World

Melania defends son after prof’s joke at hearing

WASHINGTON : US First Lady Melania Trump on Wednesday publicly rebuked a scholar who used her 13-year-old son's name to make a point during a hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into the President.

Constitutional law professor Pamela Karlan invoked Barron to demonstrate how the Constitution imposes distinctions between a monarch's power and that of a president.

"The constitution says there can be no titles of nobility," Prof Karlan told lawmakers during the House Judiciary Committee's first hearing on impeachment, which featured four constitutional scholars.

"So while the president can name his son 'Barron,' he can't make him a baron."

The pun led to chuckles in the congressional hearing room, but Mrs Trump made clear it was no laughing matter.

"A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics," she tweeted.

"Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering and using a child to do it."

US President Donald Trump retweeted his wife's message.

As the row snowballed, Prof Karlan tried to stem the damage by expressing her regret.

"I want to apologise for what I said earlier about the president's son.

"It was wrong of me to do that" she told the panel, before adding she also wished "the President would apologise for the things that he's done that's wrong."

During the hearing, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz snapped at Prof Karlan, telling her that invoking Mr Trump's son "does not lend credibility to your argument. It makes you look mean." - AFP

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