Whoever makes the seating arrangements for state funerals certainly showed their sense of humor by putting former friends Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump right next to each other on Wednesday. Or did they really choose to sit together at George H.W. Bush's funeral?
The two, who have many of the obvious things in common — unintentional fame, for one thing — used to be good friends. In a 2015 Vogue interview, Chelsea actually praised Ivanka: "She’s always aware of everyone around her and ensuring that everyone is enjoying the moment. It’s an awareness that in some ways reminds me of my dad, and his ability to increase the joy of the room. There’s nothing skin-deep about Ivanka." In the article, Ivanka says she prefers smaller groups of friends, of which Chelsea and her husband Marc Mezvinsky were frequently a part.
But, just like Ivanka consistently stands by her brand, Chelsea stands by her convictions. In March, she spelled it out clearly on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that their days of friendship are over. "I have not spoken to her in a long time," she said. "It’s clear, though, that she has supported policies and decisions that I don’t agree with. I’ve been very vocal about my opposition to President Trump and this White House."
Just like Ivanka consistently stands by her brand, Chelsea stands by her convictions.
In a May 2018 Guardian profile, Chelsea was asked if she feels any sympathy for Ivanka. Speaking just two days after Ivanka was seen smiling at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem as over 50 Palestinian protestors were killed and dozens wounded, she replied, "She’s an adult. She can make the choices for herself. I mean, she’s 36. We are responsible for our choices. In 2008 I was really proud to support my mom — but I disagreed with her fundamentally on a few things, particularly her then opposition to equal marriage rights for LGBTQ Americans. I never defended that position, because it wasn’t what I believed was the right thing to do."
While we'll never know what they talked about at George H.W. Bush's funeral, we do know that their falling out mirrors that of many friendships around the country. We hope that someday they can have a difficult, productive conversation rather than just make awkward chit-chat (which the video below suggests).