donald trump jr
Donald Trump Jr. (Photo: Getty Images)

Donald Trump tried a child-separation stunt decades before his presidency, a new report says.

During his divorce from first wife Ivana Trump, the future president attempted to use his elder son, then-12-year-old Donald Trump Jr., as a bargaining chip, threatening to take the boy in order to get Ivana to accept a less expensive settlement. But it was a fake-out.

Reports Julia Ioffe in this month's "GQ:"

As Trump engaged Ivana in an epic public feud, he dispatched a bodyguard to his triplex apartment with instructions to bring his elder boy down to his office. Don, still not talking to his father, descended with the bodyguard to the 28th floor, and a few minutes later, Ivana, who described all this in her book, got a phone call. It was Trump, looking for some leverage by announcing that he was going to keep Don and raise him alone.

 

“Okay, keep him,” Ivana said she told him. “I have two other kids to raise.”

A few minutes later—his bluff out-bluffed—Trump ordered his boy to be taken back upstairs. “Donald never had any intention of keeping his son,” Ivana wrote. Donald Jr. was 12 at the time, and he stopped speaking to his father for a year.

His sister Ivanka, then 8, had separation anxiety of her own. In the new book "Born Trump," "Vanity Fair" reporter Emily Jane Fox says Ivanka worried that after her father left, she would lose her last name, asking Ivana if she would still be able to keep it.

Ivanka "called her father time after time after time, more than when he was living with her, because she was scared he was going to abandon her," said Fox on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday. She added that the pair's "incredibly complicated relationship" is why Ivanka was publicly silent on the child-separation policy — which resulted in more than 2,300 migrant children being forcibly taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border — until President Trump revoked it yesterday. Ivanka then tweeted effusive thanks.