Jonathan Karl, a veteran ABC News correspondent, claims that Donald Trump previously compared him to his son Barron, who he claims would never publicly express his love for his father.
In an interview on CNN’s New Day to promote his book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, Karl relayed the unusual incident.
Anchor John Berman asked Karl if there were any weird or overlooked anecdotes in the new book describing what happened behind closed doors during the Trump administration, which has been widely discussed and praised.
Berman pointed him to a meeting he had with the then-president in the Oval Office as head of the White House Correspondents Association, which he had written about.
“And you went in with Zeke Miller, another reporter, right, to talk to then-President Trump because he was sort of musing about the possibility of going to the White House Correspondents Dinner,” Berman said. “And you write about this conversation.”
“The former president says ‘Jonathan is very cool.’ He told Zeke Miller, ‘He’s like my son.’ Trump then proceeded to reenact a conversation with his son. ‘Do you love your dad? I don’t know. But he does. But he’s too cool, the kids,” Berman read from the book.
He then added: “Donald Trump, it seemed, was comparing me to his teenage son, Barron, and he was comparing my lack of excitement about his possible appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, with his son’s reluctance to say out loud that he loved him.”
“I mean, this was, there have been many surreal moments. I can’t say if it was the most, but it was certainly in the top, top five,” Karl responded.
The meeting took place at the beginning of March 2020, when Karl and Miller were summoned to the Oval Office a week before the US and much of the rest of the globe shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic’s swelling tide.
The fact that he was left alone while staff fetched the president simply added to the weirdness of the situation, he said.
Trump eventually showed up and spent an hour with them discussing whether or not he would attend the yearly event.
“I hadn’t even invited the guy. I wasn’t sure I wanted to invite him. He had called the press the enemy of the people. I wasn’t going to beg him. I wasn’t even going to actually ask him. I just said ‘We respect your decision. If you want to come, you’re welcome to come. If you don’t want to come, that’s fine,’” Karl stated.
“And that’s that whole bizarre exchange where he’s talking about his son not wanting to say he loves him.”
“It is. It is odd, to say the least, said Berman, also noting: “And by the way, has an hour to spend with you and the pandemic is breaking out all over the world.”
There’s a lot we don’t know about Barron, his life, or his relationship with his father. Barron is Melania and Donald Trump’s only child. Donald’s other kids (Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, and Tiffany) are all from other marriages.