Magazine article The New Yorker

Target Practice

Magazine article The New Yorker

Target Practice

Article excerpt

TARGET PRACTICE

Last Monday afternoon, in Trump Tower, twenty floors up from the Trump campaign headquarters, Donald Trump, Jr., surveyed his desk, on which sat a bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, a rifle cradled in his arm and a Cape-buffalo skull at his feet. "He was a big hunter and started much of the conservation movement in this country, which is why we have as much public land as we do," Trump, Jr., said, adding that, as "a brash New Yorker," Roosevelt might seem "an unlikely advocate" for such things. "But he was all about getting away from the city and out into the woods." On a table lay a camo cap bearing the words "Make America Great Again."

Trump, Jr., the thirty-eight-year-old eldest son of the presumptive Republican candidate for President, and an executive vice-president of the Trump Organization, has been running the family business while his father makes a case for why he should run the country. He had spent Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, catching a 5 a.m. flight home for an archery tournament. Although he is more mild-mannered than his father, he has a trace of the family braggadocio. "I won both the traditional-bow category and the compound-bow category," he said.

He took the elevator down to Fifth Avenue and headed to Central Park, walking faster and talking more loudly than everyone in his path. Trump, Sr., has been courting the votes of the nation's nearly forty million sportsmen, and Trump, Jr., a less bronzed but amply gelled reflection of his father, often serves as his proxy. The son has given interviews to Bowhunter and Deer & Deer Hunting , and frequently appears in full camo. He and his brother Eric shot pheasants in Iowa and talked with reporters while wearing neon-orange vests, shotguns slung over their shoulders. In 2012, photographs of the brothers posing with animals they'd killed in Zimbabwe caused a stir, particularly one in which Trump, Jr., held a severed elephant tail in one hand and a knife in the other. (PETA referred to the killings as "two young millionaires' grisly photo opportunity.")

Trump, Jr., owns "dozens" of firearms, which he keeps "in a gun safe or two." For shooting waterfowl, he uses a Benelli Super Black Eagle II, a utilitarian twelve-gauge shotgun; when hunting big game or shooting competitively, he favors a modified Remington Model 700 rifle, or an AR-platform semiautomatic rifle. …

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