There was once a time when the most critical thing you could say about Tiffany Trump is that her dad, Donald Trump, didn’t appear to dote on his only child from his second marriage. It’s a storyline that continued through her 27th birthday last Tuesday, as she celebrated in Miami clubs while Twitter watchers waited to see if Trump would wish her a happy birthday. (He didn’t, but did wish the U.S. Navy one). Others pointed out that her half-sister Ivanka tagged the wrong Tiffany in a birthday post.
Tiffany is forever the Jan and never the Marcia, but she always seemed to blithely forge her own path as rich kid of a certain milieu. She split her time between Calabasas and the Upper East Side, traveled the world with whomever she was dating at the time, and had her finger on the pulse of the best photo retouching apps. She graduated from Georgetown Law this year; one could envision a future where she stood on her own, managing not to get sucked into the churn of family drama. She tended to stay above it all, or at least out of the way.
But, as we learn over and over again, these people are birds of a feather. They molt as one. She is not some sentient Hervé Léger dress on the outskirts of the Trump family, but one who will gladly help out on the campaign trail. Her mission? The gay community.
This week she spoke at a Pride event in Tampa, Florida. In the video that surfaced on Twitter Tuesday, the younger Trump daughter seems nervous despite the small crowd, which she tries to joke is full of “probably so many of my friends that I see a few of you already in here.” One of them is her mother, Marla Maples, who she introduces at one point.
It’s understandable that she’s nervous; she doesn’t have a lot of experience speaking in public on behalf of her dad’s campaign; just minor smile-and-waves at events where the whole dead-eyed Addams family is present, plus a couple of Republican National Convention speeches. At the RNC this past August, she spoke steadily, mostly railing against media lies about her father again. Though that was not in front of a crowd, as a traditional convention speech would be, thanks to the pandemic and all.
This was different, let’s call it. With the energy of a Real Housewife on a proprietary cocktail, she tries to convince, I don’t know, herself (?) that her dad is good to the LGBTQ community and that anything one hears otherwise is simply deceptions manufactured by Big Lie. “You, unfortunately, see social media and you see these fabricated lies, it saddens me,” she said. “I have friends of mine who reach out, they make up stories, they say how could you support your father? We know you. We know your best friends are gay, we know your best friends are this, this, and this. I say it’s because my father has always supported all of you.”
It’s true that Trump has tried to court the community. In 2015, he became the first GOP nominee to mention LGBTQ citizens in his convention speech. In a statement from the first month as president, he said he was “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.” Bare minimum acknowledgement is progress in someone’s world, I guess!
So words, he’s sure has one or two. But any of Tiffany’s confused friends can always consult the track records, his own and of those of who he props up. Scratch lightly at the Trumps’ rainbow-washed surface and you get something much darker. Under his watchful eye, the GOP has rolled back protections for LGBTQ people in the employment, school, health care, public housing, adoption and foster care, criminal justice, and public life sectors (all helpfully catalogued here by ProPublica). Over the summer, he installed his 200th judge, tallying 53 appeals court judges, 143 district court judges, two US Court of International Trade. These lower courts hold more sway over the day-to-day lives of people and usually employ lifelong appointments; 1 in 3 of Trump’s appointees have a track record of anti-LGBTQ bias. He will soon have appointed three Supreme Court Judges and secured a conservative majority, and to celebrate, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito wondered in writing if marriage equality should be overturned.
Sure, Trump and his daughter can say he’s a friend of LGBTQ community (Tiffany omitted the “T” accidentally or not when talking; she did it again in another interview from the same event so it’s likely not an accident). But not for the first time one wonders what it means for Trump to be a friend to anyone, let alone a father.
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