Image by Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0
With her perfect hair, impeccable clothes, and dazzling smile, Ivanka Trump is the Trump family’s “golden girl” in the spotlight. After recently becoming an official advisor to her father, President Donald J. Trump, many liberal-minded and politically left-leaning individuals have allowed themselves to take a small breath of relief.
Ivanka is not deemed as unstable as her father. She’s not a hard, right-wing, conservative Republican, instead identifying as an independent with no particular political alignment. She has been hailed for her brilliant abilities as a businesswoman and referred to as Donald Trump’s “better half.” She’s friends with Chelsea Clinton and supported Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. In 2013, Ivanka donated money to the campaign of Democrat Cory Booker, further demonstrating the presence of her more liberal-leaning ideologies. When she speaks, Ivanka Trump appears to be in strong support of women’s rights. With the help of her husband, Jared Kushner, Ivanka has managed to convince her father to look at Steve Bannon unfavorably, causing Bannon to lose his position on the National Security Council.
The incredible amount of influence she has on her father, Donald Trump, can be further demonstrated by the recent Syrian missile strike, with the missiles being launched after Ivanka was “heartbroken and outraged” at the chemical attacks on innocent civilians.
Though it would be nice to let down one’s guard with the knowledge that someone as exemplary as Ivanka Trump is in the White House, it’s a trap. Ivanka Trump, for all her merits, is still her father’s daughter. She is still making a power play while in her powerful and ethically questionable position. She is still complicit in her father’s schemes (as satirically and popularly demonstrated in a Saturday Night Live skit), and progressive individuals must keep their guards up when dealing with all aspects of this administration- even if one aspect includes a well-spoken woman with perfect hair and a dazzling smile cameras adore.
There is no limit to the irony that Ivanka Trump invokes with her actions, especially with her father’s shadow looming over her in the background. On April 4th, Ivanka tweeted in support of Equal Pay Day, a paradox that was not lost to Twitter users, as only a week before, her father repealed the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act. Though Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner worked to stop an order that would have rolled back on protections of LGBTQ individuals in the workplace, the metropolitan New York couple was silent amidst the transgender bathroom rights controversy. Ivanka Trump reportedly met with Planned Parenthood President, Cecile Richards, and other leaders in progressive women’s movements, and yet her father, Donald Trump, signed a bill on April 13th that would withhold federal funding from organizations and facilities that provide abortion services.
It does not appear that Ivanka will speak out against or stop the dangerous policies of her father anytime soon. Her silence allows her to cleverly maintain a position which grants her not only political power and influence, but also gives her an incredible business opportunity to expand her brand. Nordstrom’s decision to drop Ivanka Trump products made headlines and resulted in tweets by the President, but Ivanka’s products have still experienced incredible success and economic growth. Her company has applied for nine new trademarks in countries including the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the United States. Following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 6th, 2017, Ivanka also managed to acquire three more trademarks for the expansion of her products in China. During this meeting, Ivanka was supposed to be acting within her role of a political advisor and not a businesswoman, particularly considering the missiles guided at Syria were launched at this same dinner. Ivanka, in this sense, can be seen as a silent, calculated opportunist. She is a truly accomplished woman, and is in a sense worthy of the respect she has managed to grasp for herself. However, she is not the progressive voice and “savior” some people hope for her to be amidst this chaotic administration.
Ivanka Trump will be charming in her interviews and insist she is not complicit in her father’s actions. She will smile and claim that she is a force for good hoping to make a positive impact for the people of the United States. However, until there is actual evidence that she really is taking steps toward these claims of caring about things such as LGBTQ rights, the gender pay gap, and women’s health care, and until she decides to definitively take action on behalf of individuals who are marginalized under her father’s administration…
We should not allow ourselves to be blinded by her smile.