All eyes have been on the Trump family after a mob of the president’s supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. First Lady Melania Trump’s long-time Chief of Staff resigned, Ivanka sent (and deleted) a tweet calling the insurgents “American patriots,” and Eric Trump had a very memorable birthday. But also coming under fire is the extended Trump family — including supermodel, Project Runway host, and girlboss entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, who is married to Joshua Kushner, the brother of Ivanka's husband, Jared.
During Wednesday’s insurrection, Kloss tweeted: “Accepting the results of a legitimate democratic election is patriotic. Refusing to do so and inciting violence is anti-American.” In response, a Twitter user suggested she share that sentiment with her brother- and sister-in-law, to which Kloss responded, “I’ve tried.” She received criticism for her tepid response, with many people pointing out that Kloss could (and should) have done much more than “try” — she could (and should) openly disavow them, their actions, and their beliefs.
Tavi Gevinson — writer, actor, and founder of Rookie magazine — had particularly strong words for Kloss, laying into her regarding her silence and pointing out the hypocrisy of attempting to make money off a “Resistance Barbie” brand while refusing to take a firm stand against fascism and the way her family members are responsible for participating in it. What Kloss meant to say, Gevinson intimated, is that Kloss has “no real interest” in using her platform and proximity to political power “so much as maintaining a watery ‘feminist’ liberal brand,” while not wanting to jeopardise her relationship with the Trump family and the Kushner family.
Gevinson went on to point out that Kloss has had over four years to explicitly identify the threat that her in-laws pose to the country, yet instead chose to paint their disagreements as simply differing political views, rather than calling out the white supremacist ideology that her in-laws have championed.
This isn’t the first time Kloss has been called out for her family connections and responded in an inadequately forceful way. "I'm sure I'm not the only person in this country who doesn't necessarily agree with their family on politics," she told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live in January 2020, while citing her history of volunteering with Planned Parenthood. "I voted as a Democrat in 2016 and I plan to do the same in 2020."
This also is not the first time Gevinson has called Kloss out, referring to her as “a joke” in Instagram comments last year after Kloss posted an image advocating for people to have conversations in their own families about racism. While it’s unclear what the relationship between Kloss and her sister-in-law is like behind closed doors, Ivanka attended Kloss and Kushner's wedding and shouted Kloss out on social media after she became the host of Project Runway in 2017.
Kloss’s bland statements against Trump are not now and never were enough. She has chosen to remain as inoffensive and neutral as possible so she can profit off her image as a member of the pink pussy hat resistance while not alienating those with more right-leaning politics who might want to spend money on items from her Adidas line or support her girls’ coding organisation. But her husband’s brother and his wife are fascists, and Kloss has a platform and, therefore, a responsibility to disavow them explicitly .