Donald Trump Jr. may not have had an official role in the White House but, as the son of the former US president, his conduct has been under scrutiny for years thanks to his father’s fame.
Throughout his college days Don Jr. had quite the reputation for passing out intoxicated. But the extent of his wild ways only fully came to light when an old classmate spoke out in 2017.
Scott Melker said on Facebook that during their time at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton College, which Donald Trump Snr attended too, Don Jr. was regularly “stumbling around campus falling over” and at one point he had “his arm in a sling from injuring himself while drinking”. Don Jr. admits to his sloppy past, which includes getting arrested in 2001 for public drunkenness during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, telling New York magazine in 2004, “I used to drink a lot and party pretty hard, and it wasn’t something that I was particularly good at.”
The hunting scandal
Don Jr. says he quit drinking in a bid to make something of himself without relying on his father’s money. Part of his transformation included hunting and fishing – skills taught to him by his grandfather. However, his game hunting antics got him in hot water with his August 2019 trip to Mongolia where he killed endangered argali sheep, reportedly costing taxpayers over US$76,000 in security and protection alone. Even before his father entered the White House, his trips with brother Eric were controversial, and in 2012 a Celebrity Apprentice sponsor said they were cutting ties with the show due to their hunting. Don Jr. has since refused to apologise for his big-game hunting.
The Aubrey O’Day allegation
Former Celebrity Apprentice contestant and ex-Danity Kane singer Aubrey O’Day claimed that she had an affair with Don Jr. while he was still married to Vanessa Trump – the mother of his five children. He denies the claim but the alleged involvement is said to be what led to Vanessa finally filing for divorce in 2018.
In a bid to convince Americans that letting Syrian refugees into the country was a bad idea, Don Jr. riled up social media users when he tweeted an image that read: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” It sparked a backlash so fierce that it prompted the company that owns the brand to comment: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it is an appropriate analogy.”
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.