I left off blogging on May 17th with a post titled, “Ivanka Trump – and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.” I wrote that Richard Nixon and Donald Trump shared troublesome peculiarities, and that they also each had a daughter who was their “single source of emotional sustenance.” In Nixon’s case his younger daughter, Julie; in Trump’s his older daughter, Ivanka. I went on to predict that if the present scandal, Russiagate, “reached the epic proportions of Watergate,” Ivanka would, as did Julie, play the indispensable role of her father’s defender-in-chief.
This prediction has come to pass. While Trump’s wife, Melania, finally left New York to move into the White House, she remains largely silent. Ivanka, in contrast, is vocal in defense of her father. Just yesterday she graded his presidential performance as an, “A, of course.” She went on: “I think he’s doing an amazing job. I think he’s doing an unbelievable job…. His political instincts are phenomenal, he did something that no one could have imaged he’d be able to accomplish.”
Hyperbole reminiscent of no one so much as her father, but that’s not the point. The point is that so far as we can tell Donald Trump can rely on Ivanka Trump staunchly to defend him, presumably in private, evidently in public.
What was not, however, so apparent in mid-May as it is at the end of June is that Ivanka totes an albatross that Julie did not. Julie’s husband, Dwight David Eisenhower II, is the scion and namesake of the impeccable and widely revered president and five-star general, Dwight David (“Ike”) Eisenhower. Regrettably, Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, can boast no such lineage. Not even remotely. Kushner is the scion of Charles Kushner, a successful real estate developer who, however, was convicted in 2005 of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Eisenhower senior served two terms in the White House, Kushner senior served fourteen months in a federal prison.
Nor is Jared anything remotely resembling a paragon of virtue. He is ensnared in the scandals bedeviling Trump’s presidency – and he has his own legal troubles as well. His business dealings are being scrutinized by none other than special counsel Robert Mueller – which explains why Kushner has lawyered up. Just this week he added to his legal team fabled white-collar defense attorney, Abbe Lowell.
Where does this leave Ivanka? Poor little rich girl – lucky she has two hands. She’ll need both to juggle the competing demands of her crazily verbose father – and her curiously mute husband.