Self-declared women's empowerment champion and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump has once again remained on the sidelines as her father, President Donald Trump, gives in to his worst impulses. The first daughter has been silent for nearly a week as the president continues his racist attacks on the Squad, made up of Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib — all progressive women of colour.
As it typically happens, reports are circulating of anonymous sources leaking that Ivanka and the ever-silent first lady Melania Trump expressed their disapproval with the president over his comments. According to CBS News, Trump "took a lot of heat from his family over the racist chants at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday," the one where the crowd feverishly chanted "Send her back!" in reference to Omar, an American citizen and refugee who was born in Somalia.
But publicly, both Ivanka and Melania were silent. During the rally, Ivanka was tweeting about how her father's administration is "fighting for hard-working American families!" And days before, as her father told the four congresswomen — three of whom were born in the U.S. — to "go back" to where they came from, Ivanka retweeted a message from Rep. Liz Cheney praising one of Ivanka's own initiatives: "Empowering women improves the lives of entire families/communities/nations."
Refinery29 reached out to the White House to ask whether Ivanka plans to speak publicly about her father's remarks. A spokesperson declined to comment.
Ivanka has said in the past that she disagrees "frequently" with her father, but doesn't believe it's her role do so publicly. "He knows exactly where I stand on any issue," she told ABC News earlier this year. "I'll always tell you what I'm for, but it is not my place as somebody working within a White House to tell you what I'm against. The only person who knows that is one person, and he knows it."
There will always be carefully placed sources who assure the public that Ivanka, and Trump's other family members, privately push back on his worst rhetoric. And maybe they do. But at the end of the day, these hints of defiance are not enough when you consider the tremendous pain his words have caused multiple communities. Ivanka paints herself as a champion of families, while saying nothing about the horrific conditions migrant women and children live in at the U.S.-Mexico border. This suggests that her talk of empowerment only extends to the point at which it stops serving her and her personal brand. Speaking up on behalf of women who made history when they were elected to Congress? That doesn't benefit her. And so, she says nothing.
For the Xth time, Ivanka Trump spoke with her father about X controversy he touched off, telling him X was problematic, according to X people close to her, who claimed that despite mountains of evidence, this conversation mattered.— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) July 19, 2019