President Donald Trump’s 33-year-old son Eric told Britain’s The Daily Telegraph that his sister Ivanka, rather than her husband Jared Kushner, convinced the U.S. head of state to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles in retaliation for a sarin gas attack last week.
“Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I’m sure she said ‘listen, this is horrible stuff.’ My father will act in times like that,” Eric Trump told The Telegraph in an interview at the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland.
“He also confirmed that President Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian airbase … was influenced by the reaction of his sister Ivanka, who said she was ‘heartbroken and outraged’ by the atrocity,” the British paper reported.
Eric is the president’s second son, and he has taken over his father’s real estate empire with his older brother, Donald Jr. According to The Telegraph, he described the president as a “big believer” in President Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of achieving peace through strength.
“If they disrespect us and if they cross us, fine. There will be no one harder — he has got more backbone than anybody,” the president’s son declared.
But the U.S. president isn’t the only strong leader involved in the Syria fracas. Of Putin, Eric Trump said, “He is not a guy who gets intimidated. I can tell you he is tough and he won’t be pushed around. The cards will shake out the way they do but he’s tough.”
Donald Trump pledged to improve relations with Russia during the campaign last year, and following reports that the foreign country had hacked the Democratic National Committee and targeted the Hillary Clinton campaign, the media launched a full-fledged paranoia campaign, alleging that Trump and his staff were puppets of Vladimir Putin. While evidence hinted at ties between some of Trump’s staff and Russian officials, the story was overblown.
“If there was anything that Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie,” Trump’s second son declared. He described allegations of links with the Russian regime as “ridiculous.”
On President Trump’s motivation for the strikes, the son said his father was “deeply affected” by the footage of the Syrian chemical attack, which showed children being “sprayed down by hoses to keep their skin from burning.”
“It was horrible,” the businessman added. “These guys are savages and I’m glad he responded the way he responded.”
Eric Trump’s bombshell about Ivanka pushing the president over the edge on Syria conflicted with earlier reports that her husband, Jared Kushner, who serves as the president’s senior advisor, was responsible.
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon reportedly warned against attacking the Syrian regime, saying it was not in keeping with the “America First” foreign policy. “Steve doesn’t think we belong there,” a Bannon ally told New York Magazine. “Bannon’s position lost out to those inside the White House, including Jared Kushner, who argued Trump needed to punish the Assad regime,” the magazine reported.
This news launched attacks against Kushner, as users took to Twitter calling on President Trump to #FireKushner.
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) April 8, 2017
But this anger may have been misplaced, according to Eric Trump. Perhaps opponents of the Syria strike should have used the hashtag #FireIvanka instead.
Trump’s second son also told The Telegraph that his father’s opinions on Syria had indeed changed since 2015. Donald Trump repeatedly warned then-President Barack Obama against striking the Assad regime without congressional approval in 2013.
“And by the way, he was anti doing anything with Syria two years ago,” Eric Trump said. “Then a leader gasses their own people, women and children, at some point America is the global leader and the world’s superpower has to come forward and act and they did with a lot of support of our allies and I think that’s a great thing.”
Nevertheless, the son insisted his father had not acted impulsively after seeing the gas attack footage. While a recent poll revealed that more Americans thought Trump did not think the attack through carefully enough, the son said his father is “a great thinker, practical not impulsive.”
“I’m proud he took that action and believe me he thinks things through,” Eric Trump concluded.