President Donald Trump surprisingly refrained from tweeting during James Comey’s testimony. Donald Trump Jr, not surprisingly, did not. The president’s eldest son, whose Twitter feed can at times be as inflammatory as his father’s, was a one-man rapid-response team as the fired FBI Director testified before a Senate panel Thursday. He delivered denunciations with the same force that made him an effective if controversial, campaign surrogate and could signal his own political ambitions. Donald Trump Jr tweeted more than 80 times Thursday, defending his father and attacking Comey. Trump Jr’s Twitter barrage was all the more striking when compared to his father’s silence, which the president broke with a morning tweet accusing Comey of lying under oath on Friday.
Trump Jr declined to comment yesterday about his tweets, leaving unanswered questions as to whether they were urged by the White House, which outsourced its Comey response to the Republican National Committee and the president’s personal lawyer. Trump Jr has certainly been willing to go on the attack for his father before. He crisscrossed the United States during last year’s election, doing hundreds of interviews on Fox News and local conservative outlets. He attacked “Crooked Hillary,” his father’s derogatory nickname for opponent Hillary Clinton, and delivered a well-received speech at the Republican National Convention. That moment sparked speculation about his political future. But while Trump Jr told The Associated Press this spring that he would not, as had been rumoured, be a candidate for governor of New York, he left the door open for a political run down the road.
“Maybe someday,” Trump said then. “It’s not something I’m doing now. But you never know, it’s fascinating stuff.” He’s done a number of Republican campaign events since then, including fundraisers in Texas and Indiana and campaigning for a congressional candidate in Montana. But Trump Jr, who along with his brother Eric is running their father’s former company, has said he does not discuss the details of politics or their business with the president. He outpaced the national Republican Party with his Twitter defense Thursday. In particular, he seized on Comey’s assertion that he interpreted the president’s statement that he “hoped” the FBI would drop its probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as an instruction. “Knowing my father for 39 years when he ‘orders or tells’ you to do something there is no ambiguity, you will know exactly what he means,” Trump Jr wrote.