|BRYAN R. SMITH / AFP-GETTY|
Ivanka Trump did not, of course, get to choose her father. And as a rule, the children of presidents should be off limits from media scrutiny, or at least have a modicum of privacy away from the harsh glare of the 24/7 world in which celebrities live. But Ivanka is not just any president's kid. She is the First Daughter of a man whose vileness is without bounds, and her carefully choreographed effort to portray herself as a president whisper whose voice of reason is a foil to Daddy's ignorance is utterly phony.
That falseness is yet again on offer in the aftermath of Ivanka dodging a question from NBC News' Peter Alexander while on a taxpayer-funded jaunt to South Korea for the Winter Olympics regarding her father's accusers -- you know, the 20 or so women who have said Trump made unwelcome sexual overtures and, in some cases, sexually assaulted them.
Pro that she is, Ivanka paused a moment for effect just like her media trainer instructed her to do before answering that "I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he's affirmatively stated there's no truth to it. . . . I don't think that's question you would ask many other daughters."
Trying to shame the questioner might indeed be appropriate under other circumstances, but not when your father is president of the United States and a career creep, the allegations of sexual misconduct are credible, some of the women have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money, you want the benefits of being a Trump without the accountability, and hold an official but unspecified position in his administration. (As in what the hell was Ivanka doing in Pyeongchang telling the South Koreans that Daddy's administration was putting "maximum pressure" on North Korea's nuclear program?)
By all accounts, Ivanka is an intelligent woman. While she should be grateful for being a white woman of privilege who has been given opportunities very few women not born with platinum spoons in their mouths are afforded, she could have left the nest at any point -- whether after she made her first million or hundredth million -- if the values she says she holds so close to her ample bosom meant more to her than her Ivanka-branded push-up bras, tummy control pants and thousand-dollar accessorized bling patriotically made in overseas sweat shops.
But those piously mouthed values do not mean more, not by a Chinese copyright let alone a New York minute.
And while I usually am able to eke out at least a modicum of sympathy for even the most unsympathetic of public figures, I cut Ivanka no slack -- none whatsoever. This is because she has decided that working in the Tweeter in Chief's dark shadow -- let alone down the hall from him in a sumptuous West Wing office refurbished (with metallic accents!) in contrast to the pedestrianly beige offices of other aides who are, of course, overwhelmingly men -- is more important than acting on, let alone living, the platitudes she mouths.
There are worse cases of nepotism in politics. After all, Caligula tried to make his horse a consul of Rome. But Ivanka's role as one of Daddy's top aide is like a Twilight Zone episode on Take Your Daughter To Work Day.
A KEY PART OF THE IVANKA MYTHOLOGY is that there is a sensitive soul lurking beneath her cooly composed surface. I am sure that the fact that story is endlessly retold has nothing to do with the over-hyped praise for her book Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules For Success, a DIY guide for female empowerment that is a strawberry frappuccino version of Daddy's bestselling Art of the Deal.
According to an oft-told version of the story, the future Drainer of Swamps was working really hard at Trump Tower for a forthcoming presidential debate in the fall of 2016 with She Who Should Be In Jail when an aide rushed into the room and declared the WaPo was about to publish an article saying that he had bragged to the host of Access Hollywood in 2005 about grabbing a woman's private parts.
As Ivanka joined others waiting to see a video of the open-mic stunner, Daddy claimed the description sure didn't sound like him, but the video proved him wrong and then some:
I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women -- I just start kissing them, it's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy.
Daddy grudgingly agreed to say he was sorry if anyone was offended. But Ivanka in all her grown-up-ness made the case for a "full-throated apology" (pun not intended). When Daddy remained unyielding, her eyes welled with tears, her face reddened and she hurried out of the room in apparent frustration.
Perhaps the real reason Ivanka fled was so she could tend to her smeared makeup. But what the media mavens who swallowed whole a story that was fed them by her publicists failed to note is that after hurrying out of the room, she came back.
And has come back again and again to a father who never had time for she and her brothers when they were growing up, abused her mother mentally and physically, according to credible accounts, has bragged over the years about the size of his johnson and its many conquests, once remarked that he'd like to bed Ivanka if she wasn't his daughter, instructs the managers of his resorts to fire or at least hide "ugly" woman employees, and as president is doing more to disempower women than Phyllis Schlafly, who almost single-handedly stopped passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, did during her entire knuckle-dragging career.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO READ OF IVANKA'S GILDED PAST, let alone browse the anodyne wisdom of Women Who Work, and not conclude that she has stolen shamelessly from Hillary Clinton. Daddy's vanquished opponent actually believes in empowerment for women, most of whom Ivanka has bupkis in common with because life for her is all about power and money. This makes her a perfect mate for Jared Kushner as well as #MeToo movement poison.
When Ivanka writes
Pursue your passion! Make sure you, and not others, define success! Architect a life you love in order to fully realize your multidimensional self!
in Women Who Work, I can't escape the vision of a harried working mother who rushes home to pop dinner into the microwave and wonders how her multidimensional self is going to survive with a baby on the way, no parental leave policy from an employer who pays her less than the men she supervises, and a president who would deny her maternity care and believes having a womb is a pre-existing condition.
None of this would particularly matter if Ivanka was just another pretty face on the red carpet at the Met Gala or was just hanging with Daddy when they arrived back in Washington from yet another weekend enjoying chocolate cake with world leaders at Mar-a-Lago, not someone whose career started at the top of the career ladder because of her association with The Apprentice and has catapulted into a position of authority in the White House, including in effect being an ersatz first lady since Melania Trump dwells in her East Wing hidey-hole.
I do, however, foresee a career change in Ivanka's future.
The felonious Mr. Kushner, whom CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin sardonically notes also has a White House job only because he is in the "lucky sperm club," may have run out of luck. His family real estate business is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, making him even riper for manipulation and blackmail. He is locked in a struggle with Chief of Staff John Kelly, who following the Rob Porter scandal, has insisted that the dozens of White House officials operating under interim security clearances like Kushner (and Ivanka) give up access to highly classified information. It also is only a matter of time before Special Counsel Robert Mueller pounces on his sorry ass.
Kelly probably was going to lose the Kushner security clearance battle, but then it was reported that the Justice Department has informed the White House that unspecified "significant information" requiring additional investigation would further delay Kushner's security clearance process, and he subsequently was stripped of his high-level security clearance, limiting his ability to view highly classified information.
Kushner is now likely to be eased out and the royal scammers can head back to New York where unctuous reporters are less likely to ask Ivanka "inappropriate" questions.
While none of this may matter to the women who buy her stuff at Macy's, I suspect it does to many more women who actually have her number because they star in their own reality show. (Hint: It's called life.)
It is men Ivanka is best at fooling.