Podcast / Start Making Sense / Aug 31, 2023

Our Hot Labor Summer, Plus Melania, Ivanka, and Those 91 Felony Charges

On this episode of Start Making Sense, Harold Meyerson discusses historic labor action, and Amy Wilentz comments on the Trump family’s response to the indictments.

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Our Hot Labor Summer, plus Melania, Ivanka, and the Indictments | Start Making Sense
byThe Nation Magazine

Our hot labor summer continues. Harold Meyerson, editor at large of The American Prospect, comes on the Start Making Sense podcast to discuss the coming auto strike, the continuing Hollywood strikes, the Teamsters’ big victory, and a historic action by the NLRB which will make union organizing possible again. 

Also on this episode: Melania and Ivanka Trump have been mostly absent from the former president’s side as he rages against the 91 felony charges brought against him in four different trials. Amy Wilentz comments on the news, the rumors, and the photos.

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Members of the Writers Guild of America East on the picket line outside of the Peacock NewFront on May 2, 2023, in New York City.

Members of the Writers Guild of America East on the picket line outside of the Peacock NewFront on May 2, 2023, in New York City.

(Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images)

Our hot labor summer continues. Harold Meyerson, editor at large of The American Prospect, comes on the Start Making Sense podcast to discuss the coming auto strike, the continuing Hollywood strikes, the Teamsters’ big victory, and a historic action by the NLRB which will make union organizing possible again.

Also on this episode: Melania and Ivanka Trump have been mostly absent from the former president’s side as he rages against the 91 felony charges brought against him in four different trials. Amy Wilentz comments on the news, the rumors, and the photos.

The Nation Podcasts
The Nation Podcasts

Here's where to find podcasts from The Nation. Political talk without the boring parts, featuring the writers, activists and artists who shape the news, from a progressive perspective.

Our Failing President, and Our Right-Wing Court | Start Making Sense
byThe Nation Magazine

On this episode of Start Making Sense, John Nichols on Biden, and David Cole on the Court’s big 6-3 decisions. Biden’s efforts to renew his candidacy are “risk-averse, uninspired, and dangerously misguided” – that’s what John Nichols says, as we review the efforts to persuade him to drop out of the race.

Also: During the Supreme Court term that just ended, the conservative majority granted new constitutional rights to hedge fund managers, big business—and Donald Trump. David Cole explains the shocking decisions that have transformed our government.

Finally, Jane McAlevey died Sunday–she was The Nation's strikes correspondent, and one of our best.

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Jon Wiener: From The Nation Magazine, this is Start Making Sense. I’m Jon Wiener. Later in the show: Melania and Ivanka have been mostly absent from Trump’s side as he rages against those 91 felony charges brought against him in four different trials. Amy Wilentz will comment on the news, the rumors, and the photos. But first: union organizing just got a historic boost. Harold Meyerson will explain in a minute. 

[BREAK]

As Labor Day approaches, it’s time to look at our hot labor summer, with the most strikes and the most union action in a long time. For comment, we turn to Harold Meyerson, he’s editor-at-large of The American Prospect. We reached him in our nation’s capital. Hi Harold!

Harold Meyerson: Good to be here, as always.

JW: The biggest event of our hot labor summer happened last Friday. It was not a strike; it was a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. Tell us about that.

HM: It was probably the most significant ruling by the National Labor Relations Board in the last half century. What it addressed, which has been an ongoing concern of the board’s general counsel, a woman named Jennifer Abruzzo, is that labor law has been so weakened by a set of court decisions and previous NLRBs and what have you, that it no longer really performs the function for which the National Labor Relations Act was written, which was to allow workers to collectively bargain.

The decision was in a case called Cemex, and it said two things. It radically changed the unionization process basically by forbidding employers from doing all the illegal things they have been doing for half a century to deter workers. It said that when a majority of workers say they want to affiliate with unions, let’s say by presenting cards that they’ve signed, the employer may choose to voluntarily recognize them. That, of course, has always been the case and has never happened, or the employer is compelled to request a board-certified election. What’s really revolutionary is the second half of that ruling. It says that if the employer uses an unfair labor practice in the run-up to the election or during the election—

JW: Let me interrupt here and ask, does it ever happen that employers use unfair labor practices in elections?

