Tag Archives: Ivanka Trump

Get a clue, Ivanka

First, I will stipulate that I do not subscribe to the statement attributed to former White House strategist Stephen Bannon in the “Fire and Fury” book that Ivanka Trump is “dumb as a brick.”

The first daughter, though, seems to be tone deaf. Politically, that is.

Oprah Winfrey got the Golden Globes crowd all worked up Sunday night with that speech in which she declared to women around the nation that a “new day is on the horizon!”

Ivanka then weighed in with a tweet that endorsed Winfrey’s “empowering and inspiring” speech.

Uhh, oops!

The speech was seen by many as a first shot in the 2020 presidential campaign. Oprah might be considering a run for president against, um, Ivanka’s father, Donald Trump Sr., the president of the United States.

Here is where I’ll note that Ivanka stood by Dad when those women came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse, assault, harassment. She has said in public that the president is women’s most powerful ally; Ivanka has drawn scorn for saying that, too.

Now she endorses Oprah’s speech and the “Me Too” movement, while standing by her father?

Ivanka isn’t “dumb as a brick.” She does need re-calibrate her political antennae.

Malia gets unlikely support

Who would have thought that Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton would be singing off the same hymnbook page?

And to think the object of their shared melody would be Malia Obama.

Ivanka has scolded reporters for essentially stalking Malia while the elder Obama daughter attends Harvard University.

Ivanka tweeted this message: “Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school aged peers. She is a young adult and private citizen, and should be OFF limits.” 

There you go. That comes from the daughter — and senior adviser — of the president of the United States.

Then came this from Chelsea Clinton, daughter of another former president and a would-be president who lost the 2016 election to Ivanka’s father: “Malia Obama’s private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait. Be better.” 

Some paparazzi had snapped some pictures of Malia Obama smooching with a Harvard student and — gasp! — smoking a cigarette. The photos went viral, prompting the two presidents’ daughters to come to Malia’s defense.

Indeed, they both understand how the media can pry into people’s private lives, given their own parents’ high profile. Chelsea Clinton even weighed in when some in the media criticized 11-year-old Barron Trump’s wardrobe choices at a public event. Chelsea wrote at the time: “It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves.” 

I’m with Ivanka and Chelsea. Leave Malia alone!

Still struggling with how to refer to the president

The struggle is continuing.

A critic or two of High Plains Blogger has wondered aloud why I keep resisting the urge to refer to Donald Trump as president. You know, put the words “President” and “Trump” together consecutively.

It’s personal, man. Really, that’s all it is.

If you’ve read this blog with any degree of care, you will have noticed that I have no difficulty writing the words “Vice President Pence,” or “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,” or “Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis.” Do you get my drift? Of course you do.

The president is another matter altogether.

All of those individuals I’ve just cited, plus the rest of the entire Trump team — except, perhaps, for his son-in-law and daughter — comport themselves with at the very minimum a semblance of dignity as they go about their jobs representing the United States of America. Ivanka and Jared are in their high-powered jobs only because the president loves his daughter and (I presume) son-in-law.

The president hasn’t made the grade. At least not yet.

Whether he ever gets there remains to be seen. This constant baloney about how smart he is, his recent repeated references to the “standing ovation” he got while meeting with his team, his continual insults and his ridiculous tweets regarding matters that shouldn’t even concern him all cheapen the office he occupies.

And then there are those petulant disputes with Gold Star families. And the clumsiness with which he handles virtually every matter that comes across his desk.

The words “President” and “Trump” don’t yet resonate with me. A part of me — admittedly a still-small part — wants it to change. Until it does, this blog will not go where it should.

Yes, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. I know it and get it fully.

However, he’s got to start acting and sounding like one.

Not all Trumps are as clueless as POTUS

What do you know about this?

First daughter Ivanka Trump has said something Dad couldn’t bring himself to say, which is to condemn white nationalists, and neo-Nazis.

Ivanka fired off a tweet that said: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

The young woman just took several giant steps beyond what her father, the president of the United States, said rather meekly about the Charlottesville, Va., riot that resulted in the death of a counter protester.

It all started when a group of white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers protested the decision to take down a state of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went downhill from the get-go.

The president then blamed “many sides” for the violence, refusing to call out the hate groups that provoked the riot in the first place. The president seeks to portray himself as a strong man. He instead comes off as a weakling, a wimp.

So now Ivanka has entered the discussion with a patently reasonable and well-aimed statement that should have come from the president of the United States.

