“Listen,” Ms. Schlapp laughs, “The president punches when he needs to punch. Her daughter has her own story to tell and her own way of telling it.
Yet a substitute can only stray so far from a campaign’s dominant message and messenger. Mrs. Trump could speak with endless confidence about all the important lessons her father instilled in her (“Find something that excites you, for this is the way to happiness”). She could focus on suburban parental concerns such as school choice and education reform, and lament “the loss of social interaction for our children” during the coronavirus outbreak. She could avoid any discussion of immigration, caravans, walls or family separation.
And then, later that day, it was reported that the parents of 545 children who had been separated from them at the southern border could not be found.
“On the one hand, a family member of a president can offer a softening and humanizing touch,” said Gil Troy, a presidential historian who has written extensively on early families. In such a polarized and binary environment, he added, Ms. Trump can still offer some reassurance to Republicans who dislike her father but would be loath to support Mr. Biden. “Ivanka can still be proof that ‘you see, it’s not that bad,’” Mr. Troy said. “She’s trying to be a port in the storm.” At some point, although the contrast becomes too stark. “It almost becomes a counter-campaign rather than a support campaign,” he said.
And while Ms. Trump may avoid the vitriolic language of her father and brothers, she has been linked to policies and actions that critics find equally obnoxious or misguided. She was, reportedly, a supporter of her father’s march on Lafayette Square last spring in protests against racial injustice, which culminated in a photo shoot waving the Bible outside St. John’s Church. damaged by fire. The widely ridiculed performance is one of the most notorious spectacles of Mr. Trump’s presidency.
She has shown a knack for the subconscious and deaf gestures of tone: eliciting negative reactions, for example, after tweeting a photo of herself cuddling her two-year-old son as migrant children were reportedly abducted from force to their mother by border officials. Ms Trump’s official position in the White House – along with that of her husband, Jared Kushner – has drawn widespread criticism of nepotism and potential violations of the Hatch Law.
As perhaps the president’s most influential assistant, his daughter tends to be silent in public, even about policies she would personally be opposed to. She inspired a parody perfume ad on Saturday Night Live – a scent called “Complicit.” (“She is beautiful. She is powerful. She is partner in crime. ”)