Examining the Trump Family Business

Donald Trump’s three adult children from the first of Trump’s three marriages to Ivana Trump have become major players in his campaign for president. Sons Eric and Don, Jr., and daughter Ivanka are the three people that are able to communicate with Mr. Trump in a manner that no others can.

"In business and politics, we obviously influence our father’s thought process, but he always makes up his own mind. Ivanka, Eric and I have the ability to be very candid with our father."
— Donald Trump Jr.

All three of Trump’s children appeared on his reality TV show The Apprentice and became known to millions of viewers. Trump has involved the three older children in his business ventures, and all three are successful businesspersons in their own right. His daughter Ivanka has her own fashion and jewelry line that is sold in stores throughout the country under her own name, and it’s not been unusual to hear cries of “Ivanka for president” at Trump rallies.

At least one of Trump’s children travels with him on all campaign trips and all three, along with their spouses are present at major events. Along with his wife Melania, all of the Trump children were major presences at the Republican Convention. Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric, along with Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany all gave speeches that spoke of Donald Trump’s family values and shared personal stories of their father. The impression that was left with most viewers was that the Trump’s are one big happy family.

Donald Trump Jr. is the eldest child of Donald and Ivana Trump and was born in 1977. Don Jr. has a BS degree from the University of Pennsylvania and works as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Don Jr. was married in 2005 and has five children. He was a delegate from New York at the recent Republican Convention and announced the vote of New York that put his father over the top in the delegate count at the Convention.

Eric Trump was born in 1984. He has a degree in finance from Georgetown University and serves as an executive vice president for the Trump Organization in charge of development and acquisitions. Like his siblings, Eric appeared on various seasons of The Apprentice TV show. He is the owner of Trump Winery, which received extensive publicity during Trump’s campaign. Eric married in late 2014.

Ivanka Trump was born in 1981 and has a degree from Wharton School. Like her brothers, Ivanka is an executive vice president of the Trump Organization. She also has her own successful line of fashion and jewelry. She became well known to the public during her appearances on The Apprentice and appeared in other TV shows and had a successful career as a fashion model and author.

Ivanka is married to real estate developer Jared Kushner, and the couple has three children. She introduced her father before his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention. Her husband, Jared Kushner has played a major role in Trump’s campaign and has served as an important conduit to the Jewish political community in New York.

Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton are close friends. Ivanka has said, “Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat.” Like her father, she donated money to Hillary Clinton’s 2007 campaign. Both Ivanka and Chelsea have said that they expect their friendship to survive the campaign.

"There's nothing skin-deep about Ivanka. And I think that's a real tribute to her because certainly anyone as gorgeous as she is could have probably gone quite far being skin-deep."
— Chelsea Clinton

Trump consults with his children on all critical campaign decisions. The children were deeply involved in the selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as vice president. They were instrumental in Trump’s decision to fire campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

It is unusual for the children of a presidential candidate to wield as much influence as the Trump children do. While the triumvirate has been successful in managing the mechanics of the campaign, they have presumably not been as successful in reining in Trump's penchant for making controversial comments.

Should Donald Trump win the presidency, his family will clearly be the power behind the throne. A president seeks counsel from those that they trust the most, and there is no doubt that Donald Trump trusts his kids more than he trusts anyone else.