Eric Trump: “Nepotism Is Kind Of A Factor Of Life”

Eric Trump may be a bit off script this week.  There are legitimate objections to President Donald Trump making his own daughter and son-in-law official advisors in the White House as the definition of nepotism.  I have long been critical of nepotism and, in my view, such hiring should be barred under federal law.  However, it is currently legal.  That does not make it acceptable for many so the comments of Eric Trump raised eyebrows when he said in a Forbes interview that “nepotism is kind of a factor [sic] of life.”

Eric insisted that, while he owes his job to nepotism, he has kept his job due to talent: “We might be here because of nepotism, but we’re not still here because of nepotism. You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot.”

Critics are likely to relish this as a SNL moment for Eric.  At the same time, Ivanka’s “I’m complicit” comment has also gotten a lot of play though her point was not a incriminating as has been suggested.

I hardly view Trump’s use of his family to be problematic and that seems his main point. It is a family business.  Trump himself was helped by his Dad in the same real estate field.  The selection of family members as high ranking advisers is problematic (just as the hiring of Robert Kennedy by his brother was problematic).  It may be a fact of life but it is not a good fact of life.  (For the record, I tend to be a stickler on the issue and even object to First Ladies having official roles like Hillary Clinton’s heading of a health care task force).

What do you think?

80 thoughts on “Eric Trump: “Nepotism Is Kind Of A Factor Of Life””

  1. I pretty much agree with what David just wrote.

    It is a fact of life (as we know it) and I don’t see why saying this fact out loud is so horrible. (That doesn’t mean we can’t structure our society in a better way. We can. We just haven’t done so as of now.)

    There can be all kinds of problems with nepotism but a good employer would know how to deal with it. It’s not like we see fine, upstanding work from the non-family employees in this “government”. In fact, I would say at least at the top, we have mostly horrible people who care nothing about anything except getting more power and money. It hardly matters if they are relatives or not.

    If we want good governance, we the people are going to have to work on it. We are the ones who need to stop falling for dynasty politicians. We need to quit accepting the erosion of our rights because the govt. told us to give them up so we will be “safe”. We need to care about the environment. We need to care about others. We need to be smart, courageous and quit looking for mommy and daddy figures to solve all our problems.

    That is what will have a chance of solving our problems.

  2. Speaking of nepotism,The democrat Jared Kushner succeeded in getting Steve Bannon thrown off the NSC. Jared and Ivanka are the prince and princess…Trump’s own sons…not so much.

  3. Just look at Saudi Arabia. All the high officials there are relatives of the king. No doubt a well-run country.

  4. I have mixed feelings about the label nepotism. Who do you know better than close family members? Some family members you would not hire exactly for that reason, but others you would hire because of the greater trust you have for them to perform the job properly. Now if a leader is meant to bypass family members either because the law prohibited nepotism or because it was frowned upon by others, that is a form of discrimination against family members. That would not be right. On the other hand, I understand how giving preference to family members might lead to bypassing better qualified candidates because of favoritism for family members. Overall, though, I think nepotism is one of those facts of life just like Eric Trump said. We should accept it but know about the pitfalls it might pose. Leaders should try to be objective in hiring, but they should not discriminate against hiring family members because someone might accuse them of nepotism.

    1. You bring up good points David.

      One real problem of nepotism that occurs in smaller levels of government such as rural counties and small cities is that cronyism and nepotism are rife. It typically is a soft form, where perhaps a deputy marries one of the dispatchers or where two brothers work for the public works department. The problem is that often factions develop where there is interconnection between each of the officials and soon the “old boy’s club” surfaces.

      A news investigation of one of the Public Utility Districts, which in Washington are considered municipal corporations by statute, was staffed in such a manner that thirty percent of employees were related. That caused a large block of power that could involve a faction that might act in its own interests. It was not always that way but employees eventually made new hire decisions where relatives were given preferential employment or advancement. Because these employees are protected as government workers, dislodging this large faction will take generations.

  5. If they could convince The Donald to stop tweeting then they would score high on the nepo list.

  6. If Trump supporters think for one second that “The Donald” would keep dim-wits like his sons on board of any of his cons, check that….I’m thinking of his staff and cabinet. Never mind.

    1. The dimwits in question are graduates of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown, respectively. Neither have a history of domestic scandals nor can you point to a single example of either demonstrating incompetence in making business decisions.

  7. He’s relying on Ivanka and Jared Kushner as confidential advisors because he trusts their judgment. He hasn’t appointed them to line-administrative positions, so it’s difficult to see what your complaint is. For the most part, recent Presidents have not had close family members with useful skills or the family members they did have were pre-occupied elsewhere. The one odd anomaly is Rosalynn Carter, who was posted on diplomatic missions and attended cabinet meetings on occasion, even though she was a career housewife.

