Donald Trump Jr. insisted at a GOP fundraiser in Dallas this weekend that he’s had virtually “zero contact” with his father.
Since the two haven’t had a falling out, Trump Jr. was apparently attempting to underscore the distance he’s been keeping from the president to defuse any conflict of interest accusations.
He and his brother, Eric, are running the Trump Organization for President Donald Trump, who still owns the company, which is involved in multiple projects in the U.S. and abroad.
“I basically have zero contact with him at this point,” said Trump Jr. at the Saturday night event, NBC reported.
Ethics experts have said that turning a business that the president owns over to his sons hardly negates conflict of interest issues in Trump’s twin role as business owner. Yet after the election, Trump tweeted that any concerns about conflicts of interest were hyped by the “crooked media.”
Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world.Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
Critics have complained that the president’s business holdings also provide a secret way for special interests to use lucrative deals to curry favor with him.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 12, 2017
At the fundraiser, Trump Jr. said it was hard for him to leave politics after working on the campaign and on his father’s transition team. The speech was his first foray back into the political realm.
“I thought I was out of politics after Election Day and [would] get back to my regular life and my family,” Trump Jr. said. “But I couldn’t.”
He added: “Deals are still exciting, but when you’re the sort of guy out there every day, 24/7, fighting in this thing — it’s a great fight.”
Conservative Dallas millionaire Doug Deason invited Trump Jr. to speak at the fundraiser, which raised over $500,000 for the GOP, the Dallas Morning News reported. Texas raised more money for Trump’s candidacy than any other state.
Trump Jr. also blasted his own home state of New York for backing Democrat Hillary Clinton, 59 percent to just 36 percent for his dad.
“Texas gave us the funds that we needed,” Trump Jr. said. “You guys get it. You understand the freedoms … so many of which we’ve lost where I come from in the ‘People’s’ Republic of New York.’”