Media attacks on Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric—launched over photos of them posed with downed game from an African safari they took two years ago—seemed to be dying down after going viral on the Internet for a couple of weeks.
Then, another angle surfaced.
“Trump’s Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting Trip,” was the headline on ABCnews.com. This story reported that “an investigation led by conservationists” was underway into whether license and trophy fees were paid. Other stories claimed the Trumps’ outfitter was not registered, and that a leopard was killed illegally on the hunt.
But according to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, none of these claims has any truth to them whatsoever.
Eric Trump shared a letter with NRAhuntersrights.org, from V. Chadenga, Director-General of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. The letter stated, in part:
“I would like to officially respond to the baseless allegations that Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump hunted illegally during their visit to Zimbabwe. First and foremost, there is no ‘Official Investigation’ into the Trumps’ activities here as from day one all the requisite documentation was properly handled and the appropriate licenses were obtained which resulted in the issuance of the export paperwork. The only investigation which should occur is that of the ‘anti-hunting’ organizations who are peddling untruths falsely presented as facts.
“The Trumps booked a hunt through a South African firm that worked with a locally owned and registered outfitter who handled all the required hunting permits and hired the registered Zimbabwe Professional Hunters. In addition, as required by law, the Trump hunt took place under the supervision of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Game Rangers who accompany hunters daily making sure that all rules and regulations are followed. The Trumps’ hunt was no different from that of thousands of other hunters who come to Zimbabwe annually from around the world to pursue game.
“Any allegations to the contrary, are simply false and being perpetrated by anti-hunting groups looking to create a salacious story to further their cause at the expense of the hunting industry.”
In closing, Chadenga said, “We are seriously concerned by the actions intended to destroy the reputation of the hunters and outfitters who lawfully come to Zimbabwe and abide by our game laws and regulations. We expect that this issue and the false accusations against the Trumps are laid to rest and we sincerely hope to welcome them back to enjoy Zimbabwe’s natural heritage in the near future.”
As for the leopard, Zimbabwe’s parks have a quota of 500 leopards that can be legally hunted each year, under strict CITES regulations.
While one can hope that such a definitive statement will be enough to silence the Trumps’ critics, it’s also clear that facts simply don’t matter in a witch hunt—and that’s all this is. Anti-hunting zealots trying to capitalize on the visibility of the Trump name should realize that, at this point, they are only making themselves look even more on the fringe than usual.
For more background on this story, please read: Trump’s Sons Demonized Over Safari