Here’s first family’s first year
It’s been a jam-packed year of news since President Donald Trump moved into the White House, but it’s also been a transformative — if tumultuous — year for each member of the first family.
Trump and his extended nuclear family’s first year in Washington saw new homes in cities, new roles, new books and even a new baby. And each member’s unique use of social media provided a window of insight into their new lives.
Here’s what the president’s brood has been up to since Inauguration Day:
Melania Trump’s tenure in the White House got off to an unusual start as she opted to stay in New York through the conclusion of the school year with the first couple’s 11-year-old son, Barron. It marked just the first departure from tradition for a first lady who has exhibited an independent streak and an air of mystery in her first year.
Trump hired a small staff for her East Wing throughout the spring, beginning to define a platform over the summer that centers around helping children, including a focus on combating childhood bullying and America’s opioid epidemic.
Trump has played the role of hostess at the White House at events, such as the Easter Egg Roll and Halloween, as well as when world leaders and their spouses have visited the White House. She also occupied the role of a gracious guest, accompanying the president on trips abroad to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
She’s embraced events with children, which she has made a hallmark of her time as first lady, including multiple visits to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington and hospitals abroad.
The extremely private Trump has largely refrained from participating in media appearances, speaking publicly only on rare occasions. However, she has used fashion as a key messaging tool. Trump turned heads in a baby blue Jackie Kennedy-inspired outfit at the inauguration.
Donald Trump Jr.
In addition to taking over the reins at the Trump Organization from his father, Donald Trump Jr. was a presence on the political circuit in 2017. He traveled to Montana to stump for U.S. House of Representatives candidate Greg Gianforte, spoke at Republican party fundraisers in Indiana and Texas and went pheasant hunting alongside Rep. Steve King in Northwest Iowa.
But bombshell revelations that Trump Jr. arranged with publicist Rob Goldstone to meet with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a woman described as a “Russian government attorney,” overshadowed Trump’s year, plunging him into the center of investigations into the Trump campaign’s role in Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The hard-charging, no-apologies first son of Donald and Ivana Trump pushed back just as hard against the scrutiny, continuing his bombastic social media habits through the year as the story developed.
First daughter Ivanka Trump moved to Washington just before the inauguration with husband Jared Kushner and their three small children — now 1, 4, and 6 — taking a formal leave of absence from the Trump Organization and her eponymous apparel and accessories brand. She moved into a West Wing office in March, beginning a formal role in her father’s administration that’s been heavily scrutinized.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner were at the center of the infighting and chaos in the Trump White House’s first months, leading a global-minded faction at odds with a nationalist faction led by Steve Bannon.
Many thought she would serve as a moderating influence on her father’s positions on everything from climate change to LGBTQ issues to women’s reproductive rights — but so far, that’s failed to materialize. Her portfolio, which once seemed to include dabbling in nearly every issue that crossed her father’s desk, is now more neatly tailored to women’s economic empowerment, workforce development, STEM education and combating human trafficking, with infrastructure in store for 2018.
She’s spent the last year building relationships within the administration, as well as with Congress and officials abroad, traveling to Germany, where she spearheaded the rollout of WeFi, a World Bank facility aimed at empowering women in developing countries, speaking about women’s participation in the economy in Tokyo at the invitation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discussing human trafficking alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May at the United Nations. Trump also emerged as a key player in tax reform, pushing for the expansion of the child tax credit.
Her role is still not without a heightened layer of scrutiny — Trump was roundly criticized last week for tweeting support for Oprah Winfrey’s speech on the #MeToo movement, calling on men and women to come together “& say #TIMESUP!” Trump has styled herself as an advocate for women in the workplace with her West Wing portfolio and her book, “Women Who Work,” but, beyond her tweet and comments to The Associated Press on then-candidate Roy Moore, she has yet to substantively weigh in on the #MeToo movement.
The West Wing portfolio of the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was so broad in the early months of the Trump administration that it was hard to track his growing list of responsibilities. But much like Trump Jr., he has also been in the crosshairs of investigators looking into the Trump campaign role in Russia’s election meddling.
But Kushner has spent his year advising the president on a multitude of issues, embarking on the ambitious goal of negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. He has made multiple unannounced visits to the region, developing relationships and vying for influence with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as the president made the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which has thrown peace discussions in flux.
