September 9, 2019

FREDO JR. (profanity alert):

The Heir: Ivanka was always Trump's favorite. But Don Jr. is emerging as his natural successor. (MCKAY COPPINS,  OCTOBER 2019, The Atlantic)

With his slicked-back hair and pin-striped suits, Don had carried a certain fratty energy into adulthood that periodically got him into trouble. (In 2002, Page Six reported that he got a beer stein to the head at a New York comedy club after some patrons thought he was "reacting too enthusiastically to [Chris Rock's] ethnic humor.") He spent weekdays working at the Trump Organization, where he developed a millionaire's belief in low taxes, and weekends in the wilderness with his hunting buddies, where he gained an appreciation for gun rights. As a result, Don came to conservatism years before the rest of his family.

Yet when Don offered to help his father's campaign, many of the tasks he received had a whiff of condescension. Trump had always been embarrassed by his son's hunting, especially after photos emerged in 2012 of Don posing with the severed tail of an elephant he'd slain in Zimbabwe. But now that the candidate was wooing rural Republicans, he was happy to let Don put on that goofy orange vest and shoot at stuff for the cameras. "You can finally do something for me," Trump told Don, according to a former aide.

Don had long ago come to understand that Ivanka was his father's favorite. "Daddy's little girl!" he liked to joke. But making peace with her husband's status in the family was harder. Ever since Ivanka had married Jared, Don had been made to watch as this effete, soft-spoken interloper cozied up to his dad. "The brothers thought Jared was a yes-man," said a former Trump adviser. "Don, especially, looked at him as very suspect."

But Ivanka and Jared's real power was rooted in Trump's aspirations for the family. The couple stood as avatars for the elite respectability he'd spent his life futilely chasing. They belonged to a world that had long excluded him, dined in penthouses where he'd been derided as a nouveau riche rube. Cultivated and urbane, they embodied the high-class, patrician ideal he so desperately wanted the Trump name to evoke.

Don--the screwup, the blowhard, the hunter--didn't stand a chance.

Tensions between don and jared sharpened in the spring of 2016, as it became clear that Trump was going to fire his campaign manager. With Corey Lewandowski on the way out, Don and Jared each began vying for larger roles in the campaign, according to two Republican operatives who worked for Trump.

People close to the candidate knew he would never entrust his campaign to his son--Don's chances of taking the reins were "less than zero," a former adviser told me. But Don seemed like the last one to realize it. He hustled to prove that he was up to the task, swapping texts and emails with anyone who said they could help his dad's candidacy. It was during this period that Don set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. "The Trump Tower meeting was Don's move to take over the campaign," a former aide told me. "He was trying to show his father he was competent."



Posted by at September 9, 2019 1:12 PM

  

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