They’re all awful, let’s be honest. Ranking Donald Trump’s four adult children is a futile task where we must scramble desperately for slivers of something resembling character in order to differentiate between a group of brats most of us would mutiny against in a heartbeat. That wasn’t always the case. For a solid decade and more, Trump’s kids with his first wife were lucky enough to simultaneously enjoy the benefits of the family name and social standing while reaping the positivity garnered onto them by a sympathetic liberal press. Yeah, their dad may suck and one of them may look like a Clive Barker creation, but they’re not their dad and so people can like them. Now, that’s obviously gone the way of the dodo and American democracy. The man who fostered support from the “family values” hypocrites surrounded himself with his five children from three different mothers and pretended any positive qualities they possessed were down to his stellar parenting. As we’ve seen this week, that’s not ending well.
As the Trump administration morphs into a family enterprise, further scrutiny has fallen upon their business practices, tweeting and general auras. For all their talk of sitting out of politics and standing on their own two feet, it’s clear that the apple does not fall far from the tree. As such, it is our duty to offer the authoritative ranking of Donald Trump’s adult children from least to most awful, because in this contest there is no such thing as good.
It’s easy to project a lot onto poor Tiffany Trump. The President’s only daughter with Marla Maples was defined from the earliest point in her life as the also-ran to her older sister. In an interview dug up by The Daily Show following her birth, Trump and Maples are asked who the baby looks most like. Trump immediately says she, a newborn, has his wife’s legs but it’s too early to say if she’ll develop other qualities, and then he motions to the chest area.
Given that she is named after the actual Tiffany & Company because her dad had bought the air rights above the store on Fifth Avenue, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Trump views her more as a product than a child. He also didn’t seem to be that involved in her life, which is probably for the best, and she’s been kept to the sidelines of the Trump Presidential life while she attends Georgetown Law School. If her dad hadn’t become the most powerful cinnamon bomb on the planet, most of us would probably just see Tiffany as a typical rich girl with a splashy Instagram page and an easy path for the next few decades aided by the family name. She even tried to become a singer and interned at Vogue.
Yet now, Tiffany Trump almost seems unruly. Her father barely mentions her in family discussions, she doesn’t work with him and her presence on the campaign trail was limited. Her RNC speech, the first time many people discovered who she was, was defined by its overwhelming aura of sadness. She didn’t talk like a doting daughter and her experiences with the rotting sponge who didn’t really raise her felt like an alien describing human contact. What was intended to humanise Trump simply emphasised his callousness to millions (but sadly not millions enough).
Spinning stories of Tiffany’s life, imagining her as The Good Trump and hoping she goes AWOL one day, are easy to fantasise about, and they provide an odd form of catharsis. We may never know the truth about her, which is probably for the best, because when up against her siblings, she easily comes out on top.
Who would have thought that the Trump brother who looked like a Cenobite would be the least awful of the pair? I’m just saying, if you go into Trump Tower and discover a puzzle box on top of a bloody mattress, start praying for your immortal soul.
But make no mistake, Eric Trump is pretty despicable. He’s that potent mix of deplorable, utterly clueless and intensely creepy. As his father’s most vocal family spokesperson on the Fox News circuit, it’s up to Eric to condemn the sickening hatred of Washington he in no way contributes to, all while declaring that Democrats aren’t even people. He does this while cloaking himself in the bastion of decency that is his shoddy charity. The Eric Trump Foundation raises funds for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. He claimed that the genius of his philanthropy was in the efficiency his privilege offered: By holding golf fundraisers at Trump courses, they wouldn’t have to worry about inflated costs since they own the properties and wouldn’t charge to use them. Well, that’s not how it worked, as revealed in an investigation by Forbes.
The report revealed how the Trump Organisation did received payments for use of the gold course to the tune of over $1.2m, while he apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization. Nothing like using the sheen of generosity to line your daddy’s pockets. It’s almost as if he doesn’t really care about sick children and only wants to have a charity for the positive publicity or something.
So why is he the least worst of the two Trump elder sons? I mean, have you seen his competition?
Donnie Junior seems like a bitterly sad man. He doesn’t seem to have many friends, he exhibits no semblance or intellect or charm, he colludes with the enemy for peanuts of power then can’t even cover it up properly, and all of that seems to have done nothing to earn him his father’s love. Junior is the Trump sibling who has been his father’s most boisterous cheerleader but with little effectiveness beyond some gross blunders.
Remember the Skittles tweet? Or him claiming Hillary Clinton wore an earpiece during the Presidential forum? How about when he revived the alt-right conspiracy that Bill Clinton was somehow responsible for Vince Foster’s death? Junior tried to come for Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, after the recent Westminster attack, where he as promptly metaphorically spanked by the grown ups.
Him meeting with a Russian lawyer to obtain incriminating information on Hillary was simply the icing on top of a supremely shitty cake. How do you manage to be so calculatingly callous yet so ridiculously bumbling at the same time? To call him Fredo Corleone is an insult to Fredo, who at least had enough self-awareness to know that people thought he was an idiot.
There can be only one, and truly, there was never really a contest.
Ivanka Trump is truly dangerous. After coasting for her entire adult life on the falsehood of her image as The Good Trump, Ivanka made the evolution from lad’s mag sexpot to respectable businesswoman and family woman who had it all. That glossy image became her aspirational product to sell, and soon you too could live the Ivanka life of Women Who Work if you had the right shoes - made for pennies in criminal conditions in China - or embraced the right brand of femininity that was safe for the men. She has successfully twisted basic feminist philosophy into a self-indulgent ethos she can slap on books and sell for personal profit.
She is a woman who simpers in TV interviews about how mean politics is while propping up the man who perpetrates that poison; She is the clueless narcissist who watches the world burns and posts Instagram photos of her kids at the zoo, thus allowing her own father a new human shield; she is the product of nepotism who has effectively become Trump’s second-in-command, attending summits with world leaders like the most insidious Take Your Child to Work Day imaginable while still claiming she has no involvement with politics; She explicitly endorses her abusive father in the name of women, then leaks sources to try and paint herself and her Jonah-from-Veep husband as the progressive voices in the room.
What makes her most dangerous, on top of all the above, is that the press let’s her get away with it. They still rush to her defence while she benefits from the crumbling of democracy, and they have become the driving forces in helping Ivanka to perpetuate her soft, harmless image of docile submissiveness. Men like Chris Cillizza will go out of their way to defend her, determined to reassert the falsehood that she’s a lovely little girl who wouldn’t harm a fly.
Out of all of Trump’s adult children, Ivanka seems to be the only one he shows true love towards (and possibly lust). She is the true heir and the one who poses the biggest threat. If/when the impeachment happens, watch out for Ivanka’s sad face on an Us Weekly cover exclusive, selling her latest image as a new woman.