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The (Not Even) People vs. Eric Trump

A discussion about what constitutes being human with the president’s son

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Eric Trump said a dumb thing.

On Tuesday night’s episode of Hannity, the president’s third-oldest and second-blondest child turned up on Fox News to nominally talk about “the ugliness of politics.” In practice, this soon turned into a rant about the ways in which the Trump administration feels that congressional Democrats — who, let’s review, are not in power and by and large have not even been given the chance to obstruct much of anything at all — and their supporters have been obstructionist. This included Eric delivering the following sentences: “I’ve never seen hatred like this. To me, they’re not even people.”

Judging by the rest of his statement, Eric seemingly meant that Democrats aren’t behaving like people in that they are, in his estimation, acting immorally, counterproductively, and uncooperatively. “They come after us viciously,” he said, “and it’s truly, truly horrible.” He sounded mad.

He also presumably misspoke — not that either his party or family is in the habit of overlooking such things when it’s helpful to them — and likely did not mean to imply that Democrats don’t exist, or that they should be denied basic human rights, or that they do not have the requisite people-ness to participate in human society, or that they’re the mouth-eyes monster from Pan’s Labyrinth, which I believe actually just won Montana’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives:

(Via ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’)
(Via ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’)

It’s just that if Eric defines “people” as “individuals who are nice to me,” well … doesn’t that explain a lot? Imagine that your old job was to run your family’s collection of pristine golf courses and a monumental winery in the midst of the rolling Virginia hills. Imagine that everyone perpetually toasted your family and good fortune and was likely very worried whether you didn’t have enough towels or had to stand out in the sun too long or wanted a kind of cheese that was currently unavailable. Now imagine that, suddenly, when you went to post a picture of your nice, probably-no-scientists-were-threatened-in-the-course-of-rescuing-them pet beagles …

… people started responding like this:

It might be shocking. It might also lead you — you, the good, blond boy who once shot a big kitty cat! — to begin to question what a person is, really, especially on a nationally televised platform in terms that are wildly offensive, or at least just anatomically wrong.

I make no value judgments. (Though if there is Dog Secret Service, color me very interested.) Eric Trump probably (probably!) does not view his critics as subhuman. What these comments really sound like is this:

When I said that Democrats weren’t even people, what I meant was that the young children with cancer my foundation was supposed to help aren’t even people. Can they vote? No. Have they golfed? No. Have they even once contemplated the merits of a marble versus copper wine still? No!

Sean Hannity might agree.