The White House and members of the Trump family Wednesday slammed a constitutional scholar for referencing 13-year-old Barron Trump during the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing.
Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor, was asked how the powers of a president differ from that of a British king.
Ms. Karlan said kings had virtually unlimited authority while the Constitution limits presidential powers. To illustrate her point, she referenced President Trump’s son, Barron.
“The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Ms. Karlan said to laughter and applause in the hearing room.
First Lady Melania Trump, Barron’s mom, said Ms. Karlan should be “ashamed” and accused the law professor of using her son as a political prop.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it,” Mrs. Trump said on Twitter.
The White House was also unamused. The Trump campaign questioned why the president’s son was fodder for the hearing, but not Hunter Biden. President Trump pressing the Ukraine president to probe Hunter Biden’s ties to a Ukrainian gas company has been at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
“So Hunter Biden is off limits but 13 year old Barron Trump is not? This gets more unreal by the minute,” the campaign said in a Tweet.
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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham also criticized the comment.
“Classless move by a Democratic ‘witness,” she said via Twitter. Prof Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline. And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter.”
Donald Trump Jr. also weighed in, calling the comment “grotesque.” He tweeted a video of Ms. Karlan’s comment.
“How vile of a person do you have to be to attack a 13 year old child on national TV for laughs?” Barron’s older stepbrother tweeted. “Apparently, vile enough to be the supposed star witness for Democrats. Grotesque.”
Later in the hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz scolded Ms. Karlan for her comment.
“When you invoke the president’s son’s name here, when you try to make little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, it does not lend credibility to your argument. It makes you look mean,” the Florida Republican said.
Ms. Karlan ultimately apologized, while taking yet another shot at the president.
“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son,” she said. “It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize for the things he’s said wrong, but I do regret having said that,” she said.