For Your Consideration: Eric Trump’s Use of the #Wife Hashtag

Eric and Lara Trump arriving for the State of the Union address on Jan. 30. She is giving a thumbs-up sign.
Eric and Lara Trump and arrive for the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 30.
Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has been dominating the news this week, so much so that if the Trumps were at all worthy of sympathy, you might have some for them now. Son of the president Eric Trump tried to let off some steam with a subtweet about “disloyal people” on Thursday night, but it “backfired spectacularly,” as HuffPost put it, because Twitter users immediately chimed in to remind Eric of all the times his father hasn’t exactly been loyal to … anyone really—his business partners, political associates, wives, etc.

But if you arrived on Eric’s timeline to check out the Omarosa subtweet, you may have come across another interesting post:

Eric was congratulating his wife, Lara Trump, on a Fox News appearance, which is the kind of thing she does regularly in her work as a surrogate for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign. But the thing to note here is the first hashtag he added to the tweet: #Wife. It’s not that it’s wrong—she is his wife—but it is very strange.

On the one hand, inexpert hashtag use is not a crime—who’s to say Eric Trump shouldn’t go around hashtagging #Scotland and #Montana even if a certain population of Twitter users are totally over hashtags? On the other, what could possibly be the point of adding that specific hashtag? The way hashtags work is that users can click on them to call up other tweets that have used the same hashtags. Perhaps it can be explained, sort of, if the tweet were cross-posted from Instagram, where adding lots of hashtags is a common practice? But even then, who’s searching the #Wife hashtag there?

As Twitter user Brendan O’Hare mock-explained, “[u]sing the #wife hashtag … allow[s] those looking for wife content to find your tweet with ease.” The point is that precisely no one is searching Twitter for “wife content.” In that way, it’s a perfectly Trumpian phrase, representative of a perfectly Trumpian viewpoint, one that that defines Lara Trump first and foremost as a wife, someone who only matters in relation to another person, and women as a class that only matters insofar as they are wives and mothers. Sure, it’s probably way more than Eric Trump was hoping to reveal when he typed that pound sign, but sometimes your worldview just seeps through.