MSNBC panel predicts Trump may throw his "idiot" sons "under the bus" in $250 million NY AG lawsuit

"Donald won't have any problem shifting responsibility onto his sons," who he calls "idiots," Trump biographer says

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published September 1, 2023 3:35PM (EDT)

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump (IAN LANGSDON/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump (IAN LANGSDON/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump biographer David Cay Johnston predicted that the former president may try to "shift responsibility" in New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million fraud lawsuit onto his adult sons, whom he has privately derided.

Trump in a lengthy deposition in the lawsuit denied that he was "the person with ultimate decision-making authority for the Trump Organization.

"My son Eric is much more involved with it than I am. I've been doing other things," he said, according to a transcript

Johnston told MNSBC on Thursday that the exchange shows Trump "doing is what he always does. He's trying to shift responsibility onto other people."

"And Donald won't have any problem shifting responsibility onto his sons, who he has told others he thinks are idiots," Johnston continued. "He doesn't say that in public, doesn't say that to audiences. But he said to many people that he doesn't have much regard for the judgment of his two older sons. Well, I'm talking about the adult sons here."

"I mean, the inverse is also true," host Nicolle Wallace said, turning to fellow panelist Donny Deutsch. "He says highly inappropriate, sexualized things about the physical attractiveness of his adult daughter, Ivanka. But let's stick with the boys. What do you make of their very real exposure here because of the kinds of things that Trump says about their role and to what David Cay is saying about their incompetence?"

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"Look, just a little additional peek inside of Donald Trump's humanity, if we haven't had enough, I think anybody, any of us who are parents, at the end of the day, you throw yourself in front of a bus for your kids and Donald is the opposite," Deutsch said. "And anybody you talk to that knows Donald will say the same thing. He would throw his kids under the bus. The question is, Ivanka, does she live in a different space? She lives in an entirely weird, different space, as you've mentioned. But this is a guy that would not put his children in front of him."

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James' suit, which also seeks to bar Trump and his adult children from serving as an officer or director of a business registered in New York, accuses the family and their real estate company of routinely and "grossly" inflating their net worth by between $812 million to $2.2 billion depending on the year, and then subsequently using those funds to defraud banks and insurers on that basis of securing better loan or insurance terms. In a separate motion, Trump's legal team has claimed that the case should be dismissed, arguing that the allegations are barred by a statute of limitations. 

A judge in June dismissed the allegations in the lawsuit against Ivanka Trump, stating that the statute of limitations had expired because she was no longer at the company by 2016, but the suit will move forward against the former president and his adult sons.

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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