HM: Well, it’s probably not a hundred percent of the time, but it certainly is higher than 99% of the time. The most common unfair labor practice, as scholars have researched and documented, is firing workers who want to unionize. That’s against the law, but there are no effective penalties against it. What the new ruling says, is that if the employer commits an unfair labor practice, the board will order the recognition of the union and order the immediate beginning of actually bargaining a contract.

JW: Wow.

HM: That is revolutionary. There was a low review article in 2017 which documented that the number of unfair labor practices, which had been at about a thousand a year, then once this change happened in 1969, it quickly rose to more than 6,000 a year, and it then slowly declined. But the reason it declined was that unions were abandoning organizing workers because, under the new rules, they knew they would – when John Sweeney ran an insurgent campaign for the AFL-CIO presidency against the old Meany-Kirkland regime, he documented that most unions were spending only 3% of their budgets on organizing, and that 3% was a clear sign that they couldn’t get around the labor rules. Well, the board accepted Jennifer Abruzzo’s brief and the rules have significantly changed.

JW: So if employers illegally fire pro-union workers in the lead up to elections from now on, the NLRB will order the employer to recognize the union and enter into bargaining – a revolutionary transformation for American labor. But employers still have one powerful weapon in their anti-union arsenal. Tell us about that.

HM: They sure do, and that is that they can just refuse to come to terms in the bargaining. They can delay it. They can say, ‘we’ll think it over.’ They can say, ‘we’re busy now, call us back in six months.’ All of this, of course, is again, a way to keep unionization at bay. The more recent versions of labor law reform bills, which have all failed to get past the 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, have included language to mandate a government arbitrator coming in and imposing a contract if the bargaining lasts for more than whatever it is, 90 days or 180 days, but until Congress passes such legislation, the employers still have an out. Nonetheless, this is coming at a time when, as we know, labor militance is at a new level. This really is kind of suddenly a green light flashing to American unions saying, ‘hey, this is the best time to organize since the late 1940s.’

JW: There’s news about more potential strikes: 150,000 auto workers voted to authorize a strike if the big three automakers don’t sign a contract with the UAW by September 14th. What was the vote on authorizing an auto strike?

HM: It was 97 per cent, yes, authorizing the strike.  So that sounds pretty much like what you want in the way of solidarity. The UAW always had a slogan which ended, “solidarity in the ranks,” and they’ve got solidarity in the ranks.

JW: I understand that the biggest underlying issue in the potential auto worker strike and in the negotiations, which have been underway all summer now, involves the transition to electric vehicles, which the Biden Administration has put a lot of energy and a lot of money in tax breaks behind. What does the union want, and what’s happening on that front right now?

HM: Well, there are two issues about going to electric cars. One is that it takes fewer workers to produce electric cars, but also the companies are setting up plants that are joint ventures with experienced lithium-ion battery manufacturers who basically come from East Asia and saying, ‘well, it isn’t there for us to extend the contract to these workers, they’re kind of on their own.’ The union is saying, ‘hey, building an electric car had better pay just as well as building a gas-powered car has been.’ This is a major issue, and in the weeds of the Inflation Reduction Act and such, there are ways that the government can pressure companies to unionize building electric cars or electric buses, or what have you. In fact, on Tuesday this week, there was a ruling out of the Treasury Department, which went further than some other rulings, pushing recipients of federal funding to basically allow their workers to go union. We’ll see where this ends up.

JW: Well, one of the key fronts in this battle over unionizing the manufacturer of electric vehicles is Georgia. There’s a coalition of labor unions and civic groups in Georgia and in Alabama. The New York Times reported on Monday, launching a campaign to target Hyundai’s electric vehicle plants and their suppliers, especially the battery manufacturers. Hyundai is building an electric car mega site outside Savannah. It’s the largest economic development project in the history of Georgia. Hyundai is one of the world’s largest automakers. It is non-union. It is expected to reap huge benefits from Biden’s push to transition to electric vehicles. In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp is providing $1.8 billion in tax subsidies for this new Hyundai mega site outside Savannah. It’s the largest tax deal in the history of the US auto industry, not just Georgia history, all of American history. The Prospect reports that the construction contract for the new Hyundai electric vehicle plant did already go to a non-union firm.  Hyundai, by the way, has contributed heavily to Republicans. 

