Remember 25 months ago when Donald Trump Jr. spoke to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and you turned to your spouse and said, “There’s the next Trump candidate”?
OK, maybe you didn’t say those exact words, but someone I know did. In front of a national TV audience, Jr. had the presence and political poise of someone well beyond his rookie political convention and then-38 years.
Jr. still does. And, no offense to the vice president, in recent months the president’s eldest son has quietly traveled back-and-forth across the country to become one of his father’s most popular and perhaps effective surrogates. Republican crowds love his well-dressed swagger, his blunt talk and outspoken defense of Dad.
This summer the eldest Trump son has been in Montana, for instance, talking knowledgeably about hunting, in West Virginia, Kansas and Florida too.
Soon, he’ll be making appearances on behalf of local GOP candidates and his father in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota. All these places, you may note, have important Senate races offering chances to gain a crucial seat for Republicans.
Jason Miller, a Trump campaign veteran from 2016, puts it succinctly: “He’s one of the top draws, if not the top draw for people not named President Trump.”
He connects with the crowds and, for now, with nearly three million followers on Twitter. His style there also resembles Dad’s. On Tuesday he tweeted about searching that social medium for Ohio Special Election and finding only the Democratic candidate coming up on initial presentation. “I’m sure it’s a 1 way coincidence for the 1000000th time,” Jr commented.
In Montana, Jr. told his father’s rally supporters:
Just because Donald Trump isn’t on the ticket in 2018 doesn’t mean that everything he has accomplished is not on the ticket. I’m going to be coming a lot out here in this fall, helping all of these guys.
Jr. is good at ginning up the president’s political base in places that went for his father two years ago. But GOP strategist Ryan Williams notes, “He’s probably not someone you’re going to send to a swing district, but in a red state he may be able to draw out some base voters.”