Donald Trump Jr. is now posting memes implying the media is downplaying child sex trafficking, the latest example of his embrace of the fringe far-right and the conspiracy theories that define it.
The former president’s oldest child is one of the most prominent conservatives on social media, and over the weekend he posted an image to his 5.2 million Instagram followers which said: “They should start reporting the number of kids that go missing every day the way they report COVID numbers.”
The meme Trump posted has existed since last year, and hits two targets with a lot of overlap: QAnon’s obsession with child sex trafficking and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans but many on the far-right nonetheless believe has been overblown.
“I’d be much more interested in this… and I imagine this would be much more enlightening to others as well,” Trump Jr. said in the caption. He also tagged Gina Carano, the actress and former MMA fighter who was dropped from the cast of ‘The Mandalorian’ earlier this year after she compared criticism of conservatives to treatment of Jewish people during the Holocaust.
Trump Jr. has gestured towards this crowd before. In early September, he posted a tweet claiming the Biden administration “seems to be in the process of aiding and abetting child sex trafficking,” based on reports that during the collapse of Kabul and the Afghan military this summer, the U.S. evacuated older Afghan men along with young girls they said were their brides.
During a Senate hearing in September, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that “everyone involved in the evacuation effort” was on “extreme vigilance to look for and deal with any cases or concerns” about child sex trafficking. Blinken said he was aware of “a limited number of cases where we have separated people because we were concerned” about trafficking.
And in May 2020, after Biden had become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Trump Jr. posted a meme on Instagram describing Biden as a pedophile. He later said that he was “joking around”—while also doubling down on the implication made in the meme.