An expert witness in Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment made a joke about 13-year-old Barron Trump’s name and drew a forceful rebuttal from the Trump campaign, among others.
“Contrary to what President Trump has said, Article 2 [of the Constitution] does not give him the power to do anything he wants,” said Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford Law School, who was called up by the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic majority. “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”
The Trump 2020 campaign then issued a strongly worded statement and said her joke is disrespectful.
“Only in the minds of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old child into the impeachment nonsense,” read a statement from campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany. “Pamela Karlan thought she was being clever and going for laughs, but she instead reinforced for all Americans that Democrats have no boundaries when it comes to their hatred of everything related to President Trump.”
Trump’s campaign then brought up Hunter Biden, the 49-year-old son of former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump and other Republicans have said that he should be called to testify in front of the House and Senate impeachment hearings.
“Hunter Biden is supposedly off-limits according to liberals, but a 13-year-old boy is fair game,” McEnany added. “Disgusting.”
The campaign then called on Democrats to condemn Kaplan and demand an apology to President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Barron.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) used her quip to launch an offensive during the hearing, criticizing her: “When you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument.”
“It makes you look mean, and like you’re attacking someone’s family, the minor child of the President of the United States,” Gaetz remarked.
On Twitter, the first lady said Karlan should be ashamed.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it,” Melania wrote.
Karlan was joined at the hearing on Wednesday by Noah Feldman of Harvard University, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina, and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University.
Following Trump’s inauguration in early 2017, some celebrities made jokes at then-10-year-old Barron’s expense. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, went on social media at the time to defend the boy.
“Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does—to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids,” she tweeted.