During the final presidential debate on Sunday night, an undecided voter in the audience asked the candidates a hilarious but important question. He asked if each of them could say something nice about the other person, what would they say? Hillary Clinton spoke first because Trump laughed at the question. Clinton said Trump is a devoted father and that his children are good people who work hard, and at least part of her statement was true. Trump's children do work hard, and he does seem to appear heavily in their lives now, but it's totally unclear how devoted he was to them when they were growing up.
When Clinton was speaking about how Trump's children have been successful and determined, the camera flashed to his three oldest children as they sat in the audience. Ivanka Trump, who has been a surrogate for her father throughout his campaign as he tries to win any women voters, did not look amused or flattered.
But Clinton really stuck to Michelle Obama's "when they go low, we go high" mantra — so much that the compliment was a bit overreaching. Sure, Trump's kids seem accomplished, but was he a devoted father? Evidence says otherwise.
For example, Ivana Trump said just last week that Trump wasn't much help as a father to Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., according to Us Weekly:
I brought up the children single-handedly.
According to the Complex, which cited the New York Daily News, Ivana also said:
Donald wasn’t really interested in the children until he could talk business with them. When they turned 21, I handed them over to him and said, "Here’s the finished product. You can take them from here."
And these comments aren't new, nor are they disputed much by Trump himself. In 2005, Trump told Howard Stern that he didn't like to take an active role in most parenting duties. His ex-wife Marla Maples suggested he help more with their daughter Tiffany, but this was his response, according to BuzzFeed:
Right, I'm gonna be walking down Fifth Avenue with a baby in a carriage. It just didn't work.
Trump laid out exactly how parenting goes in his family, according to BuzzFeed:
She takes care of the baby and I pay all of the costs.
Some think that the comment by Clinton was brilliantly devised in the moment, since it's pretty well known that Trump didn't help parent.
Still, maybe Trump deserves the compliment to some small degree; Ivanka Trump seems measured and devoted to her work and her family, but his other two children have misstepped from time to time. For example, Eric Trump recently tweeted an image featuring a bowl of Skittles with the caption, according to CBS News:
If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.
It was a gross analogy and a statistically incorrect one. Skittles, the company responded in a perfect way:
Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.
Then, Donald Jr. defended his brother's horrible comment. He said, "I think the analogy has some real meaning to it," according to CBS News. And he suggested helping refugees by creating "safe zones." (Where? In what country? With whose money?) The Trump children are accomplished, yes. But is Trump the one who should be credited with their accomplishments? That's a stretch, though it was nice of Clinton to try.