A Monday report by The New York Times Magazine paints a complex picture of Donald Trump Jr., illustrating him as a worrier who is fretting over the potential end of a Trump presidency, a son who has uncomfortably dwelled in his father’s shadow for much of his life, and an opportunist who has finally found a successful calling in politics and is perhaps considering his own shot as commander in chief one day.
According to the report by Jason Zengerle, Trump Jr. is one of the few key figures in the inner White House cabal who has expressed fears regarding the November election, including the possibility of federal prosecutions against Trump and his allies.
“Don’s the only person who thinks they’re going to lose,” a conservative activist close to the Trumps reportedly told the magazine. “He’s like, ‘We’re losing, dude, and we’re going to get really hurt when we lose.’”
The source claims that Trump Jr. has said a Biden administration would “shoot the prisoners” and would not be a “peaceful transition.”
Andrew Surabian, a Republican strategist and spokesperson for Trump Jr., dismissed these remarks as false when questioned by The New York Times.
Despite Trump Jr.’s alleged concerns, the report portrays the eldest son of Donald and Ivana Trump as a man who played second fiddle to his younger brother Eric when it came to running the Trump Organization, appeared apprehensive around his father during his appearances as boardroom judge in the 2006 season of “The Apprentice,” and ultimately found his niche in politics “after spending much of his adult life searching for a purpose.”
Described as a “meme general” who is “commanding the D-Day invasion,” by Benny Johnson, a former BuzzFeed writer and chief creative officer of the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA, Trump Jr. has increasingly gone to bat for his father on television and mastered the art of promoting the president’s politics via his social media accounts, which have over 11 million combined followers.
A deceptively edited video created by Johnson showing Nancy Pelosi ripping up Trump’s State of the Union speech in February received over 50 million views after Trump Jr. shared it on Twitter and accused the House Speaker of denigrating the “stories of American heroes and American dreams,” for instance.
These efforts have somewhat won over the elder Trump, who has begun to view his son as more of a “chip off the old block” rather than a disappointment, according to Cliff Sims, a former White House communications aide.
The president previously held a dismissive attitude toward Trump Jr., calling him “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” when news of the latter’s 2016 meetings with Russian lawyers over damaging intel on Hillary Clinton went public, attracting national scrutiny.
The conclusion of The New York Times Magazine report cites several anonymous sources close to Trump Jr. who indicate that whatever the outcome of November’s election, the son whose “favorite part of politics is getting punched in the face with a jab and responding with a haymaker” very well may run for office himself in the near future, or at least remain in the political arena as a conservative commentator or Republican National Committee chairman.
“He was the only family member who talked politics before his dad ran for president,” a source close to Trump Jr. reportedly told The New York Times. “He’s the only one of the kids who would have found a way into politics if the dad hadn’t run for office.”