It was a busy weekend for Mrs Eric Trump, who spent the past few days shilling for her father-in-law and rounding the morning news show circuit. As senior advisor to the Trump campaign, Lara Trump is no stranger to putting her foot in her mouth. And if Ivanka Trump is the silent but oh-so complicit member of the Trump family, then Lara is the flamboyant antagonist — ready to say the quiet parts out loud that Ivanka refuses to regurgitate.
During her appearance on Jake Tapper's State of the Union on Sunday morning, the former television producer doubled down on her previous comments regarding Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden’s stutter and mental faculties. “First and foremost, I had no idea that Joe Biden ever suffered from a stutter,” Lara claimed of the former vice president’s widely reported speech impediment. “I think what we see on stage with Joe Biden, Jake, is very clearly a cognitive decline. That’s what I’m referring to. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Lara was heavily criticised for suggesting — with no feasible evidence — that Biden was suffering from a "cognitive decline." But on Sunday, she doubled down on this type of baseless commentary when she defended the president’s statements targeting Michigan Governor Whitmer. Earlier this month, Whitmer was the subject of a planned attack from a group of domestic terrorist who attempted to kidnap her and "overthrow" the government. Trump has refused to support Whitmer and denounce her attackers, even after the FBI intervened and prevented the attack. Then, at a crowded Michigan rally on Saturday, the president proceeded to mock Whitmer, saying “lock them all up” after his supporters chanted “lock her up.”
Though most believe that Trump's ongoing battle with Whitmer is what led to the attempted attack in the first place, Lara sees no fault in the president's actions. “He wasn’t doing anything, I don’t think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all,” Lara said in response to the president's rally comments. “He was having fun at a Trump rally and quite frankly there are bigger issues than this right now for everyday Americans.”
Of course, this president and those in his inner circle have a long history of “having fun” to the detriment of others’ safety. President Trump has a long history of spewing violent rhetoric at his rallies — one study found that counties that hosted MAGA rallies in 2016 experienced a 226 percent increase in hate crimes. In a continued attempt to appeal to conservative evangelicals, the president has consistently lied about abortions that occur later in pregnancy, claiming pregnant people are “executing” infants moments after birth — another study found that abortion providers and clinics have experienced a surge in death threats and harassment since the president’s inauguration.
And Lara Trump has a history of defending it all, loudly, and with zero remorse. But it was this week's actions that made it feel as if Lara Trump was auditioning to be the new Ivanka. While Ivanka seems more than happy to work behind the scenes to soften her father’s image — posting pro-family pictures that conflict with her father’s family separation immigration policy, or celebrating Pride month while remaining silent on her father’s trans military ban and rollback of Title IX protections for trans youth — Lara Trump is happy to be clamorous and deafening in her support of her father-in-law. Yes, she’ll use a fake Abraham Lincoln quote during the Republican National Convention to attack her family’s political opponents. And yes, she’ll tell a man with a stutter to “get the words out” if it means she can make erroneous and unsubstantiated claims about his cognitive ability.
It comes at the perfect time, too, when Ivanka has seemingly taken a back seat in this election, and Kimberly Guilfoyle has been relegated to just a meme at this point. Lara Trump clearly goes about defending the president far differently than subdued, so-called pragmatist sister-in-law. But they both have one thing in common: they are knowingly complicit of the president, his administration, and the harm both have caused the American people. One is just more obvious than the other.