Donald Trump Jr: At fundraiser, president's son says 'zero contact' with dad

DALLAS — Donald Trump Jr. said he has had virtually no contact with his father since the real estate tycoon and reality star became president and ceded control of his business empire to his oldest sons.

"I basically have zero contact with him at this point," the younger Trump said in a speech at a GOP fundraiser in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday.

In January, Donald Trump Jr. and his younger brother Eric took the reins at the family's eponymous businesses, after their father resigned his position while maintaining his financial interest. At the time, government ethics officials said the president's move did not go far enough to address concerns about conflicts of interest.

Trump Jr. — who played key roles in both the campaign and transition — admitted Saturday that he found it hard leaving politics behind, despite the pressures of his new business role.

"I thought I was out of politics after Election Day and [would] get back to my regular life and my family," Trump Jr. said. "But I couldn't."

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Donald Trump Jr., Ivana Trump, Donald Trump, and Ivana's father (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, and Marla Maples (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American future businessman Donald Trump Jr attends the groundbreaking ceremony for one of his father's Trump International hotels, 1990s. (Photo by Rose Hartman/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, Jr. and Vanessa Haydon during The 53rd Annual MISS USA Competition at Avalon in Hollywood, CA, United States. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 14: Donald Trump is joined by his son, Donald Jr., at a Park Ave. luncheon hosted by The Donald. (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 17: Co-Chair Ivanka Trump and brother Donald Jr. are at the Rose Center for Earth and Space as the American Museum of Natural History celebrates heavenly bodies of the universe at their annual Winter Dance. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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"Deals are still exciting," he added. "But when you're the sort of guy out there every day, 24-7 fighting in this thing — it's like a great fight."

Trump spoke at the invitation of Doug Deason, a Dallas millionaire and prominent donor to wealthy conservative activists Charles and David Koch. He also served as a trustee on Trump's finance team.

Saturday was the first time that Trump Jr. had publicly dipped his toe back into politics since his father's inauguration. He spoke at the annual Reagan Day dinner in Dallas — a key fundraising event for the local Republican group.

Within 60 seconds of exiting the stage, the MC of the dinner asked for donations from the crowd, suggesting it hoped to raise $25,000 just in the time period of the dinner.

The role of Trump's children in his administration has raised questions in the past. His three adult children sat in on meetings with foreign heads of state during the transition, and remain closely involved in business deals overseas.

Also speaking at Saturday's event was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, sharing a stage with a member of the Trump family for the first time since clashed bitterly with candidate Trump during the GOP primaries.

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Donald Trump, Jr., son of US President Donald Trump, attends the 139th White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, April 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. arrives to speak during the second session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Donald Trump Jr. speaks about his father, Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Donald Trump Jr. pumps his fist after speaking about his father, Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, during the second day at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Donald Trump Jr. speaks about his father, Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Donald Trump Jr. speaks about his father, Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Donald Trump Jr. speaks about his father, Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Donald Trump Jr. speaks about his father, Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa attend the second day session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Donald Trump Jr. speaks about his father, Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Tiffany Trump. daughter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, sits near her half-brother Donald Trump Jr. (C) during evening speeches at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) smiles as his son Donald Trump Jr. speaks for a moment at a campaign rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
Donald Trump Jr, son of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, tours the arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Donald Trump Jr. (R) kicks balloons into the crowd as Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and vice presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence stand with their families onstage at the end of the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Donald Trump Jr with his children arrives at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, U.S., after Easter weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, April 16, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Donald Trump Jr. (R) makes remarks at a press conference while Joo Kim Tiah (C) the CEO of TA Global, the owner and developer of Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver, looks on with Eric Danziger the CEO of Trump Hotels (L) during the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Didlick
U.S. President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump, Jr., watch children roll Easter Eggs at 139th annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
BOZEMAN, MT - APRIL 22: Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a rally for Republican Greg Gianforte as he campaigns for the Montana House of Representatives seat vacated by the appointment of Ryan Zinke to head the Department of Interior on April 22, 2017 in Bozeman, Montana. Gianforte is running against democrat Rob Quist in the special election to be held on May 25, 2017. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)
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"I saw on TV that [Cruz] had had dinner with my father earlier this week," Trump Jr. told the crowd. "Now I don't even know if I have to deliver a punch line to that. But it's sort of ironic."

Speaking to an audience of Texans, Manhattan-born Trump Jr. also took a swipe at his home state, which voted for Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton 59 percent to 36 percent.

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"Texas gave us the funds that we needed," Trump said. "You guys get it. You understand the freedoms ... so many of which we've lost where I come from in the peoples' republic of New York ... I can say that and mean it because I see it."

He also hailed his father's progress since coming to power.

"I'm watching more take place in two months than I saw in two terms before," he said.

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