First there’s the children’s house of make believe. . . .
—Robert Frost, Directive
The children are having the best time. It’s more fun than playing with electric trains, kite flying or practically anything else you can think of. You can pretend that you are the president of the United States and make all sorts of important decisions. You can also impress your friends by helping them get REALLY good jobs in places like the White House in Washington D.C. What makes it even better is that it’s for real. Of course, only three out of the five children have gotten to play. Barron is only 11 and Tiffany, who is 21, is starting Harvard Law school.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Donald Jr. had an important voice in persuading his father, Donald J. Trump, to nominate Rep. Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior. Until Junior intervened, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State had been the lead candidate. According to the Journal, Junior promoted Mr. Zinke because Mr. Zinke shares his “enthusiasm for hunting” which any objective observer would agree, is an important quality in a Secretary of the Interior. Politico reported that Junior sat in on interviews with the various candidates for the Interior position and made calls to the candidates during the selection process.
While Junior was helping dad pick the next Secretary of the Interior, his son, Eric, and daughter, Ivanka, came up with a really clever way of making money for the Eric Trump Foundation. (The Foundation helps fund the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Tennessee.) Eric and Ivanka decided to auction off the opportunity for someone to have coffee with beautiful Ivanka. (It is she, about whom her dad once said, that if she weren’t his daughter he might be dating her.) Of course, having coffee with Ivanka is about more than simply basking in the glow of her good looks, although that would certainly be reward enough. Having coffee with Ivanka would give the winner an opportunity to get insights into what her dad is really thinking about doing when he becomes president. On the web posting promoting the auction, the ad said the estimated value of “Enjoy Coffee with Ivanka Trump in NYC or DC” was $50,000. Before the site was taken down the site reported that the highest bid thus far had been $67,888. That was probably in part because Ozan M. Ozkural, an investment manager from London, bid $50,000. According to the New York Times, he “hoped to gain insight into topics like . . . Trump’s possible future dealings with Turkey and other nations where Mr. Ozkural invests.” It was a brilliant fund raising opportunity until some super sensitive sort suggested that it didn’t look good for the Trump children to be auctioning off access. As of December 16, 2016 the auction was cancelled.
In addition to Mr. Trump’s three oldest children, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is also a member of the transition team and, according to a report by BBC news, was able to influence Donald in making important personnel choices. According to the report, Jared had, from time to time, clashed with Corey Lewandowski who had been Mr. Trump’s campaign manager. Mr. Kushner was numbered among those urging Mr. Trump to fire him and Mr. Trump did so in June 2016. He also successfully urged his father-in-law to select Michael Pence to be his running mate as vice-president, instead of New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, whom Mr. Trump had also been considering. Mr. Kushner’s antipathy towards Mr. Christie was, in part, because Mr. Kushner’s father is a convicted criminal who attained that status thanks to the work of then U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie. Mr. Kushner’s father was convicted on 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering, and making illegal campaign contributions.
Mr. Kushner’s work as a member of the transition team has not been limited to helping Mr. Trump make important personnel decisions. He is also privy to Mr. Trump’s thinking on important issues. December 16, 2016, he attended an event in New York City and told attendees at the event that on some issues that would be confronting Mr. Trump when he assumed office, Mr. Trump’s positions would be closer to those of Charles Schumer, the Republican Senator from New York, than to those of Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senator from Tennessee, and the Majority Leader of the Senate. That was important information for attendees to have and, reportedly, surprised Republicans in Congress who had theretofore been unaware of the affinity between Messrs. Trump and Schumer.
Of course, being able to help form a new administration is not the only wonderful thing that has happened to the three Trump children. In return for the advice his children have given and are continuing to give their father, he is giving them complete control over all his assets. To avoid conflicts of interest, he will not tell them what to do when running the business. They will, of course, be able to continue giving him advice since they are not government employees and don’t have to worry about conflicts of interest. The rest of the country should be so lucky.