Barron Trump is America's Caesar, according to the very online right.
Donald Trump’s 18-year-old son has a face you’d put on a gold coin. (Illustration by The Free Press; photo via Getty Images)

Barron Trump, American Caesar

Donald Trump’s 18-year-old son is going to save the nation, according to the online right.

Barron Trump is the future American Caesar. I’m told he is keeping a list of enemies so that he can one day avenge his father. I’m told that one day, he will cross the Potomac with 10,000 men to dissolve the Senate. I’m told that he will do these things, and become my God Emperor and yours, because he is six feet, seven inches with an aquiline nose.

According to memes from the very online right, Donald Trump’s 18-year-old son is destined to save the nation.

To understand what the hell is going on here, we need to go back to November 2016, when longtime Trump nemesis Rosie O’Donnell tweeted: “[Is] Barron Trump Autistic?” She linked to a YouTube video on the subject, which highlighted the 10-year-old boy’s supposed symptoms, such as fidgeting in his seat, blinking, and fake-clapping—reminding the world that the left can be just as creative with its conspiracy theories as the right.

On hearing of it, Barron’s doting mother Melania, the new first lady, promptly threatened to sue the YouTuber behind the video, which has since been taken down. But the very online right took the conspiracy and ran with it: yes, Barron was autistic, but autistic to the point of genius. He was so smart, the theory went, that he had created a load of pro-Trump bots to get his dad into the White House.

The idea of Barron Trump as a conniving, neurodivergent boy genius has persisted ever since—so perhaps it was only a matter of time before it collided head-on with the online right’s deep and abiding dream: that of finding an “American Caesar.”

It’s a dream most passionately articulated by Curtis Yarvin, a self-described “monarchist” writer, who advocates for the replacement of America’s democracy with a dictatorship, to save its empire. He’s an extreme case: I’m not convinced many on the online right actually want to live under a dictatorship. But given that nearly 70 percent of Republicans believe the last election was stolen, it’s fair to say they’re not optimistic about democracy. Then again, perhaps the dream of an American Caesar has stuck around just because it sounds cool and men like thinking about the Roman Empire.

Still, that the very online have settled on Barron as the perfect candidate, of all the Trump brood, tells us something about what they’re longing for. Ivanka and Tiffany are out, because there’s no such thing as a Lady Caesar. Don Jr. is out, because he clearly wants to be his father’s successor, appearing constantly on the campaign trail and in the media in fits of Freudian desperation. Caesar does not clamor, and Don Jr. does. Eric seems passive, willing to take a backseat to anyone grabbing at the wheel, including his wife Lara, the newly inaugurated chair of the RNC.

Barron would make a perfect Caesar, says the online right, because of his “physiognomy”: his eyes are what internet race scientists call A50s, a deep blue color reserved for “philosophers, kings, explorers, and inventors,” according to a chart somebody on 4chan made half a decade ago. Also, his profile looks a bit like a statue of Alexander the Great, or someone on a Roman coin. And then there’s his massive height. Others who aspire to power “will always look like peasants next to him,” notes one typical tweet

Neither Don Jr. nor Eric has a face you’d put on an ancient gold coin, but Barron does, and apart from that, we know nothing about him. Melania has protected his privacy so fiercely that he is a blank canvas—the very opposite of his petty, gaudy, vindictive, musical theater–loving loudmouth father. Barron, meanwhile, seems to have inherited his mother’s icy European stoicism, a rarity in America, where political families are routinely forced to pretend to be happier and more middle class than they really are.

It’s been over 250 years since the American Revolution and we still see the faces of British monarchs as we check out at the grocery store, slapped onto the covers of tabloids next to gum and candy bars. In the retail industry, they call this the impulse section, and for good reason. Monarchy is an itch the American mind can never scratch. Throughout the years, we’ve tried to create our own royal families—the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Kardashians—but we keep returning to the Brits because they have something our American inventions do not: tight lips. We’re obsessed with the Windsors because we know who they are, but have no idea what they’re like, what they plan for, or how they really feel. 

Of Barron, we could ask the same questions. What does he want? What does he dream of? We don’t know, so we can imagine that he is patiently plotting his takeover, the day when he will amass his army, cross the Potomac, quash his enemies, and then announce the commencement, in Latin, with a deep baritone voice, of his thousand-year dictatorial reign.

River Page is a writer on tech and culture. Follow him on X @river_is_nice. Read his last piece for The Free Press, “The Best Buyer for TikTok.”

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