Donald Trump has said that the key to being a good father is spending plenty of time with your children and keeping them away from drugs, cigarettes and alcohol – remarks seen as a swipe at Joe Biden.
Biden’s son Hunter, now 51, has for years battled addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol.
During the presidential debates, Trump used Hunter’s struggles to attack Biden – leading the Democrat to say their children should be kept out of their political rivalry.
On Thursday night Trump was asked in a fawning interview with Gina Loudon, co-chair of Women for Trump 2020, how he had raised such fine children. She noted that this week her son had played soccer with Trump’s son, Barron, 15.
‘I think you have to give them a lot of attention,’ said Trump.
The Trump family, from left: Don Jr, Melania, Donald, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany, in October 2016
Donald Trump is seen with his five children, their spouses and children in June 2015
Donald Trump spoke to Dr Gina Loudon of Real America’s Voice on Thursday night
Trump’s remarks were seen as a swipe at Joe Biden’s son Hunter, pictured with his dad in 2009
‘I’ve been able to do that, despite being busy, to put it mildly.’
His eldest daughter, Ivanka, now 39, told CNN in 2016 that her father was ‘an incredible parent’, although he was not particularly hands-on, and was not the type to play games with his children and read them bedtime stories.
‘No, he was different,’ she said.
‘He was not really the type of – he wasn’t long on diaper changing and things like that.’
She said he was ‘was very accessible and very available,’ noting how she was always able to call him directly in the office.
Trump, a teetotaler who saw his brother Fred’s die from alcoholism in 1981, also said that keeping children away from illicit temptations was another pillar of parenting.
‘I always also, you can have good children, but if they start with the drugs, alcohol, cigarettes…
‘I’ve said it for years to them.
‘So far it’s had a pretty good impact.
Trump has five children, from three marriages.
Two of his three children with first wife, Ivana – Donald Trump Jr, 43, and Ivanka – have relocated to Florida to remain close to him. Eric, 37, remains based in New York.
His daughter with Marla Maples, Tiffany, 27, also lives in Florida.
His youngest child, Barron, lives with Trump and his third wife, Melania, at Mar-a-Lago.
‘I’ve seen some really good children go wild on drugs and alcohol, and then that’s a different ballgame,’ Trump concluded.
Donald Trump is seen with Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric, in a photo posted by Eric Trump in 2019
Trump with his youngest child, Barron, now 15, in January 2017 at his inauguration
During the interview, Trump also criticized Facebook’s decision to take down his interview with Lara Trump, which was filmed on Tuesday.
When she posted a video clip of their interview on Facebook, she received an email stating: ‘We are reaching out to let you know that we removed content from Lara Trump’s Facebook page that featured President Trump speaking.
‘In line with the block we placed on Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, further content posted in the voice of Donald Trump will be removed and result in additional limitations on the accounts.’
Trump, 74, said it was shocking.
‘What is happening in this country, nobody ever thought it would happen,’ he said. ‘It’s total censorship.
Trump’s interview with his daughter-in-law Lara was taken down by Facebook on Tuesday
‘You make a statement and if they don’t like it – about the election, or medical issues, or about Hunter Biden – they go crazy.’
Trump said that the lack of debate was disappointing.
‘In the old days, you make a statement, they make a statement, you fight, you pick the winner,’ he said.
And he said Facebook was acting to censor free speech.
‘That’s a Communist country,’ he said.
‘You’d fight – now there is no fight. They take it down.’
The former president spoke to Loudon, co-chair of Women for Trump 2020, on Thursday
Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump said that the political right needed to be tougher in combatting censorship, and in putting on a united front.
‘The right, or the conservatives, they don’t fight the same way,’ he said.
‘The radical left is meaner and tougher.
‘They don’t have Mitt Romney or little Ben Sasse or any of that crap. They stick together.’
Trump complained that Facebook was not acting fairly.
He said that material damaging to Joe Biden, concerning his businessman son Hunter, was removed, yet content beneficial to him such as the interview with his daughter-in-law was not permitted.
The former president has been banned from most social media networks since January, when they judged that his risk of inciting further violence after the January 6 Capitol insurrection was too great.
He said that Twitter was ‘very boring’ without him, and mused about a possible boycott of the site by his followers.
Trump has long toyed with the idea of launching his own social media channel.
He concluded, however, that issuing his own press statements – which he does on a regular basis – was a more ‘elegant’ way of communicating than Twitter, and said he was satisfied with it.