Donald Trump's son says nepotism a 'factor of life'

'I think in so many of the deals that we’ve done, whether it be all of the golf courses or the wineries or this or that ... I think hopefully we earned our stripes,' says Eric Trump

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The Independent US

Eric Trump has suggested nepotism is merely “a factor of life” and admitted family connections have got him to where he is now.

President Trump has been widely criticised for hiring his daughter Ivanka Trump as an unpaid White House advisor and critics argue the appointment violates federal nepotism laws. Last week it was announced Ms Trump would be joining her husband Jared Kushner as an unpaid advisor.

Eric, the president's third child who is an executive of the Trump Organisation, has argued nepotism is part and parcel of life.

"Nepotism is kind of a factor of life," he told Forbes during a interview in Trump Tower conducted in February but released on Tuesday. 

"We might be here because of nepotism, but we're not still here because of nepotism. You know, if we didn't do a good job, if we weren't competent, believe me, we wouldn't be in this spot."

He said Mr Trump would have been unlikely to give him and his brother Donald Trump Jnr, whom he runs the Trump Organisation with, so much responsibility eight years ago.

"I don't know if (Mr Trump) could have done the presidential thing four years ago. Certainly eight years ago, he couldn't have. I think we probably would have been too big of question marks for him."

“I think in so many of the deals that we’ve done, whether it be kind of all of the golf courses or the wineries or this or that … I think hopefully we earned our stripes. And I think that’s ultimately why we’re in the seat we’re in.”

Ethics experts have raised alarm bells about the decision to hire Ms Trump as an official government employee. The mother-of-three, who has been accused of failing to hold her father to account over his policy decisions, already has an office in the West Wing.

Barack Obama’s White House ethics lawyer, Norman Eisen, has said Mr Trump does not believe nepotism rules apply to his presidency.

According to Mr Eisen, both the Obama and George W Bush administrations included the White House in its interpretation of the 1967 federal nepotism law that says no public official, from the President stretching down to a low-level manager at a federal agency, may employ or promote someone who is related to them.

But Mr Eisen suggested Mr Trump appears to have found a loophole. The law states any appointee found to have violated the law is “not entitled to pay” by the federal government, which appears to provide the opportunity for Mr Trump to employ his daughter and son-in-law, Mr Kushner, who is also an unpaid government employee, to relinquish paychecks while still having a role in the Trump administration. 

It is fair to say Mr Trump has involved more family members in his presidential duties than any president in modern US history. A quarter of Mr Trump’s transition team was made up of his immediate family, with the billionaire businessman filling the 16-member executive committee with his daughter Ivanka, his sons Eric and Donald Jnr, and his son-in-law Mr Kushner.

What’s more, last week it was announced Eric's wife, Lara Trump, a former associate producer at Inside Edition, would be joining Giles-Pascale, the digital marketing vendor for the Trump campaign, as a senior consultant. 

Donald Trump Jr, who claimed his father’s comments about “grabbing” women by the “pussy” are typical among some men and are “a fact of life” last year, recently hinted their younger sister, Tiffany Trump, was also "soon to be within the organisation."