In a column for the Bulwark, conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter — a former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) — went after Donald Trump for siccing his kids on political enemies and making them do his “dirty work” so he can remain in office past November.
In recent weeks, two of Trump’s children, Don Jr. and Eric, have launched ugly attacks, with the president’s namesake suggesting former Vice President Joe Biden is a pedophile, while Eric claimed the coronavirus pandemic was a “hoax” cooked up by Democrats to defeat his father in the November election.
According to Carpenter, Trump, following on the footsteps of former Presidents Richard Nixon — who deployed Chuck Colson — and George H.W. Bush, who used Lee Atwater as an attack dog, has turned his kids into his “henchmen.”
“Most campaigns outsource the nasty work of attacking their opponents to operatives who keep a low profile to maintain distance from the candidate. Even in 2016, Trump kept most of his smear merchants, such as the now-convicted felon Roger Stone, behind the scenes. But 2020 is different. This time, President Trump’s adult children have rolled up their sleeves and are taking on their father’s dirtiest work,” she wrote before noting the most recent attacks and writing, “All in a day’s work for the Trump family business!”
According to Carpenter, the attacks are so grotesque that many of the president’s staunchest defenders won’t have anything to do with them, with the commentator writing, “… while Nikki Haley and Ron Johnson are willing to do a lot for Donald Trump, calling Biden a pedophile is—at least for now—a bridge too far for them.”
“Even Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, is in on the game. She hosts a campaign show on YouTube that exists primarily to deride Biden. At a Women for Trump event she mocked Biden’s childhood stutter: ‘I’m like, Joe, can you get it out, let’s get the words out, Joe.’ She was so callous that Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, a former stutterer, stepped out to condemn the ‘culture of cruelty’ she was perpetuating and ask that she ‘Stop. Grow up. Show some decency,'” Carpenter wrote before lamenting, “Regretfully, I must inform you, Dear Reader, that Lara Trump and the other members of her family have not. As the old saying goes, the family that slays together, stays together.”
“It’s worth wondering why the Trump progeny, with all their wealth and privilege, are willing to throw themselves in the gutter on behalf of their father,” she suggested. “But, there’s not enough time in the world to psychoanalyze the dysfunction that has led Trump to put his kids in these roles and for the kids to accept them. Let’s just agree it’s highly abnormal. Most candidates would do anything to protect their children from the perils of campaigning. Yet, here we have President Trump giving his kids the dirtiest jobs in the entire campaign: smearing Joe Biden and courting the alt-right.”
“It’s not like kids don’t have a place on the campaign trail, though,” she explained. “There’s a big difference, however, between a candidate’s child smiling sweetly during a convention speech and saying, ‘My dad is the greatest dad ever’ and pounding out tweets that his opponent ‘sounds like a total clown every time he opens his mouth’ (as Eric did on Sunday).”
“In the end, people who are uncomfortable treating the president’s children the same way they would any other campaign operative wind up trying to rationalize the Trumps’ behavior. They pretend the offensive statements blasted out of Don Jr.’s Twitter account are part of his act,” she suggested before adding, “Because confronting the truth about this family and what they do to themselves, to others, and to our political system is too depressing.”
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