Their brief sentiments drew quick reaction

By Adam Carlson
June 03, 2020 09:52 AM
Marla Maples (left) and Tiffany Trump
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Among the sea of lightless squares posted for "Blackout Tuesday," in solidarity with others moved by the death of George Floyd, were two high-profile members of the nation's first family: Tiffany Trump, President Donald Trump's younger daughter, and her mom, Marla Maples.

Tiffany, 26, who just graduated from law school at Georgetown University, posted a black square along with a quote from Helen Keller: "Alone we can achieve so little; together we can achieve so much."

Her mom posted a square soon after with a free-flowing caption about unity, peace and understanding. "Let’s take this day to feel the pain and fear which has been inflicted on our brothers and sisters and come together," wrote Maples, 56.

The brief sentiments drew quick reaction, both positive and negative.

"Thank you for saying something," one user responded to Tiffany's post, while another wrote: "Tiffany keep doing what you are doing. You are going to do great things!!!!!!!!!"

Others were more cutting.

"Did you see what your father did to peaceful protesters in DC last night so he could pose with a holy book he has clearly never opened?" one critic commented, referring to the president's brief appearance at St. John's near the White House on Monday night, where he was photographed holding a Bible after law enforcement forcefully cleared away protesters.

Another user replied to her: "Hey Tiffany, have you tried to talk to your father about the racist and dangerous words he’s been using throughout his presidency? That seems like a great place to start."

A third user wrote: "How do you feel about the tear gas on peaceful protests in front of the Church??? As a legal scholar, how do you feel about him involving the Insurrection Act of 1807 [to send military to act as police]?? I think those words would speak louder than this action..."

Yet another suggested the post proved Tiffany's politics had shifted away from her father's. "You drank the koolaid, Tiff?" the user wrote.

Maples — who has far fewer followers on Instagram than her daughter — received far fewer reactions and many of them were positive.

George Floyd

Neither Tiffany nor her mom are campaign surrogates or government aides for the president, though Tiffany has made repeated trips to the White House and appeared at the Republican National Convention in 2016. She was raised on the West Coast after Maples and her dad divorced in the '90s.

Other members of the family did not post on "Blackout Tuesday," which evolved into a loose but far-reaching social media trend as a way to show support for Floyd and the protests sparked by his May 25 death in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck while he pleaded for air.

President Trump has repeatedly expressed solidarity for Floyd and his family, saying they deserve justice. But his focus has become the widespread civil unrest. While many of the demonstrations across the country have been peaceful, many others have descended into rioting and looting, with buildings ransacked and police vehicles set on fire.

"Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence," First Lady Melania Trump tweeted Friday. "I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let's focus on peace, prayers & healing."

The president has said protesters, some of whom he's called "thugs" and "terrorists," must be "dominated" by police and the military.

"The biggest victims of the rioting are peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities, and as their president, I will fight to keep them safe," he said from the Rose Garden on Monday. "I will fight to protect you."

"If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," he said.

Over the weekend, he appeared to relish describing how the Secret Service could have sicced "vicious dogs" and "ominous weapons" on an unruly crowd gathered outside the White House.

Local leaders say the president's rhetoric about force is inflammatory and counterproductive to the underlying tensions that drove people into the street in the first place.

"He wants to make this about looting because he doesn't want to talk about the killing of Mr. Floyd," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN this week. "[He] doesn't want to really talk about racism and discrimination."