- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 2, 2019

Donald Trump Jr. recalls playing video games as a kid with the late, disgraced pop singer Michael Jackson in the first son’s forthcoming book, a report said Saturday.

President Trump’s eldest son mentions Jackson in the book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” while pushing back against claims that his father is racist, Bloomberg reported after obtaining an advance copy.

Mr. Trump Jr., 41, writes in the book that Jackson lived in Trump Tower and used to come over to play video games with him and his younger brother, Eric Trump, 35, Bloomberg reported.

“Oh, and by the way, given all the things my father has been called, particularly a ‘racist,’ it sure sounds odd that he’d let his son vacation with a black man or hang out with Michael Jackson, doesn’t it? If he’s a racist, he’s sure not very good at it,” he reportedly writes in the book.

Jackson died in 2009 at age 50. One of the world’s most acclaimed entertainers while alive, his reputation has been severely tarnished following the release of a documentary this year that resurfaced sexual abuse allegations first made against the singer decades earlier.

Directed by Dan Reed and released by HBO, the documentary “Leaving Neverland” profiles two men in their 30s who allege they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were children.

Several of Jackson’s past collaborators have subsequently denounced the singer following the film’s release, while the Jackson estate called it a “tabloid character assassination” and has sued HBO for allegedly violating a non-disparagement agreement the network entered decades earlier. A federal judge ruled in September that the suit may move to arbitration.

Ivana Trump, the president’s first wife and the mother to both of his adult sons, previously discussed the family’s relationship with Jackson in her own book, 2017’s “Raising Trump.”

“The only person who had an open invitation to come to the triplex for playdates whenever he wanted was Michael Jackson,” she wrote in the book. “The King of Pop lived in Trump Tower and was a good friend of the whole family. He’d stop by and chat with Donald and me for a few minutes, and then he’d go up to the kids’ floor to hang out for hours and hours.”

Ms. Trump, 70, recalled in her memoir that Jackson would watch MTV with her kids and play video games including Super Mario Brothers and Tetris.

“Michael was a thirty-year-old kid,” she recalled. “He was a child himself in a man’s body, tender, sweet and gentle. I never believed the accusations that he molested those kids. There’s no way he could have hurt anyone.”

Her son’s book is scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

A report released last month found that radio stations significantly decreased the amount of airtime given to Jackson’s songs in the months following the release of “Leaving Neverland.” Digital platforms saw an increase in users listening to Jackson’s music following its release, meanwhile, according to the report.

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