"Donald Trump must get those kids out of the White House," a blunt South African observer of our politics barked at me, weeks back. "You're looking more and more like us." She was alluding to the nepotism on display in the Trump White House.
Since the president started strafing Syria, it has become evident that Trump's favorite offspring needs to be booted from the People's House. The British press, more irreverent than ours, seconded
the broad consensus that Ivanka had nagged daddy into doing it. For The Kids: The First Daughter was, purportedly, devastated by the (unauthenticated) images of a suspected
gas attack in Syria.
Brother Eric Trump confirmed
it: "Sure, Ivanka influenced the Syria strike decision." White House spokesman Sean Spicer didn't deny it. Eric had headed back to the Trump Organization, as he promised during the campaign. Ivanka just wouldn't go. Who could fail to notice that the first daughter, a cloistered, somewhat provincial American princess, has been elevated inappropriately in the White House, while first lady Melania, a cosmopolitan steel magnolia, has been marginalized?
That Ivanka, now her father's West Wing adviser, drove the offensive in Syria is but a logical deduction.
Ivanka promises that she and her poodle, Jared Kushner, are in compliance with the law. Clever lawyers told her so. Legalistic assurances pertaining to the 1967 Anti-Nepotism Statute
mean nothing. Law is hardly the ultimate adjudicator of right and wrong. Donald's daughter has no place in the White House, no matter how cutely she "argues" for her ambitions:
"I want to be a force for good." (Who defines "good," Ivanka? Limited and delimited government means that it's not you.
I want to pursue my passions." (Your passions, Ivanka, are not necessarily the people's passions—or even within the purview of their government.)
Whether she's tweeting about the accomplishment that is the war on Syria or about inflicting her kids on China's first couple, Ivanka's tweets have the insipid emptiness of a contestant in a beauty pageant.
"Proud of my father for refusing to accept these horrendous crimes against humanity."
"Proud of Arabella and Joseph for their performance in honor of President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan's official visit to the US."
Such provincialism and solipsism were certainly part of the Obamas' international persona. Barack and Michelle gave the queen of England an iPod
, customized with images and audio from Mr. Obama's inaugural and DNC addresses.
Wily Arabs are hip to White House dynamics. They know who's running the White House and whom to flatter. For doing their bidding, Syrian rebels—"we don't know who they are," cautioned the Old Donald—have even given
President Trump an honorific: Abu Ivanka al-Amriki
: father of Ivanka the American.
I don't think President Donald Trump's dispiriting deviation of policy on Syria signaled a lack of core beliefs. What the folly of bombing Syria signals, very plainly, is that what Ivanka wants, Ivanka gets. Republicans and Democrats likely know it but won't say it. The former because Ivanka is a woman. Republicans dare not wage war on a woman, much less if she wages war on Syria. The latter because Ivanka is a Democrat by any other name.
In Ivanka, you have a point person in an ostensibly populist, rightist administration who has no idea that men, not women, are lagging in the labor force and in institutions of higher
and lower learning. Democrats appreciate that.
In Ivanka, you have a businesswoman, in an ostensibly business-friendly administration, who has vowed to "close the [mythical] gender pay gap" on our dime. A business magnate should have grasped the following logic: "If women with the same skills as men were getting only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, men as a group would have long since priced themselves out of the market. That entrepreneurs like Ivanka haven't ditched men en masse
to employ women suggests that different abilities and experience are at work, rather than a conspiracy to suppress women" ("The Week of the Whining Womin
Democrat-dominated news networks are mum about the Susan Rice spying and unmasking scandal. GOP TV is deaf and dumb about the clash between the America First faction of the administration (Steve Bannon) and the Kushner couple (Ivanka and Jared). The gentle reader should know by now that there's not a dime's worth of difference between the standard operating procedures of the two parties and their media.
On Twitter, former supporters of Donald Trump were quick to turn on Jared Kushner. The hashtag #FireKushner gained momentum. But I ask you to study Mr. Kushner. The man's a mouse. Have you ever heard Jared Kushner utter a word in public? Do you even know what he sounds like? The poor man looks low T—like he might one day go the way of Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner. (I love LGBTQ, so long as they come in peace.)
Jared's not wearing the pants in the Kushner castle. Behind every "good man" is a woman. Pushing, pushing. And that woman is the beguilingly beautiful Ivanka.
President Trump's not listening to his uncharismatic son-in-law; he's listening to Ivanka. And Ivanka is promoting Kushner, who is channeling Ivanka.
For Ivanka did Donald Trump ditch the policy he promised the Deplorables on Syria, not for her husband.
On Daddy's coattails has Ivanka Trump inveigled her way into the People's House, where she'll ambitiously promote her anemic husband and their joint agenda.
More than anything, Ivanka and Jared crave respectability. Both have been scarred by the scandals
of their fathers. Befitting young Democrats in high society, the Kushners would like to be able to press flesh with local and global elites. There will be none of that—no warm welcomes from the gilded and the glamorous at Davos
—with Donald's unsexy America First agenda.