    It’s also difficult to see what your complaint is about how he runs his business. If Donald, Jr., Ivanka, Eric, and Jared Kushner were lacking, it would show up in the balance sheet and income statement and in intramural squabbling at the company. (See Fred Wang’s misbegotten tour through his father’s company).

  8. Someone explain what is wrong with nepotism if indeed the family members are qualified people.
    It is a word to justify a form of discrimination. Dad’s no good so sonny boy is no good. If Obama had several children over age 21 and hired them in the White House the criticism would have had a different dynamic but the word nepotism might have been employed as a cover.

    1. Jack Ruby – think who Obama kept pointing out as his putative sons and then think about them working at a high level in the WH.

  9. I do not think or assume that any President who hires a family member to work some job for the President in the White House is doing something wrong or that the family member is unqualified.
    The voters elected The Donald and the voters knew that The Donald had a team with family members.
    To say that Robert Kennedy was unqualified because he was Jack’s brother does not reach the issue. The best way to say it is: But Not The Irish!
    A lot of the criticism of the other Trumpster whose name is Kushner has an underlying thread of hate for Jews. Sorry folks. Trump’s daughter and husband seem to be qualified to sit in the White House and advise The Donald.
    The team is better than Team Hillary.

  10. I never realized making board-games and filing for bankruptcy and settling $25 million lawsuits for scamming people and making Pizza Hut commercials qualified as an empire.

    Sounds like a Kardashian, only less successful.

        1. you think in platitudes

          Picture-perfect example of total lack of self-awareness.

  11. Nepotism has no business in public service or government. It is a form of empire building and dynasties. Regardless of the merit of the person, nepotism has no place in the public sector.

    I remember just after Senator Ted Kennedy died, someone in a high position, I don’t remember who, said “I cannot imagine Massachusetts without a Kennedy in the Senate.” Actually I can imagine it very well. We ended nobility in this country at its foundation, there is no need to return.

    1. These are not civil service positions. Neither are his daughter and son-in-law engaged in line administration. They are confidential advisers. Why would it be permissible to put cronies in those positions (e.g. Gerald Ford hiring his old law partner) and not family members?

    2. Americans desire nobility in their leader more so than the countries that still retain that nobility, for whatever reasons. The circus that is the American oligarchy is no more democratic than that of the French or English kings. We have a guy who was born into privilege, connections, and wealth who could almost be paralleled with the imbecilic results of incest in Europe of old. His Jr. Donald makes statements just as his dad, like deriding the Mayor of London by cherry picking a speech, in response to the most recent terrorist attack in London. Don Jr., like his dad, just couldn’t keep his stupid mouth shut. Two sons, a daughter, a son in law, etc. all part of this royal family, and most Americans actually believe they don’t have a monarchy.

  12. Yes, nepotism can have a positive role due to the increased trust engendered.

    1. I agree. Nepotism is fairly common throughtout history. It is about family; helping them out and trust. That his children is helping him, doesn’t concern me. What concerns me though is liberal Kushner who is leaking stuff to Morning Joe to attack Steve Bannon. That’s a problem.

  13. Joe Kennedy, the father,told John Kennedy, the son, to hire Bobby Kennedy, his brother. The father told the son to hire his brother so he would have someone in Washington he could trust to watch his back.

    1. He put his brother, a 35 year old lawyer of no special distinction, in charge of a cabinet department with a 5-digit population of employees. If he’d had his brother as a generic counselor or even as counsel to the president, that might have been appropriate. Putting him in charge of the Department of Justice was not, which is why it was later barred by federal statute to put close relatives in certain positions (something that frustrated HRC in 1993).

      1. Putting the ungrateful weasel Bobby into the AG position ended up getting Jack clipped. There are accounts of Joe going ballistic on Bobby for going after the Mob, who were friends of Joe, and got Jack elected.

      2. You wrote “certain positions,” and I don’t know what those are. Apparently, they don’t include foreign-policy master Jared Kuschner’s base-hopping in Iraq with JCS Chairman Marine General Dunsford.

        In any event, if there is such a statute, I don’t know that it supersedes the President’s constitutional power to appoint with Senate advice and consent.

  14. The Trump kids and in-laws have helped managed Trump’s empire. Trump gives them a lot of latitude to do their jobs. He comes from nepotism, so he is used to it. 🙂

  15. let’s see now. The nations former mumber one security and intelligence guru is under fire and publicly admitted the charges in a form of self prosecution …..and that’s not important but Eric’s haircut is important.

