President Trump reportedly hesitated before saddling his oldest son with the name Donald Jr. “What if he’s a loser?” he initially worried, according to Ivana Trump’s 2017 memoir.
But as it turns out, the shared moniker has one major advantage: It means the president can pass belts, polo shirts and wallets with the “DJT” monogram along to his son.
The president’s penchant for regifting monogrammed goods was revealed during a red-carpet interview with “Extra” at a Tuesday night party hosted by the Daily Mail in New York. When Donald Trump Jr. was asked to name the best or worst gift he has ever received from his father, he didn’t hesitate before answering.
“Well, I’m the namesake, so I got regifted all the things that were monogrammed for him at times,” Trump Jr. replied. “There was one Christmas where he may or may not have given me the gift I had given him the year before because I monogrammed it. And I’m like, ‘I know you didn’t get this.’"
His father asked how he knew, Trump Jr. said. He answered: “Because I gave it to you last year.”
It should be noted that Trump Jr. was laughing and smiling as he told this story, and doesn’t seem to harbor any resentment. During the same interview, he talked about how he was looking forward to spending the holidays with his father.
But according to the experts at the Emily Post Institute, an organization known for training corporate executives on manners and civility, regifting personalized gifts — such as anything that’s been monogrammed or engraved — goes against the basic rules of etiquette. The reason? If either the original gift-giver or the recipient found out, their feelings could be bruised.
Plus, the institute warns, “It’s inherently deceitful, and good etiquette is about not only being respectful and considerate, but also honest. Honest in this case means being authentic and genuine, as well as not telling a partial truth. When you wrap a present and give as though you bought it yourself it says, ‘I got this for you’ while leaving out the rest, ‘… from someone else who gave it to me,’ which, if the recipient did know, would likely be interpreted as lazy or short on thoughtfulness or effort on your part.”
But that’s not to say that regifting is always considered out of bounds. If the gift is brand new and comes in its original packaging, and is something that the new recipient will definitely want, then it’s potentially fair game to pass it along, the Emily Post Institute says. In those cases, gift-givers are encouraged to be transparent. For example, the institute suggests telling a friend, “I received two copies of this book and want you to have one.”
The etiquette institute’s gift-giving guide doesn’t offer any specific pointers about when it’s acceptable to give someone the exact same present they gave you last year. But it seems safe to say that the answer is never.