A Trump isn’t one to back down from a controversial comment too easily.
Witness U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2015, the then-candidate who was seeking to be the Republicans’ choice to run for the presidency refused to apologize after he said that Arizona Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero.”
It was just one of a number of controversial remarks he wouldn’t apologize for.
Now witness Eric Trump, the president’s son. In February, Eric, who with brother Donald Jr. has been named to run the Trump Organization while Donald Sr. sits in the Oval Office, told Forbes that “nepotism is a factor of life.”
“We might be here because of nepotism, but we’re not still here because of nepotism,” Eric told journalist Dan Alexander.
“You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot.”
Eric didn’t back his comments in an interview with The Daily Telegraph two months later — he reaffirmed them.
Speaking with the U.K. newspaper in the clubhouse of the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, he said nepotism is a “beautiful thing” as he explained why Trump appointed him to look after his business while he served as U.S. president.
“He knows I care about the family. He knows I care about the brand. He knows I deeply care about the properties, our amazing teams. And he knows I’m going to do everything I can humanly possible to take care of that,” he said.
“Is that nepotism? Absolutely. Is that also a beautiful thing? Absolutely. Family business is a beautiful thing. The same applies for Ivanka. Ivanka is by his side in Washington.”
Eric’s remarks came amid widespread criticism of the elder Trump after he appointed family members to positions in the White House despite their lack of political experience.
Trump named his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his daughter Ivanka’s husband, as a senior adviser in January.
It’s a broad role that has seen Kushner take on responsibilities such as the president’s staff, as well as a task force looking to overhaul government bureaucracy.
Stephen Colbert mocked what he called the “obvious nepotism” of naming Kushner to overhaul the bureaucracy last week.
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Kushner has also visited Iraq as part of his role in the White House.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump has joined her father’s administration as an unpaid employee.
She has been present throughout her father’s presidency, taking part in meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ivanka and Kushner were reportedly key figures in stopping a draft anti-LGBTQ executive order from crossing the president’s desk.
But not everyone is disturbed at seeing members of Trump’s family serve in influential positions in the White House.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, questioned whether their presence in the White House is a bad thing, in a column for Politico.
He argued that Kushner and Ivanka can speak “truth to power without fear of suspect motives.”
“The wisdom of experienced advisers and scholarly experts can be dangerously overstated as well,” he said.
As an example, Sonnenfeld cited former president George W. Bush’s appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld was experienced, Sonnenfeld said — but his “distorted and arrogant style alienated virtually everyone in the Pentagon and many of his Cabinet peers.”
Speaking on CNBC, he said Kushner has faced an “unjustified moral outrage” since stepping into his White House role.
He said trust can be valued over experience in certain instances.