Sunday, December 4, 2016

Do We Wanna Talk About Ivanka?

"Her Father's Daughter" NY Times 12/3/16
I almost wrote a piece on Ivanka Trump a few years back. I had recently been sucked into a mindless reality show (aka "The Celebrity Apprentice") and was impressed by the demeanor of Donald's favorite daughter. She was cool,  clear-headed and well-spoken. She asked hard questions fairly. Her put-downs were gentle.  She was unlike her father who always seemed ready to shout "Off with his head!". Oh, and she was drop-dead gorgeous.

Although Ivanka had always been in a spotlight, it was as arm candy for the Donald Trump show. We knew she was smart. She had a passing fling as a model. She started a not-very-original accessories and apparel line. She married a nice Jewish boy (and converted!). At this time Ivanka was about to be or had just been pregnant with her second child.

Privileged, yes. But privileged with a purpose besides.

Mr. and Mrs. Kushner

Come election season I scrapped my blog draft and recoiled at the Ivanka Trump line. Still poised, well-spoken and beautiful, I didn't understand how she could associate with her father's campaign shenanigans. The election is over. Trump isn't gone, and neither is Ivanka. In fact, she seems to have Arrived. Mr. and Mrs. Jared Kushner are now THE #1 power couple in Washington, and I don't know what to make of it.

There is no lack of press reporting on Ivanka now. The Sunday New York Times just gave her the cover story of the Style section. The Times is never just about style; it's about the substance behind it. They are curious how she will handle her new role as "First Daughter", one that is ready to eclipse "First Lady" now that it seems apparent Melania is not hot for the job.

Since the election Ivanka and Jared have been part of the transition team and visited dignitaries with The Donald. Her name has been bandied about for a cabinet post (Climate Control? Women's Issues? Are those even drawers in the cabinet?).

Today New York, tomorrow the world?

It's pretty certain Ivanka will supply the glamour to presidential events. There are no plans for a Melania makeover of the White House as she will remain in New York City for an unspecified time.

The NY Times was not able to answer What makes Ivanka tick? Some of Ivanka's friends who were interviewed insisted she is a lovely person, with many hoping she can make a difference by enlightening her father for the good. The Times concluded that she and Jared are quintessential politicians, able to interact well and leave people feeling ambivalent about them personally.

Ivanka seems to want it both ways. She's not about— or even able— to separate herself from the life she has always known. I've no doubt she truly cares about the plight of working women but "it's easy to talk about self-help when you have access to the best medical care in the world by virtue of your birth", said Faye Wattleton, the former president Of Planned Parenthood.

And what of Ivanka's conflicts of interest vis a vis the Ivanka Trump brand? There was already a dust-up regarding a $10,800 "Ivanka Trump" bracelet she wore on a "60 Minutes" interview which was later promoted by her company. If half the women in America voted for Hillary and decide to boycott her brand, what will that mean for business?

It will be interesting to see how one woman can be First Daughter, a Washington Hostess with the Mostest, cabinet minister, mother to three young children, wife of a high-powered executive and CEO of a global brand. If she can pull that off,  are we looking, someday, at the first woman president???

Madame P...?


  1. Well, I've joined the #grabyourwallet boycott of all Trump products, and the stores that carry them. I must admit, that's not hard for me because I make most of my own clothes and buy my jewelry (such as it is) used. I think this fascination with Ivanka is an effort to convince ourselves that there is a steady hand at (or near) the wheel.

    1. I don't know what I think of her, but something's not right and it's giving me a very uneasy feeling.

  2. Well, so far she seems to have had little effect. It will be interesting to see how they work with the current nepotism laws.