The year 2020 has been one for the record books, that's for sure. Any election year gets especially feisty at this point in the calendar, but you mix in a worldwide pandemic, chaos and rioting in the streets, and oh yeah, an asteroid that barely missed Earth, and you get history in the making.
With all that going on in such a short period of time, the last presidential election seems like a lifetime ago. In the lead-up to November 2016, many conservatives — Glenn Beck included — had reservations about what a Donald Trump presidency would look like. Considering how contentious and heated the rhetoric got, you might expect those closest to President Trump to hold a grudge — but not Donald Trump Jr.
"I get it. In 2016 I totally understand why people didn't believe he'd follow through on his promises," Trump Jr. said. "Especially when it comes to pro-life and religious liberty issues. He was a New York guy that had to work with liberals to get things done. But now he's got a track record and he's doing what he said he'd do. He's accomplished so much and has followed through on what he promised. I think the people in this country are really responding to it and will come out and support him on Election Day even stronger this time around."
"Now he's got a track record and he's doing what he said he'd do."
Once in office, it didn't take long before President Trump started to fulfill his campaign promises. In 2016, without any history in public service and with celebrity as his main source of recognition, it's easy to understand why his primary opponents and later Hillary Clinton didn't see him as a serious threat — at first. Luckily for him, they made the fatal mistake of miscalculating how well he connects with the average American.
"My dad spent his formative years walking construction sites, talking with the workers and the contractors, and he got to know all kinds of people. He's always been very hands-on with his projects, and it gave him the opportunity to get to know what people care about and what issues are important to them. That was key for him to understand the problems the people of our country face right now," Trump Jr. said.
Aside from connecting with the common man, Don Jr. shared how his dad's time working in "the lion's den" of New York City helped him govern once he took office.
"As a businessman and a developer, my dad has always had to deal with bureaucracies and red tape, so he's had hands-on experience dealing with politics — especially as a conservative in New York," Trump Jr. said.
"Unlike Joe Biden, who's been an elected official since he was in his 20s, my dad has real-world experience and knows how to get things done."
"My dad has real-world experience and knows how to get things done."
Watching Don Jr. in front of a crowd or one on one with an individual, you can see he has some of the same abilities as his father to relate to the people he meets. Sincerity is often lacking in politics, but Don Jr. credits one very simple reason why both he and his father resonate with the people.
"The reason we connect with people and appear genuine is because we are genuine. It's easy to appear genuine when you aren't a phony and you are just yourself," Trump Jr. said.
If you follow Don Jr. on Instagram, you can see he enjoys "poking the bear" as the president does on Twitter. The memes and quips he posts often highlight the hypocrisy in government and show a side of him that many thought didn't exist.
"If you were to ask people before all of this, even family, they would say I've been the member of the family least like my father my whole life. But now I realize our personalities are much more similar than I thought," Trump Jr. said.
The similarities between Don Jr. and the president don't end there. Neither will back down from a fight, but like to take on bullies head-on, something the president's base had been longing for. After years of being silenced during the Obama administration, Republicans found their champion in Trump. Now as the president's top surrogate, Don Jr. has joined the fight and is taking on the enemy head-on, just like his dad.
"There are certain traits you are born with, but a lot does come from the way we were raised," Trump Jr. said. "We grew up around business and real-world problems, and he definitely helped shape who we are and how we view things."
When you are an outspoken member of the first family, you become subject to attacks and criticism. For Republicans, that criticism often comes from the mainstream media. The latest such attack on Don Jr. was a CBS News story blasting him for appearing in promotional images for a rifle company.
"I've been a lifelong conservative and a big supporter of the Second Amendment, and a guy asked me to go shooting with him when I was in town. Now the media is smearing him and throwing out all kinds of accusations. The guy had a contract with the military and went through that approval process, but I'm supposed to do a deep dive into his past and vet him even further? Give me a break," Trump Jr. said.
When CBS News asked for a quote for its story, Don Jr.'s spokesperson, Andrew Surabian, provided a statement that called out the journalistic double standard of assigning two investigative reporters to Don Jr.'s story and none to cover the recent Bill Clinton/Epstein allegations. CBS ultimately published a clipped version of the statement, omitting the part that highlighted its own hypocrisy.
You can read the full statement here:
"I can't go shooting at a range for half an hour because they dug up info about a guy I hadn't met before, but it's totally cool for Bill Clinton to sign off from his Secret Service detail 28 times to visit Jeffrey Epstein on 'pedophile island' — I mean, come on," Trump Jr. said.
For the amount of hate directed at President Trump, there is a part of the country that loves and supports him as well. This was evidenced by Don Jr.'s July appearance in Utah to help Burgess Owens' congressional bid. To conclude the day's events, he was asked to participate in a special tribute to Gold Star widow Jennie Taylor at a local rodeo. Taylor's husband, Major Brent Taylor of the Army National Guard, gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country. After Trump Jr. was announced, he walked out to a standing ovation and chants of "USA." Following his remarks to the crowd, he presented Mrs. Taylor with a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol building.
"We love the crowds and the support has been amazing, but there was something different about this one. Obviously with the COVID situation, we haven't been around as many people as we'd like. When they asked me to present a flag to the widow of the mayor [of North Ogden, Utah] who died in combat overseas, I was totally humbled," Trump Jr. said.
"Obviously the stump speech went out the window and I was just honored to be able to present that flag to her."
Due to the current pandemic, President Trump faces a hurdle that hits him right in his wheelhouse — limiting in-person events. His advantage of connecting with the average Joe appears to be hamstrung, and this should be detrimental to the campaign, but Don Jr. explained the Trump campaign has something the Biden campaign doesn't.
"Obviously we love the crowds and we haven't been able to hold the rallies that we'd hoped to, but we're confident about our ground game. Especially considering we actually have a ground game. We have over a million trained volunteers to help with the campaign, and Biden just doesn't have that kind of grassroots support," Trump Jr. said.
"We have over a million trained volunteers to help with the campaign, and Biden just doesn't have that kind of grassroots support."
It's this grassroots movement that won the 2016 election, and it's what the campaign is counting on to pull off the win this year, Trump Jr. said. The mainstream media would have you believe Trump is way behind Biden in the polls and that he's so power-hungry he will go to any lengths to stay in office. They claim he will rig the election via the postal service or that he'll hold on to power and refuse to leave office.
Conspiracy theories aside, Don Jr. says their concern is not Joe Biden as president; it's what the radical left has planned for his administration.
"First off, we know it's not actually Joe Biden who will be president. The Democrat Party has gone completely to the left and people like AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and Bernie Sanders are going to be pushing their radical agenda, and we'll have a totally different country if Biden wins. That's why we're so passionate about this election," Trump Jr. said.
Vitriol is at an all-time high, and it's not just left vs. right or Democrat vs. Republican any more. It's anti-Trumpers vs. pro-Trumpers. If there's one thing separating President Trump from his predecessors, it's the amount of hate coming from his own side.
"They are a bunch of losers that haven't been able to accomplish anything, and it pays better to be anti-Trump right now. So we aren't concerned about what they are doing," Trump Jr. said.
But not even this level of hate seems to stick to the "Teflon Dons."
Love the Trumps or hate 'em, there is no denying they have something special. Whether it's connecting with the average American, having real-world experience, or just an ability to recognize the issues people are most passionate about, they've got it in spades.
Hopefully that's enough to defeat Biden come November.
Watch Glenn's interview from radio Thursday with Donald Trump Jr. here:
DONALD TRUMP JR: We Can't Let the Media Cover for Biden's "Mental Decline" www.youtube.com