Unlike select pundits who marvel when a maniac can communicate his planned monstrosities in milder tones, I found nothing impressive about Tangerine Mussolini’s speech to a joint session of Congress last week. Perhaps when you’re a boorish hatemonger who speaks as if his tongue had a stroke while trying to cross over from a fourth-grade reading level to a fifth-grade reading level, not shouting while reading from a teleprompter is quite the deal.
Whatever the case, for those who did find 45’s speech impressive, there’s already a narrative conveniently floating as to who is responsible for this purported shift: Ivanka Trump.
In a Reuters piece titled, “Behind Scenes, Ivanka Encouraged Trump’s Change of Tone: Sources,” we are once again subjected to the fable about daughter dearest being the calmer, moderate voice in 45’s inner circle. Reuters reporters Steve Holland and John Walcott note that per a senior White House official, during a brainstorming session in the Oval Office Sunday, it was Ivanka who assisted her father in alleviating concerns about his temperament and whether he could govern effectively.
The source explained:
He had a lot of voices around him giving him ideas and suggestions that he incorporated, but he really set out to achieve that optimistic tone and that was something she was supportive of. She encouraged him to do that.
Another source said:
She had a role. She helped set the tone.
Her fingerprints are visible on the tone, but especially on those parts of it like maternity leave that matter to her.
So, as Melania Trump was somewhere avoiding everything to do with the publicity stunt that won a presidency, it was 45’s one true love saying, “No, Daddy, inside voices! Evil is delivered way better when the delivery isn’t so elevated in volume. Oh, and please mention new mommies!”
While it’s totally plausible to believe that Ivanka give her father a few tips, the problem lies in the clear intent behind this story.
It boggles the mind how she successfully manages to get outlets to repeatedly write stories about her as if she is some liberal, despite no evidence to support such categorization.
There are so many generous reports that claim Ivanka had spoken like a Democrat on the campaign trial—including at the Republican National Convention. Still, saying that women deserve maternity leave and that child care matters doesn’t make you a progressive. Neither does vacationing with a rich Democrat, as she and her power-hungry misclassified husband, Jared Kushner, have done recently. The same goes for giving money to Democratic candidates. After all, her father said he gave to both Democrats and Republicans because as a businessman, it’s smart to have friends on both sides.
These days, if you don’t hate people having health care, don’t hang out with white supremacists, and don’t complain about there being a BET Awards and not a WET Awards, some might proclaim that you sound like a Democrat. Not all of us share these low expectations, though. Ivanka herself said that she doesn’t claim to be a Democrat or a Republican, but that falls in line with most “independents” who are merely people with both political ideologies and commitment issues.
Yet, without nary a sign of a receipt, Ivanka Trump gets christened liberal or moderate or not dead inside, like her daddy.
Just look at how Holland and Walcott describe her in the piece:
Ivanka Trump, 35, the president’s older daughter, has emerged as an influential informal adviser for her father, particularly on issues important to women and minorities.
I need an Amber Alert to help locate what the fuck these two are talking about.
There are a few things to appreciate about Ivanka Trump. She doesn’t look as stupid as her brother Eric. She’s not as smug and obvious with her political ambitions as Donald Jr. She’s not Tiffany Trump, bless her heart.
What’s less worth making note of is her supposed advocacy on behalf of women and minorities. With respect to women, if you are not white or well-connected; if you don’t believe in not challenging a reductive view of womanhood so much as learning to thrive within the structure without making too much of a fuss, or in anything else that fits into Ivanka’s overall myopic views on gender and career, is she advocating on your behalf? There is a reason why she has been called out on just who she means by “#womenwhowork,” and why some women have boycotted her products altogether.
If you’re a minority, have you seen Ivanka mention Black Lives Matter, Islamophobia, the children in schools across the country being subjected to taunts about being deported ? Ivanka has asked for “tolerance” in light of the increased bomb threats aimed at Jewish Community Centers. As a convert to Judaism, that makes sense because it impacts her directly. Therein lies the problem: She typically only speaks about issues that affect her directly or that have proved to be the least controversial.
We hear that she wants to speak about climate change. We know that she has a desire to discuss human trafficking. These are important matters, but they do not negate that she purposely seeks ways to build her political clout without alienating Republicans or Democrats alike. Plenty of political consultants will call that smart, but should anyone honestly package her as a fighter for women and minorities?
Some have rightly rallied against the myth of Ivanka’s liberalism throughout the campaign trial, but it keeps popping back as if it’s the herpes bump to the lip of our news cycle. To wit, Politico ran a story about Ivanka and Kushner staying noticeably silent as the White House rolled back protections for transgender kids in schools. Why is their silence presented as surprising?
Whether or not she wants to admit it, it’s pretty apparent that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have political ambitions that exceed this administration. Her dad may be an ogre who may very well see his presidency go the way of his casinos and other failed businesses, but Ivanka is far shrewder than her father.
She is poised. She is regarded as elegant. She is more disciplined than her dad and siblings. That is what makes her so scary. She looks exactly like the kind of woman the Republicans would nominate for president. She looks like someone this country would vote for as president.
She benefits from so many things as a well-off, well-connected white woman who subscribes to tradition. There’s not much any of us can do to compete with that. What we can do, however, is continue to gnaw away at this false image of Ivanka.
Like her father, Ivanka is an opportunist. Like her father, she is willing to exploit racism for gain. Make no mistake: Being a bystander in unabashed bigotry without speaking against it makes you just as culpable. In her case, even more so, given that she’s using her position as first daughter to find her own political footing. And like her father, she benefits from being associated with liberalism without touting, let alone living, any of its virtues.
For the longest time, 45 professed to be a Democrat and was deemed a New York liberal. How did that turn out? For a child who’s long patterned herself after her father, don’t you think she knows how history can repeat itself?