Law Professor’s Reference to 13-Year-Old Barron Trump During Impeachment Hearing Draws Ire

December 4, 2019 Updated: December 4, 2019

A law professor’s reference to Barron Trump, the 13-year-old son of President Donald Trump, during the impeachment hearing on Dec. 4 sparked an immediate backlash.

“While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Pamela Karlan, a law professor at Stanford University, said during the hearing in Washington.

She said she was using an example of how American presidents are not kings.

“Let me also suggest that when you invoke the president’s son’s name here—when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump—that does not lend credibility to your argument. That makes you look mean,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told her later in the hearing.

Others also took issue with Karlan’s reference to the teen.

“Classless move by a Democratic ‘witness.’ Prof Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline. And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said in a statement: “Just when you thought this impeachment hoax couldn’t get anymore ridiculous, the witness invited by Democrats is throwing cheap shots at the 13-year-old son of @realDonaldTrump. Gross and shameful!”

Trump’s 2020 campaign said in a statement: “Democrats chose liberal professor Pam Karlan as their star impeachment witness. She just went out of her way to mock and attack Barron Trump, the President’s 13-year-old child. Democrats have disgraced themselves by giving a platform to this unhinged, petty kook.”

Conservatives noted Karlan’s past statements, including her telling the crowd at an event that she crossed the street, instead of walking in front of, a Trump hotel because of how much she loathed the president.

Constitutional scholars (L-R) Noah Feldman of Harvard University, Pamela Karlan of Stanford University, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina, and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University are sworn in prior to testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“I came in from the airport yesterday and I got off the bus from Dulles … and I walked up the hotel and as I was walking past what used to be the old post office building and is now the Trump hotel—I had to cross the street,” she said.

Asked if she was staying there, she said, “Oh, God no. Never.”

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.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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