We probably didn’t need this People Magazine report to confirm the notion that Tiffany Trump, the president’s daughter with second wife Marla Maples, has a “strained” relationship with a father who seems to barely acknowledges her existence. It was pretty clear that President Trump regards his younger daughter as an afterthought to his precious Ivanka when he gave Tiffany a lackluster introduction at an infrastructure event in Ohio last week.
According to sources speaking to People, Tiffany and her father forged somewhat of a bond when she was most useful to him—out on the campaign trail—but their relationship disintegrated shortly after Trump was sworn in. From People:
“Since the inauguration, Tiffany and her father have sometimes gone for months without speaking and she went a very long time without seeing him,” a source close to Trump’s younger daughter says. “The last time she was at a family function with him, it was awkward for her and she didn’t feel totally welcome.”
Although Tiffany, 24, was rarely seen on the campaign trail — especially in comparison to her far more visible older half-siblings, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric — she did make appearances with her father in the final days before the 2016 election and also spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention in July. The source tells PEOPLE that Trump and Tiffany’s time on the road included “bonding moments” that brought the father and daughter closer together — but that closeness was short-lived.
“They always had a strained relationship her whole life, and it got exacerbated by the presidency,” the source says. “It’s gotten much worse now.”
The rift between the Tiffany and the president is often explained away by the fact that she grew up in California with her mom after her parents split up in 1997 and that she isn’t as close to Trump’s other adult children because he cheated on their mom Ivana with Tiffany’s mom in an affair that became early-90s tabloid fodder. Ivanka refuted the claim that she’s not close to Tiffany to People in 2016:
“We would see each other on all of the holidays and talk to each other frequently,” Ivanka said at the time. “She’s my little sister! I’ve been close to Tiffany her whole life, and I really love her.”
When asked if she was close with Maples, however, Ivanka was very clear: “I’m not,” she said. “She was out in California and really my relationship is with Tiffany.”
According to Ivana, her ex-husband wasn’t interested in his children until they were adults and showed an interest in the family business. Otherwise, she was doing all the feeding, nurturing, and diaper changing while Trump was building casinos and subsequently running them into the ground. There doesn’t appear to be anything that endeared Trump to the litter of kids he had with his first wife beyond them all just eventually realizing that the best way to get their dad’s attention was probably to show interest in the Trump Organization. If Tiffany had graduated high school and burst into his office demanding to learn all about licensing the family name on gamey steaks and a failed vodka line, she might be a senior advisor in the White House now, too.
In any event, such stories tend to frame the president’s disregard of his younger daughter as a tragedy, and nobody really knows how Tiffany has dealt with the distance between her and her father throughout her life. As it stands now though, any ignoring of Tiffany was probably the biggest favor Trump could have done—a reverse Midas touch of sorts. Donald Trump Jr. has a closer relationship with his father and so far that’s netted him costly legal bills, relentless media scrutiny, and a full day of getting grilled by the House Intel Committee over a shady meeting with Russian lawyer he accepted on behalf of his father’s presidential candidacy. Ivanka is reportedly looking at costly legal headaches of her own regarding her time in her father’s campaign, and her husband seems to be in severe legal trouble as well.
Marla Maples told People in 2016 that Trump was “a good provider with education and such” even if she did all the actual hands on parenting. Being able to benefit from the Trump fortune while having distance from the corruption that could engulf the family actually sounds like the best possible position to be in, especially since it appears that Tiffany’s political ideology doesn’t align with that of the empire.
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) March 25, 2018