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Putting on Heirs: Eric Trump Is Making Moves

As paterfamilias runs for president, the Trump Organization is having its “best year” ever

With Donald Trump’s three eldest children helping to run the day-to-day operations of his company, the presidential aspirant can focus on polls and policy. So says his 31-year-old son, Eric, who has been “putting in a lot of flight miles” to keep the family firm on the right track. For anyone wondering whether the circus surrounding Donald Trump’s efforts to Make America Great Again has been bad for business, the answer, according to the mogul’s son, is just the opposite. “Quite frankly, it’s been probably the best year in the history of the company,” Eric says.

Despite the heightened media scrutiny aimed at his father—much of it not so flattering—the younger Trump asserts that demand for the family name, at least in the luxury real estate sector, has been explosive. “We have 200 deals that come across our desk every day, and 99.9 percent of them you’ll never do,” he says. “We’re in very high demand. So in the next couple of years, what you see us do with the hotel company is going to be nothing short of spectacular.”

Donald Trump with his three oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric

Donald Trump with his three oldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric; Photo by Douglas Gorenstein

Asked if there have been any growing pains around the office with his father out on the campaign trail, Trump is quick to dismiss the notion. “No, I wouldn’t say there are growing pains at all,” he says. “It’s been a wonderful thing for the family.”

When time allows, Trump relishes the opportunity to support his father’s political ambitions on the ground, showing up at debates and rallies in places like Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. “It’s a really fun thing looking at the internals of the presidential race—especially one that you’re winning by a large margin,” he says. “Early on in this campaign, I said, ‘Listen, if we’re going to win this, let’s win this one together.’”

Trump’s role as EVP of development and acquisitions has him overseeing the construction and rollout of properties in Dubai, Bali, Indonesia, Manila, Scotland and Ireland. As he sees it, the secret to success at these luxe locales relies on regular, nit-picky site inspections—a skill he no doubt honed during years of shadowing his father. Trump brought up his recent visit to a community they’re developing outside of Jakarta, where he went to “meet with the golf course architect, walk the course, re-lay out holes, tweak it, tweak it again. We’ll be out there in the next couple months and tweak it again. And that’s the process by which you make these things perfect.”

Indeed, his recent travel schedule has managed to rival even that of his relentless father, taking him to seven countries and five U.S. states in the 26 days preceding our interview. “I think it’s a great testament to the three of us [Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka] that he can go off without worrying that something so precious to him—the company he founded, the company he built—is in great shape,” he says.

Eric Trump

Though the business continues to open new properties in North America—a forthcoming hotel in the historic Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C., and a 63-story tower in Vancouver, among them—Trump is leading an extended push in farther-flung destinations. “There’s tremendous opportunity, tremendous growth, tremendous wealth and there’s a willingness to build,” he says of parts of the Middle East and Asia. “They’re pro-development societies, meaning you can actually get permits to do something beautiful.”

And should his father win the general election next November, Trump says he’s geared up for even less engagement from his father on the business side. “There’s no slowing down,” he says, looking ahead. “In fact, the airline miles will further increase.”

In the meantime, though, Trump is eager to spend a little downtime over the holidays at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, where the whole family gathers and takes Thanksgiving very seriously. “We eat as much as humanly possible. There’s a lot of fun camaraderie around the dining table—a lot of jokes and fun gets made of each other,” he says. “It’s fantastic.”