Also on the ballot: The Future of the Trump Political Dynasty
Election day is here. The results? They might not be finalized for some time. And that has lawyers for Trump and Biden bracing for lawsuits, recounts, and weird scenarios you might never have thought of.
If Trump wins another thwarted victory, it will solidify his family’s position in American society. The assets will establish cultural and political dialogue for nearly a decade. They will continue to fight their way through the halls of Washington and the GOP. They could run for office.
But if Trump loses, a family brand built on the “winner” will suffer an embarrassing defeat after years of successfully bypassing creditors, bankruptcies and cultural boom. Republicans could turn against the trumps. MAGA’s politics can fade. And the Trumps probably can’t retire to the glitzy world of New York galas. They don’t want to either. Instead, they’ll try to do what they always do, according to more than a dozen current and former senior administration officials and close Trump family associates: keep the Trump brand alive. Develop the family business. Export it when possible.
“It will be a rush to cement their future and be back in the center of power,” Kate Andersen Brower, author of “Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump,” said of the former presidents and their families. “Once you’ve tasted it, it’s hard to leave. “
Few have benefited from Trump’s political rise as much as his children and their partners. The White House roost exposed the Trump children to Republican politicians, donors and voters. This fostered potential political aspirations, while also giving the family business greater visibility and global contacts. This also, of course, prompted many questions about conflicts of interest.
If Trump wins, it will energize those connections and aspirations, not to mention concerns about ethical conflicts. But if Trump loses, the fate of his family will be tied to how voters and the Republican Party react to the election. One possible project of the post-Trump presidency that has been regularly launched for the family is a Trump-branded media empire. But no one in Trump’s orbit sees this as a realistic possibility – yet.
“The big question, over which they have no control, is: does the Republican Party claim Trump never happened, or is everyone still afraid of his hold on the electorate? a former senior administration official spoke of a loss of Trump. “Or is he still the de facto leader of the party?” While he’s still the de facto leader, they’re doing well on many levels. “
From Trump’s family, Kushner and Ivanka Trump are the two who used Trump’s victory to take government positions, both as senior White House aides. Over the past four years, they have transformed these roles into new relationships and friendships with world leaders, technology executives, financiers and political activists. Friends and allies have said they don’t expect them to simply ditch these extensive networks – like the ability to call Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg at any time – and return to their old lives in New York City. .
Ivanka Trump won’t start another shoe business, for example, while Kushner is unlikely to feel happy with his family’s own real estate business unless he takes it on a global scale, allies of the couple said. .
The couple spent a lot of time in the White House contacting business executives, traveling on high-profile international trips, even when their wallets didn’t necessarily warrant their presence. They also used their perches for chatting and dining with executives like Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and members of the British royal family.
“Much of their time in the White House was in contact with Fortune 100 CEOs, but mostly in areas where they were interested or had future business,” said a second former senior administration official. “They would have dinner parties at their homes in DC or get together with people like [Apple CEO] Tim Cook for dinner at Bedminster or Mar-a-Lago. More than most in administration, they have sought to capitalize on the social aspect of things. Most of the other senior managers had overwhelming responsibilities, which meant they had to work most of the time.
An administration official predicted that the pair would “likely take advantage of [Trump’s] popularity in different parts of the world. For example, you might see Trump Tel Aviv, Trump Jaffa, Trump Jerusalem, Trump Riyadh.
The official said a question lingered in some of his conversations with the couple: “Are things going to get back to ‘normal’?”
“Shall I go to the Hamptons, or Silicon Valley, or something like that?” Said the person. “My feeling is that it is going to be very difficult to come back to this life at the national level, but there will be new extraordinary opportunities in the international space.”
Kushner and Ivanka Trump present themselves much differently now than before their father entered politics. While the duo once spent time in Democratic circles in New York City, they are now called proud Trump Republicans. Ivanka Trump recently declared herself “shameless”Anti-abortion, a major departure from her earlier attempts to emerge as a moderating force within her father’s orbit. Kushner has adopted an increasingly Trumpian tone in his rare television appearances.
