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Does Trump have dynastic ambitions for his family?

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When Donald J. Trump spoke to the astronauts on the space station the other day, his daughter Ivanka was by his side for the photo op. And yesterday, we were treated to the video of Ivanka being hissed and booed at a forum in Germany, right next to Angela Merkel. Can you or anyone tell me a single qualification for any job in the White House that Ivanka Trump possesses, aside, perhaps, from being some fashion or interior decor advisor? Can you imagine what would have happened if a Democratic president took his totally unqualified child and thrust her into the international spotlight like that? I mean, even Melania’s had the good taste to keep a low profile. But the glamorous Ivanka seems hell-bent on being some kind of Jackie Kennedy-cum-policy wonk-cum-FDOTUS-cum-face of the Trump Organization.

I remember when Jimmy Carter was excoriated by Republicans for saying that he’d talked to his daughter, Amy, about nuclear weapons. Bill and Hillary Clinton, who were very good parents, raised a dignified, discrete young woman, Chelsea, who never embarrassed her parents, or America. She stayed out of the spotlight, as was only right. George W. Bush and Laura similarly raised two fine daughters, whom they were wise enough to keep away from the glare of publicity and notoriety. Barack and Michelle Obama’s two wonderful daughters likewise did not lead conspicuously public lives. Had Obama been foolish enough to suggest that Sasha and Malia were acting in any sort of official role, just imagine the reaction of the likes of the Fox News sexual predator Bill O’Reilly, or Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the nastier columnists at the Wall Street Journal, not to mention Republican junkyard attack dogs like Ann Coulter. They would be howling at the moon. The tea party would be demanding Obama’s impeachment (well, they did anyway), and brownshirts like Louie Gohmert and Daryl Issa would indignantly hold public hearings.

But now, with this president, we have him thrusting, not just Ivanka, but his whole family into powerful positions. Jared’s qualifications for anything, outside of, maybe, real estate deals, are unclear. Then there are Trump’s two legitimate sons, Eric and Donald, Jr., who seem to be at their father’s elbow though they’re running the Trump Organization and are not supposed to talk about it with him. P.S. If you believe that, there’s a bridge in Manhattan I’d like to sell you. Such a deal!

When I think of this Trump family, I think of nepotistic tyrants, like the Kims of North Korea, the Assads of Syria, and the House of Saud. The founder establishes a dynasty and then it goes down to successive generations, who become even richer. We don’t actually know what’s in Donald J. Trump’s head—if he fantasizes about anything of that sort. But why would he not? It would go along with the narcissism, the megalomania and the need to win—three personality traits we know he has. And Trump has never, ever shown a hint of understanding or respecting the Constitution, or democracy, or he common man. He has the smell of an autocrat.

When you think about it, the assumption that America is a stable, democratic [small “d”] country, based on the Constitution, rests on increasingly flimsy grounds. Government’s been eating away at the protections afforded us by the Constitution for years. We are one major terrorist act away from being so scared out of our wits that we may demand the president—whoever he or she is—do whatever it takes to protect us, including suspension of things like habeas corpus and other civil protections in the Bill of Rights. I’m not a paranoid man, but I see no reason not to believe that Donald J. Trump is not consciously thinking about getting absolute power. (A triple negative, sorry.) I can’t imagine Obama or George W. Bush, or even Reagan, ever doing so, because they respected the Constitution. What would Trump do immediately after, say, Manhattan was blasted with a dirty bomb, or twenty U.S. commercial airplanes fell from the sky in a single afternoon, or a hacking attack took out the electrical grid east of the Mississippi? I think he’d be on T.V. instantly, demanding the Congress give him unlimited power to make laws, or get rid of existing laws, and I think the Congress—many Democrats included—would go along. (Barbara Lee, my Congresswoman, no doubt would be a “No” vote.) As long as we’re playing out this scenario, let’s imagine the attack coming right before the next presidential election. It’s not hard for me, in my mind’s eye, to see and hear Donald J. Trump tell the nation that having an election at that time is dangerous. And from there, it’s a slippery slope to not having any more elections, period.

Donald J. Trump is 70 years old and will turn 71 in June. We don’t know any more about his medical status than we do about his taxes, but it’s safe to assume that he’s not in the best of health. Maybe he knows this, and is setting the inheritance pieces into place. He’s fat. His hot temper suggests he probably has high blood pressure. He eats like a pig (Trump loves McDonald’s burgers, eggs and bacon), so he probably has high cholesterol. His father, Fred, had Alzheimer’s, so that runs in the family. Who takes over when president-for-life Trump dies at, say, 81? Jared? Melania? Ivanka? A ruling family council? I will bet you that Donald J. Trump thinks about these things. You say it can’t happen here? With this one, and the white nationalists that are his base, it most assuredly can.

  1. Related:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-is-amazing-6

    “Ivanka Trump setting up something that sounds a lot like the Clinton Foundation, only in this case run from within the White House by a top presidential aide who is also the President’s daughter”

  2. Clinton Foundation did not exist until after Bill Clinton left the White House (2001).

  3. Steve,

    Yes, and (1) there was already talk during the campaign about shutting down the Foundation or changing/limiting its role if Hilary won; and (2) at a bare minimum, assuming it continued operations, it’s highly unlikely that whoever ended up running the Foundation post-inauguration would also have a position in the Administration.

    In other words, Ivanka is proposing to do what only the more paranoid Clinton-haters thought the Clintons might do if Hilary won. Yet the Clinton Foundation was the subject of many chin-stroking columns and headlines about “optics” and “concerns,” while Ivanka’s initiative isn’t even the lead story.

  4. I wouldn’t dismiss the ivanka thing. A lot of Americans understand how unseemly this family is. It’s more nepotistic every day. EVentually I believe the conflicts of interest will begin to bother republicans. Not the hardest right of the tea party–they odn’t care about anything–but more mainstream ones. However, we have to keep the pressure on constantly.

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