Lara Trump earned her place in Trumpworld via her marriage to the president's son Eric, but she has since proven herself to be as useful to her father-in-law's political aspirations as any of his children, thanks to her fluency in his favorite medium: cable television.
A former Inside Edition producer, Lara quickly put her talents to work hosting Real News Update, a weekly webcast in which she applies a cheerfully Trumpian filter to the week's biggest stories. (In her book Born Trump, Emily Jane Fox recounts how Donald paid little attention to his daughter-in-law until she emerged as one of his best campaign surrogates. "Have you watched her? She is great," a friend remembered him saying.) With Ivanka and Jared in the West Wing and Don Jr. and Eric running the family business, Lara has emerged as a go-to choice for Fox News bookers who want to treat their audience to a real live member of the first family.
On Thursday morning, Lara made an appearance alongside Fox Business Network personality Stuart Varney in order to discuss a "crisis at the border." Over the requisite scary-looking B-roll of migrants traveling through Mexico, Varney remarked that the footage reminded him of German chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to admit approximately 1.1 million refugees, many of whom were fleeing the still ongoing Syrian civil war, into the country. "Catastrophic," he called it. In the strongest possible terms, Lara agreed.
It was the downfall of Germany. It was one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany. This president knows that, and he's trying to prevent that from happening here.
Here are some facts about that particular influx of asylum seekers, according to a team of researchers who surveyed German citizens about their attitudes toward their new neighbors: Even though most respondents remain skeptical about the prospect of living near refugees, they report holding "strong humanitarian views" and express sympathy for those displaced by armed conflict—especially families with children. Notwithstanding these disheartening strains of Islamophobia and NIMBY-ism, the researchers found "no widespread perception that Germany was undergoing a 'refugee crisis'" of the type often reported in right-wing media outlets. The team also learned that Germans who had actually gotten to know refugees were likeliest to welcome more refugees into their communities.
Meanwhile, here are some things that have happened to Germany just in the past century, as gleaned from a Wikipedia article entitled "History of Germany" and my vague recollections from my tenth-grade social studies class: The government estimates that some two million soldiers were killed in World War I. The deaths of an additional one million civilians are attributed to an Allied blockade of the country and a devastating flu epidemic. Postwar hyperinflation plunged the nation into poverty, prompted citizens to use millions of marks as kindling for their fires, and contributed to the conditions that allowed the Nazi Party to rise to power several years later.
About 4.3 million Germans died in World War II, including hundreds of thousands of German Jews who were murdered by their own government in the Holocaust. Trump, incidentally, is not the only MAGA media grifter for whom this particular stretch of history has been troublesome of late; Twitter personality and off-the-rails congressional witness Candace Owens was recently forced to clarify remarks in which she defended "nationalism" by arguing that if Adolf Hitler "had just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well," it would have been "okay" and "fine." (It is an interesting coincidence that two Trump-adjacent people managed to treat similar subjects with such apparent flippancy.) Afterward, the United States and the Soviet Union literally divided the war-ravaged country in two and built a militarized wall down the middle of its capital. Reunification would not occur for more than four decades.
None of these events, however, were the true "downfall of Germany." To Lara Trump, that long-dreaded day did not come until 2015, when a wealthy industrialized member of the European Union agreed to grant refuge to some humanitarian refugees, something her father-in-law actively shuns.
An earlier version of this post misidentified Emily Jane Fox.