Trump gave a speech as a stand-in for the U.S. president at Saturday night’s Gridiron dinner in Washington, D.C., a white-tie event where elite journalists mingle with politicians. In the speech, Ivanka made a joke that may leave many Americans scratching their heads.
“The press seems to think it’s ironic that I, born of great privilege, think people want to work for what they are given,” she said, according to The Washington Post. “As if being Donald Trump’s daughter isn’t the hardest job in the world.”
Trump appeared to be referencing a minor fracas that erupted earlier this week, when in an interview with Fox News, Trump said she disagreed with a jobs guarantee program in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal because she doesn’t think "most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something."
From her role on The Apprentice to her executive-level position in the Trump Organization to her current job as a top White House aide, it is arguable that many of the positions Trump has been given have been tied to her last name and family connections. Even her early days as a model come courtesy of brand-name recognition of her family. A 1997 New York Times article about Trump’s then-burgeoning career pointed out that some modelling agencies “raised an eyebrow” over her high-profile gigs and questioned whether she would be on “catwalks and magazine covers if not for her famous last name.” In fact, one of her first modelling jobs was co-hosting Miss Teen USA, which, along with Miss USA, was owned by Donald Trump until he ran for president.
As for the second part of Trump’s statement, it’s impossible to know why she called her father difficult. Could she be referring to the allegations of sexual assault? His anti-LGBTQ+ agenda? His family separation policy? It is likely, however, that because Trump was in a room full of journalists, she was trying to cozy up with them.
And, sure. At one point, it probably was challenging, on some level, for Trump to be her father’s daughter. One imagines it would not be easy for a teenage girl to deal with a dad who publicly cheated on your mother or, as an adult, appear with your father on TV as he says, “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, I’d be dating her.”
But sympathy for Ivanka Trump only goes so far when her complicity with the Trump administration has allowed her to accept the benefits of being Donald Trump’s daughter.