Then there is the question of the public service.
The Trump children have denied such ambitions for the time being, even though they have enjoyed a meteoric rise as big name names for Republican fundraisers and events. Ivanka Trump, for example, raised over $ 35 million for her father’s re-election, and would have broken Barack Obama’s One-Day Fundraising Record.
“All of these children have developed extensive personal relationships with the most powerful forces in the Republican movement and not just politicians but major donors,” said a Republican fundraiser and close friend of the Trump family. “When you want to talk to a family member and you’re a donor, the best you will get are the kids. [Trump] brought all of these people into the Republican fold, and the Trump kids should benefit in their own way. “
While Kushner and Ivanka Trump have pardoned themselves with CEOs and elite Republican donors, Donald Trump Jr. has managed to capture the times of the Trump movement.
Among the members of the Trump family, Trump Jr. is the most proficient in MAGA’s internet culture, which makes him popular with energetic young Trumpers. This leaves Trump Jr. most ready to take on his father’s role if he loses. Still, friends of Trump Jr. said he would likely return to his previous day’s job with the Trump Organization if his father was ousted. From there, he would continue to put a Trumpian mark on the conservative movement, exerting influence on cultural issues of red meat from his Twitter and Instagram accounts, where he amplifies conservative and far-right voices.
“Don Jr. is the identity of the conservative movement and that’s why they love him,” said a person close to him. “You’re very unlikely to see him racing in 2024 for anything, but these days in a lot of ways you can have a lot more influence from the outside. Who do you think is more influential, Tucker Carlson or Lindsey Graham? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
A loss of Trump could also leave his children with a difficult political future, even if they remain influential, government watchers say.
“The election could determine the political fortunes of the Trump children,” said Barb McQuade, former US lawyer for the Eastern District of Michigan and frequent Trump commentator on MSNBC. clears the way for an heir apparent, like Donald Trump Jr. or Ivanka Trump. One or both of them could be seen running for office on their father’s impetus.
“If Trump loses, it could portend the end of the divisive politics, which would hamper the political aspirations of the Trump children,” McQuade added.
Financially, Trump’s four years in the White House offered a lifeline for parts of his family businesses. The Trump DC hotel has been a hotspot for Republicans, foreign governments, and conservative organizations, generator tens of millions of sales. And after Trump’s upset victory in 2016, donors and wealthy Republicans flocked to some of Trump’s beach resorts, like Mar-a-Lago, which hike his contribution. Moreover, Trump’s frequent trips to his own properties have channeled million dollars in government spending for the Trump Organization.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-partisan government watchdog group, estimates special interest groups have spent an estimated $ 13 million on Trump’s businesses since he took office, with 137 events hosted or sponsored by groups trying to win the administration’s favor.
Overall, however, Trump’s companies have carried out unevenly during his presidency, as the president’s toxicity discouraged some potential clients.
“The whole Trump family has mixed their affairs with government service. They will do just fine no matter how the election goes, ”said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with government watchdog Public Citizen. “The bottom line is this: For all children, four years in government service has brought them increased prosperity. None of them have been worse off.
Tuesday’s election result is also unlikely to change the potential legal exposure to Trump’s children because of ongoing investigations into the Trump Organization. Eric Trump recently had to sit for a deposition as part of the New York Attorney General’s investigation into whether the Trump organization overestimated the value of its assets as it sought loans and tax breaks.
“Win or lose, their father and head of their business will remain a powerful man. Winner or loser, no one will be in the least surprised by the granting of broad pardons to all,” said Sam Buell, a former federal prosecutor who worked with Robert Mueller MP Andrew Weissman on the Enron charge. “Of course, anyone would prefer to have the incumbent President of the United States by their side while he is under investigation, and that could have a huge impact on the odds. But the outcome of that election will not itself determine their legal fate. “
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.