One of the great wonders of contemporary American life is that a billionaire real estate and hotel mogul has sold himself to so many millions of Americans as a (white) working-class hero. His inveterate crudeness, racism, and sexism have helped “popularize” him in some circles, although these characteristics create the equally grand irony that this heathenish bully is idolized by many millions of conservative Evangelical followers of the irenic and holy man named Jesus.
But if it stretches credulity to think of Trump as a regular guy, it really defies all logic to extend that strange treatment of the old man to his perfectly privileged kids. Yet Donald Jr., in particular, wants to play that role, as Newsweek reports:
Donald Trump Jr. has suggested [on Fox & Friends] growing up at a Pennsylvania boarding school where tuition fees are on par with the median household income helped him build a connection with middle Americans …
After saying his real estate mogul father Donald Trump “gets” middle America because he spent time on construction sites, Trump Jr. said: “He’d get on the ground and that’s why I was like, listen, he can go talk to working-class Americans because he has his whole life.”
In an attempt to establish a connection of his own with the middle and working class, the president’s son continued: “Eric and I, we went to boarding school in central Pennsylvania. We went through our formative years in the rust belt.
“So while we may be the son of a New York billionaire, we grew up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.”
That would be at the Hill boarding school, a $61,000-a-year option for keeping young scions from under foot yet under control. For all its undoubted virtues, the Hill is not exactly the sort of place the lunch-bucket proletarians of the Rust Belt would find familiar unless they were brought there to do some chores. By the same token, Junior’s claim that the president himself can relate to “working-class Americans” because “he has his whole life” at construction sites makes precisely as much sense as claiming plantation owners really understood sharecroppers in the Jim Crow South. And then there’s this interesting factoid:
Speaking to Fox & Friends, the businessman claimed he started out his career as a dock attendant, saying: “We’re the only sons of billionaires who can drive a D10 Caterpillar.”
He and his brother Eric are probably among the relatively few people who can “drive a D10 Caterpillar” because their father owned it. It gives you a special peace of mind to know that wrecking Daddy’s D10 Caterpillar would represent a loss no more significant than a working-class kid misplacing a carpet nail.
As I suggested during a recent bout of fury about the faux populism of that elite-educated Missouri banker’s son, Josh Hawley, I don’t begrudge Trump’s children the wealth and privilege they did not ask for (at least at birth). But Junior is a living talking point for a 100 percent inheritance tax. You know why he was on Fox & Friends? To promote a nasty little book that he or some poor ghost produced to both spur and monetize the hate associated with the Trump name:
The president’s son appeared on Fox & Friends to promote his new book Triggered going on sale next week.
A website promoted by Trump Jr. called Trigger a Liberal has been set up to encourage people to buy a copy of the book that is sent to the user’s “favorite liberal snowflake” from a list including Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Such a nice man, just like his dad. Having put himself out there as a public figure posing as the salt of the earth, you half-expect Donald Jr. to brag about how the president himself went to school in the Rust Belt state of Pennsylvania as well: He’s a graduate of that well-known harvester of working-class talent, the Wharton School of Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania. No wonder he was able to raise his kids to emulate his life of modest and selfless service.