The family behind Donald Trump

THEY are the wife and offspring of one of the most powerful men in America and could soon be part of the country’s next first family.

US presidential candidate Donald Trump, 70, will move into the world’s most famous residence if he wins the November 8 election. Trump, his five children and wife Melania would effectively become America’s first family.

Trump has three children with his first wife Ivana: Donald Junior, Ivanka and Eric.

While married to Ivana, Trump had an affair with actor Marla Maples. Marla and Trump later married and had a daughter, Tiffany.

The pair divorced and Trump went on to marry Slovenian model, Melania, his third and current wife. They have a son, Barron, who at 10-years-old is the youngest of Trump’s children. Barron is the only one of the siblings likely to follow Trump and would-be first lady Melania into the White House should his father be elected president.

Trump’s adult children have perhaps played the most visible roles in his unorthodox campaign — which has an unusually lean staff and few major political figures speaking on his behalf. His three eldest children — who are executives in their billionaire father’s real-estate company, Trump Organisation — have stepped into the void as campaign surrogates for their father.

“Dad prepared us our entire lives to run the business,” Donald Jr., said in a recent interview. “But politics? We jumped in with zero experience.”

From the Kennedys to the Clintons, America’s first families have intrigued the world for decades.

But what kind of first family would the Trumps make?

MELANIA TRUMP, 46

Donald’s third and current wife

Melania has often been the subject of criticism and ridicule throughout Trump’s campaign. This reached fever pitch when she addressed the Republican National Convention and it quickly emerged that large parts of her prime-time speech -which went viral — appeared to have been “borrowed” from Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008.

The United States’ would-be First Lady and former model was further scrutinised when photos of her resurfaced from a lesbian-themed photo shoot in the 1996 edition of Max Magazine, France. The photos were published on the front page of the New York Post earlier this year.

Typically silent throughout Trump’s campaign, Melania came out of the woodwork this week to stand by her man, as accusations that he sexually assaulted multiple women threatened to further damage his bid for presidency.

In an interview aired this week with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Melania said the women who had accused Donald J. Trump of sexually assaulting them were lying, and likened her husband to a teenage boy who engages in macho boasting.

She echoed Trump’s accusation that he was the victim of a broad conspiracy between the news media and the Clinton campaign.

“I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organised from the opposition,” Melania said. “They can never check the background of these women. They don’t have any facts.”

In the wake of the recent release of a 2005 tape where Trump was recorded boasting that he “could “grab” women “by the p***y” and get away with it, Melania blamed NBC host Billy Bush for egging her husband on.

DONALD TRUMP JUNIOR, 38

Son of Donald and his first wife Ivana Trump

Donald Trump Junior by name. Donald Trump junior by nature.

The eldest of the presidential nominee’s children, Donald Jr. has a history of being embroiled in controversy, just like his father.

Donald Jr. emerged early on as one of his father’s most ferocious advocates and polished surrogates but it appears the shine is wearing off after a series of damaging missteps.

Most recently, he drew widespread condemnation by tweeting a photo of a bowl of Skittles with the words: “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” he wrote. “That’s our Syria refugee problem.”

But Wrigley, which owns the Skittles brand, was obviously not eager to be used as a symbol of immigration control. “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people,” Wrigley responded.

Donald Jr, who is an executive for the Trump Organisation, has previously come under fire for making jokes about the 2012 Aurora theatre shooting and child beauty contestants being abused by their parents; expressing regret he could no longer mock overweight people; and reinforcing derogatory Arab stereotypes.

Donald Jr and his brother Eric have repeatedly been slammed for hunting and killing wild animals after pictures of them with the carcasses of leopards and elephants surfaced. (See Eric Trump below for more details).

IVANKA TRUMP, 34

Daughter of Donald and Ivana Trump

Ivanka became used to being accosted at the gates of the exclusive primary school she attended in Manhattan while Trump cheated on her mother in a highly publicised affair with actor Marla Maples,

As she told GQin a 2007 interview, that experienced helped her to “build up a certain callousness”.

The trying experience of growing up in the spotlight as the offspring of a tabloid mainstay, also taught her to keep her guard up and “not trust anyone”, according to Ivanka.

She became more resilient and was determined to carve out her own identity and conquer her own exploits — first by becoming a model as a teenager, then an entrepreneur.

This was all in preparation for eventually bringing her entrepreneurial success back into the family fold — joining the Trump Organisation, where she now serves as an executive and runs the family’s business empire — with “something to offer beyond my last name”, as she wrote in her book.