Ivanka steps in … way over her head?

Ivanka Trump went to work over the weekend with her father, the president of the United States.

Why, she even got to sit at the grownups’ table during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The presence of this unqualified individual at the table did not go unnoticed by many of Donald Trump’s fellow world leaders.

The custom at meetings such as this is for a head of state to summon a senior staffer or someone with some clout to sit in while “the boss” steps away. Does Ivanka fit that bill?

Does the first daughter have any expertise in, say, anything related to geopolitics or international economics? Let me think about that. Umm. No. None. Zero.

As Politico reported: “U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley defended the first daughter’s actions Saturday, stressing that she has focused on important issues like female entrepreneurship, poverty and famine.”

Politico went on: “‘She’s got her certain issues that she focuses on and when those things come up then that’s where she is,’ the ambassador said during an interview with CBS set to air Sunday, adding that the first daughter is ‘very well accepted nationally and internationally.'”

I think perhaps Ambassador Haley is spinning that just a bit.

Indeed, why couldn’t she have taken the president’s place at the table?

The president has placed far too much clout in his daughter’s hands. For that matter, he has done the same with Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, the young man with zero foreign policy experience but who now is entrusted to broker a Middle East peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Good … grief!

Ivanka’s brief stint at the G20 meeting serves only to demonstrate — yet again! — that her father doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Kushner, Ivanka get stiffed by POTUS/Dad

Just when you thought Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were deputy presidents of the United States, the actual president stiffs them on their staunch support of the Paris Accord aimed at dealing with climate change.

What gives? Oh, I think I know, actually.

The nationalist wing of the White House inner circle got to the president; it had his ear for the final time before announcing Thursday that he would pull the United States out of the worldwide alliance to fight the planet’s changing climate and the consequences it is bringing.

So much, then, for Ivanka and her husband’s legendary influence over the president. Frankly, I stand with them — and against Trump and his nationalist buddies — in this crazy development.

The president’s daughter and son-in-law weren’t alone in their support of the climate agreement. National security adviser H.R. McMaster wanted to stay involved; so did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; same with Energy Secretary Rick Perry. I should add, too, that a number of key Republicans in and out of public office wanted the president to stay the course.

No can do, he said.

The issue is American jobs, which the president believes would be lost because this country would work with other nations in seeking to curb the causes of global warming and climate change.

What … utter … crap!

Why the Ivanka criticism? Because she’s a player

Howard Kurtz, Fox News’s media critic and analyst, asks a perfectly valid question: Why are the media beating up on first daughter Ivanka Trump?

I believe I have an answer. Not the answer, mind you.

It’s because Ivanka has become part of her father’s key advisory team, along with husband Jared Kushner. She’s no longer just a charming, poised entrepreneur who stood by Dad while he campaigned for the presidency. She’s now part of the team, part of the inner circle, one of the president’s key advisers.

Kurtz seems a bit alarmed at the apparently sudden turn by the political media. Hmm. Why should it surprise him?

The media have done this many times in the past — and for reasons that have nothing to do with presidential children’s role in shaping public policy.

George W. Bush’s twins — Barbara and Jenna — became media fodder after they got into some trouble in college; conservative critics of Bill and Hillary Clinton turned their guns on Chelsea during their time in the White House over the teen’s awkward appearance; Malia Obama got her share of snark from media critics, too, after she enrolled at Harvard.

By the way, is it me or do the media take special aim at presidential daughters while looking the other way when presidents are the fathers of sons?

Ivanka Trump is treading down uncharted paths as a presidential child who’s been handed a portfolio that enables her to speak publicly about policy matters. She and Jared aren’t getting paid for their presidential posts, but they still have a big influence on Daddy Donald.

I respect Howard Kurtz and his role as a media critic. He’s done it for some time at the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, CNN and now at Fox.

I’m betting Ivanka Trump knows what’s coming as she exerts greater influence on the policies that emanate from her father’s administration.

I do agree with one element of Kurtz’s questioning of the media. Challenging the advice that Ivanka gives her father is one thing. The insults and innuendo are quite another.

As a brief aside, I’ll note that one of Kurtz’s colleagues at Fox, Jesse Watters, has just announced he is going on “vacation” after he made some ghastly, sexually charged remarks about Ivanka after her appearance in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund chair Christine LeGard.

