future policy-making plans, his children shine as thoughtful, settled, and very traditional.
They have given him seven grandchildren thus far — an eighth is on the way from daughter Ivanka and New York Observer publisher hubby Jared Kushner (she converted to Judaism for him) — and they praise him publicly, even as they have yet to be trotted out on the campaign trail.
That telegenic moment is expected, if not hotly anticipated, for the star wattage and fashion appeal: Former fashion model Ivanka runs a jewelry, apparel and lifestyle company.
The Trump kids always assert they are a devoted family with a rock-solid dad. And it doesn’t seem coerced.
Still, the Trump kids always assert they are a devoted family with a rock-solid dad. And it doesn’t seem coerced.
“I always prided myself on being a good father . . . With my children, I was always available,” Trump told People magazine in an October cover story.
“He’s been protecting us from the public eye for a long time,” son Eric Trump told People. “We never made the tabloids when we were younger. He was the man that, his whole life, he’s always had thousands of cameras on him and yet we were raised as normal kids, or at least as normal as you could be raised under the circumstances.”
Trump, himself, has drawn tabloid fervor before, married three times and divorced twice. His latest union with former model and jewelry designer Melania Knauss, 45, has lasted 10 years (they met and dated from 1998 to 2004, when he proposed) and seems to be going strong, helping to paint of portrait of a powerful man who has been more of a serial monogamist than an international playboy.
Now as Trump, 69, seems on the cusp of clinching the GOP nomination, his operation will be planning the extent of visibility and role of his children in the general election effort.
“The kids are not just mini-me’s, they each bring something to the table,” a nightly report on ABC News asserted last fall when the Trump kids were just becoming involved in the father’s presidential bid.
“There’s no one better,” Eric Trump told Fox of his father’s qualifications as the siblings join dad at debates and travel, off-camera mostly, on the campaign trail.
Daughter Ivanka acts as a youthful and confident family ambassador, speaking softly about his goodness, but also acknowledging his outspoken edge. She also defends his love of women, a particularly important asset in his skirmishes with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and GOP opponent Carly Fiorina.
“Look, my father is very blunt. He’s very direct. He is not gender specific in his criticism of people, and people that he doesn’t particularly like or people that he does like but thinks they’re wrong on a particular issue,” Ivanka shared in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow.
“So I don’t think that he’s gender-targeted at all. Like I said, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be a high-level executive within his organization if he felt that way.”