Every American president has also been a dad, and Donald Trump is no exception. The commander-in-chief will be celebrated alongside more than 70 million patriarchs this Sunday on Father’s Day.
Trump is a dad of five with children from three marriages. With Ivana Trump, his first wife, the president had his oldest, Donald Jr., who is now 39; Ivanka, who is now 35; and Eric, who is now 33. When Trump married Marla Maples in 1993, they had Tiffany, who is now 23. And finally, after he wed Melania Trump in 2005, they had Barron, who is now 11.
Trump’s older children are more than just his offspring—they’re his operatives, tweeting in the president’s defense and going on talk shows to defend policies on which they often advised him. Trump praised them repeatedly during the campaign cycle, even getting emotional at one point after he won the Indiana primary election.
“I want to start by, as always, thanking my family. My wife, Melania. My kids—they’re not kids any more, but they’re kids as far as I’m concerned,” he said at the time. “They’ll always be my kids.”
But what kind of dad was he?
The childhood experiences of the Trump squad vary. Though Trump said in a 2004 interview with New York Magazine that he’s a “really good father” and his kids couldn’t love him more if he spent 15 times more hours with them, Eric has mentioned that his older siblings raised him, especially after his parents’ divorce.
“It wasn’t a typical ‘let’s go play catch in the backyard’ sort of father-son relationship,” Donald Jr. said last year, according to Vanity Fair. “We always went to job sites with him. We’d be in his office playing with trucks as a 6-year-old while he’s negotiating deals with presidents of major companies.”
Ivanka, meanwhile, has emphasized how he taught the kids to be competitive. One time, she told New York, she was beating her dad in a skiing race—so he used his pole to pull her back.
Tiffany got a taste of that attitude, too, even though Trump wasn’t too involved in her upbringing. Her parents divorced the year she turned 6. Afterward, Maples raised Tiffany in California, making her home-cooked meals and watching movies together, according to People. Occasionally Maples would take the couple’s daughter to New York to meet Trump for dinner, but Maples still considered herself a single mother.
“Her daddy is a good provider with education and such, but as far as time, it was just me,” Maples told People. “Her father wasn’t able to be there with day-to-day skills as a parent. He loves his kids. There’s no doubt. But everything was a bit of a negotiation.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2013
Barron also has an attentive mother and a unique relationship with the president.
The first lady is a hands-on mom—to the extent that Trump did not change Barron’s diapers after he was born, according to BuzzFeed. But she insisted in an interview with Parenting.com that’s how she liked it.
“[Trump] is very busy. He spends quality time with Barron. They have a beautiful relationship full of respect and love. New York is our home base, but we spend a lot of time in Mar-a-Lago. There they play golf, spend time together, eat dinner together, and we enjoy family time,” she said. “It is always a really special time.”
In fact, the trio was just reunited: Barron and his mom had been living in the Big Apple until he finished the school year. He did, and they moved into the White House last weekend.
Displayed with permission from Newsweek