The new first family: what you need to know about the Trumps
As soon as Donald Trump takes the oath of office, the Obama family is scheduled to board a helicopter for the airport and a California holiday. A new first family will have taken their place. Here’s a bit about the Trumps, with notes on the roles each family member may play in the administration.
Melania Trump, 46
Wife of Donald. Born Melanija Knavs in Slovenia in eastern Europe, she was sufficiently successful enough as a model that she sometimes worked under only her first name, and toiled as an undocumented immigrant in the United States before landing a work visa in 1997, according to an Associated Press investigation. She met her future husband at a Fashion Week party in New York City. The couple will celebrate their 12th anniversary on 22 January, two days after he becomes president. She has said that as first lady she would like to be “very traditional – like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy”. She also plans to combat online bullying and harassment. She is remaining in New York City through the end of the school year with her son with Trump, Barron, 10, and is expected to play a minimal role in the administration.
Donald Trump Jr, 39
Donald Trump’s eldest son, he is himself a father of five, with wife Vanessa Kay Haydon, a former model. Like his father, a reality TV star (The Apprentice), he has been tapped to head the Trump Organization – the family business empire – with his brother, Eric, aided by a longtime company executive. Trump Jr is not expected to have a role in his father’s administration; indeed, his new position as co-head of the Trump Organization would seem to preclude, under ethics rules and traditions, his speaking with his father about the business, or his hearing from his father about government. Trump Jr drew ire during the campaign for agreeing to an interview with a prominent white nationalist and for comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles. He is a big-game hunter and self-described “boob guy”.
Eric Trump, 33
Trump’s second eldest son, he has also appeared on The Apprentice and is married to Lara Trump, née Yunaska, a fitness trainer and TV producer. With brother Don Jr, Eric is to lead the Trump organization, and is due to have no role in the Trump administration. He runs a charitable foundation to fight childhood cancer, but claims he has made about his father personally donating large sums to the foundation, like many Trump family claims about charitable giving, could not be verified. Like his brother he is a big-game hunter.
Ivanka Trump, 35
Trump’s eldest daughter, and like Don Jr and Eric the daughter of her father’s first wife Ivana, a Czech-born former fashion model. Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism to marry businessman Jared Kushner, with whom she has three children. She is a fashion executive and like her brothers has appeared on The Apprentice. As an executive with the Trump organization, she managed projects including the recently opened Trump hotel in the Old Post Office building in downtown Washington DC, but she has said she will divest from the family company, owing to her husband’s role in the Trump administration. The nature of her divestment is not clear; it has been described by Trump transition officials as “converting” her equity into fixed payments. Ivanka Trump has rebutted speculation that she would act as a de facto first lady. “I think it’s an inappropriate observation,” she told ABC News. “There is one first lady, and she’ll do remarkable things.”
Jared Kushner, 36
Husband of Ivanka Trump. Raised in New Jersey and the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, he has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a law degree from New York University. He took over his family’s real estate firm after his father was imprisoned on a federal felony conviction for witness tampering and tax evasion. Kushner is also owner and publisher of the New York Observer, and has said he is in the process of withdrawing from both the real estate firm and the newspaper as part of his transition to senior adviser to his father-in-law. Despite his lack of political experience he played a key behind-the-scenes role in Trump’s presidential campaign, guiding personnel and strategy decisions, and will play the role of senior adviser to the president in the Trump White House, presuming he is not found to have breached federal anti-nepotism laws.
Marla Maples and Tiffany Trump
Maples, 53, a former model and actress, is Trump’s second wife and the mother of his fourth child, Tiffany, 23. Maples is now an activist and singer-songwriter, while Tiffany is a recent college graduate. Neither is expected to have a role in the Trump administration.