In October, Donald Trump Jr. revealed a microscopic level of self-awareness with two comments condemning Hunter Biden for benefiting from his station as the son of a powerful dad. “When you’re the father and your son’s entire career is dependent on that, they own you,” said Trump Jr., whose father’s name is on the building of the penthouse he grew up in. He expanded on Hannity: “I wish my name was Hunter Biden. I could go abroad and make millions off my father’s presidency. I’d be a really rich guy.”
Instead, Donald Trump Jr. went abroad to combine two of his favorite things: benefiting from his father’s presidency and killing endangered animals for pleasure. According to a ProPublica report, Trump Jr. visited western Mongolia in August for a hunting trip in which he shot an argali — a giant sheep with curved horns up to six feet in length — and received a retroactive permit once coming in from the field. As ProPublica notes, it’s extremely rare for such a permission to be granted, just “one of only three permits to be issued in that hunting region.” The trip was supported by government resources from the United States and Mongolia, and both countries sent security personnel to guard Trump Jr. After the hunting trek, Trump Jr. also met in private with Mongolian president Khaltmaagiin Battulga; representatives for both parties did not respond to requests for comment.
“What are the chances the Mongolian government would’ve done any of that to someone who wasn’t the son of the United States’ president?” Kathleen Clark, a professor specializing in legal ethics at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, asked ProPublica. Clark added that Trump Jr. is politically influential despite not being an elected official, as Mongolian leaders would prioritize the relationship from a “desire on the part of a foreign government to curry favor with the president’s family.”
Of course, foreign governments have been pumping cash into the Trump Organization since the beginning of his presidency, in an effort to curry favor with the president. Here, the kindness seems to have been applied not to the family business itself, but to its executive vice-president, who is also a member of the family. The U.S.–Mongolian relationship is vital to the country of 3.2 million people; America is known as the “third neighbor” due to its history of economic and military support. In 2018, the United States sent over $45 million in aid to the country of 3.2 million people, mostly for development projects. In 2019, that number is down substantially, to a little over $3 million.
The Mongolia trip isn’t the first example of Trump Jr. benefiting from his father’s status in the past few weeks: In late November, a pesky asterisk appeared next to the title of his book at the top of the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, informing readers that Triggered hit the No. 1 spot because of bulk purchases. It later emerged that the Republican National Committee bought a one-time order of $100,000 to give away to anyone who donated at least $50, and to make the president’s son feel good.
At least Trump Jr. — who in the past has hunted elephants and leopards abroad — shot the endangered argali in a fashion that gave the animal a fighting chance. It was just a man and his gun. Plus a laser-sight. In the dark.