Ivanka Trump was largely viewed as the "voice of reason" of Donald Trump's campaign. She was often positioned to soften her father's blows and normalize his campaign. But now she is facing backlash for her silent — and not-so-silent — endorsement of her father's policies through one of her favorite social media platforms. The Dear Ivanka Instagram pairs voters' concerns with elegant pictures of the soon-to-be first daughter.
The Dear Ivanka Instagram page first appeared last week, with a glamorous picture of Trump with the caption, "Dear Ivanka, I'm afraid of the swastikas spray painted on my park." Other captions include: "Dear Ivanka, I've been raped and I need to have an abortion"; "Dear Ivanka, I'm an American Muslim and I was attacked on the subway"; and "Dear Ivanka, I'm one of those 'dykes that came from the Seven Sister's schools,'" to quote Steve Bannon. Please tell you father not to give him a cabinet post."
The Instagram account was started by Halt Action Group, which was founded by curator and writer Alison Gingeras and artist Jonathan Horowitz. In an interview with New York's The Cut, Gingeras said of Trump that, "She really personified a kind of white wash of the Trump campaign. We felt that because of her connection to the cultural world in New York — the social world, the art world, the fashion world — we had a collective agency to speak to her."
The group went offline and organized a protest outside of Trump's apartment building on Monday night. According to The Cut, about 150 people showed up outside of the Puck Building in downtown Manhattan, armed with painted signs and chants of "Tell Daddy No."
The group also shared via Twitter a letter that it sent to Trump, which detailed some of the concerns it has gathered. The letter stated: "Because you are an official member of your father's transition team, we wanted to appeal to your rationality, and your commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans, especially women and children. As your father has said on countless occasions, you are the one who really has his ear."
Arden Wohl, a socialite and shoe designer who has known Trump for many years, echoed the sentiment to The Cut, stressing that this wasn't a protest against her, but an appeal to her to use her influence for good. "This is not an attack against Ivanka. This is a plea to Ivanka to talk some sense because she's in this transition committee for her father and hopefully she can be his voice of reason."
Trump has not responded to the Instagram account or the protest, and nor has anyone from her father's administration. Her M.O. throughout the campaign was to put a sunny spin on the nastiest of things her father said. In my mind, it would certainly be an improvement to see Ivanka use her position to influence his policies and speak out about the very real concerns that are now addressed to her on Instagram.