Is there anything that is off-limits in politics anymore?
It used to be a common understanding that the children of political figures were supposed to be approached with privacy and respect, kept out of political disagreements. It was beyond the pale for politicians or commentators to target or make jokes at the expense of the children of other politicians.
On Wednesday, at the first House Judiciary hearing on impeachment, law professor Pamela Karlan made a joke about Barron Trump that didn’t sit well with many that were watching the hearing.
Barron is the teenage son of President Trump.
Professor Karlan, who was clearly a political hack and not a serious scholar, was brought before the Judiciary committee to spew anti-Trump garbage covered by the pretense of serious scholarship.
She came across as angry and unlikeable, which are hardly good qualities for a witness. She was practically drooling over the chance for her moment in the spotlight to trash President Trump.
And trash him she did.
That was to be expected, but she also used the president’s son as a prop in her partisan testimony.
Karlan indicated that she believed that Trump has come to view himself as a king. She then joked, “So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”
She should stick to her day job and leave the jokes to the comedians.
The backlash on social media was harsh and came quickly.
Melania Trump defended her son like any good mother would, tweeting “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering and using a child to do it.”
A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 4, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: “Remember only children of Liberals (even the 50-year-old children) are off-limits. That a 13-year-old is fair game for partisan hacks on a national platform shows you all you need to know about the new Left and who is now running the ship.”
The backlash backed Professor Karlan into a corner and then she tried to issue an apology…but it really wasn’t much of an apology.
She said, “I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.”
She couldn’t just apologize like a decent human being. No, she had to take another shot at President Trump in the process. She just couldn’t help herself.
Later in the day, Congressman Matt Gaetz called Karlan on the carpet for her ill-advised joke.
He told Karlan that “when you invoke the president’s son’s name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump… it makes you look mean, it makes you look like you are attacking someone’s family: the minor child of the president of the United States.”
Children of members of both parties should be off-limits unless they are adults who weigh in on political issues—like Hunter Biden, for example. Then they are fair game.
Barron is only 13 years old, and he clearly never asked for any of this. He is just a kid who should be allowed to be a kid, not dragged into the national spotlight by some previously-unknown scholar who dislikes his father.