In a detailed, lengthy profile in the Atlantic, writer McKay Coppins describes the power struggle between Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The story notes that although Ivanka is widely seen as the president’s favorite, Don Jr. might be angling for more power—and even has political ambitions of his own. In fact, his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, appears to be encouraging Don Jr’s ambitions. “I think he’s the No. 1 up-and-coming political figure, for sure, on the right,” she told Breitbart News.
When Trump won in 2016, his kids huddled together to write his victory speech. But that image of family unity belies the reality, Coppins writes. “Over the past several months, I spoke with dozens of people close to the Trumps, including friends, former employees, White House officials, and campaign aides. The succession battle they described is marked by old grievances, petty rivalries—and deceptively high stakes.”
Don Jr. was vying for a more active role in the campaign when he organized a meeting with Russians at Trump Tower, which helped trigger the Mueller investigation. As the full ramifications of the Trump Tower meeting came into view, Trump allegedly questioned his son’s intelligence. “He wasn’t angry at Don,” a former White House official told The Atlantic. “It was more like he was resigned to his son’s idiocy.”
“He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” Trump reportedly said with a sigh.
In the second year of the Trump presidency, Don Jr. divorced his wife Vanessa and started dating former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle. Trump wasn’t happy.
“Some suspected that the president was simply fed up with the distraction the relationship posed,” Coppins writes. “But according to one longtime Trump adviser, there may have been another reason for his displeasure. Over the years, Trump had frequently made suggestive comments about Guilfoyle’s attractiveness, the adviser told me, and more than once inquired about whom she was dating.”
Read the report here.