The first lady is not kidding around.
Stanford constitutional law professor Pamela S. Karlan went viral during the impeachment hearings on Wednesday for tearing into Republican Rep. Doug Collins, and telling him that she was “insulted” by his suggestion that she hadn’t read the witness transcripts. What’s more, she stated that everything she has read “tells me that when President Trump invited, indeed demanded, foreign involvement in our upcoming election.”
Then she made this play on words:
And the Trump campaign is seizing on this particular line, where Karlan used the name of the president’s youngest son to make a point about the limitations of the president’s executive powers.
“The Constitution states that there can be no titles of nobility. So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t MAKE him a baron.”
Her comment got a few laughs at the hearing, but Barron’s mother didn’t find it so funny.
First lady Melania Trump, whose “Be Best” initiative advocates against bullying, tweeted that Karlan “should be ashamed.”
Other supporters of the president didn’t find it so funny, either. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told Karlan that her “little joke about Barron … makes you look mean” during the hearing.
And Trump 2020 national press secretary Kayleigh McEnany released the following statement in response on Wednesday afternoon:
“Only in the minds of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old child into the impeachment nonsense,” she wrote. “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. Hunter Biden is supposedly off-limits according to liberals, but a 13-year-old boy is fair game. Disgusting.”
McEnany added, “Every Democrat in Congress should immediately repudiate Pamela Karlan and call on her to personally apologize to the president and the first lady for mocking their son on national TV.”
Trump supporters like Kellyanne Conway also picked up the Hunter Biden argument.
The Trump family has been fiercely protective of the 13-year-old boy, such as slamming actor Peter Fonda for posting a tweet last year that read, “We should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles.” Fonda later apologized for the “highly inappropriate and vulgar” tweet. In 2017, “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich was suspended after tweeting that “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter,” when Barron was just 10. She also apologized, and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, a Democrat, also came to the boy’s defense, writing on Facebook FB, -0.06% that “Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does — to be a kid.”
But many on Twitter TWTR, +0.10% argued that professor Karlan’s wordplay on Wednesday was not in the same league as these previous attacks on the first son.