America’s new first family — the Trumps — shared the stage with President Donald Trump as he took the oath of office Friday, kicking off the latest chapter of their life in the limelight.
Trump was joined onstage by his wife, Melania, and their son Barron, 10, along with his adult children — Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Tiffany.
“They have arrived at the White House more acclimated to the spotlight and scrutiny than any of the other children who have entered the White House,” said Richard Himelfarb, an associate professor of political science at Hofstra University. “These are kids who grew up in the fishbowl.”
The elder Trump children were a constant fixture on the campaign trail and grew up in the public spotlight long before the presidential race — appearing on their father’s former reality TV show “The Apprentice” and on the pages of tabloid magazines during their father’s two very public divorces from Ivana Trump and Marla Maples.
Eric Trump, touched on the close-knit nature of the Trump clan in an interview with CBS News’ Gayle King that aired Friday, saying his biggest fear as his father enters the Oval Office with new political and policy advisers is “having a lot of new people around.”
“As a family, we’ve always been a little bit insular — you know, it was my father, it was Don, Ivanka, you know myself . . . the company, and we were very, very close. And I think that’s going to be an adjustment. But he has amazing people,” Eric Trump said.
For months, Trump’s adult children served as his closest campaign advisers, screening his vice presidential picks and stumping for him on the trail, but their close ties have also come under scrutiny as Donald Jr. and Eric prepare to take over his business empire in an effort to avoid potential conflicts of interest between Trump’s private business dealings and his new government role.
Trump and his attorneys have maintained that he and his sons will not discuss business during his time in office, despite criticism voiced by the head of the Office of Government Ethics, who said the move did not go far enough to separate the real-estate mogul from his financial interests.
Meanwhile, Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, is expected to play a prominent public role in his administration. Her husband, Jared Kushner, was recently appointed a special White House adviser and is expected to guide the president on foreign policy issues. While Ivanka has said she will not play an official White House role, and will instead focus on raising the couple’s three children in Washington, D.C., she will share office space in the White House’s East Wing, which has traditionally been reserved for the first lady.
In a break from tradition, Melania Trump and Barron will not move into the White House right away, but will remain living in Trump Tower until the youngest Trump son finishes the school year.
“It will be interesting to see if Melania continues to live in New York after the school year is over,” Himelfarb said. “By staying in New York until June, she has definitely shown that she wants to protect him from the scrutiny that comes with living in the White House.”
President Trump, however, will share his first night in the White House with all of his children, his aides said.