Donald Trump Jr. claimed during a GOP fundraiser in Dallas on Saturday, March 11, that he has little to no contact with his father, President Donald Trump, now that he and his brother Eric run the family business.
“I basically have zero contact with him at this point,” the 39-year-old businessman told the gathered attendees, according to The Daily Beast. At another point during his address, he said, “I thought I was out of politics after Election Day and [would] get back to my regular life and my family. But I couldn’t.”
Donald Trump Jr., better known as Don, added that the thrill of being in politics is what has drawn him back in. “Deals are still exciting,” he said. “But when you’re the sort of guy out there every day, 24-7 fighting in this thing — it’s like a great fight.”
Earlier this year, Don and his younger brother Eric, 33, took charge of the former Apprentice host’s namesake business, though the president retained his financial interest in the company, a decision that has drawn criticism about the famous family.
“Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict-of-interest perspective,” Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, told NBC News in January. “The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation. This is not a blind trust — it’s not even close.”
The Trump kids’ involvement in their father’s government affairs has come under close scrutiny since his presidential win. Last November, it was Ivanka Trump who drew ire from critics after the businesswoman sat in on a meeting between her father and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe. (Her husband, Jared Kushner, was also present.)
Many social media users expressed their discontent with Ivanka and Kushner’s attendance shortly after photos emerged online.
“Ivanka Trump has no business being in the room when Trump met with Prime Minister Abe,” Japanese American actor George Takei tweeted. “She’s family, not foreign advisor.”