But the news item did strike me as slightly odd — almost seeming like an ad, or perhaps a statement that she was part of a new American Royal family.
In the meantime, I made a snarky joke in a Facebook post that, in the midst of this political race, I found it odd that she would name the kid “Ted.” And then I called him “Cryin’ Ted.”
Ha ha? Not so much.
The post soon filled with vicious comments, mostly about how much Ivanka’s father wants to “date” her. In fairness, “he started it!” Many years ago on “The View,” while promoting a new season of “The Apprentice,” the Donald famously said, “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, and I weren’t happily married, perhaps I’d date her.”
It caused a lot of outrage, but it’s not as if he ever walked the statement back. Candidate Trump repeated the exact same line as recently as this fall, in the same Rolling Stone interview in which he got in trouble for calling Carly Fiorina unattractive. (“Who’d ever vote for that?")
Perhaps he thinks that calling a woman someone he’d like to “date” is the highest honor he can convey.
His go-to line is still “Nobody has more respect for women than Donald Trump!”
The contradictions add up. But I maintain that inside he’s still that 14-year-old smartmouth, just about to be shipped off to military school. And he hasn’t reprogrammed that part of his brain that allows him to rate, and attack, women.
But he has worked out a way to make it work for him on the campaign trail. If he treats female journalists badly, getting truculent the way he did with Megyn Kelly, it’s because they are the elite, professional women who do not appeal to his base. His base supports fidelity to ex-cop family men like Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a theme being sustained brilliantly in the hullabaloo around the Michelle Fields lawsuit. In the Trump camp, Fields is just another single dame who was too P.C. and pushy, while Lewandowski has “a beautiful wife and children,” upholding a form of Trump family values.
A day later, in an interview on MSNBC with Chris Matthews, Trump said he’d “punish” women who get abortions. He later retracted that. But as a pattern of behavior, conscious or not, it becomes clear that being punitive to women who stand up to him has been part of the undercurrent of his campaign.
But back to my FB post. This campaign season has been insane and dispiriting for everyone, making words like “civility” seems awfully quaint. But the anti-Trumpsters, with whom I would normally side, were getting really foul, going over the incest line, in their comments.
It hit me that if I really considered myself a feminist/humanist, I had to take the post down, and extend a certain amount of this civility to Ivanka. She seems smart, hardworking and uber-capable, and it's not her fault (though it is her misfortune) that her father speaks publicly about her in sexual terms.
Still, given all that, I had a hard time understanding how she stands approvingly by her father’s side as he behaves like Trump. At the very tamest, he’s used the pregnancy card as a crowd-pleaser and vote-generator at rallies on two occasions. In South Carolina and Iowa, he rubbed Ivanka’s belly and wished that she’d have the baby right there, in a local hospital. The crowds went wild. Who doesn’t love a very pregnant woman?
Imagine if Hillary ever did that? She’d get thrown off the face of the earth as a hillbilly, enmeshing her daughter in a creepy family-pandering plan. (Chelsea is due some time this summer.)
Still, there’s no question that Ivanka deserves civility — and here, I find myself agreeing with Ted Cruz that wives and children should be off-limits.
But is it a different case when adult children are part and parcel of the campaign — as opposed to, say, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan, who openly disagreed with their dad’s politics?
Trump often gets complimented on his three eldest kids (whose mother is first wife Ivana) Don, Ivanka, and Eric, who not only accompany him on the trail but also work for the Trump Organization.
Even son Don admitted that his father favors Ivanka, and that she is the big dog in running the business. As such, she is also called on to defend her dad from charges of sexism. “Well, I think a lot of the sensationalism around this was orchestrated — largely by the media,” she has said, adding that her father “is not gender-specific in his criticism of people.”
Obviously, Ivanka knows how to stay on-brand. She’s not thinking of her pop’s politics, she’s got her eye on global domination, and maintaining the business.
And she’s always been amazingly consistent in that way. Back in 2007, when she was 25, in defending all the superlatives her dad was known to use even then, she told the writer Lisa DePaulo in a GQ interview, “But we do believe everything’s the Best and the Greatest and the Tallest and the Biggest.“
“He has to believe every building he’s doing is the best building he’s ever done,” she said. “That’s important to us. Like, that’s our vision as a company… And that’s how we look at, you know, all the stuff we do.”
Even then, she made it clear that she is self-aware. “I’ve known since I was born what I wanted to do," she told GQ. “I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. Ever. Not even as a little kid. I feel like somehow I’m genetically programmed.“
Just as the Donald was raised trailing his father Fred on weekends to the family building sites — sometimes even collecting rents — he did the same with his kids.
Interestingly, Ivanka married Jared Kushner, who had a very similar upbringing in his own family's real estate business. He had to take over the reins of the Kushner organization when he was just out of law school, because his father, Charles, was sentenced to prison for tax evasion and witness tampering. (The prosecutor on the case? Chris Christie.) His father was in the clink for 17 months — and now they work in side-by-side offices in the glass tower they own that’s up the street from his father-in-law’s gilded home.
So the kids Ivanka and Jared are raising will have double the loyal, stand-by-your-real-estate-man DNA.
Perhaps Donald’s responses on nukes and abortion are as disordered, chaotic, scary, and inconsistent as they are because governing was never his main intention in his presidential bid. It was all about growing the brand/going to the next level.
Ivanka has shown she’ll do anything to keep that brand intact. But perhaps, just as with the casinos, her dad has miscalculated. His art-of-the-deal tricks don’t translate to governing. And at this point, maybe he’s breaking down, beginning to go off-brand.
Whatever happens, I’m pretty certain Ivanka is prepared to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding. Whether she’s treated civilly or not, it’s just business.