The Trump Family Clamor to Define Donald's Divisive Legacy

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For all his detractors, former President Donald Trump has also inspired staunch defenders throughout his political career. And the strongest advocates in Trump’s campaigns and presidency were closest to home: Him and his immediate family.

© Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images Then President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.

Post-White House, their vociferous advocacy hasn’t eased up. Now, they are trying to shape the narrative of Trump’s self-described “magnificent legacy” as President Joe Biden unravels his policies and blames current problems on the previous administration.

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On Monday, Trump and former first lady Melania announced the launch of their official website.

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“The Office of Donald J. Trump is committed to preserving the magnificent legacy of the Trump Administration,” text on the site’s home page reads.

The site’s about section includes a potted history of his presidency told from Trump’s unique perspective.

“Donald J. Trump launched the most extraordinary political movement in history, dethroning political dynasties, defeating the Washington Establishment, and becoming the first true outsider elected as President of the United States,” the page reads.

Trump argues his case on two areas he’s faced substantial critical scrutiny: COVID-19 and the border.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump had criticism this week from Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who were the top experts on his White House Coronavirus Task Force.

In a statement on Thursday, Trump took aim at both his former advisers. He questioned Birx’s credibility and branded her a liar, and branded Fauci the “king of ‘flip flops’ and moving goalposts.”

Trump has claimed credit for the speed at which vaccines were developed but there are question marks over the extent of his role.

As The Associated Press highlights, the administration did not develop vaccines, as Trump had suggested, pharmaceutical companies did. And while COVID vaccine development in the U.S. was fast, other nations similarly created them at speed.

On the border issue, Trump’s new website reiterates his claim, fact-checked as “mostly true” by Newsweek, that his administration “achieved the most secure border in United States history.”

Trump and his allies cite the current border crisis facing Biden as vindication of his positions, such as building the wall.

Biden is under growing pressure from the surge in migrants at the border, particularly the increased number of unaccompanied minors detained, many of which are held in the kind of overcrowded facilities he criticized under Trump.

The president attributed blame for the situation to the Trump Administration. But Trump and others linked to the last administration rejected Biden’s claims, accusing him of encouraging the current wave of migrants.

Eric Trump, the president’s middle son, falsely claimed in a Fox News interview: “My father had the issue fixed.” He said under his father “illegal immigration was not a problem anymore.”

U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions rose from 400,000 in 2018 to 860,000 in 2019, when Trump was in the White House, according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security.

Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s eldest son, also came out to defend his father’s record on the border.

“Donald Trump was literally right about everything at the border,” Trump Jr. said, in a video posted on Rumble, citing the border wall—construction of which Biden has paused—and the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which has also been rolled back.

Trump himself similarly touted his border wall and called for its completion.

While Biden is facing a surge in migrants at the border, figures show that an increased number of unaccompanied minors began to appear last September, two months before the election.

In another video, Trump Jr. accused Biden of taking “veiled shots at an administration that got stuff done,” in reaction to his March 11 speech on the anniversary of the COVID shutdown.

Trump Jr. also backed his father’s impact on the GOP, over which he has asserted dominance.

“He changed the direction of the Republican Party, that was going downhill fast,” Trump Jr. said on Rumble when celebrating his father’s CPAC speech.

“Picking the wrong battles, representing the wrong people, going to bat for corporate America and folding to the radical left.”

While much of the Republican Party is united behind Trump, including its voter base, some of its lawmakers are in open revolt, trying to pull the GOP in another direction now he has left the White House.

In Trump’s second impeachment following the violence of January 6, the party’s divisions burst open in public, with several GOP lawmakers voting either to impeach or convict the former president. Others condemned his actions despite not voting against him.

Trump has attacked lawmakers who opposed him, branding them RINOs—Republicans in Name Only—and calling for their ousting in primaries. Last year, as Trump lost the presidency the party also lost its Senate majority and failed to flip the House.

He and his allies have persisted with false claims of foul play in the election, despite a lack of evidence, and Trump has also tried to put the blame for losing the Senate on to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Trump’s timeline of achievements on his new website also puts emphasis on his oversight of the American economy, claiming he “ushered in a period of unprecedented economic growth.”

It echoes a claim in his farewell speech of having “built the greatest economy in the history of the world.”

Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. had the most jobs on record, though this correlated to an extent with population growth. The unemployment rate was at a half-century low, but the percentage of people working or looking for jobs was below its peak in 2000.

Economic growth in Trump’s term was above that of his predecessor Barack Obama‘s second term, though it fell short of the economic expansion by percentage under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, according to the Associated Press.

Trump also left office with 3 million fewer jobs than when he entered the White House after the coronavirus pandemic tore through the employment gains made during his presidency.

But Trump isn’t solely focused on shaping perceptions of the past. His new website is also casting an eye to the future amid speculation that he will run again.

As well as its focus on legacy, the site also shares the aim of advancing “the America First agenda” that defined his 2016 campaign and subsequent presidency.

Trump is set to continue his involvement in politics and is primed to back his favored Republicans in the 2022 midterms, including support for primary candidates more aligned to him than he perceives some incumbent Republican lawmakers to be.

He has also alluded to a potential 2024 run of his own. Polling continues to indicate Trump is not only a popular figure among Republicans but would win another presidential primary should he choose to run, by some distance.

However, among all Americans Trump remains an unpopular figure. In The Economist/YouGov polling conducted March 20 to 23 with 1,500 U.S. adults, Trump was viewed more unfavorably than favorably.

More than two in five, 44 percent, said they had a very unfavorable view of him and 8 percent somewhat. Around a quarter, 27 percent, had a very favorable view and 15 percent somewhat.

But among Republicans, the majority had a positive opinion of the president. A majority, 61 percent, asked said they had a very favorable view. Nearly a quarter, 23 percent, said they held a somewhat favorable view.

Other survey results have also indicated Trump would be a frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination if he were to run.

Newsweek has contacted Trump’s office for comment.

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