The Most Controversial Trump Kid Interviews

Former President Donald Trump certainly knows how to make headlines. This was the case long before he moved into the White House and remains the case after his departure. The real estate mogul turned reality TV star turned politician has been in the spotlight since the early 1970s, when he founded the Trump Organization, per the BBC. Perhaps part of his talent at staying in the spotlight is his ability to blend pop culture and the power of celebrity with business or, as we all saw later, the presidency. Say what you will about the man, he certainly knows how to brand himself.

But this is precisely what so many people struggled with during his stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: his courtship of scandal and power. As News 18 pointed out, when it comes to Trump, "controversy and presidency go hand in hand."

Where Trump goes, so do his children. This is his prerogative when it comes to running the Trump business but when it came to the White House, the many appointments given to the Trumps brought an outcry against nepotism, as USA Today points out. The Trump clan doesn't just follow their father on his career trajectory; they also follow him on the path of controversy and public scrutiny. Trump can certainly create a headline with his comments but so can his kids. So let's take a look at the Trump kids' most controversial interviews.

Don Trump Jr.'s interview about being spoiled

The perks (or curse) of being born into a famous family means that the Trump kids have been lassoed into the spotlight their entire lives, long before Donald Trump entered the political arena. As such, it's not surprising that the Trump brood was frequently interviewed.

Donald Trump Jr. turned heads in 2011 with his Esquire interview. Don Jr. was 33 at the time and brought up the topic of being spoiled. "To say we weren't spoiled as kids would be asinine, right?" Don Jr. began. "But we were spoiled in ways that are probably beneficial to an individual's growth. We were very well traveled. We spoke multiple languages. We were around fascinating people who were making history. We got to experience things that other people didn't experience. But we were never spoiled financially. That kept us out of a lot of trouble."

But less than three months after the Esquire article was published, Salon published an exposé about Don Jr. and Eric's recent trip to Africa where they hunted big game. Their tour group, "Hunting Legends," posted the photos on their website without realizing what the backlash would be. PETA was especially vocal: "[A]ll animals ... deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires' grisly photo opportunity." Well, that certainly puts a wrench in Don Jr.'s claim about being "spoiled" in all the right ways.

The eldest Trump kids talk about 'Trump Guilt'

Donald Trump spoke about the concern of raising children in an ultra-successful family. In 1990, he told Playboy: "Statistically, my children have a very bad shot. Children of successful people are generally very, very troubled, not successful. They don't have the right shtick," (via Time). Well, the Trump children seemed to surpass this expectation. At least, this is the impression they vehemently made in a 2015 interview with Barbara Walters for ABC News.

Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Tiffany all sat down with the host as Trump himself was campaigning for president, so the interview seemed endorsement-heavy. "He loves work," Eric said of his father when asked what makes Trump "tick."

"He was the first to tell us how privileged we are," Ivanka said, "and with that privilege, how much responsibility we had to really earn what we were so lucky to have been afforded since birth." Eric added that Trump had them work, bringing them to construction sites, saying that they earned "minimum wage." Perhaps the most notable part of the interview was when they spoke about how they inherited "the Donald Trump work ethic." Don Jr. said, "We refer to it as the 'Trump Guilt' when we wake up on Saturday and we're not working." Some viewers, however, didn't jive with this. "Trump children: we need to earn every dollar," one commented on YouTube, "Also Ivanka: Senior advisor to the president despite having no qualifications for it except being his daughter." So the sentiment didn't appeal to everyone.

Ivanka Trump's statements about the homeless

It's not surprising that the 2003 documentary "Born Rich" might be a recipe for some controversial quotes. Jamie Johnson, heir to pharmaceutical empire Johnson & Johnson decided to film his friends, all of whom were children of the super-rich which, of course, included Ivanka Trump, per The New York Times. The documentary was "semi-notorious even before it was first shown" and one of Ivanka's comments rubbed audiences the wrong way.

"I remember once my father and I were walking down Fifth Avenue and there was a homeless person sitting right outside of Trump Tower and I remember my father pointing to him and saying, 'You know, that guy has $8 billion more than me,' because he was in such extreme debt at that point, you know?" Ivanka said to the camera crew (via the South China Morning Post).

