Ivanka Trump, who is currently picking out furniture for her new second-floor office in the West Wing, has inserted herself into American politics in a way that has left many people, both Democrats and Republicans, scratching their heads.
Last week it was announced that the first daughter would not only get her own government office, computer, email address, and phone (paid for by American taxpayers), but she would also be given security clearance. She would not, however, be given an official position or required to take an oath of office.
“No one really knows what she does exactly,” one West Wing insider tells The Hill.
Even hardcore Republicans aren’t sure what the hell Ivanka is doing.
“Nobody knows,” Republican strategist Amanda Carpenter recently told Cosmo. “What qualifies her? Apparently being the president’s daughter. There’s a word for this: nepotism.”
Carpenter went on to say the whole thing has turned the idea of working women “into a farce.”
“By taking this role, Ivanka is taking away a life-changing opportunity from another woman, who undoubtedly would have more expertise than the first daughter.”
Of course, what the “role” is remains unclear. The White House has floated a wide range of vague non-job job descriptions for the first daughter, including: being the “eyes and ears” for her father, focusing on the “economic empowerment of women,” overseeing efforts to “rid the world of human trafficking,” concentrating on “workforce development” and paid maternity leave, and offering her dad suggestions and ideas for how to lead the nation.
In a recent statement to Politico, Ivanka said:
I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life. While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees.
(For the record: There actually is a modern precedent for adult children of the president. The Bush daughters didn’t meddle in their father’s presidency. Chelsea Clinton turned 18 and went off to college while her dad was in the White House and managed to stay out of things. H.W.’s adult kids were politically active in their own rights but didn’t have unofficial jobs and offices in the White House. And all five of Reagan’s offspring managed to avoid his presidential spotlight.)
Friends of Ivanka tell The Hill that her intentions are nothing but pure, and that the criticism directed at her has been “wrong” and “incredibly unfair.”
“She’s being held to a standard that makes no sense,” one friend tells The Hill. “She spent her life as an entrepreneur, and she has an opportunity here to empower women in a real way!”
What makes the whole thing even more confusing (not to mention, hypocritical) is that Ivanka once led a marketing campaign for her company that encouraged women to speak out about their jobs and job titles.
The campaign was called #WomenWhoWork and made its rounds on social media back in 2014 with a video of Ivanka asking women to record themselves stating their extended job title followed by their actual job title. The purpose was to “inspire” and “encourage” other women to celebrate what it means to be a working girl.
“The women I know who are working today are working hard to create and build the lives that they want to live, and there’s nothing more compelling and powerful than that,” Ivanka said in the video. “Let’s show the world what it looks like to be a woman who works!”
In a new op-ed published by Vox, Liz Plank says Ivanka ought to take her own advice.
“Trump’s brand emphasizes empowering women at work, and there is nothing feminist about a woman stepping in to do all the work with no credit or pay,” she writes. “If Trump truly wants to preserve her commitment to the cause she supposedly takes the most pride in, she would disclose what her own work entails.”
Somehow we don’t think that’s gonna happen.
Watch Ivanka’s 2014 #WomenWhoWork video below.