Friday, 17 March 2017 09:33

Don't blame Ivanka for sins of father, Donald Trump

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ivanka TSaturday Night Live skewered Ivanka Trump last weekend with a skit celebrating a new fragrance, facetiously hers, named “Complicit.” It was a funny bit, at least superficially, and as much a riff on Scarlett Johansson’s Dior Christmas perfume ads as it was on Ivanka’s status as a fashion icon with a famous father. Behind the humor, however, was a sense that it crossed an invisible line, seemingly, for the sole purpose of antagonizing the President. It’s not like he doesn’t deserve it, but she doesn’t.

Ivanka is a graceful and self-sufficient woman whose skin is far thicker than the President’s. Given his character flaws this, doubtlessly, isn’t the first time she has taken grief on account of Trump’s peccadillos. She, however, does so in a dignified manner that acquits her own character. Ivanka doesn’t need defenders, but critics might wish to consider her role in the White House where she is, clearly, the classiest living creature.

It’s not entirely on point, but close enough for comparison, that Ivanka resembles Lucretia Borgia in one respect, though to a far lesser degree. In art and literature, and the gossipy culture of her own time, the Renaissance daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, the notorious Pope Alexander VI, was painted as an evil schemer who is alleged to have known certain male family members too well. The truth is, Lucretia was none of these things and when left alone, after her kin departed their earthly coil, spent a great deal of her time doing good works for the poor.

Ivanka is being painted in a similarly negative way by those who would portray her as a beautiful, but unsavory, character in the modern morality play in which her father is the villain. She doesn’t shoot big cats in Africa like her plutocrat brothers, Eric and Don Jr. She isn’t in the tabloids with the leading celebrity of the-moment. She doesn’t cheat on her husband and, by all accounts, is a good mother. Ivanka, also, talks about empowering women, something the President might consider after he discards his current cabinet, the way he jettisoned Rudy and Chris, and searches for replacements.

Ivanka doesn’t climb the furniture and kneel on the couch to take personal pictures for her scrapbook. She is never shrill. She doesn’t babble incongruous nonsense and is never seen chewing gum with her mouth open in public. Ivanka is always tasteful. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of another flawed man, has been a long-time friend.

Just as it’s inappropriate to impute a father’s sins to his sons it’s, likewise, wrong to impute them to his daughters. Donald Trump has professed disbelief that Ivanka is the subject of criticism and mockery. This isn’t to say that one day she won’t deserve some, just that the time isn’t now. Trump says his daughter “always tries to get him to do the right thing.” Besides admitting, by this comment, that he knows right from wrong, this is one subject about which the President is, probably, telling the truth.

In a TV interview with them, after the election, the Trump children were asked who was their Father’s favorite. The unanimous opinion of her siblings was that it was Ivanka. It may be because of her birth order but there is another possibility. Donald Trump’s life is littered with women who have thrown themselves at him, some of whom have given the billionaire free passes to third base, by his own accounting. Trump has said, more than once, that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter he might date her. This comment shows he, also, knows the difference between trash and class.

There is something sexist about the judgments that are being made about the Trump women, especially his wife, Melania, and his oldest daughter, Ivanka. Sometimes it’s subtle but, nonetheless, it’s faintly insidious. There’s no rule that says First Daughters can’t work. When Ivanka does, however, she’s chastised as inappropriate, especially, when she makes a profit from the product of her own industry even though she’s not an elected, or appointed, government official.

It’s not Ivanka’s fault that the egotistical, vain, and, fill in the blanks, President is her father. She deserves a pass, though, when it comes to her personal businesses because there is no one else in the administration who has shown even the slightest ability to tamp down the regularly erratic Tweeter-in-Chief. In fact, she’s an under-utilized asset because he needs all the humanizing he can get.



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