The building that is in the process of becoming the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C.—a century-old granite behemoth that has served as postal headquarters, government offices, and a retail mall—sits cheek by jowl with an IRS building. “We’re going to work out a really good rate for them,” joked Donald J. Trump Jr., who is developing the property on behalf of his father, as he led me around the site one sunny morning this spring. “Maybe that will stop some of these ridiculous audits!”
Trump fils, the firstborn and namesake of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee,* is an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, where his projects include the D.C. hotel. Don, as he is known to friends, is strapping and tanned, with a chestnut-brown mane that he wears aggressively gelled back from his forehead, having apparently learned from his father to pick a hairdo and stick with it.
Other than a stint on The Apprentice, Don has generally kept a low public profile. But as Trump père’s presidential campaign gained traction last year, he emerged as an adviser to and a political surrogate for his father. In Iowa in January, he accompanied a group of reporters on a pheasant-hunting trip; a few days later, on caucus night, he mingled with voters at a suburban mega-church. In an interview, Donald Trump told me that his eldest child was “doing a really good job for me.” He added that, of his children, Don was the most natural salesman, with instinctive people skills. “We have different styles—maybe his is better than mine, frankly,” Donald said. “People like him a lot, and people trust him.”