The UAW is one of the key unions in this campaign in Georgia about the Hyundai mega site. Georgia, of course, is a key swing state for Biden in 2024. How much can the UAW ask for here? How much can the Biden Administration ask for? I understand that this Labor Community Coalition in Georgia is seeking what’s called a community benefit agreement, a kind of a standard thing where the company is asked to promise to hire locally, to provide training for new workers, to protect the environment around the plants, to hire and promote women, minorities, and Vets. I notice making these union jobs is not on that list. How does the UAW imagine this could be a win?

HM: Well, to begin with, Hyundai is a union company in its home country of South Korea, and all of the transplant factories of BMW and Mercedes and Volkswagen and Toyota and Hyundai, and what have you, are unionized in their home countries. They’re just not unionized in the American South as it were. They go along with the local anti-union folkways of Dixie. What we see in the demands that this coalition has put forth – this basically, I think, originates with an organization called Jobs to Move America, which not surprisingly is headed by a woman named Madeline Janis, who was the spark plug of the Living Wage movement, which also focused on community benefits.

This is sort of your ultimate plan B. This is the best you can get when you can’t actually affect unionization. But this was all put in place before Friday’s NLRB ruling, which suggests to me that, among other things, the auto workers who have failed to unionize any of the southern auto factories, all of which have involved campaigns doomed by the unfair labor practices, see previous part of conversation.

JW: Yes.

HM: This is a rapidly changing landscape. Of course, any change of landscape in the American South is probably for the good, so we’ll see what the combination of these two significant developments can bring.

JW: I see that the UAW has not endorsed Biden for reelection yet. Why not?

HM: Because they’re holding out for more pressure to guarantee that these folks working in electric car facilities or electric car parts facilities go union. Biden has been making speeches to that effect, and we’re seeing some rulings from some of the government agencies that control the Inflation Reduction Act funds, which is mainly what’s funding this huge growth in factories around the country where these rulings come down on the issue of unionization, and as I mentioned, the Treasury Department has just, well under the radar, issued some rulings which do promote unionization. They are leaning on Biden. I mean, they’re not going to endorse Trump or any Republican, but they are leaning on Biden to get as many union engendering rulings out of the various federal departments as possible.

JW: So if the auto workers do go on strike, it will be after midnight on September 14th.  The Hollywood strikes continue. 11,500 writers have been on strike for 120 days. 160,000 actors have been on strike for 42 days. News from the picket lines here in Los Angeles where we record our show, because of triple digit heat in the Valley and Burbank pickets this week at Disney, NBC, Universal and Warner Brothers are being canceled. Members are encouraged to join the picket lines those days at Fox in West LA, Netflix in Paramount in Hollywood, and Sony and Amazon in Culver City. The Writer’s Guild and the studios and streamers met last on August 18th. We’re now, what? 10 days after that. Nothing has happened as a result of those meetings towards a settlement.

The big news came recently when the Writers Guild raised the issue of antitrust enforcement by the government. The WGA predicts that if Disney, Amazon and Netflix are allowed to continue producing their content themselves in-house, other streaming platforms will wither away or else end up bought by one of the big three, and indeed, this is something Wall Street is already demanding of them. The WGA says there are historical precedents for antitrust action in this situation. Please explain.

HM: Yeah, in 1948 when there were sort of the eight major traditional Hollywood studios, MGM, Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, et cetera, those studios made the movies and also owned large chains of movie theaters, some of them as many as 1500 theaters around the country. The Supreme Court ruled that you can’t do that, this is a violation of antitrust. Then in the 1970s, a kind of less dramatic version of that happened when the three Legacy networks, CBS, NBC, ABC were restricted from producing many of the shows that they then aired.

There are two clear precedents that you can’t have vertical monopolization controlling both distribution and production of the entertainment product. The WGA’s report on this made this very clear, and then the Biden appointee who heads the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan, had made some comments saying – she’s sort of the leading antitrust enforcer, slash, reviver in antitrust, whicch really had been kind of a forgotten doctrine until Biden became president. She’s made some comments that, yeah, this is something the FTC is going to look at, and that I think probably gives the studios more pause at this juncture than anything that can happen on picket lines.

JW: Yeah, the Writer’s Guild says that the consolidation, the vertical integration of streaming and production is one of the root causes of low wages and deteriorating working conditions for writers, and of course, also for actors. But how exactly would antitrust action or the threat of antitrust action help the writers and the actors in the current strike?

