In normal circumstances, fathers safeguard sons.
But with a peevish statement on Twitter this weekend, President Donald Trump undermined his son, Donald Trump Jr., and one of his own lawyers, saying that when the Trump presidential campaign team met with a Russian operative at Trump Tower in 2016, its purpose was “to get information on an opponent.” Trump added, that it all was “totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”
As with so many Trump tweets, a few words can reveal a host of serious problems. And indeed, if you are able to find a similar example of paternal aggression in real life or in mythology, you are an able scholar.
Trump’s tweet about the 2016 meeting reads like nothing so much as an exasperated father having to clean up the mess left by a bumbling offspring who — it turns out — is pretty bad at plying the family trade. More than anything else, that trade has been about managing — and massaging — the mythology of the Trump business: We’re rich! We’re decisive! We’re winners!
And in this case Donald Jr. has failed utterly.
The fact is, his father’s statement may imperil him: Trump Jr. could face perjury charges if he is shown to have lied to a Congressional committee about his intentions for the meeting and particularly his understanding of who would be there.
To review: First Trump Jr. said he never met with Russians about the campaign. Then, after a 2017 New York Times article reported that he and others had met in 2016 with a Kremlin-tied lawyer (who later described herself as an “informant”) at Trump Tower, he first released a statement that the discussion at the meeting had been primarily about a US adoption program that had been halted by Russia (this statement was a deception concocted aboard Air Force One by his father).Then he released emails that made plain he was actually drawn to the meeting by the promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton — a promise, he told investigators, that went unfulfilled.