As a later publication by The New York Times notes, Trump's businesses were hemorrhaging money based on records obtained from 1985-1994. Trump's glossy empire of hotels and casinos was actually losing close to $250 million a year from 1990-1991, and his grand total was a deficit of $1.7 billion over a decade. While the losses are considerable, Ivanka's comments, which seemed to romanticize the plight of the homeless, registered as privileged and tone-deaf. This was certainly evident, as the Daily Mail notes, when most of her scenes in the documentary were shot in her father's $100 million penthouse.

Donald Trump Jr.'s tone-deaf comments about the poor in India

There seems to be a pattern to the Trump kids' most unsavory comments. While Ivanka Trump has been called out for tone-deaf comments, so has older brother, Donald Trump Jr. In 2018, Don Jr. went to India on business in the service of the Trump family real estate. 

"There is something about the Indian people that is unique here to other parts of the emerging world," Don Jr. said to CNBC in India (via NBC News). "You go through a town, and I don't mean to be glib about it, but you can see the poorest of the poor, and there is still a smile on a face, you say hello. It's a different spirit that you don't see in other parts of the world where people walk around so solemn and I think there's something unique about that." Don Jr. went on: "It doesn't exist elsewhere and it always struck me ... I know some of the most successful people in the world and some of them are the most miserable people in the world."

People on Twitter quickly called him out. "Wow it is a shame none of them will be able to afford a Trump condominium but they should [have] worked harder ... glad [they're] still in a good mood!!" someone wrote. "They constantly show their ignorance," another person tweeted. "I'd love to see him live for 6 months without his Daddy's money ... He is so tone deaf I can't even stand it," another said. Yikes!

Ivanka Trump's comment about the hardest job

Ivanka Trump got everyone talking again in 2019 at the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C., a traditional dinner for reporters and journalists that goes back over 130 years, per NPR. Donald Trump didn't attend but sent Ivanka as his representative from the White House that year. Roasting and teasing was the spirit of the evening and Ivanka jumped in with a joke too. "The press seems to think it's ironic that I, born of great privilege, think people want to work for what they are given," Ivanka began. "As if being Donald Trump's daughter isn't the hardest job in the world."

Needless to say, the good people of Twitter did some roasting of their own. "For someone that's never worked a day in her life, somehow, Ivanka Trump thinks being 'employed' through nepotism is rough," someone tweeted. "Ivanka Trump lampooned herself at Washington's annual Gridiron dinner in a comment referencing her recent remarks about the work ethic among Americans," another person jumped in. Someone else chimed in: "[Shaking my head] she is clueless about the struggles regular [Americans] have ... Poor thing has it so tough!"

This wasn't Ivanka's only joke of the night. She claimed that she didn't have time to write anything, so she shot a jab at New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats, per NPR. "I figured the funniest thing I could do was read excerpts from the Green New Deal," Ivanka joked.  

Eric Trump says there's never been a more 'beloved political figure' than his dad

It's Eric Trump's turn now. The middle Trump caused a massive stir in February 2021 when he appeared on Fox News in a one-on-one with Sean Hannity. Eric went after the Democratic Party with notable vehemence, saying: "They tried to manufacture everything under the [sun] against my father, against all of us. They do it every single day. They continue to do it. Even when he's a private citizen, they're still trying to impeach him," (via The Wrap).

Eric went on to add an especially notable claim: "They wanna tar and feather the man. They know he did a great job for this nation. They know that there's never been a more beloved political figure in our country's history."

This, of course, depends on who you ask. Pro-Trump Republicans would agree, but in terms of a nation-wide approval rating, Trump scored low. Bloomberg reported a Gallup poll from January 2021 that ranked Trump's popularity at 34%, "the weakest average approval rating of any of his predecessors since the survey began in the 1940s." Meanwhile, Rolling Stone magazine called Trump's unpopularity level "historic," saying he was "the least popular president ever polled." So it seems fair to say that Eric's statement might be a tad sweeping, to say the least.

What Ivanka Trump didn't say

Ivanka Trump got caught in a famous "Face the Nation" interview from December 2019, when she spoke with Margaret Brennan. The interview itself was controversial. Brennan asked Ivanka about Donald Trump's immigration policy, which led to families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, as American Progress reminds. Trump signed the policy in April 2018 and Brennan claimed that Ivanka was "vocal" in her opposition, per Vox.

However, as a prior Vox article notes, Ivanka made no public outcries about the policy and was "conspicuously silent," until Trump did away with the policy in June 2018. Once Trump abolished it, Ivanka jumped on Twitter to praise her father without making mention of the fact that it was Trump who acted on the policy. "Thank you POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border," Ivanka tweeted. "Congress must now act + find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values, the same values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families."

