During the final night of the Republican National Convention on August 27, Ivanka Trump gave a speech in which she described how her son Joseph gifted his grandfather a Lego replica of The White House.
“When Jared and I moved with our three children to Washington, we didn’t exactly know what we were in for. But our kids loved it from the start,” she said. “My son Joseph promptly built grandpa a Lego replica of the White House. The president still displays it on the mantel in the Oval Office and shows it to world leaders, just so they know he has the greatest grandchildren on earth.”
However, American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps and the Marriage of Money and Power author Andrea Bernstein questioned the validity of Ivanka’s sweet story, as it seemed extremely familiar to a story the president’s daughter once said of herself as a child. Bernstein tweeted, “OMG, Ivanka is telling a story about her son Joseph building a lego model of the White House. She told the same story about herself once, building a lego Trump Tower. The story was made up.”
Bernstein, reporter for WNYC, went on to tweet that Ivanka’s story was actually stolen from her father’s book, The Art of the Deal, which was published in 1987:
My brother Robert likes to tell the story of the time when it became clear to him where I was headed,” Trump wrote. “I wanted to build a very tall building, but it turned out that I didn’t have enough blocks. I asked Robert if I could borrow some of his, and he said, ‘OK, but you have to give them back when you’re done.’ I ended up using all of my blocks, and then all of his, and when I was done, I’d created a beautiful building. I liked it so much that I glued the whole thing together. And that was the end of Robert’s blocks.
Bernstein writes in her book that Trump’s Lego story is also likely fiction. The Art of the Deal, which credits writer Tony Schwartz as a co-author, told Bernstein in an e-mail that “there is less than a 50 percent chance that anything like that ever happened.”
Following Ivanka’s RNC speech, Bloomberg News’s White House editor Alex Wayne tweeted, “Our reporters are in the Oval Office nearly every day. None of them have ever seen the Lego White House.”
Ivanka Told Conan O’Brien in 2007 About How She Glued Together a Skyscraper of Legos As a Child
While appearing On Late Night with Conan O’Brien in March 2007, Ivanka described how she was a master Lego builder at age six. In the video above, the story begins around the 1:15 mark. She said, “I remember one of my earlier Christmas gifts was a Barbie and I was devastated because my brothers had gotten Legos and Erector Sets, so to me this was traumatic.”
“So I ended up taking my younger brother’s Legos, bringing them into his room, to add insult to injury, locking him out, taking my mother’s super-glue from the 1980s — there was plenty for her nails — and gluing the Legos together in a model of Trump Tower,” Ivanka continued. “So you know my little brother is crying — (my father is) saying, ‘Ivanka, that’s terrible,’ but at the time he looked very proud.”
However, Bernstein reported that Ivanka’s book, The Trump Card, which was published in 2009, the president’s advisor wrote that her brothers called her out on the Lego story and claimed that they were ones who glued the Legos together.
Ivanka Shared an Instagram Photo of Daughter Arabella Building a Skyscraper in 2013
In 2013, Ivanka shared a photo on Instagram of her daughter Arabella playing with Magna Tiles. She captioned the photo, “She’s a builder! ( I think it’s safe to say some things are genetic…).” Arabella, her oldest child with husband Jared Kushner, is now 9 years old.
On Friday, the morning after her RNC speech, Ivanka shared a throwback photo of Trump and her son, who was three years old at the time, with his Lego creation.
Bernstein tweeted, “Ivanka Trump has tweeted a photo of her son, Joseph, with his grandfather at the Resolute Desk with the Lego White House. I’ve asked the White House if 3-year old Joseph indeed built it of his own initiative and if he had assistance. Will tweet reply if/when I get it.”
Bernstein received the following statement from The White House: “Yes he did so on his own initiative, and completed it on his own.”