First Lady Melania Trump has stayed quiet throughout the impeachment investigation into her husband, President Donald Trump, but she broke her silence Wednesday to criticize a law professor who mentioned the Trumps’ son, Barron, during an impeachment hearing this week.
“The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan quipped during a Wednesday morning hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Mrs. Trump, 49, responded on Twitter — her first public comments about the impeachment probe over Trump lobbying Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
She expressed anger over what she said was Karlan dragging her teenage son into an unrelated matter.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” Mrs. Trump wrote. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”
Karlan apologized later Wednesday.
A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 4, 2019
Mrs. Trump’s tweet came a day before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday morning that she wanted the House to move forward with drafting articles of impeachment, which are widely expected to pass — possibly before Christmas.
That would set up a trial in the Republican-led Senate.
“The president leaves us no choice but to act,” Pelosi said Thursday, later tweeting out the same. “I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
Trump, 73, responded on Twitter with a familiar Republican criticism that the move to impeach him wasn’t warranted.
“This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents,” he said. “That is not what our Founders had in mind.”
Trump is under investigation for allegedly pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, while withholding $400 million in military aide to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
Biden is one of the top Democratic candidates seeking to challenge Trump in the 2020 election.
“Drawing a foreign government into our elections is an especially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself,” Karlan said in her testimony Wednesday, before mentioning Trump’s son later in the hearing.
She had been called before the Judiciary Committee to provide an expert legal view on the evidence gathered by the Intelligence Committee into possible impeachment.
Mrs. Trump has asked media and other public figures to refrain from bringing up her 13-year-old son. Last December, the first lady told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Barron should be “off limits” for the media.
“It does make me angry, because children should be off limits,” she said then.
“I protect him, and I want to give him as normal a life as possible,” she continued. “This is not a normal life, but I like to protect him and give him the childhood he deserves.”
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham joined Mrs. Trump in criticizing Karlan’s “classless” comment.
But others argued that the comment was “benign” and harmless, especially in the grand scheme of the impeachment process currently underway in Congress.
If you cry for a child over Professor Karlan's "baron" analogy but applaud separating kids from their parents and putting them in cages at the border, then ask yourself why are you OK with your selective outrage, tears and pain? Why don't you care at actual harm being done?— Wajahat "Abu Khadija" Ali (@WajahatAli) December 4, 2019
Democrat "witness" Pamela Karlan is completely UNHINGED.— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 4, 2019
She is now attacking @realDonaldTrump's 13 year old son Barron Trump in an attempt to smear President Trump.#StopTheMadness #JerryRigged pic.twitter.com/4aktNR2Tps
It is unclear when the House will vote on articles of impeachment, which are expected to center on allegations of bribery and obstruction.
Should they pass, as expected, Trump would stand trial in the Senate where a two-thirds majority vote would be needed to convict and remove him from office.