Ivanka Trump, daughter and business partner of The Donald, went on CBS to defend her father against a recent and rather damning New York Times article, which detailed many of the celebrity billionaire’s alleged misogynistic exploits over the years. Ivanka brushed off claims of her father’s constant harassment and objectification of women, culminating in her insistence that he is “not a groper.” In terms of touching familial endorsements of presidential candidates, it ranks only slightly below Ted Cruz’s wife assuring us that he’s not the Zodiac Killer.
When asked if Trump senior did in fact comment ceaselessly on women's bodies, Ivanka shook her head and smiled in a way that would convince you ... if you do not have eyes and ears and have witnessed Trump do exactly that almost every time he's opened his mouth in the vicinity of a woman. We can’t say for sure who was or was not groped under a table, as the Times piece describes, but to deny that Trump compulsively comments on women’s appearances is just silly.
The interview, which took place at Trump Tower yesterday, actually starts out promisingly enough, with the question of whether Ivanka read the Times piece in question. "I did," she says. Let's pause right there to note that she's already miles ahead of her father, who has the endearing habit of declaring he did not read the Thing in Question before pronouncing it inaccurate and dishonest and stupid. (Recent examples include the GQ profile of Melanie Trump and the Paris Agreement).
Okay, back in. "And I found it to be pretty disturbing,” Ivanka said, “based on the facts as I know them, and obviously I very much know them — both in the capacity as a daughter and in the capacity as an executive who’s worked alongside of him at this company for over a decade. So I was bothered by it. But it’s largely been discredited since, so. Most of the time, when stories are inaccurate, they’re not discredited, and I will be frustrated by that. But in this case, I think they went so far, they had such a strong thesis and created facts to reinforce it, and I think that narrative has been playing out now, and there’s backlash in that regard.”
Ivanka Trump cuts an interesting character in the context of her father’s campaign. More than one thinkpiece has been devoted to the mystery of just how she could seem so sane, given the company she grew up in. Journalists regardless of political inclination have waxed poetic about very much more palatable Ivanka is than her father — how oddly composed and reasonable she is. It’s a bit unnerving, because she makes the same sorts of unsubstantiated arguments and logical false positives that her father does, but in a way that makes even people who don’t like her father slightly inclined to believe her, if at least for a moment.
CBS noted that Trump, running against (we assume) a woman, was already bringing gender into it. “Well is he using gender or is she using gender?” Ivanka countered smoothly. (I’m going to go ahead and answer this: He is.) Trump should really have his daughter do all his PR. She’s at least done a much better job than Ben Carson, who probably would have said that Trump wasn’t a groper, but even if he was, would that be so bad?