For the second time in a week, one of President Donald Trump’s children took to the Fox News airwaves to complain about just how rough-and-tumble our political system is.
A few days after Eric Trump decried the political left as “not even people” over its “hatred” and treatment of his father, Ivanka Trump went on “Fox and Friends” on Monday morning and decried the “viciousness” of Washington.
“There’s a level of viciousness that I was not expecting,” she said. “I was not expecting the intensity of this experience.”
Here’s what Eric Trump said a few days ago on Sean Hannity’s show:
“I’ve never seen hatred like this, and to me they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad, I mean morality is just gone, morals have flown out the window we deserve so much better than this as a country. You know it’s so sad.”
This seems to be a talking point for the White House now. And it is ridiculous. Not because politics in Washington isn’t vicious — it certainly can be and is — but because Ivanka and Eric Trump’s father’s political rise was marked by probably the nastiest and most bare-knuckled brand of public campaigning that we’ve seen in modern history
In case you’ve blocked out everything that happened between June 2015 and November 2016 (which = understandable), here is a quick refresher of the things Donald Trump did as a candidate:
▪ Called his chief opponents “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crooked Hillary” and “Little Marco”
▪ Suggested “Lyin’ Ted’s” father may have taken part in the Kennedy assassination
▪ Said he would put “Crooked Hillary” in jail when president
▪ Seemed to allude to potential violence again and again and again
▪ Continued his years-long effort to question the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s U.S. birth and, by extension, his entire presidency
▪ Appeared to mock a reporter’s physical handicap
▪ Suggested a judge was inherently biased against him because the judge was of Mexican heritage
▪ Said Sen. John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured
The number of things Trump did that were apparently unprecedented as a candidate and would likely have sunken any other politician were so numerous that Philip Bump spotlighted 23 of them for The Washington Post — in June 2016, before Trump was even officially nominated by the GOP. Not all of them were vicious, mind you, but most of them were.
Trump’s campaign was marked by a kind of innuendo and even outright nastiness that we simply haven’t seen in a very long time, if ever. It may have worked, but it was certainly nasty.
Which is what makes Eric and Ivanka Trump’s comments over the past week so disingenuous. It’s like the golf thing. In a vacuum, Trump golfing so frequently as president isn’t a bad thing.
But when he spent years attacking Obama for golfing even less frequently than he does now and suggested presidents shouldn’t spend so much time golfing, it makes his golfing blatantly hypocritical. It makes him look like he has no real moral center or true system of beliefs.
Similarly, when you spend the better part of 17 months habitually breaking political norms with your unusually nasty campaign, you can’t spend time during your presidency complaining about the nastiness of the political system that you will now oversee as president.
That’s trying to have it both ways, which happens to be one of the few things the Trump White House is consistent about.