WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Tuesday renewed its request to the news media for privacy for President Donald Trump’s young son, Barron, after a conservative news and opinion website criticized the casual attire he wore home after the family’s summer vacation.
The 11-year-old wore shorts, a T-shirt that said “On Your Mark Tiger Shark” and loafers without socks for Sunday’s return trip to the White House from the family’s home on Trump’s private golf club in central New Jersey.
Trump wore a suit and tie while Barron’s mother, first lady Melania Trump, wore a sleeveless, calf-length yellow-and-white dress.
Ford Springer, The Daily Caller columnist, wrote that since Barron doesn’t have any responsibilities as the president’s son “the least he could do is dress the part when he steps out in public.”
“Barron was returning to the White House from New Jersey on Sunday and while the president and first lady traveled in their Sunday best, young Barron looked like he was hopping on Air Force One for a trip to the movie theater,” the column said.
Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump, appealed to the media to give Barron space to be a kid.
“As with all previous administrations, we ask that the media give Barron his privacy. He is a minor child and deserves every opportunity to have a private childhood,” Grisham said.
Vince Coglianese, editorial director for The Daily Caller, defended Springer.
“Let’s not pretend the press is suddenly concerned about defending the Trumps,” Coglianese said by email, describing Springer as the “the most pro-Barron Trump writer I’ve ever met.”
“Leave it to the fake news to spin his bro-to-bro advice into some sort of ‘slam.’ He’s just looking out for the kid. Leave Barron alone,” Coglianese said.
The White House also got bipartisan support from former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who defended Barron on Twitter. Clinton was the subject of ridicule as a teenager growing up in the White House in the 1990s when her father, Democrat Bill Clinton, was president.
“It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves,” Clinton tweeted Monday, with a link to the Daily Caller column.
She followed up on Tuesday after a Twitter user criticized Barron’s entire family in unpublishable terms.
“Barron is A KID. No child should be talked about in the below manner-in real life or online. And for an adult to do so? For shame,” she tweeted back to the individual, who uses the Twitter handle @MattyRenn.
Late Tuesday, the first lady tweeted her thanks to Clinton, saying “so important to support all of our children in being themselves! #StopChildhoodBullying.” The hashtag was a reference to her promise to work as first lady to combat cyberbullying.
In response to The Associated Press through Twitter, @MattyRenn said the White House doesn’t have the right to dictate who cannot be insulted “given the very real threats faced on a daily basis by all Americans to the antagonistic foreign policy of this president.”
Earlier this year, Clinton defended Barron after he was the target of a joke by a “Saturday Night Live” writer. The writer was later suspended.