In October 1977, Patti LaBelle released her self-titled debut album. Two months later, on New Year’s Eve, Donald Trump Jr. was born. LaBelle’s eponymous debut was released to critical acclaim; the spawn of that Sith Lord sitting in the White House, hollering at cable news all the time—eh, not so much.
The two creations do have one thing in common, though: They’re both much closer to AARP-magazine subscriptions than they are to Sesame Street’s key demo.
Needless to say, it was frustrating as hell to hear y’all’s president say, while speaking to reporters on board Air Force One, “Don is, as many of you know, Don; he’s a good boy. He’s a good kid.”
Of course, to a parent, a child, no matter his or her age, is always going to be viewed a certain way. In theory, a dad rushing to defend his son is sweet. However, when I learned that Sweet Potato Saddam referred to Sweet Potato Saddam Jr. as a “good boy” and a “good kid,” all I could hear was Michael Evans from Good Times saying, “‘Boy’ is a white racist word.”
For black men, to be called “boy” is nothing less than an attempt to demean us by stripping us of our manhood and making us feel smaller by comparison. Just ask boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was told, “Dance, boy,” by the very Irish Conor McGregor during their deplorable press tour. In the case of Trump Jr., it’s an obvious ploy by his father to project innocence and naivete as a means of absolving a son who has opened himself up to potentially serious legal drama. To wit, a friend of Jr. reportedly told the Washington Post, “The kid is an honest kid.”
This “kid” has multiple kids and is old enough to remember Atari. I only know what an Atari is because of an older sibling and Throwback Thursday on Instagram. Even so, I’m not a boy anymore, either. Meanwhile, actual black children are never afforded the luxury of being just kids. There have been various studies conducted through the years showing that black girls and black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than their white counterparts.
And yet a 39-year-old man is a “kid” after his hand was caught in the Kremlin grab bag of collusion. No black person is surprised by this line of defense, but there is something so frustrating about it given that Trump Jr. so clearly wants to be taken seriously. He not only wants to impress his father but also very much wants to be his own man.
Donald Trump Jr. is the same person who has floated the idea of running for mayor of New York City or governor of New York. “The politics bug bit me,” he claimed last year. More recently he told the Associated Press that he would, in fact, not be running (because he would surely lose). “Maybe someday,” Lil’ Minute Maid Mao II said. “It’s not something I’m doing now. But you never know; it’s fascinating stuff.”
Well, clearly he is interested in politics and, depending on what a certain special prosecutor eventually concludes, perhaps too serious. In the meantime, Republicans will continue to cover for him and make up as many lies in his defense as possible.
This weekend, the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reported on an email blast that the Republican National Committee’s communications team sends out “to friendly TV and radio commentators” to provide new talking points in defense of Trump Jr.
One of those talking points included the following claims:
Don Jr. has been transparent about the logistics and substance of the meeting. He has released emails pertaining to the matter without being asked, and he has stated that he will happily cooperate with Congressional Committees should they need to investigate the matter further.
This doesn’t make an ounce of sense. He has not been transparent about the logistics and substance of the meeting. He only released the emails because the New York Times had already planned to. He will “happily cooperate” with congressional committees because they were going to very likely make good use of their subpoena power.
Nevertheless, I’d rather deal with a big-ass lie than wrestle with the notion that a man who is mere months away from 40 is just some precocious youth who got carried away over an email that directly states that a hostile foreign power wants to help elect his daddy. Speaking of that terrible monster, last fall Melania Trump employed this same line of defense to address her husband’s boast of grabbing women by their pussies, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “They were kind of a boy talk, and he was [led] on, like, egg[ed] on, by the host to say dirty and bad stuff.”
She compared the exchange between her husband and Billy Bush to that between “two teenage boys” before adding, “They should behave better, right?”
Whatever comes next remains unseen, but in the interim, one thing is for certain: Donald Trump Jr. is exactly like the man he’s named after. He is confident in his ignorance; he is smug and condescending; he is constantly huffing and puffing on social media, berating people at every turn in false showings of toughness; and he thinks he can get away with anything.
But just like Daddy Orange, whenever caught in scandal, he spews lie after lie while cowering under others who speak on his behalf and whose best offense is some pathetic little cry that we ought to leave him alone because he was just kidding around.