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Melania Trump says Democratic impeachment witness should be 'ashamed' for mentioning son Barron

Legal scholar Pamela Karlan later apologized for making a joke that included the president's youngest child.
/ Source: NBC News

First lady Melania Trump slammed a witness in the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Wednesday, saying she should be "ashamed" about a quip involving her son, Barron.

The witness, Pamela Karlan, later said she was sorry for the joke.

"A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it," the first lady tweeted of her 13-year-old son.

The tweet was later added into the official record by Republicans at the impeachment hearing.

Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in, calling the joke "a new low" while speaking at an event in Michigan.

"The Democrats should be ashamed. Enough is enough," Pence said.

Karlan later said, "I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. I do regret having said that."

Karlan, one of four law professors to testify before the panel, had referenced the Trump's youngest son while noting that presidents aren't kings. She said the Founding Fathers included impeachment in the Constitution to ensure leaders can be held accountable.

"The Constitution doesn’t allow titles of nobility," Karlan testified. "The president can name his son Barron, but he can’t make him a baron."

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron Trump walk across the South Lawn before leaving the White House November 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The wordplay got laughs from the audience in the hearing room, but Karlan was later chastised for the line by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close ally of the president's.

"When you invoke the president's son's name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument," Gaetz told her. "It makes you look mean. It makes you look like you're attacking someone's family, the minor child of the president of the United States."

The White House's Twitter account later tweeted out video of Gaetz's dressing down of Karlan. "Democrats are calling as witnesses the kind of people who would name the minor child of the president as a punchline in a committee hearing," the tweet said.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham also pounced on the Stanford Law School professor, tweeting that the joke was a "classless move." "And what's worse, it's met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter," she wrote.

Donald Trump Jr. sounded off on Twitter as well. "That a 13 year old is fair game for partisan hacks on a national platform shows you all you need to know about the new left and who is now running the ship," he wrote.