Where was Ivanka when Donald launched his campaign? Doing what Trumps do and looking after number one | Arwa Mahdawi
Just a few years ago Ivanka Trump reportedly had her heart set on being the US’s first female president. Now, however, she seems desperate to stay as far away from politics as possible. The former first daughter has made it clear that while Daddy may be running for office again, she has no intention of joining him on the campaign trail. She has already selflessly served the public once, you see, and the public didn’t sufficiently appreciate her sacrifices. Now it’s time for a little self-care. “I love my father very much,” Ivanka said in a statement following Donald Trump’s official 2024 announcement. “This time around, I am choosing to prioritise my children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics.” To really hammer things home she was conspicuously absent when Trump, surrounded by family, made his official announcement from Mar-a-Lago last week. Even Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, was in attendance.
Rumour has it that Trump isn’t happy his eldest daughter has decided to keep her distance. According to the New York Post, Trump spent much of Tiffany Trump’s recent wedding unsuccessfully trying to convince Ivanka, who has always been a big hit among his base, to join him for his campaign announcement – which I’m sure thrilled Tiffany, who has always seemed like the most neglected child. Ivanka, however, stood firm.
And why wouldn’t she? Ivanka may be many things, but she is not an idiot. The 41-year-old “Girlboss” entrepreneur has always spent a lot of time worrying about her personal brand. Hitching your wagon to Donald Trump at the moment? Definitely not good for the personal brand. Trump doesn’t scream “winner” right now: even many of his old allies have turned against him. The Rupert-Murdoch-owned-New York Post, for example, has spent the last couple of weeks gleefully trolling the former president. Two days after the midterms, it called him “TRUMPTY DUMPTY” on its front page. Even more humiliating was the way it chose to cover Trump’s run for president – “Florida man makes announcement” was the strapline that ran at the very bottom of the front page.
At the moment, the consensus seems to be that Trump has lost his lustre and has zero chance of becoming president again. If Ivanka decides to side with her dad now she has nothing to gain. If she keeps her distance long enough, however, there’s a possibility she’ll be able to successfully rebrand herself, and all her liberal friends who turned their backs on her will invite her to dinner parties again. It’s a well-trodden path, after all: do a bunch of odious things when you’re in politics, get booted out of power, keep a low profile for a bit, then reinvent yourself by doing some high-profile charity work or appearing on a reality TV show. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ivanka’s PR people have been busy on the phone calling Volodymyr Zelenskiy (please, just one photo op!) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (please, just a quick appearance on the podcast), in an attempt to ready her for a re-entrance to polite society.
Speaking of odious people who have reinvented themselves: Michael Cohen, who was formerly Trump’s fixer and who has now successfully rebranded himself as a guy who gets paid to dish dirt on the Trump family on liberal cable news channels, has an interesting theory about Ivanka’s self-exile from politics. Cohen told MSNBC on Saturday that he reckons Jared and Ivanka have been working with the FBI and were the ones who informed the authorities about classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Ivanka’s involvement with the FBI, Cohen says, is why she’s not helping her father.
I don’t know whether Ivanka is snitching to the FBI or not. But you know what I am very confident saying? Ivanka is busy doing what Trumps do best: looking out for number one. At the moment, that means staying away from her dad’s drama. If Trump’s fortunes change, however, and it looks like he might actually be on his way to the White House again, I have a feeling Ivanka might suddenly reassess her interest in politics.