Fri, Dec 06, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Melania Trump defends son after professor’s remark

AFP, WASHINGTON

US first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday rebuked an academic who used her 13-year-old son’s name to make a point during a hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into her husband, US President Donald Trump.

Constitutional law professor Pamela Karlan invoked Barron Trump to demonstrate how the US constitution imposes distinctions between a monarch’s power and that of a president.

“The constitution says there can be no titles of nobility,” Karlan told lawmakers during the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary’s first hearing on impeachment, which featured four constitutional academics. “So while the president can name his son ‘Barron,’ he can’t make him a baron.”

The pun led to chuckles in the congressional hearing room, but Melania Trump made clear it was no laughing matter.

“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” she tweeted shortly afterward. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”

Donald Trump retweeted his wife’s message.

Karlan tried to stem the damage by expressing her regret.

“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son,” she told the panel.

“It was wrong of me to do that” she said, adding that she also wished “the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he’s done that’s wrong.”

For years, there has been agreement that the minor children of US politicians, particularly presidents, are off limits.

During the hearing, US Representative Matt Gaetz told Karlan that invoking Trump’s son “does not lend credibility to your argument.”

“It makes you look mean,” he said.

The incident quickly brought criticism from corners far beyond the hearing room, as Republicans and members of Trump’s re-election campaign voiced disapproval.

“Democrats have disgraced themselves by giving a platform to this unhinged, petty kook,” the campaign wrote on Twitter, while its deputy director of communications, Matt Wolking, called Karlan an “unhinged liberal professor” over the comments.

“Democrats are so desperate that one of their biased witnesses is now attacking the President’s 13-year-old son. Absolutely disgraceful,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

US Representative Markwayne Mullin called the episode “reprehensible,” while Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to Donald Trump, asked why “Hunter Biden is off-limits, but Barron Trump is not?”

The impeachment investigation is looking into Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s president over former US vice president Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter, was on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

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