For much of this long presidential race, many Americans vowed to vote against Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush on principle if either became their party’s nominees, citing a deep hatred of political dynasties.
I share their reflexive distaste for dynastic politics, but find it ironic that many of those supposedly principled latter-day Whigs now support Donald Trump, a narcissist whose penchant for nepotism vastly exceeds anything ever contemplated by Bushes, Clintons, Kennedys, Roosevelts or Rockefellers.
In one of the more surreal moments of last night’s debate, Donald Trump cited his 10-year-old son Barron in connection with his national cybersecurity strategy. Here is the relevant passage:
Lester Holt, Moderator: Our next segment is called securing America. We want to start with a 21st century war happening every day in this country, our institutions are under cyber attack, and our secrets are being stolen. So my question is: Who’s behind it and how do we fight it?
Donald Trump: Look at the mess that we’re in. As far as the cyber,… we should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not…. I don’t know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC…. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds… because the truth is, under President Obama we’ve lost control of things that we used to have control over. We came in with an internet, we came up with the internet. And… when you look at what ISIS is doing with the internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS. So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a…huge problem.
I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly do-able. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing, but that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better… and certainly cyber is one of them.
(I edited Trump’s reply for brevity and clarity; his full response is here.)
Perhaps his tween son is tough enough to match wits with Russia, China and that 400-pound hacker sitting on his bed. If Trump were grooming the boy for the post of White House Cybersecurity Czar, that would not be surprising.
For months leading up to the Republican National Convention, Trump and his team seriously considered his daughter Ivanka as a running mate — once again proving their absolute ignorance of the U.S. Constitution. (Article II, as modified by the 12th Amendment, requires running mates to hail from different states. Donald and Ivanka both live in New York.)
Then, at the actual Cleveland Steamer, Trump turned the RNC into a bizarre pageant of nepotism. While it is traditional for a nominee’s spouse to speak at a national party convention, it is unusual to schedule speeches for all four of a candidate’s adult children — none of whom have any real resume outside the family business. (Imagine the outcry if any other candidate indulged himself similarly.)
Last month, Trump floated Ivanka for an unspecified Cabinet post.
Trump’s two oldest sons could also contribute. Given their affection for the outdoors, Donald, Jr. and Eric could — as Secretary of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency administrator, respectively — strip away silly federal regulations limiting big game hunting on federal lands, while “warming up the gas chamber” for the Endangered Species Act.
Tiffany Trump is only 22 years old, but the recent college graduate just signed up to take the LSAT. In her father’s mind, that probably qualifies her to be Attorney General.
Sorry, Governor Christie.