The Unwanted Struggles of First Children

Two weeks ago citizens of America watched as a new president was inaugurated. But, Donald Trump was not the only one some were watching. Post election news coverage focused largely on Barron Trump. Or more accurately, rumors surrounding Barron Trump.

For those who do not know, Barron Trump is the ten year old son of Donald Trump, the newly inaugurated president of the United States. He has grown up semi in the spotlight, living in Trump Tower since his birth. It is still unclear whether the youngest Trump and his mother, Melania, will move to the White House or remain in New York City.

For months, rumors have circulated as to whether Barron is a child with autism. The rumors were in full force two weeks ago, after America watched Barron’s actions, and reactions, during his father’s inauguration ceremony. But, this post is not about Barron Trump and autism. Because honestly, it is not our business. And it is definitely not our place to mock and make fun of this child. He is a ten year old boy who did not ask to be thrust into the spotlight.

After the inauguration, memes and jokes began flying around social media. The focus? Barron Trump. While there were many tweets and posts, from celebrities and unknowns alike, one of the worst came from Katie Rich. Rich, a writer for the hit show SNL, tweeted that Trump would be “this country’s first homeschool shooter.” Although she later apologized, Rich was immediately suspended from SNL, indefinitely. In fact, Katie Rich was not included in the credits for the SNL episode airing the day after the inauguration. Some have speculated that Rich may have even been fired. Is that taking this too far? Maybe, maybe not. I do believe Rich was wrong, but I was a little disappointed by the enormous uproar this caused on social media. Do not get me wrong, I do not condone what Rich said. But, she is not the first, and neither is Barron Trump. First children have been criticized, unwillingly, for years.

Let us begin with Chelsea Clinton, who was called “ugly” and compared to a dog by two grown men, John McCain and Rush Limbaugh. Clinton was also a victim of SNL. However, unlike Barron Trump, she was the butt of a joke on an episode of the show. Mike Myer’s character in “Wayne’s World” declared, “If the Gore girls were a president, they’d be Babe-raham Lincoln. Chelsea- well she’s a babe in development.” SNL producer, Lorne Michaels apologized shortly after stating, “We felt, upon reflection, that if it was in any way hurtful, it wasn’t worth it. She’s a kid, a kid who didn’t choose to be in the public life.

Next we have the Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna. The twins were 19 years old when their father was elected to office. While some may believe this led to them escaping attacks and jokes, fear not, the media does not discriminate against older first children. A few months after their father’s inauguration, Jenna was busted twice for underage drinking. Once, even having the Secret Service pick up her underage boyfriend from jail. Barbara was also cited for having a margarita. During this time Jay Leno made a comment regarding the stories surrounding the Bush twins: “when it is the lead story on the six o’clock news, I don’t know how you not comment on it.” The point of this post- it should not be the lead story on the six o’clock news. Because again, no matter how old they are, they are someone’s children and they did not choose this.

Finally, we have our most recent first children: Malia and Sasha Obama. The Obama girls basically grew up in the White House during their father’s two terms. In 2014, Republican congressional aide, Elizabeth Lauten, was forced to resign after outrage over a Facebook post. She accused the Obama girls of dressing as though they were going to a bar and urged them to show some class. Below is the full post from Lauten’s Facebook:

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”

So, to make a long post short- should the media, and citizens of America, be making fun of Barron Trump? Should we be discussing whether he has autism or how his family is handling it? No. Does that mean it is going to stop? Also, no. In recent years the media has turned from reporting the news to reporting everything, even how ten year old children are acting. Perhaps if we stop demanding this type of news, they will stop printing it. We, normal citizens of America, are as much to blame as the writers of SNL and reporters and congressional aides. We eat it up: we read it, we watch it, we retweet and repost. When will it stop? When is enough finally enough? When we say so.

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