While Donald Trump has been busy maintaining the GOP lead ahead of the Iowa caucus, two of his sons have been hunting the Hawkeye State.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, two of The Donald’s three sons, were recently pheasant hunting in Iowa, The Guardian reported. Unlike their businessman father, Trump Jr. and Eric have had a known enthusiasm for hunting since photos surfaced on the two bagging big game — including an elephant; a leopard; a waterbuck and a crocodile in Zimbabwe in 2012. Trump Jr. said the pair hunt traditional American game “90 percent” of the time.
“From my weekend house, I have deer hunting in my backyard — I’m setting up deer stands all summer,” he said, shortly after shooting his third bird, according to The Guardian.
Trump’s two sons aren’t the only GOP connection to hunting in the last several months. Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, who trails Trump by a few points in the latest Iowa polls, was criticized late last year for how he held a shotgun during an interview with CNN. The criticism was later disputed as an outlandish, irrelevant claim.
The Trump brothers’ recent tour of Iowa was arranged by Don Peay, a prominent hunter and conservationist from Utah, and former NFL player-turned-extreme hunter Jason Hairston. They spent the last weekend of January hunting Iowa on behalf of the newly-founded group Sportsmen for Trump, which intended to tour the country and bring attention to the hunting enthusiasm of Trump’s offspring.
It’s no secret the Trump family is known more for the suit-and-tie business world, owning empires of properties, including a Taj Mahal-esque hotel in Atlantic City, a hotel in Las Vegas with gold-plated windows and a private jet with gold-plated seats. However, Trump Jr. and Eric are aiming to show America they are average folks with normal hobbies. In fact, the brothers refer to their grandfather on their mother’s side as a “blue collar guy” from communist Czechoslovakia and their father as “a blue collar guy with a big balance sheet.”
Timeliness of the reported hunt could be more than a coincidence. The last two Republican winners in Iowa — Rick Santorum in 2012 and Mike Huckabee in 2008 — emphasized their own hunting interest in days leading up to the first political contest of the election year.
Other politicians, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, 2004 Democratic hopeful John Kerry and 2012 GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, have performed acts of hunting support that flopped. But the Trump brothers insisted that unlike in Romney and Kerry’s cases, their love for hunting is authentic, despite what many observers see as a choreographed photo op.