The Power of Ivanka
April 27, 2017
Ivanka Trump is now one of the most prominent women in the political realm, despite her lack of experience. The First Daughter has been present at meetings with some of the worlds most influential leaders and has painted herself as a moderate among a sea of white house ‘ultra-conservatives.’ While many commend her for being the “voice of reason” in a unusually unstable administration, she is increasingly criticized for displaying a carefully crafted image but remaining complicit in the controversial and sometimes harmful decisions the administration has made over the course of the first 100 days. The rest of the country is left wondering, what role does Ivanka play and how has she managed to gain so much power?
One of the best ways to understand how Ivanka has shaped her role is to understand how she masterfully crafts her image to conform to popular opinion. She is, in one world, malleable. She allows the media to speak for her and remains silent to most criticism or praise. She posts only what she would like you see on her social media and is purposefully vague, deflecting questions so masterfully that it could be made into an art form. By allowing others to form their own opinions of her while displaying an unwavering version of herself, she is able to keep one clear persona. John Oliver recently aired a segment on Jared Kushner, her husband, and Ivanka Trump herself where he showed an excerpt from her book The Trump Card that said, “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true. This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.” She proves that she knows just how to work up a political or professional ladder and is a master manipulator.
Like her father Donald Trump, her own personality and ideas are adaptable to the specific political climate to which she happens to be appealing at the time. However, Donald Trump is not quite as skillful as Ivanka. She is poised and words every sentence slowly and intentionally. Donald Trump is boisterous and commonly goes ‘off-script’ to connect with his voters. This juxtaposition is no accident. Ivanka is able to further her image of a moderate voice to sway the president by seeming more grounded in reality. Saying fewer racially charged or demeaning statements than her father is not a difficult bar to clear, but this stark contrast is powerful and yet another tactic used to manipulate a public image.
One of the greatest controversies of her role has been whether she should be allowed take over some of the roles of First Lady. Melania Trump has been noticeably absent from the White House. She lives in New York in Trump Tower with her and President Trump’s youngest son Barron, age 10. Because of her step-mother’s absence, Ivanka has been present at many events that the First Lady usually attends. She has also attended meetings with some of the world’s most powerful leaders such as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This is another display of her power and influence over her father. While these meetings have done some good for her reputation, they have also raised questions about her intentions. For instance, the day that she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, her company got the go ahead on trademarks for her Jewelry and Clothing company, meaning she can sell her companies items in on of the worlds largest economies. While she has said that there is no ethical issue associated with it and that the approval was not because of her meeting with the Chinese President, this is an important event to keep in mind as the Trump presidency continues.
Ivanka is a master manipulator. There is no other way to put it. She knows what image will influence majority opinion and how to show just enough of her life to give the observer a feeling of connection. Her skills come from years of training in how to form the Trump brand just right and she has finessed this ability faster than her siblings. Many liberals and conservatives see her as a voice of reason and the one who will pull President Trump back when he strays too far from the realm of sanity. However, it is important to realize that her interests most likely lie in her own self-image rather than the good of the American people. She has shown initiative and cleverness in how she strategically plays the cards in her favor. Ivanka’s abilities, while impressive, should be approached with caution. There are still over three more years left for President Trump and the power of Ivanka should not be underestimated.