Believe it or not many people who really want to know what’s going on, do not follow Donald Trump’s tweets. Instead, they follow Ivanka Trump’s Instagram. Ivanka’s photographs are very good evidence about life inside the White House.
For example, on 24 February, she posted a photo of herself alongside Lisa Phillips, an African American woman who, says Ivanka’s caption, “stands as an inspiration for what one woman can accomplish with passion and perseverance”. This was just a week after a press conference at which Ivanka’s father asked April Ryan, an African-American woman and an experienced reporter, to “set up a meeting” with the Congressional Black Caucus. In Trump’s head all black people know each other and are his servants.
On Ivanka’s Instagram there are tons of catalogue-perfect photos of her and her three beautiful children larking around DC. The message is that the grampa can’t be all that bad when his grandchildren are so cute.
Ivanka’s Instagram account really describes her relationship with her father. She is his filter, airbrushing him into acceptability. Ivanka Trump has long presented herself as the embodiment of that particular brand of modern feminism which claims everything is possible. This of course, comes with the usual caveats, exercise more, invest in perfect shoes and make sure you are born into enormous wealth. Ivanka makes privilege look aspirational.
Throughout his campaign, Ivanka was telling voters, despite decades of evidence to the contrary, that her father is “color blind and gender neutral”. When Cosmopolitan magazine’s Prachi Gupta interviewed Ivanka about her father’s childcare and maternity leave policies and pointed out that Trump had once described pregnancy as “bad for business”, Ivanka accused Gupta of having “a lot of negativity in your questions” and ended the interview.
Since becoming the de facto first lady she has met heads of state and helped draft policies, she has hosted dinners for CEOs at her home to talk policy, and tweeted a picture of herself in the Oval Office for the launch of an initiative supporting women in the workplace. She’s actually sitting in on high-level meetings, something previous first ladies were attacked for.
The President uses his daughter as a fig leaf for his misogyny and anti-Semitism, quite literally pointing at Ivanka as counter-evidence when asked about his bigotries. He can’t be anti-Semitic, his supporters cry: Ivanka is Jewish! And he allows her to exist!
But Ivanka’s father doesn’t love women or the Jewish people; he just loves her. The fact that she has been given a free pass for so long is only proof of the media’s weakness for photogenic women, and her skill at playing that game. Instagram proves it on a daily basis - those pictures do tell a story, the one she wants us to see.
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