Donald Trump got a much-needed dose of humility from his children Tuesday night, shortly after he officially clinched the party's presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention. Tiffany and Donald Trump Jr. gave speeches hoping to paint their father in a more admirable light, drawing from childhood anecdotes that typically don't make it into the 24/7 press coverage of the new nominee. Though they were likely unable to change the overall perspective the American public has of their father (that would take an image overhaul not even the greatest PR minds could handle), Trump's children — particularly Tiffany — imparted just a dash of kindness into the image of a candidate who is generally anything but kind.
Though they both praised their father, Tiffany and Donald Jr.'s speeches worked on two different levels. Tiffany, the 22-year-old recent Ivy League graduate who largely made her political debut at the convention, primarily spoke of her father in the past tense. Her speech emphasized how Trump's ambition — as a person, father, and now a nominee — crafted her into the person she is today. It had a more personal touch, talking of Trump fawning over the high marks she received from teachers as a child. That, largely, seemed to be the point of Tiffany's speech: how Trump the father translates into Trump the president.
Donald Jr. set out to achieve something different. Serving as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, Trump's son is a polished and confident speaker who used his 16-minute time slot to align Trump's business achievements with what he hopes to accomplish as president. Despite evidence to the contrary, he also tried to paint Trump Sr. as "an average guy" who handles setbacks by pushing stubbornly forward. Of Trump's (not so humble) beginnings, his son remarked:
When people told him it was impossible for a boy from Queens to go to Manhattan and take on developers in the big city, rather than give up, he changed the skyline of New York. I’ve seen it time and time again, that look in his eyes when someone says it can’t be done. I saw that look a little over a year ago when he was told he couldn’t possibly succeed in politics. Yes, he did ....
His speech ended in a long laundry list of Trump Sr.'s supposed qualifications for presidency — many of which were refutable, including the assertion that Trump would not be beholden to special interests due to him funding his own campaign (a claim which CNN declared false in their fact check of the speech). Nevertheless, the Trump campaign got what they wanted out of their candidate's children. Particularly after Tiffany's speech, Twitter was filled with commentary on how kind she seemed, lending a bit of that lightness to her own father.
Whether that same levity will be remembered post-convention is yet to be determined. But for the moment, the Trump children granted their dad a bit of a reprieve from convention coverage that has already been hit with scandal and infighting.