How the Media Boosts Ivanka Trump’s Stealth Damage-Control Campaign

Speak softly and carry a big schtick.

Evan Vucci/AP

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Outside of a single, breezy tweet invoking Thomas Jefferson to defend her father last month, first daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump has been relatively quiet on the topic of impeachment. But she took a moment from her efforts to empower women last weekend to tepidly push back on the president’s demands to publicly identify the whistleblower at the center of his Ukraine scandal. She mostly parroted Republicans’ complaints about impeachment—but some media outlets trumpeted her bold “break” with her father instead.
 
It was the latest episode in one of the most enduring storylines of the Trump era: Things are going off the rails, but never fear—Ivanka is quietly working behind the scenes to be the least-awful member of the administration, details of which are conveniently leaked to the press:
 

February 2017: The New York Times reports that Ivanka and sidekick Jared Kushner “helped kill” an executive order rolling back LGBTQ protections.

April 2017: Politico reports that Ivanka has “quietly reached out to” Planned Parent­hood as part of her “listening tour.”

April 2017: Eric Trump tells the Telegraph that a “heartbroken and outraged” Ivanka pushed her father to launch missile strikes on Syria after a chemical attack.

May 2017: Ivanka, who Axios states is “passionate” about climate change, is said to be working behind the scenes to influence her father’s decision to ditch the Paris climate deal.

June 2017: A US Weekly cover story trumpets that Ivanka “will always fight for what she believes in.”

June 2018: CNN asserts that Ivanka “agrees with her father’s sentiments that he hates the family separation issue and doesn’t want it to occur”—though she won’t say anything about it publicly.

September 2018: An unnamed source tells Vanity Fair that Ivanka told her dad to pull his nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

October 2018: The New York Times reports that only after “importuning” by Ivanka and Jared did the president speak out against anti-Semitism follow­ing a mass shooting at a synagogue.

April 2019: As Trump threatens to shut down the US-Mexico border, Jared pushes for immigration poli­cies in line with his and Ivanka’s “more moderate positions,” Politico reports.

July 2019: An anonymous source tells CBS News that the president “took heat” from Ivanka after he let his supporters chant “send her back” at a rally.

August 2019: As Trump dithers, Ivanka reportedly has been “quietly calling” lawmakers to gauge their support for new gun laws.

September 2019: Yahoo News reports “rumors” that Ivanka and Jared have suggested replacing Vice President Mike Pence with a woman on the 2020 ticket.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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