(CNN) – The two eldest sons of Donald Trump had a peculiar weekend.
Ivanka Trump, traveling with her father to Asia, sought to play the role of a kind of shadow secretary of state. He attended a series of bilateral meetings between US and foreign powers in the G20. He was part of the photo shoot after the president's 20 steps in North Korea with dictator Kim Jong Un. (And it made him uncomfortable!) He tried to start a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; the president of France, Emmanuel Macron; the president of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Theresa May, outside the G20.
"You probably saw that Ivanka Trump was, she has done a fantastic job and also a fantastic job to get jobs for many people in our country, almost 10 million people," Trump told the media during a press conference the end Weekend in Osaka, Japan.RELATED
READ: Trump welcomes dictators and despots at the G20 summit
Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, was making his own news. During Thursday's debate, he retweeted this Tweet on the racial identity of Senator Kamala Harris of California: “Kamala Harris is hinting that she is a descendant of American black slaves. No. She comes from Jamaican slave owners. It's okay. She is not an American black. Point.". (Later, Don Jr. removed the retuit, which had shared the tweet with the comment: “Is it true? Wow.” His spokesman told The New York Times that it was a misunderstanding.)
In just a few days, then, you had two children of the president of the United States making great movements on the national and international stage, one that acts as a kind of diplomat and the other as the main driver of what could be a second attempt at paint a black Democratic candidate for president as exotic.
None of that is normal. It is also not appropriate at all.
The seeds of this type of weekend have been growing for a while, since the president found a gap in the Federal Anti-Nepotism Law that allowed him to name both Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, for senior positions in the White House. (Ivanka, Jared and Don Jr. were also all officials of Trump's presidential transition team). The law, established after John Kennedy named his brother, Bobby, has been interpreted to apply only to federal agencies, and the White House is not. And, in truth, the roots grew even before that, when Trump refused to put his assets in an independent fund, instead of delegating to Don Jr. (and another son, Eric) the company's management. (It is not at all clear that the president avoids talking about the health of his business w ith his two children).
READ: New York Times: Tax documents show that Trump companies lost more than $ 1 billion in a decade
Trump has never hidden his confidence in his children, well, above all others. He kept them close to him in his business and in his television reality world; Ivanka and Don Jr. were regular presences in "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice", playing the right man (and woman) before "Mr. Trump. "
Nor has it made it difficult to realize that he sees Ivanka as the first among equals when it comes to his offspring. "If I ever wanted to run for president," Trump told Elaina Plott of The Atlantic earlier this year, "I think she would be very, very hard to beat."
All of which makes the fact that Trump named Ivanka and her husband for the leading (though amorphous) roles in the White House even more worrisome and predictable than a moment like the one we saw during the weekend. (Trump told Plott that he had no idea what Ivanka would do with a job at the White House; "Then he didn't know," he said. "I'm not sure she knew.")
Sidebar: Ivanka is not the only member of his family who likes to play secretary of state, often to the dismay of the current secretary of state. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently recounted a series of episodes in which the first son-in-law acted as a kind of high-level diplomat, including once Kushner was having dinner with the Mexican Foreign Secretary without Tillerson's knowledge. . Take a step back and consider what we are talking about here: we have two people, both related (by blood and marriage) to the president of the United States and none of which has been confirmed by the Senate (or by any other person) to their current roles, acting as quasi-official diplomats of our country. And a president who not only approves this behavior but encourages him!
MIRA: G20: The moments that starred Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro and Macri
And not to mention that in the United States the eldest son of the president is fanning conspiracies of "birtherism" (term used when doubting the birthplace of Barack Obama) against one of the main Democrats who run to dismiss Trump.
The conclusion is simple but surprising: Trump runs the country as a family business, treats those who are related to him differently from everyone else. The problem, among a series of problems, with a configuration like this is that we are NOT talking about a family business, we are talking about the United States government and, in the case of Don Jr., the campaign to re-elect (or not) the President within 17 months.
MIRA: What exactly does Ivanka Trump do?
Allowing Ivanka and Don Jr. (and Kushner) to be a kind of free radical in government chemistry is a dangerous experiment. When you have Ivanka as secretary of state, what does that mean for the way our allies (and our enemies) perceive us? Do they take the word of the current secretary of state (I speak of you, Mike Pompeo) or see Ivanka closer to the president? And what happens if / when Ivanka and Pompeo disagree when it comes to the message they are sending to a country or to the international community in general?
AHA. Not well. And since Trump is Trump, none of this will change either.