In a televised interview with NBC, Ivanka Trump was asked, in reference to the numerous sex scandals, affairs, and sexual harassment claims that Donald Trump has been accused of, “Do you believe your father’s accusers?”
The consummate ice queen, a glowing and outwardly unperturbed Ivanka said, “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.”
Ivanka went on to explain,
“I believe my father, I know my father. I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.”
Fair enough, maybe.
“I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many other daughters.”
Probably true. But. Literally no one on social media, or in the media, empathised with her.
Sorry @IvankaTrump you don’t get the daughter pass. You work in the White House. No soup for you.
— Problem Child (@Adamtheactivist) February 26, 2018
It was almost universally argued that Ivanka, as a White House senior advisor, wasn’t allowed the protection of the ‘daddy argument’.
But there’s another element to this debacle that might not have been considered – the question that was posed to Ivanka. It asked her about “your father”, and that blurred the lines. If the journalist wanted to ask a senior White House advisor about President Trump’s accusers, he should have asked about “the President.” Not “your father.”
So why didn’t he do that? Because the Trumps themselves have blurred the lines so far, and so often, it’s now impossible to make any distinctions. And that’s allowed the Trumps to feel they can have it both ways.
But that’s not how the government of the leader of the Free World should operate. That’s not how this works.
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The eldest daughter of the POTUS is a White House advisor. It’s an unspecified, high-profile role.
Ivanka has been by her father’s side since the beginning of his presidential term, and not merely in a First Daughter capacity. She’s regularly occupied seats that weren’t hers, and represented her country – and sometimes, even her father. The most recent example of this is her questionable presence in South Korea at the Winter Olympics, where she led the American delegation at the closing ceremony.
If Ivanka did these things as First Daughter, it would be one thing. But Ivanka’s in a senior position in the administration. She has all-access-pass to everything the White House and the President are involved in.
Not only is it confusing, it’s potentially illegal. According to American law,
Trump’s skirted around this by appointing his daughter to a position with a flexible definition. She’s not his Chief of Staff. She’s an ‘advisor’.
So was it inappropriate to ask a White House advisor about the President’s behaviour? No. And when that advisor also happens to be his daughter? According to Ivanka, yes.
The distinction is something we all potentially should consider. Is Ivanka being spoken to as a public servant, or as the First Daughter? Trouble is, who bloody knows.
CNN published an article on the incident with a title that summed up the issue: “This Ivanka Trump answer is exactly why nepotism laws exist.”
My version of that is: “The whole Trump sh*tshow is a perfect example of why daddy/daughter issues are best left at home.”
The journalist shouldn’t need to consider whether he’s talking to Ivanka Trump, First Daughter, or Ivanka Trump White House senior advisor. And none of us should be forced to, either.
Because in practice, it’s impossible to differentiate between them. It’s too complicated to extract who Ivanka Trump is, because she’s deeply entrenched in one of the biggest conflicts of interests American has ever seen; and she has daddy to thank for that.