Ivanka Trump's role as both first daughter and unpaid White House advisor has long caused outrage among critics, but some non-Trump supporters have hoped her personal relationship with the president could at least help moderate his controversial opinions and policies. Ivanka seems to prefer staying out of politics as much as possible though in order to present a united front, and in a recent interview with The Washington Post, Ivanka Trump said this is why she doesn't speak up politically on Twitter when she's often expected to. It's definitely not the first time she's tried to argue that she has the right to remain neutral regarding important political issues, but judging by the reaction on social media, her view isn't exactly one that many people seem to agree with.
President Donald Trump has always been open about his extremely high regard for his eldest daughter, and the fact that she is pretty much the most likeable and the least-controversial member of his team definitely seems to make her an important strategic asset. It was Ivanka the president chose to send to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics closing ceremony last month, for example, after Vice President Mike Pence's tense and much-criticized appearance at the opening ceremony, and by all accounts it was a win. She posed for lots of upbeat, smiling photos with the athletes, and stuck to her originally-stated goal of attending only to cheer on Team USA, not to get involved with anything to do with North Korea, or politics in general.
Serving as Trump's gentler, and much more diplomatic public surrogate is something Ivanka seems to do well, but it's also something she's regularly criticized for — how can she involve herself so closely in White House matters, even representing the president abroad, but then claim that she has the right not to become involved in, or comment on, certain issues? When asked in PyeongChang about the sexual misconduct allegations against her father, for example, she told NBC News she thought it was "a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father," and that it wasn't "a question you would ask many other daughters," despite the fact that she's both a daughter and a White House staffer. And unsurprisingly, that didn't go over particularly well:
Beyond that though, Ivanka has also been called out for not taking a stand on things like Trump's comments about women when she claims to be a champion for women's rights, about his view on the environment, or health care, or LGBTQ rights, or gun safety. Her response? Even if she disagrees, she doesn't have the right to say so publicly. Ivanka told The Washington Post,
When people say, ‘Where is Ivanka and why is she silent on X, Y, Z?,’ they don’t understand how any White House works. No West Wing staffer should tweet things that are inconsistent with the policy of the White House.
In other words? Whether people agree with it or not, Ivanka considers it her responsibility to respect the positions of her father's administration — meaning that, even if she might disagree, she's not going to come out and say it.
On one hand, well, it's not exactly surprising she would feel that way (the president is her father, after all). But on the other hand, her ability to bow out whenever she sees fit is exactly why the argument exists that she shouldn't even be involved in the administration in the first place:
After all, it shouldn't exactly come as a surprise that being both the president's daughter as well as a White House adviser would be a particularly difficult ethical line to walk:
Many are just fed up with the fact that Ivanka is completely fine staying quiet on important issues that she actually disagrees with (especially when those issues have very real consequences for Americans):
While others are just tired of the fact that she hasn't appeared to bring much value to the White House at all:
It's not the first time she's tried to make that argument about staying quiet though: according to Newsweek, Ivanka told The Financial Times in September that "to voice dissent publicly would mean I’m not part of the team," and that while those in the administration might not always agree, "that doesn’t mean we’re publicly undermining [each other] and this administration." It's pretty clear that she thinks she is doing the right thing by not commenting, but by not speaking up when she's in such a privileged position is also deeply problematic. As many people have noted, after all, if she really wanted to stay out of politics, perhaps she shouldn't have accepted a role in the White House.
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