HM: Well, it would give them more possible employers if there’s only a handful of employers, and if those employers don’t pay very much or do the things that are at issue in the strike, like not really paying very much for streaming and not hiring very many writers in what are so-called writers’ rooms. The writers don’t have any place else to go.  So there is, for the first time in antitrust doctrine for a very long time, under Lina Khan’s FTC, concern for what concentration inflicts upon workers, not just on consumers. That’s a new approach, sort of like reviving the National Labor Relations Act standards of the 1940s. This is reviving antitrust standards of the New Deal, when the fate of workers mattered as much as the fate of consumers.

JW: The auto workers may go on strike in September. The Hollywood writers and actors have been on strike, some of them since May.  And then there’s the Teamsters, who settled without going on strike against UPS. That’s the biggest labor union event of the year for American workers, 340,000 UPS workers voted recently to approve their new contract. It was 86% vote in favor of the new five-year contract, and this gives them more money, $7.50 an hour more by the end of the five-year contract. Starting pay for part-timers got bumped up to $21. They got the two-tier wage system eliminated. They ended forced overtime on driver’s days off, they got a promise to equip new trucks with air conditioning. There’s one more thing UPS agreed to. If you look at the fine print on the news stories here, UPS agreed to a Teamsters demand to stop using driver facing cameras in the brown trucks. What’s that about?

HM: That’s about the growth of employers’ 24/7 surveillance of their employees. The Teamsters had two goals in this campaign. One, was to get a really good contract for their own members and that this would be a big deal because there are more unionized employees at UPS than there are at any other American company. And to help them roll on this offensive to really the big target they have, which is Amazon and Amazon warehouse workers and truck drivers. Guess what is the company that does more visual electronic surveillance of their workers than any other company? It wasn’t UPS, it’s Amazon, where every breath that their warehouse workers take is essentially recorded. The technical term is Tayloristic surveillance of their workers.  And if any one aspect of the Teamsters’ contract with UPS was also intended to tell Amazon workers, ‘hey, you don’t have to put up with this crap.’ It’s the elimination of surveillance, that I think will help, and it’s going to take a union as big and as militant as the Teamsters with help from every other union to take on a behemoth like Amazon.

JW: Last but not least, I understand there’s a new AFL-CIO poll on attitudes towards labor unions.

HM: Yes, and like all the recent polls, it shows that unions have a higher approval rating than just about any other American institution– in the 70th percentile.  But one thing that struck me was that on the poll, people who were between the ages of 18 and 29 had an 88% approval rating for unions. I noticed this both because it was obviously so high, and because in adding up the unionization votes of all the university grad students in the last year and a half who have TAs and RAs and who voted to go union, I calculated that 89% of those grad students voted for unions, which really matches that 88% union approval rating among Americans between the ages of 18 and 29. This is Generation Union that we’re talking about.

JW: Harold Meyerson: he writes about labor at the American Prospect. Thank you, Harold.

HM: Always good to be here, Jon.

[BREAK]

JW: When a criminal is indicted for his crimes, it’s not easy on the wife and kids, and it’s even harder when the father’s been charged with 91 felonies and is facing four separate trials with a possible 700 years in prison. But that’s the situation facing Ivanka and Jared, Don Jr. and Little Eric, along with Tiffany and, of course, Melania. For that story, we turn to Amy Wilentz. She’s our Chief Jared Correspondent. She’s best known for her work on Haiti, most recently, the award-winning book Farewell, Fred Voodoo. She was the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for The New Yorker. She’s a longtime contributing editor at The Nation, and she’s a 2020 Guggenheim fellow. Also, she teaches in the Literary Journalism program at UC Irvine. Amy, welcome back.

Amy Wilentz: Thank you, Jon. I’m so pleased to be here.

JW: The first Trump indictments came down in April. These were around the Stormy Daniels hush money payments, $130,000, where Trump was charged with 34 felonies. That night, he called the family together to sit in the front row for a defiant speech at Mar-a-Lago. We have a picture of that night. Who was there – and who was not there?

AW: First of all, it looks like a funeral. They’re all dressed in black. They’re forced to sit in the front row and stand for the photograph. It’s very formal. So who was there? Donald Jr. and his dark-haired, fulminating wife, Kim Guilfoyle; Eric and his blonde wife, who you think at first could be Ivanka; and Tiffany and her husband. 