Trump’s son-in-law also leads the White House’s Office of American Innovation, which aims to make government more efficient and eliminate bureaucracy, though has remained amorphous and ill-defined.
The soft-spoken Kushner testified before congressional investigators over the summer.
Eric and Lara Trump
Eric Trump assumed the reins of the Trump Organization alongside his brother in 2017, traveling to Trump properties across the world.
But it was also a big year at home — Eric and his wife, Lara, welcomed baby boy Luke in September, adding a ninth grandchild to the president’s brood.
Along with his wife and older brother, Eric Trump has been involved with his father’s 2020 reelection campaign, holding meetings this year at the Republican National Committee to talk strategy. While ethics rules prevent the Trump children from discussing the family real estate business with their father, they have played a role in laying the groundwork for the reelection campaign.
Lara Trump has taken on an even bigger role in the reelection campaign, serving as a campaign senior adviser and becoming a key spokeswoman for 2020 efforts.
She’s made frequent appearances on Fox News and anchors a series of YouTube videos on the reelection website called “real news updates.”
Trump worked for Inside Edition before her father-in-law became president, and her television background suggests more air time as Trump’s reelection efforts accelerate in the coming year.
The year 2017 held its own transitions for the president’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump.
Trump, who grew up in California with her mother, Marla Maples, followed her father from New York to Washington, where she is a first-year law student at Georgetown University.
The University of Pennsylvania graduate, now 24, has been on hand at the White House for family events, including the Easter Egg Roll and a private dinner celebrating her father’s birthday in June. She spent the week after Christmas at Mar-a-Lago, posing for a selfie video with sister Ivanka. She also traveled to Europe over the summer, visiting Budapest and Berlin with then-boyfriend Ross Mechanic, and Italy by yacht with her mother.
Trump has otherwise evaded public appearances, save for an early January run-in with TMZ in Los Angeles following the publication of “Fire and Fury.”
Asked if her dad eats McDonald’s in bed every night, Trump laughed, climbing into an SUV.
“He wishes,” she said.
The youngest of the president’s five children, Barron Trump, now 11, lives with his parents at the White House. Following his move to Washington in June, Trump has settled into St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, where he is in sixth grade.
The first lady has made an effort to give her son as much of a normal life as possible, and Barron Trump has made rare public appearances this year, joining his parents at the Easter Egg Roll, donning his eclipse glasses in August on the Truman balcony, and flying on Marine One and Air Force One on weekend trips to Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago.
But it’s clear that Barron, an avid soccer player, has taken advantage of the White House grounds — a goal post is set up in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden alongside the East Colonnade.
The president’s first wife, Ivana Trump, had her time in the spotlight in 2017 with the publication of her book, “Raising Trump.”
The week the book came out, she sparked a public feud with Melania Trump, calling herself “first lady” in an interview with ABC News and saying she doesn’t call the White House often — despite having a direct line — so as to not make Melania Trump jealous.
Her 293-page memoir touched on her childhood in communist Czechoslovakia, romance with Donald Trump and subsequent boyfriends and husbands, the tumultuous divorce, and bringing up her three children, telling embarrassing and endearing anecdotes about Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric, sharing advice about divorce, and that time she tried to order wine at a Taco Bell.
She told CBS News she turned down an opportunity to be ambassador to her native Czech Republic because “I have a perfect life,” a jet-setting schedule she’s likely to maintain in 2018.
Marla Maples, the president’s second wife, kept a relatively low profile in 2017, focusing on her family and friendships.
“She has embraced the importance of these relationships and put them first during this year of great change,” her spokeswoman told CNN via email, writing, “It is also so very important in her daily life to help share and create unity wherever she witnesses fear, anger, or separation.”
Maples attended the inauguration and came to Washington to help daughter Tiffany move into law school in the fall.
The soft-spoken, spiritual Maples eschewed formal media interviews, with the exception of an October People Magazine feature on her eating habits (a clean-eating vegan who occasionally eats steak).
Maples is an advisory board member of AWARENYC, a New York nonprofit women’s organization, traveled to Italy to perform in Ballando Con Le Steele — the Italian Dancing with the Stars — in the spring. She also spent time skiing in Wyoming and spent seven days in silence at a retreat in North Carolina.