The knocks keep on coming. On anything and everything. Ivanka Trump can't escape them. On Wednesday, she sported an enchanting peach frock to a White House event. But the frothy British tab, The Daily Express, tried to turn it into a mini-scandal, reporting that the air conditioning caused it to tighten a lot, the squeezing effect resulting in much too much being put on display.
Ms. Trump is unelected. That gets many lofty noses out of joint as well. At the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, she briefly sat in for her dad during a meeting of some heads of state. Torrents of abuse followed. It was like she'd crashed Yalta. An inexcusable breach of protocol, apparatchiks sniffed. Historian Anne Applebaum almost had a seizure. She's an "unelected, unqualified, unprepared New York socialite."
Ms. Trump has lost policy battles. She supported the Paris climate accord, even getting planet saver (thus surpassing his Internet-creating exploits) Al Gore to brief Donald Trump, only to have him withdraw from the pact. Last week, having come out in support of the LGBTQ community, Ms. Trump woke up to a presidential tweet announcing a coming ban on transgender members from military service.
Ivanka's got other troubles. Her status reeks of nepotism. She uses her position to further her business brand. Her clothing line is produced in Asian sweatshops, making her claim to have the plight of working women close to heart hypocritical to say the least. Husband Jared Kushner is embroiled in the Russian election meddling follies.
As her sources of woe go, not to be forgotten is the envy factor. Ms. Trump, you might say, has been blessed with an attribute or two; wealth, power, style, intelligence, poise, looks, fame. Sort of a female version of Justin Trudeau. And when you have that much – witness all the bellyaching from right-wing critics about Mr. Trudeau's popularity in D.C. – it rankles. Legions want to see Ms. Trump fall because she's got it all.
Yet another handicap is her lack of hard-line conservative cred. She's got more Canada than Kansas in her. Besides being a greenie and a gay-rights backer, she's a globalist, one who opposes the President's retrograde nationalist flank that wants to start trade wars with countries such as ours. She is pushing priorities such as paid daily leave, equal pay for women, a child-care tax credit. She's promoting education programs that are much in line with Ottawa's national campaign to encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. And Mr. Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, has established a close rapport with her which serves to clarify bilateral positions.
"Not sure we could call her a great liberal hope," Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says. "But she seems to be a voice of sanity. Given her father's unsuitability for office and clear instability, someone who can restrain his worst impulses is valuable."
True enough. Perhaps no one can keep the lid on Mount Vesuvius. But the fact that even-keeled Ms. Trump is at her father's side offers some hope. He is so partisan he can't see a belt without wanting to hit below it. She is his poised, professional, polite opposite.
To be underscored is that she is the family member who Mr. Trump most politically favours. It is with emperor Nero's blessing that the first daughter has eclipsed the first lady, Melania. The President has Ivanka at cabinet meetings and spotlights her at major events.
Despite the plethora of problems Ms. Trump has encountered, they pale in comparison to those of many others in the reeling house of Trump. She is unelected but almost all White House players, including cabinet members, are unelected. As for nepotism, she follows in worthy footsteps. Bobby Kennedy, appointed attorney-general by brother John while hardly having practised law, didn't do too badly.
In Washington's web of intrigue, who knows how many crises await the first daughter. The Russian election meddling controversy could engulf her as well as her husband. But she should not be intimidated by naysayers who write her off as a socialite, or by West Wing reactionaries who deride her balanced approach, or by critics who fret over her frocks.
In an administration with few shining lights, Ms. Trump is one with star potential. This madcap White House could use more of her, not less. So, too, given her moderate ways, could the northern neighbour.