One other strange person is in the lineup. There’s a figure who does not have the super slender look like the other Trump family members, and this is Viktor Knavs. He’s not often summoned for full, front-and-center photos by Trump. He’s Melania’s father, and apparently he’s the only member of his wife’s family Trump could scrounge up for this. He looked somewhat at sea among the tall, blonde zombies. 

But in his rambling speech that evening, Trump thanked the family, including the absent Ivanka, but he did not mention the absent Melania. He said, “I have a son here who’s done a great job, and I have another son here who’s done a great job, and Tiffany and Ivanka, and Barron, who will be great someday. He is tall. He is tall, and he’s smart.” But Ivanka was not there, and Barron might be tall and in the future great, but he also was not there.

JW: Okay. Ivanka wasn’t there, and Melania wasn’t there. Of course, the Stormy Daniels hush money payments have special significance especially for Melania. While Trump was having sex with Stormy Daniels at Lake Tahoe, she had recently given birth to their son, Barron. What have we learned about her reaction to the indictment?

AW: She apparently wrote many emails to her lawyer in the wake of the revelations about the hush money, and the New York DA has attempted to obtain those email messages. Supposedly, they contain threats of divorce as well as other humiliating or scandalous information that Melania has about her husband’s affairs and business dealings. But so far, the New York DA’s request to gain access to those messages has been denied. We’ll see if a new framing of the request can pass muster with the judge who denied those so far.

JW: Of course, no daughter is happy when it’s international news that her father paid hush money for sex with a porn star. What do we know about Ivanka’s reaction to the Stormy Daniels news?

AW: Yeah, I guess she thought about the indictments, and she didn’t really want to address them themselves. So she said in a statement that she released, “I love my father and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both.” 

JW: Being pained for both. She’s in pain that her country has to endure the news about her rotten father.

AW: One could interpret it in many ways. One could interpret it: ‘Also, I love my father. He’s no good. I also love my country, and I’m great.’

JW: Now, this reminds us of the statement she made back in November 2022, when Trump had announced he was running for reelection. This was two years ahead of the election, a pretty unusual early start for an announcement, which was widely understood to be a move against prosecutors who were, at that point, preparing to indict him. He thought it would be harder to prosecute a former president while he was running for reelection. What was the reaction of Ivanka to her father’s announcement that he was running again?

AW: It started the same way. Maybe she starts every sentence this way, “I love my father, but this time around I’m choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family.”

JW: Who can argue with family values?

AW: Not him.

JW: Then, in June, came Trump’s second indictment. This was 40 felony charges for violating the Espionage Act by refusing to turn over classified documents after he left office. These included papers detailing America’s nuclear weapons programs, plans to respond to a foreign attack, and potential weak points in US defenses. What do we know about Melania’s reaction to that one, 40 more felonies, bringing the total at that point to 74?

AW: She hasn’t made any public statements about this, but she does seem to continue to be keeping her distance from his messes. After the second indictment was handed down, Page Six reported that Melania is in a wait-and-see position. She knows what she signed up for. He’ll either be in prison, be president, or both. 

JW: He’ll either be in prison, be president, or both. That’s a very healthy way to look at it. Then came the third indictments. These were the federal charges brought by Jack Smith about Trump’s conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. Then, of course, the fourth set of charges were the RICO charges in Georgia, bringing the total to 91. What did we learn about Melania’s reaction after all that?

AW: People Magazine had the headline, ‘Melania sees it as a problem for her husband, not for her.’

JW: The subsequent indictments 2, 3, and 4 did not bring Trump to call the family together again for more defiance speeches and pictures at Mar-a-Lago. He did that on his social media platform and in his campaign speeches. We haven’t said anything about Don Jr. or little Eric. Have they stayed away from politics the way Ivanka and Jared have?

AW: Don Jr. and his longtime girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, they tried to get into the spin room after the Republican debate that they were denied access. Yet she went on to defend Trump, probably showing the way she would’ve spun the story. She just made a very interesting argument about how her boyfriend’s father shouldn’t be charged with racketeering. She said, “It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Okay, can you imagine RICO, okay, violations? Even John Gotti never had four indictments at once. There’s no mob boss, let alone they do this to President Trump. How is that a defense of Trump?” Isn’t she saying Trump is even worse than John Gotti? 

