It was a moment so jarring that MSNBC’s Garrett Haake called it an “unforced error” by the Democrats.
During the first of the House Judiciary Committee’s second round of impeachment hearings on Wednesday, Pamela Karlan, one of the Democrats’ witnesses, chose to use the name of the president’s son to make a political point.
“So, kings could do no wrong because they king’s word was law,” Karlan said. “Contrary to what President Donald Trump says, Article Two does not give him the power to do anything he wants. The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he cannot make him a baron.”
But when Slate wrote about it later in the day, the blame had shifted from the leftist professor to Republicans aghast at the name of the president’s 13-year-old son being dragged into the proceedings.
Feinberg then exonerated Karlan of any wrongdoing.
“At the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment-related hearing, constitutional law expert Pamela Karlan sent Republicans into a frenzy when she publicly mentioned that the president has a son by the name of Barron,” Feinberg wrote.
“The noting of the existence of the president’s youngest child came in response to a question from Sheila Jackson-Lee, who asked Karlan about comparisons “between kings that the Framers were afraid of and the president’s conduct today.”
“It is, admittedly, an awful pun that is nonetheless perfectly clear in its meaning. Most people would have forgotten the bit of wordplay entirely if it weren’t for what happened next.”
What happened next was Republicans reacted.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the remarks a “classless move by a Democratic ‘witness.’
“Prof. Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline. And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter.”
To this, Feinberg wrote: “While Grisham’s complaint was a little haphazard (was she mad that people were laughing at a sentence that contained the word Barron or that people were laughing at something related to impeachment?) Melania Trump’s Twitter account jumped into streamline the matter.”
She then quoted the first lady’s tweet, which said that “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”
Feinberg then added: “The first lady firmly believes that a minor child should be kept out of politics, which is why she had no choice but to use her minor child to lash out at her husband’s political foes for the second time in his presidency.”