For a family versed in show business, and frankly little else, the Trumps have a really weird struggle with optics. After years of Twitter abuse toward President Obama about his less than weekly golf game, Trump waved his tiny middle finger (figuratively, of course) at the country and decided to golf even more.
Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has his own optics problem. Two years ago, a series of pictures became viral after he and his brother Eric went big game hunting.
What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature pic.twitter.com/L1gquLQrRz
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) May 13, 2015
The Trump boys consider themselves outdoorsmen, but not like most Americans who consider themselves to be outdoors people. No, the Trump’s don’t hunt for such mundane prey as ducks or deer, as many of Trump’s voters do. They hunt for animals most Americans will never see outside of a zoo.
Trump Jr. did it again. He went shark fishing off the coast of Florida and he was quite successful, although he ended up putting the fish back. It was what he did in between catching the shark and releasing it that has animal rights activists and the internet in an uproar.
Much of the controversy has surrounded this Instagram post:
This is what happens when momma lets the boys loose in Florida for a few days… Shhh don’t tell her. #parentgoals ? Amazing morning with Donnie, Spencer, and my buddy @blacktiph. This is one of half dozen Blacktip sharks (ALL CATCH AND RELEASE) we had on, 2 of which were attacked by a huge hammerhead (800+ pounds) all right off the beach. Insane day on the water. #shark #familytime #fatherson #family #weekend #fishing #beachlife #surf #surfcasting #fl #florida #spring #break #springbreak #catchandrelease
Many accused Jr. of catching an endangered shark, which isn’t true:
Among the world’s 500-plus shark species, some are indeed considered endangered (like hammerheads and whale sharks*), but blacktips (Carcharhinus limbatus) like this one are not. The animal was caught and subsequently released at Palm Beach, and Trump Jr. – who has also taken heat for trophy hunting in the past – did nothing illegal by landing it.** However, that doesn’t mean the encounter was well handled.
Source: Earth Touch News Network
The problem, according to Florida guidelines, was that he was essentially torturing the shark by dragging out of the water and leaving it out for his own gratuitous purposes of getting the perfect picture.
“It is okay to take a picture of a fish while it’s in the process of being released,” they write. “But a fish should not be held out of the water for long periods just for the purpose of taking a picture.”
Here’s the video showing Trump doing exactly that:
The Twitter reaction did not share Trump’s excitement for the display of man over fish:
Donald Trump Jr is so proud he dominates over a helpless sea creature. What a man. https://t.co/9rySdA3jye
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) March 31, 2017
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) March 31, 2017
If nothing else, we now have the perfect metaphor for when Don Jr.’s dad is “dragged” out of the White House in handcuffs.
Featured image via Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images.