Twitter was quick to call her out. "Ivanka, YOUR DAD IMPLEMENTED FAMILY SEPARATION. You're praising him for something that's literally all his fault?!?!" someone tweeted back. Someone else called her out for her silence: "Ivanka – you got a college degree. you know better. stop lying. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN???" Meanwhile, someone said, "Separating families is/was a Trump admin policy." So it seems like the Trumps can cause controversy even when they don't speak.

Eric Trump calls backlash after U.S. Capitol 'cancel culture'

Following the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, Eric Trump made some comments that didn't go down well with audiences. The riot was stirred up after Donald Trump gave a speech, inciting his supporters with his false claims that the election was taken from him, per the BBC. Several of Trump's supporters were arrested, following the insurrection, and Trump himself was impeached, for a second time, according to The New York Times. There were also repercussions on Trump's businesses.

Representative Kevin McCarthy (R) said: "The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters." In contrast, Eric spoke with The Associated Press in an interview shortly after the riots and blamed the backlash aimed at his father on "cancel culture."

"We live in the age of cancel culture, but this isn't something that started this week. It is something that they have been doing to us and others for years," Eric said. "If you disagree with them, if they don't like you, they try and cancel you." Eric added of his father: "You have a man who would get followed to the ends of the Earth by a hundred million Americans. He created the greatest political movement in American history and his opportunities are endless." Well, it's certainly a different story than many other Americans were telling of the event!

Ivanka Trump stormed out of a Cosmo interview

It's clear that the Trumps don't shy away from interviews, part and parcel to their love of the spotlight. In one case, Ivanka Trump actually stormed out of an interview with Cosmopolitan. In September 2016, Ivanka was questioned by the magazine about Donald Trump's childcare policy of six weeks paid maternity leave, which only covered "benefits for women who physically give birth to a child," per The Young Turks.

The interviewer, Prachi Gupta, posed the question to Ivanka: "In 2004, Donald Trump said that pregnancy is an inconvenient thing for a business. It's surprising to see this policy from him today. Can you talk a little about those comments, and perhaps what has changed?"

"So I think that you have a lot of negativity in these questions," Ivanka replied. "So I don't know how useful it is to spend too much time with you on this, if you're going to make a comment like that." Gupta apologized if the questions seemed negative but said they were relevant to the president's stance on families in America. Gupta asked about other parents. "For same-sex adoption, where the two parents are both men, they would not be receiving special leave for that because they don't need to recover or anything?"

Ivanka replied: "Well, those are your words, not mine. Those are your words," and said for now, they're focusing on mothers. When Gupta asked about the Mexican wall, Ivanka said: "I'm going to jump off – I have to run. I apologize," and she left.

Ivanka Trump defends her dad in the midst of the groping scandal

Ivanka Trump sat down with CBS' Norah O'Donnell on "CBS This Morning" in 2016 to respond to allegations concerning her father, Donald Trump, that were published in The New York Times about him groping women. "I found it to be pretty disturbing, based on the facts as I know them," Ivanka said. "And obviously, I very much know them, both in the capacity as a daughter and — in the capacity as an executive who's worked alongside of him at this company for over a decade."

Ivanka stressed her disbelief in the claims: "It's been largely discredited since ... Most of the time, when stories are inaccurate, they're not discredited, and I will be frustrated by that. But in this case, I think they went so far. They had — they had such a strong thesis and created facts to reinforce it ... And, you know, I think that narrative is — has been playing out now." Ivanka stressed again her father's innocence: "He's not a groper. It's not who he is," (via U.S. News).

Trump himself responded to the Times piece on his now-deleted Twitter account, saying on May 16, 2016: "Over 50 women were interviewed by the [New York Times] yet they only wrote about 6. That's because there were so many positive statements," (via U.S. News). Trump continued to deny the allegations, as did Ivanka, defending her father and stressing his support of women.

Ivanka Trump didn't know about a major policy

Ivanka Trump caused a stir in 2018 on "Good Morning America" with Deborah Roberts. Roberts, in her compassionate yet direct way of interviewing, asked Ivanka about the violence seen on the border between the United States and Mexico. "There are some very shocking images coming across these days at the border ... How have you responded to those images?"