    Whoever thought this thread up clearly doesn’t have the best judgement.

  16. Well, what Eric said is true. Which is why it is outlawed in the federal civil service. There is, a course, a natural inclination to want to hire family, in order to help them, as well as to surround yourself with people you trust. And studies have shown that people prefer to hire others who look like them and have similar ethnic, cultural and class backgrounds. Be that as it may, Eric might have shown a little more discretion in his public comments. But given that it’s 2017 and he sports a 1970s Brooklyn guido hair cut, he clearly doesn’t have the best judgement.

  17. Eric is the Fredo of the Trump family. If I were him, I wouldn’t agree to hop in any boats for any surprise or last minute fishing expeditions.

    1. LOL! Always love a Fredo reference. I have long called Teddy the Fredo of the Kennedy clan.

      1. Except Fredo was dispatched to the care of Moe Greene due to his incompetence. Moe Greene on Fredo, “He was bangin’ cocktail waitresses two at a time. Customers couldn’t get served. I gotta business to run.”

        Ted Kennedy got tossed out of school and committed vehicular manslaughter. You could argue that Jack Kennedy was too crafty to suffer these fates. You could also argue that he just had better luck. It’s a reasonable wager he had more physical courage than brother Ted and was less addled by alcohol. It’s tough to argue he was more intelligent or scrupulous.

        Applied to Eric Trump, who isn’t known to have had serious pratfalls in his adult life, it’s just a cheesy and gratuitous insult.

  18. I think it depends on the family. The Trump kids actually have core competencies as opposed to say, the Clinton kid, who as far as I can tell is sort of a dimwit who trades on the Clinton name and connections.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. I have received and read The Bomb and received and watched The Unthinkable both excellent.

      The Bomb put some things in perspective and brought us up to but did not discuss Unilateral Assured Destruction and it’s hard on the heels follow ons “Is there an acceptable defense, (At present No. and what would prevent such an action – Answer Having enough on hand to retaliate and reduce one area the pre -stone age situation. Would it stop other areas. Not if we’re talking religious or political zealots otherwise yes.)

      The presence of and in enough quantity neutron devices might be useful but again it’s quantity and the ‘will’ and the USA public would rather die in place than harm a single cockroach. Which is your real answer. Those not willing to defend themselves do not deserve to live.

      On the movie they left out the much maligned water boarding which is very effective takes little timie and results in no permanent injurties if properly applied. But again it is the California airhead mentality which says you can have CS/CN witih a license but you may not have pepper spray. No matter the first two were largely ineffective agtainst case of metnal disorders or those on drugs or alcohol – The Pepper Spray of course respiratory and works regardless of mental condition.

      Like the Bomb the end result is people who do not care to defend themselves do not deserve to live and their is no purpose in wasting valuable human lives to save them other than a misplaced degree of altruism.

    2. The Trump kids actually have core competencies as opposed to say, the Clinton kid, who as far as I can tell is sort of a dimwit who trades on the Clinton name and connections.

      Good point. I’m not sure whether Chelsea proves or disproves Eric’s point about starting out nepo but proving competency by duration. Her stint at MSNBC (or NBC) was pathetic. But keeping a job doesn’t prove much either in her case, other than that the company feels her ineptitude is less a liability than the asset of doing a long running favor to a powerful family. The whole thing is a bit like an Escher drawing. Look at it one way and the object is definitely a cube seen from the outside; look a little longer and it turns inside out.

      In general, I agree that nepotism is not a good way to run a business, or a school, heaven help us a hospital or medical practice, and even less so a country, especially one that flatters itself by posing as a meritocracy when that is so often contradicted by every fact available.

      But I would not make it illegal even in government. Too many edge cases where a friend or relative really is the most competent to fill a position, particularly when part of the competency has to do with being very familiar with the boss and/or having a good working relationship.

      At the end of the day, nepotism is simply an exaggeration of our nature as “social animals,” in a society that deeply values “individualism.” Back to the Escher drawings, It seems we can never quite get it straight in our minds.

    3. Chelsea’s intelligence is more than adequate. She never says anything interesting, but then again, she’s always appearing in scripted settings. The trouble with Chelsea is she cannot seem to settle on a career (she’s wandered through McKinsey-type consulting, academic administration, and broadcasting) and has faux-de-mieux been sucked in by the parental grift.

  19. Nicely Put the touch “Slightly Off Script”….and already shared your post on the Essay with members of my Son’s High School Scholarship Committee….and your post on “Drunk Lives Matter” with my City’s Local Police Chief… 🙂 🙂

Comments are closed.