The president was dialed in to life in the public eye as a successful businessman. Ivanka and her brothers Don and Eric had managed to stay pretty much out of the media glare. Then dear ol’ Dad had to run for — and get himself elected — president of the United States.

That’s when it all changed.

That didn’t take long

Media are reporting possible big shakeups within the White House high command.

The White House — no surprise here — is denying it. Yet the signs seem to be unmistakable.

Senior strategist Steven Bannon has lost his job on the National Security Council. He’s fighting with Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Meanwhile, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus appears to be his way out … along with Bannon.

Trump’s White House flack machine no doubt is considering all this to be “fake news.”

But is it?

Trump’s executive machinery has been creaking along ever since the president took office. There can be no doubt about what we’ve all witnessed.

Shakeup taking shape in White House

At some level, the notion that Priebus would be placed into some kind of shakeup bubble troubles me. I’ve considered Priebus — the former Republican Party national chairman — to be one of the few grownups Trump brought in. But he might be shown the door. Why? My guess is that he cannot stop the reports of palace intrigue within the White House.

Chiefs of staff are supposed to keep a tight rein on everyone else within the West Wing. That’s how the best of them function. Jim Baker did so within the Bush 41 administration; Dick Cheney ran a tight ship during the Ford administration.

Trump, though, brings a whole new dynamic to executive branch governance. He has surrounded himself with amateurs in many posts. Yes, he has some fine men and women serving in his Cabinet.

This notion, though, of putting his son-in-law — not to mention his own daughter, Ivanka — in the middle of policy decisions creates a tension that goes far beyond the “creative” kind that can work in an executive’s favor.

The president has just encountered his first major foreign policy crisis and answered it with clarity and precision with the air strikes against Syrian targets. He’ll need strong, steady leadership and counsel within his top White House staff if he is going to move forward.

If he’s going to shake things up in the West Wing, he’d better do it quickly and tell his flacks to stop denying the increasingly obvious.

Didn’t they enact an anti-nepotism law?

President-elect John F. Kennedy called the media together shortly after his election in 1960 to announce his choice for attorney general.

It would be his brother, Robert, who never had practiced law privately. He had served as general counsel to a Senate committee chaired by the infamous Joseph McCarthy and later worked with his brother in the Senate.

JFK joked that RFK needed a bit of experience before he would become a successful lawyer, so he named him AG.

The appointment caused some consternation at the time, even though RFK would go on to become a highly effective attorney general.

In 1967, Congress enacted a law that banned such nepotism at the highest levels of government.

Then came Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States. What does he do? He places his daughter Ivanka into a West Wing office, where she now has an actual White House job. Oh, and her husband, Jared Kushner, also now works as a senior policy adviser.

Neither of them has government experience. Neither has any political seasoning.

Trumps take over the White House

But hey, what’s the problem? Ivanka won’t take a salary, which I guess serves as Dad’s dodge in giving her a government job.

However, didn’t Congress have enough fear about nepotism 50 years ago to approve a law to prohibit it?

I don’t believe that concern has lessened.

Where have you gone, Ivanka and Jared?

It turns out that the president of the United States reportedly is angry that two of his “key advisers” were absent during the run-up to the historic non-vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Donald J. Trump is none too happy about it at that!

The advisers? Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.

Where were they? They were on a ski vacation. They were absent from the negotiation that took place between Daddy POTUS and his new best friend, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and those stubborn House of Representatives conservatives who torpedoed the legislation.

Here is the Big Question: What on Earth could either of these individuals have done to persuade balky congressmen and women to change their votes? Must anyone remind the president that Ivanka and Jared are political novices, as is the president of the United States himself?

There. I just did remind him. Not that he’ll even see this gentle rhetorical jab, let alone take it to heart.

Ivanka has just acquired a West Wing office, where she’ll work as a sort of unofficial adviser with no specific job description; nor will she draw a federal salary. Kushner already is the president’s point man on U.S.-Israel relations and reportedly plans to play a key role in searching for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Are either of them skilled political operatives? Are they experts on health care, on the ACA or on the failed bill to replace it, the American Health Care Act? Do they even have any relationships with congressional naysayers? Umm. Nope.

What could they have done to affect the outcome? Maybe it’s just me, but my hunch is that it would have been not a damn thing!

So, they took a trip to the mountains to ski and enjoy each other’s company.

Dad didn’t need their “help” in scuttling this bill. He and the speaker did a fine job of it all by themselves.

Oh! And that’s a good thing.