- Willy Kurniawan/Reuters
- Donald Trump Jr.’s new book is portrayed as a takedown of a culture of victimization that he says has permeated the political left, but throughout it he portrays himself as the victim.
- The book is largely a denunciation of the Trump family’s real and perceived opponents, and it takes a conspiratorial tone at times.
- Trump contends his family has not gotten enough credit for the purported financial sacrifices it’s made with his father in the White House, glossing over President Donald Trump’s continued ownership of his business empire.
- The book also compares the elder Trump’s experiences as president to the FBI’s campaign of harassment against Martin Luther King Jr.
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Donald Trump Jr.’s new book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” is primarily a lengthy list of grievances against both real and perceived rivals of President Donald Trump and his family.
“A victimhood complex has taken root in the American left,” the younger Trump writes in a book that is focused on how the Trump family has been victimized as a result of his father’s presidency.
In one chapter, “Election Night,” Trump spends a significant amount of time discussing how his family has purportedly taken a financial toll from his father’s ascendance to the highest office in the land.
Writing about a visit to Arlington National Cemetery the day before his father’s inauguration, Trump said: “I rarely get emotional, if ever. I guess you’d call me hyper-rational, stoic. Yet as we drove past the rows of white grave markers, in the gravity of the moment, I had a deep sense of the importance of the presidency and a love of our country … In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed – voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off of the office.'”
He goes on to say: “Frankly, it was a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually … Of course, we didn’t get any credit whatsoever from the mainstream media, which now does not surprise me at all.”
Trump does not mention, however, that his father has broken from decades of precedent by maintaining ownership of his business empire during his presidency and refusing to place his assets in a blind trust.
And contrary to what Trump wrote, the Trump Organization has continued to profit from international deals. According to the president’s financial-disclosure forms and an analysis from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the president owns more than $130 million in assets in 30 countries and earned over $100 million in income from them in 2017 and 2018 combined.
The Trump Organization, of which the younger Trump is executive vice president, recently received approval to expand a golf course in Scotland – including building 550 homes and a second 18-hole golf course on the site.
The elder Trump made at least $434 million in 2018, according to his annual financial disclosure, including $40.8 million from his hotel located less than a mile from the White House.
When Donald Trump Jr. is not attacking his father’s political opponents in the book, he speaks at length about his foray into politics and natural ability as a campaigner. The president’s eldest son has emerged as one of the Trump campaign’s most effective surrogates, and he’s found ways to profit from this. He was paid $50,000 for a 15-minute speech at the University of Florida on October 10, for example.
In short, there are reasons to be skeptical of his lamentations over business lost as a result of his father’s transition from real estate and reality TV into the political arena.
‘Imagine going to Arlington … and being moved to think about money’
Veterans of the US military have offered sharp criticism of Trump over what he wrote on the visit to Arlington Cemetery.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who served in the Iraq War, tweeted: “Eight men I served with are buried in Section 60 of Arlington. I visit them monthly. Even if Donald JR. lived a 1,000 years he will never even get close to being as good and honorable as they were. Sacrifice is only a word to the Trumps.”
Similarly, author Matt Gallagher, who’s also an Iraq War veteran, tweeted: “Imagine going to Arlington … and being moved to think about money. You are a soup sandwich, @DonaldJTrumpJr, and my friends buried there would tell you the same thing.”
Newsweek reporter James LaPorta, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan, in a tweet said he’s “glad to know all my friends buried at Arlington National Cemetery from recent conflict could help remind” Trump of “of all the sacrifices his family has made in, ‘voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals.'”
And the veterans group Common Defense tweeted: “When @DonaldJTrumpJr goes to Arlington… he thanks himself for his own sacrifices.”
A book filled with falsehoods as its author decries critics
Trump’s book often fluctuates between personal anecdotes to reflections on social and political issues he’s concerned with, such as transgender athletes and violence against Christians.
But one of the most common themes is that people on the political left are intolerant and too focused on identity politics. He accused his father’s critics of using the term “racist” to describe anything they didn’t like and wrote that the left had “gone crazy with its newfound powers of censorship.”
In that vein, he in one section defended his tweet comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles containing a few that “would kill you.” He felt the critical response to his comparing people fleeing war to a poisoned bowl of candy was unjustified.
“As metaphors go, I didn’t think it was so terrible … I was immediately labeled a soulless monster and, of course, a white supremacist (the left’s go-to),” he said. “You would have thought by the response from the left that I had murdered the Easter Bunny. It was an analogy that put our problem into perspective. Just numbers, folks.”
That argument ignores that, according to research from the New America think tank, the vast majority of those charged with jihadist terrorism in the US since 9/11 have not been refugees but American citizens or other legal residents.
- Carlos Barria/Reuters
The new book takes on a conspiratorial tone at times as well, with Trump writing, “Even now, there are forces deep inside our government trying to bury evidence of wrongdoing against my father.”
As he pushed conspiracy theories about the intelligence community and the president, Trump compared his father’s experiences to the FBI’s harassment of Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you don’t think something like that could ever happen, consider this: it’s happened before – to, of all people, Martin Luther King Jr.,” he wrote, equating the investigation into Russian election interference with the federal government’s efforts to attack and discredit the civil-rights icon during his lifetime.
“After living through the past three years, can you honestly say that anything has really changed?” Trump wrote. “Or is it more of the same?”
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