Between the young, vulnerable Barron and the extremely online, very divorced Donald Jr., there is a middle Trump son, Eric — a lad of 34 who seems to be sidelined in most of the family’s power struggles and political machinations. Some have chosen to interpret this quiet distance as a sign of tact: He and his spouse, Lara, have even been called “the most normal, least controversial Trump couple.”
But the pair was forced into the spotlight this week when former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman released a tape recording of Lara Trump offering her $15,000 a month to keep quiet about the administration that fired her — money that would’ve come from campaign donors. That led to a Lara interview on Hannity, which then inspired this incredible tweet:
And this identical Instagram post:
Now, ordinarily, I’d never know what he was posting on social media — Eric Trump blocked me in the summer of 2017, probably because I made fun of his revolting gum line — but the bizarre use of the #Wife hashtag struck a chord. Soon, #Wife Twitter was inescapable. Everyone was on the prowl for #Wife content.
On one level, the #Wife tweet is hilarious because it reaffirms that Eric is very dumb at the internet. You can almost feel him straining for some phrase to add ballast to the post between his bland commendation of a “good job,” with no other details — did he actually watch the interview? — and the purely reflexive #MakeAmericaGreatAgain. “Ah,” he must have thought at last, “Lara is my wife, and I am therefore within my rights to put ‘#Wife’ here. Now my work is done.” This is how hashtags generally function: as filler spam for people too unimaginative to convey an actual idea. In this case, the tag also happened to link to a great deal of wife-themed porn, invited the usual “my wife left me” and “Borat voice” jokes, and prompted suggestions for other brain-dead tags, all of which came as a bonus.
Yet Eric’s social media ineptitude goes to a deeper, sadder place. The use of #Wife indicates that Lara’s only importance to him — when she’s right in the middle of West Wing intrigue! — is as a marital prop or commodity. For the Trump boys (and Don Jr.’s laughably overhyped new relationship with former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle bears this out), having a trophy woman in tow is part of the brand, something to check off a master list of stuff they’re supposed to have, per Daddy’s life philosophy. The #Wife isn’t a person but a role, a cipher, a hairstyle. What Lara said on Hannity is irrelevant so long as she is there, saying something, while legally bound to Eric: tacit proof of his masculinity.
Eric can’t even rise to the level of other basic #Wife tweeters, who at least try to describe a conjugal love and happiness. By comparison, he sounds like a rudimentary image-recognition bot that has only learned two dozen basic nouns to date. How clearly I see him, when Lara shows up on a TV screen, pointing and blankly declaring, “Wife.”
Indeed, Eric’s routine “wife”-dropping on Twitter over the years suggests he doesn’t know much about Lara besides the reason she shares his surname — and hints at a corrosive, neurotic fear that someday she won’t. It takes 0.02 seconds to deduce from context how Lara fits into the family, but Eric doesn’t pass up a chance to remind us, lest we mistake her for some hot cousin.
He won’t quit harping on this as long as he’s struggling to add to the conversation, and it hilariously comes at the expense of the wider Trump spin. Lara was offering soundbites to mitigate the Omarosa situation, remember, and her media appearances are always tied to a White House talking point — but all Eric can do is say, “Look, that’s who I’m allowed to have sex with!”
Well, Eric, congratulations on the #Wife, I guess. Your third wedding anniversary is coming up this November, and I’m certain you will take the opportunity to tell us, again, that you are a guy with a wife, one who may or may not possess other attributes. Because that’s what really matters here: living the wife-life with any willing woman.