Donald Trump’s presidency put his children into the spotlight like never before. For the past few years, we’ve heard a lot about eldest daughter Ivanka Trump, who served as senior advisor to the president, youngest son Barron Trump, who moved into the White House, controversial eldest son Donald Trump Jr., and even estranged daughter Tiffany Trump.
Compared to them, middle son Eric Trump has been more of a mystery. He shares all the power and respect that the Trump family name commands, and he has a life story just as interesting as the other kids. Somehow, though, he keeps getting overlooked.
That ends today because we’ve got everything you need to know. Here is the truth about Eric Trump.
In the shadow of the other Trump children
The idea that Eric Trump is less prominent than his siblings goes back to the early days of their family dynamic. As the first-born child of Donald and Ivana Trump, Don Jr. commanded plenty of attention and received his father’s name. And soon after second child Ivanka was born, Donald Trump made no effort at all to conceal the fact that she was his favorite kid.
And then there is Eric Trump. Of the three kids Donald had with Ivana, he is the youngest. And he grew up in the shadow of his older children, with them often stealing the spotlight. This dynamic continued for a long time, and it didn’t stop when Donald Trump was elected president.
Eric feels like Don Jr. raised him
How close were Donald Trump and Eric when Eric was growing up? It looks like the answer may be that they weren’t very close at all.
In a 2009 interview with The New York Times, Eric revealed that it was actually his brother Donald Trump Jr., six years older than him, who was like a father figure. “Donnie’s always been my best friend, a mentor. In a way, he raised me,” he said.
Perhaps sensing this would cast his dad in a negative light, Eric quickly pointed out how busy his dad always was. “My father, I love and I appreciate, but he always worked 24 hours a day.”
Eric’s role in the Trump Organization
The Trump family dynamic is kind of fascinating. As a real estate mogul, Donald Trump has spent his entire life building on the legacy of his dad. His older children did their best to follow in his footsteps.
This is how Eric Trump ended up with a prominent role in the Trump Organization. As executive vice president of development and acquisitions, his primary focus was buying and renovating golf courses.
But after Donald Trump was elected president, things heated up for Eric because he and his brother had to manage the entire organization for the duration of his father’s presidency.
That may or may not have been what Eric wanted. But we can only imagine it had to sting seeing Ivanka take a prominent White House role next to dad while Eric and his brother were left to mind the store.
Sometimes, flying below the radar can be both a blessing and a curse. For example, less of a spotlight means that Eric Trump’s scandals have had less of an impact than those of his siblings. But it also means we are likelier to overlook some of the good things Eric did.
For example, he created a charity for children’s cancer research when he was only 23. And over the years, that charity has raised over $16 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, the charity work was not without scandal.
A 2017 Forbes investigation revealed that Eric used money from the charity to pay for the use of his father’s golf courses. Allegedly, Donald Trump thought he was being fair in that everyone, even family, had to pay to use the courses. But the eventual narrative was that Donald used a kids’ cancer charity to make money and that Eric Trump helped him out.
Falling in love
Given how many ex-wives he has, it’s fair to say that Donald Trump rushes into relationships a bit too quickly. Compared to his famous dad, Eric Trump really took his time.
He met his future wife, TV producer Lara Lea Yunaska, at a bar in 2008. But it would be another three months before he asked her out on a date. In 2014, they got married in one of Donald Trump’s favorite places: Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
Together, Eric and Lara have two children: Eric Trump Jr., known as “Luke,” born in 2017, and Carolina Trump, born in 2019.
Trophy hunting scandal
While Eric Trump is often in the shadow of his siblings, that doesn’t mean the siblings can’t get him in trouble. And this became very clear in 2012 when some photos of Eric and Donald Trump Jr. hunting in Zimbabwe in 2011 went public.
Their hunt was legal, but photos of the two smiling brothers posing with dead wildlife including an elephant, leopard, crocodile, and Cape buffalo didn’t go over well with the public.
They also faced criticism from celebs like Mia Farrow and Jim Carrey, but the most surprising celebrity criticism came from their own mother, Ivana Trump.
“I don’t object to their going to Patagonia to shoot birds. There are a million of them there, enough to spare,” Ivana wrote in her 2017 book Raising Trump. “But why go to Zimbabwe to shoot Bambi and Dumbo? I don’t blame people for giving them a hard time about it.”
Still, the Trump brothers defended themselves in a joint statement. “We are both avid outdoorsmen and were brought up hunting and fishing with our Grandfather who taught us that nothing should ever be taken for granted or wasted,” they said. “We have the utmost respect for nature and have always hunted in accordance with local laws and regulations.”
Awkward defense of waterboarding
While he doesn’t appear in front of the cameras as often as his father or siblings, Eric Trump isn’t afraid to speak his mind. And that’s especially true when he sees the need to defend his dad.
Back in early 2016, Donald Trump caused a stink by praising waterboarding as an effective interrogation technique. At the time, many saw this as a presidential candidate defending torture, and this was a bad look for Donald.
In an attempt to help, Eric appeared on Fox News in 2016 to defend his dad’s statement. “Somebody complains when, you know, a terrorist gets waterboarded, which quite frankly is no different than what happens on college campuses in frat houses every day,” he claimed. This is either the worst defense of torture one can imagine or a very telling statement about Eric’s college days!
Russian funding controversy
As you can tell, Eric Trump has had a few different scandals. But there is only one scandal that posed a serious danger to his father’s presidency.
Back in May 2017, Eric Trump allegedly told golf writer James Dodson that his family got all the money they needed out of Russia. As Vanity Fair reports, Eric told Dodson, “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
As investigations into Russian election interference and Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin heated up, Eric’s alleged statement seemed like a serious bit of evidence. But he borrowed a trick from his dad’s book, insisting that Dodson’s claims were “fake news.” Nothing substantial came out of these investigations.