The Shady Side Of Ivanka Trump

Before there was Kendall Jenner or a Hadid sister, there was Ivanka Trump. The daughter of a celebrity Manhattan real estate mogul, Ivanka fully embraced her young, socialite life – strutting the catwalk, partying with Paris Hilton, dating an actor, and posing for men's magazine covers.

However, as she transitioned out of her mid-20s, the Ivy League graduate embraced her father's entrepreneurial spirit and joined the family business. And once her father pulled the greatest upset in recent political history by defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Ivanka Trump became a household name as the most formidable first daughter and advisor to the president in American politics. 

With the newfound fame came a harsher spotlight and media scrutiny, and the Trumps' professional and private lives have seen themselves embroiled in one scandal after the other. Is Ivanka Trump a calming voice of reason in the White House or is she a complicit cog in the Trump machine? We'll let you decide. Here's the shady side of Ivanka Trump.

America first? Not so much

"We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs," President Donald Trump declared on Inauguration Day. "We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American." However, despite her father's "America First" slogan, The Washington Post learned that Ivanka Trump's now-defunct clothing line relied "exclusively on foreign factories in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves."

The report also included interviews with employees of a garment factory that made Ivanka's dresses. "My monthly salary is not enough for everyday expenses, also not for the future," said a 26-year-old sewing operator in Subang, Indonesia. A year after this report was released, Ivanka shut the company down. 

"After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business," Ivanka said in a statement per The New York Times. "But I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners."

Women's rights were a compromise, not a condition

Donald Trump's election drove women to stage what is considered the largest protest in American history. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump's official Twitter bio said she was a "passionate advocate for the education and empowerment of women and girls," before she changed it on New Year's Day 2017. She even wrote a book entitled, "Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success." So, do her actions back up her words? Maybe not.

According The New York Times, Ivanka's "brand had not always lived up to its progressive image." Marissa Kraxberger, "a former executive who was pregnant" when Ivanka offered her a position in 2013, spoke to the newspaper about discussing paid maternity leave with the future first daughter. "We don't have maternity leave policy here," Ivanka reportedly told Kraxberger, before adding, "I went back to work one week after having my child, so that's just not something I'm used to." In response, Abigail Klem, the president of Ivanka's brand, told The Times that "after consulting employees [including Kraxberger], the company put in place a policy for two-month paid family leave, as well as flexible working hours, in the summer of 2014." 

Those shady real estate deals

ProPublica and WNYC published a bombshell report on Oct. 17, 2018, detailing the Trump Organization's shady real estate and licensing projects around the world. Per Jezebel, the Trump family reaped massive profits after "Donald Trump would mislead or outright lie to investors about his ownership stake in projects, while Ivanka fed false sales figures of their projects to the press, misleading potential buyers." 

Focusing on the Trump Ocean Club Panama project (Ivanka Trump starred in a promotional video for the development), of which the Trump Organization downplayed their involvement as a "limited role," the ProPublica report found that far from the case. Not only did Donald claim he was "a 'partner' of the developer," Ivanka apparently lied about both the number of units she "personally sold," as well as the overall "sold" percentage and prices of the building's units.

The building went bankrupt in 2013, and "buyers forfeited more than $50 million in deposits, and they never took possession of finished units." When all was said and done, the Trump family "walked away with between $30 million and $55 million."

She'd rather not talk about her father's accusers

Before former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and adult entertainer Stormy Daniels went public with their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, the 45th president already had a long list of women accusing him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct. It was during that time that Ivanka Trump appeared on NBC News in Feb. 2018, and stated she unequivocally believed her father's denials. She also took umbrage to interviewer Peter Alexander bringing the topic up at all. 

"I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he's affirmatively stated that there's no truth to it. I don't think that's a question you would ask many other daughters." She added, "I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father."

Her former friend, Chelsea Clinton, appeared on The View to push back on Ivanka's insistence that the line of questioning was inappropriate. "I think that anyone who works for the White House should be expected to answer any question about the White House," Clinton said, referencing Ivanka's title of Special Adviser to the president. "Yes, I do think it was a fair question."

The crowd didn't love her defense of her dad

Speaking at a Women 20 (W20) panel on women's entrepreneurship in Berlin, Germany in April 2017, Ivanka Trump received an icy reception when she attempted to defend her father as an advocate for women (per Vox). "I'm very proud of my father's advocacy ... he's been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive," she said to boos from the crowd. The panel's moderator acknowledged the crowd's reaction, then asked Ivanka to respond to those who question, given his past controversial statements, that her father is an "empowerer of women."

Citing the way "the media" has "perpetuated" the "criticism" of her father, Ivanka pointed to the "thousands of women who've worked with and for [her] father for decades when he was in the private sector" as "a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man." She then cited her own "personal experience ... as daughter, and as [an] adviser, as a daughter," claiming "[her father] encouraged [her] and enabled [her] to thrive."

Princess Royal isn't so royal

After some hailed Ivanka Trump as the "voice of reason" inside her father's administration, White House insiders declared this is not the case. According to a report by Vanity Fair, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are a "feared duo" in the West Wing known for their "vindictive streak."

