In the Trump family, 37-year-old Ivanka Trump and 41-year-old Donald Trump Jr. have radically different approaches when it comes to promoting right-wing politics: while Ivanka has been trying to position herself as an intellectual conservative and generally avoids the crude, in-your-face approach of her father, her older brother is more than happy to throw red meat to the worst parts of the GOP base — and Marianne Levine, in a report for Politico, describes the ways in which Donald Trump, Jr. has been firing up that base on the campaign trail.
Levine explains that when President Donald Trump is unavailable for a reelection campaign event, the base often considers his son a very good substitute. And when Trump Jr., like his father, engages in “trolling,” hardcore Trumpistas welcome it.
Matt Mackowiak, president of the right-wing consulting firm Potomac Strategy Group, told Politico that Donald Trump Jr. “loves responding — you might want to even say trolling — on a more active basis. Because he’s more current, he can use modern-day tactics, understands how to make a sharp argument, understands how to sort of cheekily criticize someone, sort of demonstrate a clever but cutting approach. In a way, it’s almost like he’s a next-generation model.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was once a vehement critic of President Trump but is now an obsequious sycophant, described Trump Jr. as “very helpful” and told Politico that he “brings a lot of energy” and is “out there fighting for his father and his agenda.”
An anonymous source identified by Levine as “close to Trump Jr.” told Politico that he can be even more in-your-face than his father — which can cause problems at times.
“I think he goes a little bit edgier than his father does, and edgier isn’t always better,” that source told Politico. “It can create a bad news cycle. When his father creates a bad news cycle, it’s by design.”
Much like his father, Trump Jr. is a polarizing figure — and while his presence can excite the base in red states, Levine reports that it could prove detrimental in swing states or blue states.
One such blue state is Maine, where four-term Republican Sen. Susan Collins is considered vulnerable in 2020. When Politico asked Collins if she would welcome Trump Jr.’s help, she replied, “That’s a very premature question because I haven’t made my own decision yet.”
Collins said of Trump Jr.’s participation in his father’s campaign, “I didn’t even know he was playing a role in the 2020 elections.”