Before he threw his proverbial hat—a trucker cap with “Make America Great Again” printed boldly across the front in bright, red letters—into the ring to run for president, most people probably couldn’t guess how many children Donald J. Trump had, much less name more than one or two of them. However, running for the highest office in the United States and, subsequently, being elected to that office caused a hot, bright spotlight to be shone on all things Trump. The country and the world soon learned Mr. Trump has had five children with three different women.
The three oldest Trump kids are Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. Their mother is Ivana Trump (née Zelníčková), who is, among other things, a businesswoman and former fashion model. With actress Marla Maples, Trump has one child, Tiffany. The mother of Barron, the youngest Trump, is First Lady Melania.
A few weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, Rosie O’Donnell stirred controversy when she tweeted a speculation that Barron might be autistic. Jabs between O’Donnell and Trump are nothing new, dating as far back as 2006 and including such barbs as O’Donnell calling Trump a “snake-oil salesman on Little House on the Prairie,” and Trump firing back by referring to O’Donnell as “my nice, fat, little Rosie.” Nevertheless, speculating about a ten year old was seen as a step too far, even by people who opposed the then president-elect. O’Donnell responded to the backlash by claiming the tweet wasn’t intended to be an attack and that her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter had recently been diagnosed with high-functioning autism. She said parents of children with autism “grab onto anything to keep us standing.”
While Donald Jr. and Eric keep busy as trustees of The Trump Organization and Tiffany posts pictures for her more than 782,000 followers on Instagram, it has been Ivanka who has been most in the news recently. Even before becoming a part of her father’s administration in March of this year, Ivanka had already come under fire. Following her November 13, 2016, appearance on 60 Minutes, her company sent out a “Style Alert” email to promote the sale of $10,800 diamond bracelets like the one she had worn on air. Opponents of President Trump crafted a #GrabYourWallet campaign to encourage boycotting Trump-branded merchandise. Companies including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Shoes.com soon dropped Ivanka’s items. Nevertheless, while some retailers distanced themselves from the first daughter, Amazon retained her products and, at one point, her Ivanka Trump Eau de Parfum spray rose to the top-seller spot in their “Perfumes & Fragrances” category.
With Ivanka now officially part of the Trump administration, both she and her father are forced to walk an ethical tightrope, and there have already been missteps. On May 3, for instance, a State Department office retweeted a post from Ivanka promoting her book, a probable violation of the federal regulation prohibiting the use of public office for private gain. Like good fathers, Donald Trump seems to want what’s best for his children. However, his choice to embrace nepotism, both with Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who Trump made a senior advisor, has raised red flags and will likely continue to do so moving forward. President Trump must ask himself, “Is what I think is best for my children also best for my country?” If the answer is no, he will be forced to decide which has priority and deal with the consequences of that decision.