(CNN)Donald Trump's eldest son said Wednesday night that his father's unlikely pursuit of the presidency represented a "step down" from the Republican nominee's business career.
Trump Jr.: Running for president a 'step down'
"Unlike Hillary Clinton, who's gotten very rich being a politician, peddling American influence, he hasn't -- this is only a step down," Trump Jr. told Fox News following the third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas.
Trump Jr. added that his father wanted to ensure that "all Americans, all ethnicities and backgrounds have the same opportunities to do what he's been able to do" in business.
The candidate's son, who emerged early in the campaign as one his most fierce surrogates, has stumbled repeatedly under the glare of the general election spotlight.
In late September, Trump Jr. set off a minor furor when he compared Syrian refugees to Skittles candy.
"If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you," he tweeted, "Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."
A few days earlier, he undermined his father's claim that he had withheld his taxes because they were under an IRS audit.
Asked during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review about the decision to break with decades of tradition, Trump answered, "Because he's got a 12,000-page tax return that would create ... financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would distract from (his father's) main message."
The Republican nominee himself has suggested that a departure from presidential politics would make for a welcome return to his gilded private life.
"I go back to a very good way of life," he told CNBC in August. "It's not what I'm looking to do. I think we're going to have a victory. But we'll see."