President Trump, first lady Melania and their son Barron left New Jersey on Aug. 20, for Washington, D.C., at the end of the president's "working vacation." (The Washington Post)

Once again, Barron Trump has become the target of online criticism. And once again, political figures, celebrities and others on social media are standing up for the 11-year-old, imploring the media to keep the youngest Trump out of the negative limelight.

On Monday night, conservative news outlet the Daily Caller published a story attacking Barron for the T-shirt and shorts he wore while boarding Air Force One on Sunday. The headline read, “It’s High Time Barron Trump Starts Dressing Like He’s In the White House.”

In a barrage of angry tweets, many described the story as “mean spirited,” “shameful,” intrusive and irrelevant. The reactions shared a common understanding that the president’s children are supposed to be off-limits.

Following the story’s publication, the White House on Tuesday asked the news media to give Barron space.

“As with all previous administrations, we ask that the media give Barron his privacy,” Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump, told the Associated Press. “He is a minor child and deserves every opportunity to have a private childhood.”

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who has come to Barron’s defense before, weighed in with a tweet: “It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves.”

She later followed up with another message, tweeting, “Barron is A KID. No child should be talked about in the below manner-in real life or online. And for an adult to do so? For shame”

Tuesday night, Melania Trump responded with a tweet thanking Chelsea Clinton and saying, “so important to support all of our children in being themselves! #StopChildhoodBullying”

In Monday’s Daily Caller story, entertainment reporter Ford Springer wrote that “while the president and first lady traveled in their Sunday best, young Barron looked like he was hopping on Air Force One for a trip to the movie theater.”

As the President Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed from Morristown, N.J., to Washington on Sunday, Barron joined them wearing khaki shorts, loafers and a bright red T-shirt with the words, “On your mark tiger shark.”


President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump walk across the tarmac at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., on Aug. 20. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

“What am I missing here? Is Barron just better than I ever was at rebelling against my parents?” Springer wrote. “His dad is always looking dapper and his mom has become a worldwide fashion icon since becoming first lady. The youngest Trump doesn’t have any responsibilities as the president’s son, but the least he could do is dress the part when he steps out in public.”

It wasn’t the first time Chelsea Clinton has come to Barron’s defense. In January, a slew of jokes circulated on social media about the boy’s appearance at his father’s inauguration ceremony. “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich was suspended indefinitely after a tweet she posted about Barron received angry backlash and calls for her firing.

In response to the earlier attacks against Barron, Clinton wrote a Facebook post that was praised and shared widely:

“Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does — to be a kid,” Clinton wrote. “Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids.”

On Monday afternoon and evening, Twitter users questioned why the Daily Caller writer, and the public, should care about “what an 11-year-old boy wears,” as journalist Yashar Ali tweeted. “How is it your business?” he added.

“Poor Barron,” tweeted comedian Chelsea Handler.

Some complimented the first son’s outfit: “Barron was rockin a good look today,” tweeted Jesse Lee, who served as a special assistant under President Barack Obama.

And others tracked down Barron’s shirt, apparently a $24.50 boys’ T-shirt from J. Crew. A similar shirt in lime green on J. Crew’s website included a note: “We’re sorry. This item has been so popular, it has sold out.”

Chelsea Clinton spoke with college students about channeling anger into action and how she's learned to deal with her critics at a conference held at the University of Maryland. (Jackie Kucinich/The Washington Post)

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