Impeachment witness apologizes after reference to Trump’s son Barron draws White House rebuke

Pamela S. Karlan.
Pamela S. Karlan. Matt McClain/The Washington Post

Stanford professor Pamela Karlan apologized Wednesday after a reference to the president’s youngest child during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing drew swift and angry rebukes from First Lady Melania Trump, the White House, and the Trump campaign.

Karlan said Trump was wrong when he once claimed the Constitution gave broad and unchecked power, like a king.

“I’ll just give you one example that shows the difference between him and a king, which is the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility,” she said. “So, while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” she said.


Melania Trump blasted the comments in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called it a “classless move.”

“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,” she said on Twitter.

President Trump, Melania Trump, and their son Barron.
President Trump, Melania Trump, and their son Barron.AFP via Getty Images

“Every Democrat in Congress should immediately repudiate Pamela Karlan and call on her to personally apologize to the President and the First Lady for mocking their son on national TV,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.

Later during the hearing, Karlan apologized for referring to Trump’s son.

“It was wrong of me to do that,” she said. “I do regret having said that.”

Republicans have sought to call Hunter Biden, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, as a witness, but Democrats have refused, and some have criticized the request by the GOP.

Christina Prignano of the Globe staff contributed to this report.