Meet Trig Palin, Sarah Palin's Son

Sarah Palin — the former governor of Alaska, political commentator, author, and reality TV star — shot to fame back in 2008 when the late John McCain selected her as his vice-presidential candidate (via The Sun). After she gained overnight notoriety around the world, the media soon turned their attention to Palin's family, including her daughter Bristol and ex-husband, Todd, whom Palin divorced in 2020. But what is there to know about Palin's youngest child, Trig?

According to The Focus, Trig Paxson Van Palin was born on April 18, 2008, in Wasilla, Alaska. He was born with Down syndrome and is the youngest child of the Palin family, which includes siblings Track, Bristol, Willow, and Piper.

Palin kept her pregnancy with Trig a secret until her seventh month. Writing in her autobiography, "Going Rogue," Palin revealed that the day she went into labor with her youngest child, she had given a speech in Dallas before getting on a flight back home to Alaska, where she eventually gave birth 20 hours later.

Sarah and Todd Palin kept the pregnancy a secret

The former Alaska governor later told The New York Times that she and her husband decided not to go public about the pregnancy partly because they needed time to absorb the fact that Trig would be born with Down syndrome. Sarah Palin also said that at the time, she didn't want the people in her state to worry about her ability to meet her responsibilities as governor — so Palin said she decided to hide her pregnancy with larger blazers and fashion accessories, until she felt it was safe to come clean to her family and a few close aides. What they didn't reveal to many around them was Trig's diagnosis. In fact, his brother and sisters didn't know that Trig had Down syndrome until after he was born. "So that was kind of a shock," Willow Palin admitted. "But we didn't really care. He's still our brother" (via ABC News). 

Unfortunately, the silence only made it possible for critics to call Palin's story into question. The Washington Post reported that there were rumors that Trig wasn't Sarah Palin's baby but was in fact her older daughter, Bristol's.

Conspiracy theories raged surrounding Trig's birth

There were other reasons people questioned Trig Palin's parentage. As Insider reported, observers called out holes in Sarah Palin's dramatic birth story, with some even accusing the politician of faking her pregnancy. However, Palin dismissed the theories and largely ignored the speculation throughout the 2008 presidential campaign. Palin was interviewed by ABC News the year after Trig's birth and was asked whether she ever considered having an abortion when learning of his Down syndrome diagnosis. "I knew that the option was there," the former governor commented, adding that, although she understands why people make that choice, she believes that "every child has purpose — and that's what I held onto." 

Life was not too easy for Trig after he was born, because as his mom admitted, he was exposed to more than a few cruel taunts. "I am on the Internet and ... [have seen] some horrible ads about him that he should have never been born," Palin said. Still, she admitted that there was a silver lining because "for the most part, people have been so loving and supportive of us [and] that encourages us."

Trig Palin calls the shots at home, says his mom

In 2010, Trig Palin appeared on the reality TV series "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which ran for one season until 2011 and centered on the Palin family's life in Alaska. The cameras had stopped rolling when Trig started school in 2016, who was then 8 years old. By 2018, the former governor opened up to WJLA, saying that Trig was calling the shots at home. "The most challenging thing is trying not to look too far into the future and being scared of what perhaps Trig would face,"  Palin had said. "I'm just so thankful that he's got the big extended family with his big brother and big sisters. He's always gonna be taken care of."

No one expects smooth sailing for Trig and his mom, but it was heartbreaking all the same to hear that in March 2021, Palin told People that she and some of her children, including 12-year-old Trig, had contracted COVID-19. In the statement, Palin revealed that, after testing positive, she immediately went into isolation. "I then observed symptoms in my son Trig, who curiously is the most enthusiastic mask-wearer, and after our numerous negative tests over the year, he tested positive," she said. "Children with special needs are vulnerable to COVID ramifications, so with a high fever he was prescribed azithromycin, which really seemed to help, and I increased amounts of vitamins I put in his puréed food." Luckily, Trig and the rest of the Palin family seem to have recovered from the virus just fine.