Neither the first-born nor the favorite: The life of middle child Eric Trump
- Eric Trump, President Donald Trump's middle child, may not be as glamorous as his sister Ivanka, nor as outspoken as his brother Don Jr., but he is an integral part of the Trump family.
- The 35-year-old is an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, focusing on its golf properties and vineyard.
- At 23, he founded a charity for children's cancer research. He's a family man, and one of his father's fiercest defenders.
- He's not immune to controversy, though. He's been criticized for hunting in Zimbabwe, and for defending waterboarding as a form of torture. His charity's use of funds is also being investigated by the New York state attorney general.
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Eric Trump may not be the first Trump child who comes to mind.The 35-year-old is in all of the family photos. He worked on one of the family properties growing up. He appeared on 23 episodes of "The Apprentice". He's played a key role in his father's presidential campaigns, and now runs the family business alongside his brother.Advertisement
He's had his share of controversies, too, like hunting elephants, defending waterboarding, and sharing his disappointment with his depiction on "Saturday Night Live." But he still doesn't feature in the media as much as his older siblings or his father.
Eric Frederick Trump was born on January 6, 1984. He is President Donald Trump and Ivana Trump's third child.
In 1992, Donald and Ivana divorced and Ivana won custody of the children. Eric was the youngest, and knew the least about what went on in the divorce. But he did remember disliking when friends brought him newspaper articles about the messy and public court battle.Advertisement
Growing up, Eric and his siblings spent summers with their maternal grandparents Milos, an engineer, and Maria, a shoe-factory worker, in the Czech countryside. There were no video games, and only one English TV station. From their grandparents they learned how to hunt and the importance of not wasting food.
Eric's father always encouraged him to be competitive. When he was 10, he said his dad would try and push him over while skiing, so he could beat him down the mountain.Advertisement
When New York Magazine asked Eric in 2004 what he would change about his parents, he agreed with his siblings' sentiment that their father "could be more understanding of things he doesn’t ... understand."
But Eric has always been one of his father's biggest supporters, frequently appearing at campaign events and talk shows to defend his dad.Advertisement
Don Jr. took care of Eric after his parent's divorce, and Eric sees his older brother as a mentor. Today, they have breakfast together in Trump Tower at 7 a.m. almost every day.
They've earned a series of nicknames together – the Clinton campaign called them "the Storm Troopers." Eric gave them the nickname "the brutes."Advertisement
Ivanka also helped take care of him when he was younger. He told New York Mag that she took him shopping, and tried to make him "cool." Donald Jr., Eric, and Tiffany told Barbara Walters in 2015 that Ivanka is their dad's "favorite child."
Eric went to Hill School in Pennsylvania, like Don Jr. He reportedly showed up with just one bag and a lamp. He's described, by journalist and former classmate Frank Runyeon, as "earnest and awkward, goofy and unpretentious, gracious and sweet-spirited". He had a talent for woodworking, and was named the "biggest mooch" in a yearbook.Advertisement
During the summer holidays at high school, Eric and Don Jr. worked for the family business, helping with renovations and the rebuild of Seven Springs, a 230-acre estate in Westchester. They mowed fields, cut down trees, laid marble, and did electrical work.
Eric didn't follow his siblings to the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating high school in 2002, he broke the mold and went to Georgetown University, earning a degree in finance and management.Advertisement
While studying, he joined the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity. According to classmates, he didn't go clubbing, and preferred the "frat kegger style of atmosphere".
At 20, New York Magazine described Eric as "gangly and a bit shy," at 6-foot-5. Despite lacking his brother's confidence and his sister's glamour, he was polite and well-spoken.Advertisement
In 2006, after graduating college, he started working for the Trump Organization with his dad and siblings. He made the most of the market crash, calling it the "greatest opportunity in the world," buying up every piece of land he and the company could.
In 2007, when he was 23, he started his own charity called the Eric Trump Foundation. Over the course of a decade, the nonprofit raised about $16.3 million for child cancer research at St. Jude Children's Hospital.Advertisement
Eric said he kept expenses down by hosting benefits at his family's golf courses. He also didn't employ any staff until 2015, Forbes reported.
In 2008, Eric met Lara Yunasaka, an Inside Edition producer. They said they noticed each other when they were out at a bar, because they were the two tallest people in the room.Advertisement
After the first meeting, it took them 3 months to go on a date. Lara later said that Eric wanted to be "very sure" that she was the one before they got married.
