President Trump’s adult sons think it is time for everyone to take the high road in political discourse. Just don’t expect them to lead the way.
“Morals have flown out the window,” Eric Trump lamented on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday night. “We deserve so much better than this as a country, and, you know, it’s so sad.”
In the same interview, Eric Trump said this of his father’s critics: “To me, they’re not even people.”
In an interview that aired earlier Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Donald Trump Jr. said Kathy Griffin “deserves everything that’s coming to her,” after she posed for a photograph with a bloody mask meant to simulate the president’s severed head.
For the record, death threats are what’s “coming to her.”
On some level, the sentiments of Eric and Don Jr. are understandable. We’re talking about their father, after all, so a little righteous indignation is to be expected. If all they did was lash out, they might be entitled to a pass.
But their moralizing about over-the-line rhetoric is hypocritical.
There is another major disconnect in the Trumps’ thinking: They seem to be under the impression that because they do some good things, they ought to be immune to criticism for doing bad things.
“I’ve raised $16.3 million for the greatest hospital in the world — that’s St. Jude,” Eric Trump told Hannity. “And I get attacked for it.”
By “attacked,” he meant scrutinized by Forbes magazine, which reported Tuesday that Eric Trump’s annual charity golf tournament doubles as a revenue stream for Trump family businesses. Although Eric Trump claimed that his family donates use of the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., public records show that the club has accepted $1.2 million in payments over the years.
“Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament,” Forbes reported. More:
And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors.
Two things can be true at once: The Trumps can do good charitable work and put money in their own pockets. They can be targets of unacceptable rhetoric and dispense some of their own.
What they seem to want, however, is all the praise and sympathy that comes with the first half of those equations and none of the criticism that comes with the second.