So You Think You Can Govern: Woman Up

Switching sides, snooping, and a lot of talk about private dinners — this week’s events in the U.S. government could easily double as the summary of a late season episode of The Real Housewives Of Atlanta. But this isn’t about fabulous ladies in Charlotte Olympia heels talking about each other. The men of Trump’s administration have been the ones saying pretty nasty things about women, and those elephant feet don’t exactly fit in cute neon pumps.
Intern Ivanka
Heiress-turned-model-turned-bedazzled-sweater-mogul-turned-government-official Ivanka Trump finally has a title for her role in the White House: Special Assistant to the President. Apparently “Special Assistant” is Trump talk for unpaid intern. It’s true what they say: Only rich kids can afford to take unpaid internships after college.
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Handing your child an unidentifiable high level job is straight up nepotism, even if she isn’t “earning a salary” (but let’s be honest, no one in the Trump family does anything for free). Even Lisa Vanderpump makes her son Max work as a busser at SUR and didn’t just give him the keys to the rose and chandelier-filled restaurant saying, “Eh, you’ve got it.”
Sure, Ivanka is ever so kindly forgoing a salary for this fancy new White House job — a salary that would have been a drop in the bucket compared to what Melania, Barron, and her creepy adult brothers have cost the country in security and Secret Service detail costs — but she is still using government resources for the role. This plus her security clearance means she’ll be held to ethics standards like any other government employee.
So far she has done most of the things she’s supposed to do: she resigned from her position at the Trump Organization, sold her common stock in the business, and stepped down from managing her clothing and accessories line. She did not shut down or sell that company though, which is not ideal. Her company’s production in China mixed with her father’s tariff threats against the country are just one of several concerns.
Outside of the business conflicts, she’s also going to be working with family. Not only is she “specially assisting” her father, she’s also working alongside her husband, Jared Kushner. Sure, it may work for Tamra and Eddie in Orange County when they run their (always empty based on Real Housewives episodes) gym together, but more or less running the most powerful country in the free world is a lot more than free weights and training selfies.
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And so what is it exactly that Ivanka will be doing in her role as the richest unpaid intern in history? She is allegedly going to be advising her father on issues relating to women, specifically when it comes to working. Seems a little hypocritical that the voice of equality and protection of women in the workforce is that of an heiress so wealthy she doesn’t even need to get paid for the job her dad just handed to her despite having zero experience. At the very least, maybe she can keep her father from asking a room full of women, “Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony?”
Mother May I?
Speaking of not hearing about Susan B. Anthony, Mike Pence, who I believe to be the human version of a hotel checkout TV station, had a busy week. He stated in an interview that he would never dine out alone with a woman who is not his wife (who he calls “Mother”). His decision comes from a belief that his marriage remains strong because there is never temptation of being alone with someone of the opposite sex. I used to have the same outlook on dieting. I never kept any unhealthy food in my house. After a day of celery and almonds I would order a trash bag full of onion rings. Trust me, Mikey, removing temptation is not the solution.
This belief shows that Pence either thinks women are evil seductresses constantly trying to break up marriages and destroy lives for their own pleasure, or that men are so incapable of even the slightest opportunity to sleep with a woman that when alone with one in a restaurant full of people he still wouldn’t be able to help himself. It’s like Pence got all of his impressions of how men and women act from porn, Lifetime movies, and Axe Body Spray commercials.
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What’s most troubling about this is not Pence’s personal choice on who he does and does not dine with privately in his social life. I highly doubt there is a Bachelor open casting call-style line of women waiting to watch Mike Pence drink a glass of milk with his pasta at 5 p.m. The problem is that this kind of view of women prevents women from achieving higher offices. A one-on-one meal on The Bachelor could mean a creepy handwritten note to come to the fantasy suite that may have been written by Chris Harrison. A one-on-one meal in politics could lead to a promotion, a new job, important information, or other results. And if the men in power are too scared of sexuality to have those meetings with women, then women aren’t getting any of those promotions, new jobs, or important information. And we’re getting shut out.
And if that isn’t enough, Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the senate Thursday overturning a regulation from the Obama administration that allows states to withhold Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, meaning that states will decide if Planned Parenthood can receive Medicaid reimbursements. And this means that the states can decide how low income women manage their reproductive health. I can only imagine that to celebrate such an exciting event for him, he took his wife out for a nice silent dinner.
Flip This House
Late Thursday, General Mike Flynn dropped a bomb so big it could have appeared on the cover of Paper magazine popping a bottle of champagne à la Kim Kardashian. This might actually break the internet. Hell, it might break the country. Flynn, Trump’s former security advisor before he “resigned” over communicating with Russia, told the FBI and the members of Congress investigating him that he would testify for immunity from prosecution. Flynn must have some pretty big information for the Feds if he’s making a deal for immunity. Like, proof Brooks didn’t have cancer on RHOOC big.
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That is a big flip. If he were a house on HGTV, that would be like taking a dirt lot with a broken washing machine in it and turning it into a 3.4 million dollar smart home with an infinity pool and a Carrera marble kitchen island the size of a Hummer.
The C Words: Climate Change
With all of the news around Ivanka and Pence and Flynn, you may think that Trump spent his whole week on the golf course. Well, you’d be wrong. That was more or less the weekend. During the week he mostly focused on destroying the environment that he loves hitting around a white ball on but has virtually no other use. Seriously, this guy golfs more than Vicki Gunvalson “Woops.”
He signed an executive order that will destroy Obama’s climate policies like the check at a group dinner destroys everyone’s mood. In short, this plan will roll back the Clean Power Act, revisit the carbon standards for new coal plants, undo Obama’s oil and gas methane emissions regulations, and revisit other regulations about leasing coal plants and factoring climate change into policy reviews. Trump is like a styrofoam cup: white, has a weird texture, and is terrible for the environment. I only hope that unlike a styrofoam cup, he’ll be gone soon.
Well, you won’t hear the energy department referring to those regulations about climate change, because they are no longer allowed to use the words “climate change.” They also can’t use the phrases “Paris Agreement” or “emissions reduction.” Next week they are going to have to stop using the words “polar bears” and “rainforests” because those probably won’t even exist anymore.
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Stay tuned next week when Trump gives Ivanka the Oval Office like a parent giving up a master bedroom for the child they spoil rotten and Mike Pence stays up all the way until 7:30 p.m.
B Roll
Congress decided that broadband providers can sell their customers’ data to whoever they want without asking for permission. I hope someone pays a lot of money to find out just how often I Google image search “Alec Baldwin baking a cake.”
After showing a clip of perpetual badass Maxine Waters on Fox & Friends, Bill O’Reilly made a racist and sexist remark. In other news, the sky is blue.
Trump decided not to include LGBT subjects and questions from the 2020 census. Instead, those subjects will be replaced by “Are you hot?” and "How often do you eat at KFC?"
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