Theoretically, at least, President Donald J. Trump could see something that no other president in American history has ever witnessed. A White House wedding for two of his children. I say theoretically, because it is indeed a mathematical possibility. It would be high drama.
First, there is the fact that Tiffany Trump is a 25-year-old beauty who is a Georgetown Law student. She is considered to be “seriously dating” her boyfriend, Michael Boulos. If they decided to tie the knot and Tiffany chose the White House as the venue, it would be only the tenth such wedding of a presidential child in American history.
Then, there is Donald Trump, Jr. who was divorced from his wife Vanessa at the end of 2017. Don, Jr. is often accompanied by his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle. If Trump and Guilfoyle should happen to get married in the White House, it would be only the second time in American history for a president’s son. The last time was in 1828, when John Adams the second, was married to his cousin, Mary Catherine Hellen in the Elliptical Salon, today’s Blue Room.
A wedding of Tiffany Trump would very likely be the greatest social event of our lifetime. Forget the antipathy of the national media toward Donald Trump, there were riots in the streets when LBJ was president. Tricia Nixon had fellow university students spit on her when she walked across campus. But when Lynda Bird Johnson and later, Tricia Nixon, were married in the White House, the whole country stopped their tantrum and celebrated. Portions of Nixon’s wedding were featured on television and dominated coverage in prime time for a week. Both ladies were featured on the cover of LIFE and every other popular magazine of the day.
Alice Roosevelt’s wedding in 1906 dominated every column of the front page of the Washington Post. It was an international event. The number one hit song in the nation was about her. They named a color after her. Thereafter ladies would ask for their dresses to be made from the cloth of “Alice Blue.” It was said that Alice had so many gifts that they were stored in government warehouses and that she was still opening them in her senior years.
The first wedding of a president’s daughter almost precipitated an international crisis. In 1820, Maria Monroe, the daughter of President James Monroe was to be married but foreign ambassadors were told that they could not attend, neither the ceremony nor the reception. Maria’s overbearing elder sister had taken control of the social duties at the White House and wanted no foreign observers.
Weddings were major events in Europe. They sometimes determined one’s religion, will we be Catholic or Protestant? They sometimes established one’s nationality and thus one’s rate of taxation. How will the boundaries or our province change? As a result, royal families and their romances were followed like movie stars by some and like IPO’s by others.
The wedding of Maria Monroe represented the first great social event in American history and the Ambassadors wanted to be there. The controversy spilled over into the cabinet meetings of James Monroe and helped stiffen his spine when he announced his famous Monroe Doctrine, warning European nations to stay out of the affairs of the Western Hemisphere.
The last possible opportunity for a White House wedding was when Jenna Bush married Henry Hager in 2008. The Secret Service feared that a White House wedding would make the couple internationally famous and thus posed a risk to their security. They married instead in a tent on the Bush ranch outside of Waco, Texas.
Another famous family, well versed in the art of branding, the House of Windsor, has often weighed this balance between risk and reward and again and again they have opted to televise their coronations, funerals, and weddings. It was indeed dangerous when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently married and rode in an open carriage by thousands of the cheering public but the House of Windsor has a brand to promote and maintain.
It is quite possible that Donald Trump, Jr. will marry quietly somewhere and announce it after the fact. And it is possible that Tiffany Trump will wait until her father is out of office and the storm passes before she even considers marriage. But just in case, be prepared for a seismic change in the national atmosphere. The Trump family knows a thing or two about branding.
A televised Trump wedding would pose a difficult moment for the nation’s anti-Trump media. They would either have to make some small concessions to reasonable civility, or see their audiences swept away for days at a time by the Fox News Channel.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush, with whom he co-authored the book "Man of Integrity." Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.