We’ve long argued that presidential daughter Ivanka Trump is unwilling or unable to move her father on major policy initiatives yet remains an enthusiastic advocate for him and his administration, making her complicit in his presidency. Gary Cohn quit over trade policy, about the closest anyone has come in this administration to quitting on principle. However, children generally cannot quit or get fired — which is precisely why nepotism in the White House should be unacceptable.
But Ivanka remains, selling off her business to cement her loyalty to the White House. Still, she did give us a peek behind the family curtain in an interview Thursday morning at the Newseum in Washington. Asked whether she thinks the media are the enemy of the people, she said, “I do not.” She continued, “I’ve certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate, so I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripes, especially when they sort of feel targeted, but no, I do not consider the media the enemy of the people.” No praise for the free press, its role in our democracy or recognition of the danger in encouraging violence against reporters. Whether she is afraid to diverge so boldly from the president or whether she doesn’t give a fig about the First Amendment is unclear.
More interesting, she emphasized just how much she really didn’t like the president’s child separation policy:
That was a low point for me as well. I feel very strongly about that, and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children. … I think immigration is incredibly complex as a topic, illegal immigration is incredibly complicated. I am a daughter of an immigrant, my mother grew up in Communist Czech Republic, but we are a country of laws. … we have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering this country with coyotes or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone. These are not easy issues, these are incredibly difficult issues and like the rest of the country, I experience them in a very emotional way.
For starters, this is not complicated at all — if one wants to enter the fact-based world. We do not have a border crisis; the zero-tolerance policy was designed to punish migrants and to excite Trump’s base. Not complicated at all. But she is very, very opposed to it, yet not opposed enough to leave the administration, even as hundreds of children remain separated, and not opposed enough to depart from an administration in which officials were directly warned of the potential for significant, lasting psychological harm to the children — and those same officials remain in their jobs.
Nevertheless, it’s all worth it because she is going to fix parental leave policies or get something else done, right? Nope. She said, “Not in this Congress.” If she’s holding out for a bill that Republicans and Democrats could pass and her father would sign, she is living in la-la land.
Ivanka is no different from any other enthusiastic member of the administration. She should not get brownie points for feeling bad about what her father is doing to innocents and to our democracy. Observers who thought she’d moderate her father were mistaken. Forget it. Trump does what he wants, and his daughter will be on his side no matter what. If at some point Ivanka wants to consider whether it was all worth it, she might consider that she has accomplished exactly nothing (other than maybe a measly child tax credit) in an administration in which no one has been able to stop Trump from lying, spreading racial division, demonizing immigrants, fawning over dictators, aggravating the income gap, enlarging the debt, attacking democratic institutions (including the free press), weakening U.S. alliances, rationalizing human rights atrocities, debasing our discourse and inflicting senseless suffering on innocents.