"I think like any other person with a heart," Ivanka replied. "It's devastating to see the images and seeing children put at risk, running towards the border is heartbreaking. There's no other way to process it." In turn, Roberts didn't throw a softball. "Your father has authorized lethal force, he says, 'if necessary.' Does that concern you?"

"I don't believe that that's what he said," Ivanka began. "His primary role as commander-in-chief is obviously to protect the nation's borders. He has to protect our country's security, but ... lethal force in this case would — that is not, I think, something that anyone's talking about."

Later, Roberts spoke on ABC News and discussed her interview with Ivanka. Roberts knew the exact dates when Trump had spoken about lethal force and said of Ivanka: "She wasn't clear that he had said that ... she actually did not know that he had come out and said 'lethal force was necessary' and of course, she had a reaction to it. She doesn't feel good about that." Despite claiming to work closely with her father, Ivanka wasn't aware of that major statement.

Tiffany Trump at the Trump Pride event

Tiffany Trump, child of Donald Trump and Marla Maples, caused a stir when she hosted Trump Pride in Tampa, Florida, in October 2020, according to Mashable. Tiffany's address was full of questionable moments. She began: "I know what my father believes in. Prior to politics, he supported gays, lesbians, the LGBQIIA+ community," but she left out the "T" for transgender, per The Hill. Tiffany went on: "It saddens me. I have friends of mine who reach out and they say ... 'How could you support your father? We know you. We know your best friends are gay.' ... I say, 'It's because my father has always supported all of you.' He's never done it for politics and he's not doing it for politics."

What struck people as uncomfortable was Tiffany's remark that she hadn't prepared anything for the event. "Hopefully, like, the Trump genes run in me and I can just go up off script like my father likes to do, and honestly I love it when he gets off script," per The Hill, making audiences feel like it wasn't a priority for Tiffany.

One Twitter user was not impressed that Tiffany opted to go off script: "OMG. I never would've guessed it but Tiffany Trump is the most similar of the Trump kids to Donald. She has the same rambling, stream of consciousness speaking style, tone and mannerisms." To be fair, Tiffany is the most infrequent of the Trump kids to make public appearances, so it's likely she was nervous.

Don Trump Jr. claimed the coronavirus death toll was 'almost nothing'

When the coronavirus pandemic was underway, Donald Trump Jr. spoke on Fox News and made an astoundingly inaccurate claim. In October 2020, Don Jr. said that the death toll from the coronavirus was almost nothing. "These people are truly morons," Don Jr. said. "The reality is this — I put it up on my Instagram a couple days ago, because I went through the CDC data, because I kept hearing about new infections, but I was like why aren't they talking about deaths? Oh, oh: because the number is almost nothing."

"Look at my Instagram," he said. "It's gone to almost nothing." Don Jr.'s claims were flatly contradicted. The Washington Post jumped in, noting that 1,000 Americans died of the coronavirus "the same day he made the comments" and that the death count was, in fact, rising.

Twitter had a field day over Don Jr.'s comments too. "The overflowing hospitals would disagree," one person wrote. "1,000 Deaths are nothing??" another person asked. The Post also linked Don Jr.'s Instagram post that he was referring to which, like Twitter, was full of comments calling him out. "Didn't exactly turn out this was the truth did it," someone wrote. "Next time read the data before you post it and lie to your followers." Clearly, Don Jr. didn't get very far with that comment, thanks to the commenters on the internet. 

Donald Trump Jr. says he 'doesn't know' in interview with Hannity

Donald Trump Jr. made yet another appearance on Fox News, speaking with Sean Hannity. The 2017 interview came after news aired that Don Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in 2016 to get information about Hillary Clinton that could be used against her on behalf of his father, according to People. "I probably would have done things a little differently," Don Jr. said to Hannity. "Again, this is before the Russia mania. This is before they were building it up in the press. For me, this was opposition research that had something, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I had been hearing about."

Hannity pressed Don Jr. about the potential dangers involved in meeting with the Russians, especially with what was circulating in the news at the time. "When you read the parts about the Russian government, or Russia supporting your father, did that put off any sirens in your head?"

"Honestly, I don't know," Don Jr. replied. "I mean, I think — this was, again, just basic information that was going to be possibly there ... But you know, people are trying to reach out to you all the time with this." While Don Jr.'s response shows an astounding lack of foresight, The Daily Beast says that lawyers speculate his show of ignorance could actually be a "defense against prosecution." But the fact that Don Jr. didn't consider any potential risk in his actions is somewhat astounding.