Between 2010 and 2015, Eric appeared on his father's reality show, "The Apprentice", 21 times as a boardroom judge and twice as an audience member.Advertisement
In 2012, photos of Eric and Don Jr. hunting in Zimbabwe in 2011 surfaced. They showed the pair with a dead elephant and leopard. These photos continued to haunt the brothers, and brought new criticism from celebrities, including Mia Farrow in 2015 and Jim Carrey in 2018. Don Jr. told Forbes the elephants were overpopulated, and needed to be hunted to prevent further habitat destruction, and leopards weren't endangered. The hunting was legal.
On November 8, 2014, he married Lara after they had been dating for 5 years. They'd already adopted a dog called Charlie, who served as the ring bearer.Advertisement
Lara has become a key player in Trump's reelection campaign, in part, due to her experience with the media.
Eric is always a staunch defender of his father. In February 2016, he went on Fox News after Trump said the use of waterboarding, a torture technique, worked. Eric said it was no different from what happens on college campuses and in frat houses.Advertisement
In October 2016, he went on CNN to defend his father and the Trump Organization's tax history. He said they had paid a "tremendous amount of taxes".
In November 2016, Eric's late-night internet activity made the news, when he tried to trade some guns online around 2 a.m. on July 11 of that year. The attempted transaction came several days after a gunman killed five police officers in Dallas.Advertisement
In November 2016, he tweeted what appeared to be his ballot with a vote for his father, which is illegal to do in New York. He later deleted the tweet.
In December 2016, Eric stopped fundraising with his foundation. He said the decision, made with a "heavy heart", was to avoid confusion around donations in the wake of his father's run to be president. It came after he was criticized for auctioning off a coffee with his sister, Ivanka, who is now a senior White House adviser.Advertisement
After his father entered the White House, Eric and Don Jr. took full control of the family business. Eric sits on the 25th floor of Trump Tower, and is executive vice president in charge of 19 golf courses. He says he's still a builder, seeing parallels between his role at the Trump Organization and the woodworking he used to do in high school.
He's also in charge of the Trump Winery in Virginia, which was purchased in 2011. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Trump Organization drove down the price for the winery, from $100 million to $6.2 million, by buying land around the estate and discouraging access to it. In 2013, Eric won "Rising Star of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.Advertisement
In May 2017, golf writer James Dodson alleged Eric had told him three years earlier that Trump golf courses got funding "out of Russia." Borrowing one of his father's favorite phrases, Eric called it "fake news."
In June 2017, a Forbes investigation reported that Eric's charity had paid to use Trump golf courses for events, despite what he had previously said. When Donald Trump found out in 2011 that there was no billing he reportedly "flipped". "I don't care if it's my son or not — everybody gets billed," Trump Sr. reportedly said.Advertisement
In June 2017 after the Forbes report, New York state's attorney general confirmed it had started investigating Eric's charity, renamed Curetivity. Eric is one of the defendants. The investigation is looking into whether the charity's money was shifted to the Trump organization.
In September 2017, Lara and Eric welcomed their first child Eric "Luke" Trump. He was the first grandchild to be born during Trump's presidency.Advertisement
In March 2018, Eric didn't take impersonations of him on "Saturday Night Live" well. The actors portrayed him as a child. He emailed the Washington Post saying, "they got it wrong, they detest us and they will do anything to try and undermine our credibility."
In June 2018, in an interview with Westchester Magazine, he said his father's life had gotten "exponentially worse" since becoming president. He also said that he and his older siblings were fair game for parodies and media attention, but his then-24-year-old sister Tiffany and his then-12-year-old brother Barron were off limits.Advertisement
In August 2018, Eric highlighted how he and his family have been targeted since his dad took office. "I've been threatened," Eric said on Fox News' "Hannity". "Our family's been threatened. All of us. We've all had white powder show up at our house."
In April 2019, the Mueller Report was released. Eric was only mentioned a handful of times. It said he had retweeted a Twitter account controlled by the Russian Internet Research Agency during the election, but it could have been accidental.Advertisement
In June 2019, a cocktail lounge employee in Chicago spit on him. Secret Service took the employee into custody. Eric told Breitbart News that it showed a lack of civility from the Democrats, and "sickness and desperation" on their part. He didn't press charges.
With his father running for reelection in 2020, Eric is pulling his weight in campaigning. He's appeared at Republican fundraisers and made calls to thank particularly high donations. He's been tasked with keeping an eye on the campaign finances.Advertisement
Eric and Lara announced they're expecting their second child in August. They currently live with their son and two dogs in Briarcliff Manor, New York, a wealthy suburb of New York City and the home of the Trump National Golf Club Westchester.
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