JW: It does seem to be the case, yes.

AW: Crazy.

JW: We haven’t said anything about the other daughter, Tiffany, who is, of course, the daughter of Trump and Marla Maples. Has Tiffany been in any of the news about all of this?

AW: Tiffany, the often-rejected daughter, managed to get married recently, and it was unfortunate for her that it was the day after the midterm elections when most, if not all, of Donald Trump’s preferred candidates lost. As we know, Donald Trump doesn’t like to lose. So it kind of cast a pall over the Tiffany celebrations, that otherwise might have been more festive having a growling father-in-law.

JW: So the day after Trump’s big defeat in the midterms was Tiffany’s wedding, and then the day after his fourth indictment, the RICO charges in Georgia, was a big event for Ivanka and Jared. Tell us about that.

AW: That was the bat mitzvah of their eldest daughter, Arabella.

JW: Your favorite?

AW: My personal favorite Trump.

JW: What do we know about Trump’s role in the bat mitzvah? Did he go to the synagogue? 

AW: Trump was startlingly not  present both at the synagogue and at the reception afterward. But he and Melania did throw a birthday party for Arabella beforehand at Mar-a-Lago.

JW: So celebrating on his turf but not on their turf?

AW: Yes, keeping it his own and not participating, if I may say so, in the Jewish portion of the festivities.

JW: So there’s been some more news about Ivanka and Jared since then. She had announced, as you said, that she would not be part of the reelection campaign. At the time she made that announcement, Ron DeSantis was doing really well. He had just been reelected Florida governor by a huge margin. The polls showed him in some places, like in Texas, Republicans preferred DeSantis over Trump by more than 10 points. The Murdoch tabloid said it had a headline that read DeFUTURE, referring to DeSantis. But now some polls show Trump tied with Biden in popular support, which raises a problem for Ivanka and Jared. If he’s elected again, shouldn’t they be part of this? Will they go back to work in the White House?

AW: They want to defend their standing in that machine as opposed to choosing to prioritize their young children and the private life they are creating as a family. What we saw was that that distance could change as the polls changed. Vanity Fair reported that Trump’s mid-July private screening of the notorious child trafficking movie Sound of Freedom, which he gave at his Bedminster Golf Club, and it was a big kind of gala affair, the kind of thing Ivanka doesn’t like to miss, an opportunity for a new gown, et cetera. Then the guest list included the QAnon-promoting star Jim Caviezel and other MAGA figures like Steve Bannon and Kari Lake, but it also included Jared and Ivanka. This was the big news of the evening, that they had come to an event essentially for her father.

JW: What was the speculation in Vanity Fair about why this would be an important step for Jared as well as Ivanka?

AW: Jared is very concerned about guarding his standing in the Middle East after he made peace in the Middle East, according to him. He then left the White House, and after they left power, he received a $2 million invest–

JW: $2 billion.

AW: I always forget Middle East standards. Million, it is $2 billion from Mohammed bin Salman, who is the head of Saudi Arabia, and what kind of investment you’d like to see continuing to come in. So if Trump is in the White House, it would be shocking to all Trump watchers if Jared could possibly keep a decent distance from that pattern.

JW: Bringing it up to the present, the news last week was that Melania was privately, “seething in fury,” over a social media post of Donald’s. Tell us about that.

AW: His organization posted a photo of Barron behind a debate podium with the caption, “In an effort to level the playing field, Barron Trump will debate Joe Biden.” The post got nearly 20,000 likes, and it made Melania furious because she and Donald have a longstanding agreement to keep Barron out of the public eye as much as possible. This seemed a clear violation. He’s 17 years old. An unnamed insider told the website RadarOnline that Melania has been incredibly protective of Barron and has told Donald she won’t stand for him to be exploited by anyone, including his father. He made a promise to protect their son, and he broke it. This source goes on to say there’s a good chance she won’t forgive him, and the next time we see them together, it may be in divorce court. In fact, the last time she appeared with him was at the birthday party before the bat mitzvah.

JW: So there’s talk about Melania divorcing Donald Trump. I guess we all need a divorce from Donald Trump—and Melania points the way. Amy Wilentz. Thank you, Amy. It’s great to have you back on the show.

AW: Thanks, Jon.

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Jon Wiener is a contributing editor of The Nation and co-author (with Mike Davis) of Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties.

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