Despite a lack of political experience, Ivanka and Jared inserted themselves into nearly every issue, much to the dismay of insiders. "There's nothing more obstructive and distracting and unhelpful than to have a bunch of stupid apolitical family members calling all the shots," a former White House staffer told the publication. "What is off-putting about them is they do not grasp their essential irrelevance," an unnamed political veteran said. "They think they are special." 

President Trump also allowed Ivanka to temporarily take his place at a 2017 G20 summit in a press conference, which resulted in cries of further nepotism. "This is not a royal family, and she's not the princess royal," a former Trump adviser told Vanity Fair. Speaking of shady, the outlet further reported that "princess royal" is now what "some West Wing advisers" call Ivanka "though never to her face."

She's a gatekeeper of White House power

Retired U.S. Marine Corps General John Kelly (above right) replaced Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff in July 2017. However, by Dec. 2018, Kelly and President Trump were reportedly no longer on speaking terms, and Kelly's resigned at the end of the month. Per The New York Times, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner allegedly tried recruiting Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers to succeed Kelly, thanks to what Kushner felt were Ayers' impressive fundraising skills. Ayers ultimately turned the offer down and informed Trump and the public of his decision to leave the White House at the end of the year. 

"Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner's efforts on behalf of Mr. Ayers were widely seen as a coup attempt, started on behalf of a president who was unhappy with Mr. Kelly but could not bring himself to fire him," The New York Times further revealed. "Mr. Ayers's rejection of the offer stunned the couple, who had long resisted Mr. Kelly's attempt to bend them to a traditional White House hierarchy."

As of this writing, former Director of the Office of Management & Budget, Mick Mulvaney, stepped into the role as Acting White House Chief of Staff, but only after he "vowed loyalty to the president's family, including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband," according to an insider who spoke with The Washington Post.

Is she complicit?

With many feeling the Trump administration is an all-out assault on a wide range of issues such as climate change and civl rights, Ivanka Trump has been accused of being complicit in her father's policies. In March 2017, Saturday Night Live comedically linked those policies to the first daughter with their now famous commercial skit for a perfume called "Complicit" starring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka.

In her first interview after assuming her new role in the White House, Ivanka told CBS This Morning "not to conflate lack of public denouncement" to private silence. "If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact then I'm complicit. I don't know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing," she said. Ivanka added she doesn't "know what it means to be complicit," but hopes "time will prove that I have done a good job."

What about her emails?

During her tenure as United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used a private email server for official government business. The State Department revealed that 2,093 of her emails contained classified information, with an additional 22 designated as top secret. This controversy became a point of contention during the 2016 election, with routine chants of "lock her up" being heard at then-candidate Donald Trump's rallies.

So, obviously, nobody in the Trump administration would use a private email to conduct official business, right? Well, according to a Nov. 2018 report in The Washington Post, "Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules."

When asked by Good Morning America how she "wound up in a similar situation" after Clinton's private email use was central to her father's campaign, Ivanka denied the "equivalency." She said, "All of my emails that relate to any form of government work, which is mainly scheduling and logistics ... are all part of the public record. ... People who want to see it as the same, see it as the same. ... In my case, all of my emails are on the White House server. There's no intent to circumvent." 

A tweet that sparked outrage

On April 6, 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero-tolerance policy" to address the immigration "crisis [that] has erupted at our southwest border." Once implemented, the policy resulted in migrant children being separated from their parents, relatives, or other adults who accompanied them, and then placed in detention camps. The policy was widely criticized, with the United Nations going so far as to compare it to "torture." Making matters even worse, by the end of the month, a New York Times report revealed the Department of Health and Human Services "had lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children" who they placed with sponsors. 

While the national debate on America's new immigration policy still dominated the news cycle in May 2018, Ivanka Trump faced instant backlash after tweeting a picture of herself cuddling with her then two-year-old son, Theodore, with the caption, "My [heart]! #SundayMorning."

The outrage came from all corners. Political scientist and former Democratic strategist Brian Klaas blasted Ivanka's tweet as "unbelievably tone deaf," and further asserted that she was "complicit" in supporting what he called "a barbaric policy." Comedian Patton Oswalt also indicated the first daughter's apparent hypocrisy, tweeting, "Isn't it the just the best to snuggle your little one — knowing exactly where they are, safe in your arms? It's the best. The BEST. Right, Ivanka? Right?"

The Trump Foundation investigation

In July 2018, the New York Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Donald Trump, and his three eldest children. The foundation "was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality," New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as she sought to dissolve the foundation and order the Trumps to pay millions in restitution.

Trump tweeted he would not settle the case, but on Dec. 18, 2018, per The New York Times, Trump and the foundation "agreed to dissolve and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision as part of an ongoing investigation and lawsuit by the New York attorney general after "a shocking pattern of illegality" was found. In another lawsuit, Underwood seeks to bar Trump and his children from serving on boards of other New York charities.

On top of being named in the lawsuits, Ivanka added another level to the scandal when she failed to disclose her role as director of the disgraced foundation on financial disclosure forms that all White House administration officials are required to complete (per Newsweek). "Ivanka Trump and her father think they're above the law," progressive fundraiser Harrell Kirstein told the outlet, adding, "At every turn, they have been caught lying and attempting to sell out the public for their own personal gain."