Ivanka shouldn’t get a pass for her role in Trump White House

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
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The Trump White House packed enough scandal in four years to fill four presidential terms. The controversies included two impeachments, an insurrection, and a slew of Hatch Act violations. So how did Ivanka Trump manage to avoid much of the fallout that impacted her father’s administration? Straight Arrow News Contributor Jordan Reid says Ivanka’s stylish appearance and reserved public demeanor help her stand apart from the rest of the Trump White House.

How should we process the enigma that continues to be Ivanka Trump? On the one hand, a pillar of seeming sanity in an otherwise off-the-rails clown car, and on the other hand, a wildly useful distraction for precisely that reason. Is she awful or was she just there?

And before you ask, “Why should we still care?” — that’s a good question — Ivanka and her husband, Jared, are well into their image rehabilitation process in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, in addition to continuing to profit off of Ivanka Trump’s name. Also, I just don’t think she’s going anywhere because I’m not that lucky.

On the “pro” side for Ivanka, she cuts a pretty agreeable figure: She’s likable and she’s well-spoken, certainly more so than her father, and she’s been vocal about her pet causes, which shockingly for someone in that administration don’t usually include: “Let’s give guns to infants” and “COVID for everyone!”

Reporters have been hard-pressed to dig up real dirt on Ivanka and I can attest to this personally. I went to college with — and later briefly dated Jared Kushner — again, and I’ve mentioned this before, mea culpa, I am so sorry, he was very different back then. And a result of this personal connection I was hired by an investigative reporter to do some research into the couple.

You know what I turned up after exhaustive interviews with upwards of thirty people who knew them personally? Not much. She could allegedly be spoiled and entitled, but that’s neither surprising nor criminal. Across the board what most people reported was a woman who was noticeably attentive to, and empathetic, about their experiences. 

Ivanka Trump is such a perplexing figure, and I have many, many feelings about her. Some of them are personal, because we’ve been in the same orbit from time to time over the years – I’ll get into that in a moment – but most of them come straight from her complicity in the four years of hell that her father put our country through. Short story: I’m not a huge fan.

My question: How should we process the enigma that is Ivanka – on the one hand a pillar of seeming sanity in an otherwise off-the-rails clown car, and on the other hand a wildly useful distraction for exactly that reason? Is she awful…or was she just there?

And before you ask “why should we still care?”, the answer is that Ivanka and her husband are hard at work on image rehabilitation in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, in addition to being someone who continues to profit off of the name of her incompetent wannabe mob boss of a father, and honestly? I don’t think she’s going anywhere. I’m not that lucky.

On the “pro” side for Ivanka is the fact that she cuts a pretty agreeable figure: She appears intelligent and well-spoken – certainly more so than her father – and has been vocal on behalf of her pet causes, which – shockingly, given the company she keeps – don’t usually include “let’s give guns to infants” and “COVID for everyone!”

Reporters have been hard-pressed to dig up real dirt on her, and I can attest to this personally. I went to college with – and later briefly dated – her husband Jared Kushner (again, mea culpa, he was very different back then, please don’t judge me) and know a lot of people who know her intimately, and as a result of these connections I was hired by an investigative journalist to conduct my own research of Ivanka. 

You know what I turned up, after exhaustive interviews with upwards of thirty humans who knew her relatively well? Not much.

She was allegedly spoiled and entitled, but that’s neither surprising nor criminal. Across the board, what most people had to say was that she was unusually attentive, asking them questions about their lives and genuinely seeming to listen to – and care about – their responses. I even spoke with someone who had been assigned to her security detail for an event, who told me stories of how Ivanka had taken the time to get to know her – and again, this is just someone who was hired as a temporary bodyguard – and made sure she was comfortable and had gotten enough to eat while on duty. 

These stories irritated me, because honestly? It’d be a whole lot more comfortable to throw all of Trump’s cronies into the same box, write “Awful People” on it, and call it a day. 

Which is why I find some recently-released information quite compelling. When Ivanka appeared before the January 6 committee in a taped deposition, she testified that she had quote accepted attorney general Bill Barr’s statement that there was no evidence that the election had been stolen from Joe Biden. But The New York Times recently reported that as late as mid-December 2020 Ivanka Trump told a documentary film crew that her father should…well, just see for yourself. 

“I think that, as the president has said, every single vote needs to be counted and needs to be heard, and he campaigned for the voiceless. And I think a lot of Americans feel very, very disenfranchised right now, and really, question the sanctity of our elections, and that’s not right, it’s not acceptable. And he has to take on this fight. Look, you fight for what you love the most and he loves this country and he loves this country’s people, and he wants to make sure that their voice is, is heard and not muted.” 

That statement right there might come in a more appealing package than her father, but come on: That’s not too freaking hard. And just because someone nominally cares about other human beings doesn’t give them a pass for complicity in, say, throwing our democracy into the garbage. 

In summary: I don’t care whether Ivanka Trump is capable of forming a coherent sentence and making sure her staff gets their allotted turkey sandwiches. Her intelligence and surface empathy only make her willingness to go along with her father’s insanity that much more chilling.