Newspaper article International New York Times

Mobbed by Fans, the Younger Trumps Shine

Newspaper article International New York Times

Mobbed by Fans, the Younger Trumps Shine

Article excerpt

Donald J. Trump's children have assumed an outsize role at the Republican Convention, drawing a following of their own.

"Tiffany! Tiffany!" a middle-aged Republican delegate yelled to Donald J. Trump's 22-year-old daughter on the floor of the Republican National Convention Wednesday night. "You were amazing last night," he said of her speech.

She smiled, cocked her head gratefully and thanked him.

On the streets outside the convention, a young woman approached Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump's 34-year-old daughter, to ask for a selfie with her, which the woman instantly posted on Instagram. "Week. Just. Made," the woman enthused in a caption under the photograph.

And on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena, a man playfully asked Eric Trump, Mr. Trump's 32-year-old son, for a bottle of his family's wine. "That's what everyone needs," Mr. Trump replied playfully. "More wine."

Donald J. Trump may be the nominee, but here in Cleveland, his children are the attraction. Amid a sometimes chaotic convention -- punctuated by a delegate rebellion and plagiarism in the speech by the candidate's wife -- they are redefining the traditional role of a candidate's children and emerging as celebrities in their own right. "They're mainly the reason why everyone is here," said Alisha Curtis, 31, who works in the Arkansas governor's office and stopped Ivanka Trump on the street Wednesday for a photo that she then blasted out over social media. "I'm very impressed with his children in general."

Acting as a political SWAT team, the Trumps have arrived here with different but complementary missions.

Ivanka Trump has played the ambassador, personally meeting with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Republican donor, whose willingness to open his wallet for her father could prove crucial in the general election this fall. Many doubted he would ever back Mr. Trump.

Donald Trump Jr., 38, has played the enforcer, denouncing Corey Lewandowski, his father's former campaign manager, as a "bitter" figure who is out to hurt his father's bid for the White House. "Enough is enough," he thundered.

And Tiffany Trump has played the validator, divulging rare personal details about her father's style of parenting, like his habit of jotting handwritten notes across her high school report cards.

The attention they have drawn, flattering and relentless, has caught the Trump siblings off guard. "After November, if I never take a selfie again, it will be too soon," Donald Trump Jr. said with a laugh in a telephone interview here on Wednesday.

But the affection from strangers, he added, was deeply humbling. "It is an honor," he said.

It is a complicated role for a complicated family. Mr. Trump has five children from three marriages: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric with his first wife, Ivana Trump; Tiffany with his second, Marla Maples; and 10-year-old Barron with his current wife, Melania Trump. …

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