She has her own business to run, a midprice fashion and accessories line that bears her name. Ivanka is often recognised as the face of that company and as a judge on The Apprentice, the reality-TV show that Trump long hosted. Donald Jr. and Eric also were featured on the show.

But perhaps her most visible role to date has been as one of her father’s most important political advisers.

She’s defended his views on women saying he “100 per cent believes in equality of gender” using her own success as proof.

“If he didn’t feel that women were as competent as men, I would be relegated to some role subordinate to my brother,” she told Town and Country in an interview earlier this year.

Although she insists she’s not officially part of the campaign, Ivanka appears to have taken up a role that is “more of a proxy wife” than the younger, relatable, millennial-friendly “cool” daughter she was expected to play.

Introducing her father at events and often sharing the spotlight with him, Ivanka has taken on a far more prominent role in the campaign than her friend Chelsea Clinton, and is often well received. But that’s not to say she hasn’t weathered her fair share of controversies.

In a 2003 Stern interview, Trump said Ivanka has “got the best body”. Likewise, during an appearance on ABC’S “The View” in 2006, he infamously said that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter he would be dating her.

In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, he made a similar comment: “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father ...’

Earlier this month footage leaked of the Republican candidate bragging in 2005 that he could “grab” women “by the p***y” and get away with it due to his celebrity status.

The recording received global condemnation, with some Republican politicians calling on Trump to resign from the campaign. Ivanka finally responded to her father’s comments this week: “My father’s comments were clearly inappropriate and offensive and I’m glad that he acknowledged this fact with an immediate apology to my family and the American people,” she said.

ERIC TRUMP, 32

Son of Donald and Ivana Trump

Donald Jr and Eric, have long had a love of the hunt, the pair posing with dead leopards and, at one point, Donald Jr even doing a happy snap with a severed elephant tail.

The Trump family’s penchant for hunting became evident in 2012 when photos of the brothers in the southern African nation of Zimbabwe emerged.

Website Gothamist reported that the photos showed the pair posing with “a dead elephant, kudu, civet cat and waterbuck while on a big game safari.”

One graphic image, Gothamist said, showed Donald Jr. proudly holding a dead elephant tail in one hand and a knife in the other. It’s previous, and by now very dead owner, lies next to him.

Another, reportedly, had a crocodile hanging from a noose off a tree.

The brothers told CNN that hunting was part of their culture, that it had been taught to them by a grandfather in eastern Europe and they “truly, truly love,” the pastime.

They defended killing elephants, crocodiles and leopards by claiming hunting actually pays for conservation parks in parts of Africa which protect the vast majority of animals within them.

There’s been no suggestion their hunting has broken any laws and many of the animals they shoot are in abundance.

Trump senior has also defended his sons. Personally, he prefers golf he said, on a trip last year to a course he owns in Britain. “But my sons are hunters, Eric is a hunter and I would say he puts it on a par with golf, if not ahead of golf.

“My other son, Don, is a hunter. They’re great marksman, great shots, they love it.”

TIFFANY TRUMP, 23

Daughter of Donald Trump and his second wife Marla Maples

She’s Trump’s youngest daughter and has often been dubbed the “silent one”.

Tiffany was just a little girl when her parents divorced. She moved to California with her actor mother Marla Maples in 1999. It was often speculated she had a strained relationship with her father. Tiffany said that living in California had distanced her from her siblings because she was the only one of them to grow up on the east coast. In 2011, she said during a segment on Oprah Winfrey’s Where Are They Now that she was “very close” with her mother, who had raised her “like a single mum”. In 2014, when she was 17 years old, Tiffany released a single called Like a Bird. She also landed a coveted Vogue internship and made her runway debut earlier this year during New York Fashion Week.

In May, Tiffany graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in sociology and urban studies.

Trump once boasted that his youngest daughter gets “all A’s”.

Tiffany made her debut in the political arena when she stepped out of the shadow cast by her more high profile siblings and appeared at a Republican National Convention earlier this year. She gave a speech in support of her father and his campaign.

BARRON TRUMP, 10

Son of Donald and his third wife Melania Trump

It’ll be years until he’s eligible to vote but that hasn’t stopped the youngest of the Trumps, Barron, 10, from supporting his father on the campaign trail.

Barron — who is a spitting image of Trump, was photographed at the National Republican Convention, fist-bumping his brothers.

He’s still in elementary school but if he follows in his siblings’ footsteps he’s likely to eventually hold a position at The Trump Organisation when he’s older.

megan.palin@news.com.au

photo The family behind Donald Trump images

photo of The family behind Donald Trump

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