Dear Ivanka, Here's Your New Year's Resolution
The first daughter promised to advocate for women and families as an adviser within the Trump administration. So far, she's let down women at every turn. Wrapping up a year in which Trump rolled back an equal pay measure, sought to defund Planned Parenthood, and allowed employers to stop covering birth control, the first daughter tweeted on Wednesday that her 2018 resolution is to get more sleep. I have a better suggestion for Ivanka Trump's New Year's resolution: Get more political.
In June, Trump said in a Fox & Friends interview that she tries to "stay out of politics," adding that she leaves politics to other people and leans into the issues she really cares about. The statement was baffling, considering she was already working in the White House. The younger Trump's role in U.S. politics is undeniable — she was credited for the increased child tax credit in the GOP tax bill, for example, and pushed for a federal paid leave policy that never materialized.
To me, her comment that she's apolitical really meant she doesn't contradict her father's politics (at least, not publicly). But if she wants to stand up for women, as she frequently claims she does, Ivanka needs to be transparent about her role in Washington and actually get political.
Trump said nothing when her father proposed banning transgender folks from serving in the military; or when he rolled back environmental protections; or when he championed health care reform that would have defunded Planned Parenthood and made pregnancy a pre-existing condition. She also defended the president when he rolled back an equal pay measure that would have required employers to collect data on how much they pay, saying that "the proposed policy would not yield the intended results."
She has yet to propose a better solution.
The biggest political statement the first daughter made in 2017 was her push to double the child tax credit in the GOP's tax reform. This was the first time she was credited with making a tangible contribution to legislation, and she enthusiastically supported the bill that ultimately became law. However, it wasn't a victory for lower- and middle-class families as Trump portrayed it. The child tax credit was raised from $1,000 to $2,000 per child and adds a $500 credit for adult dependents. Although up to $1,400 of the credit is refundable, it doesn't make up for the fact that the same bill eliminated the personal exemption that allowed families to deduct $4,050 per person in 2017.
The truth is, Trump is not the feminist savior infiltrating the Trump administration some believed she would be at the beginning of the year. As Lindy West wrote in a September New York Times op-ed, "The only evidence we have of Ms. Trump’s supposed moderating effects and passion for progressive causes is her word. And, unfortunately for the entire planet, the word of a Trump isn’t worth very much."
In that case, perhaps it's better that she remain on the sidelines. But her current strategy of working behind the scenes of the administration while keeping up an apolitical public image doesn't help anyone but herself. If she genuinely wanted to uplift women and families, she would fully immerse herself in politics and vocally advocate for beneficial policies. Otherwise, she should out herself as one of the many women in Trump's White House who support and defend the president's policies — even when they're harmful to women. Her honesty might serve as a wake-up call to those still hoping she'll be a moderating force in the Trump administration.
Everyone would like to get more shut-eye in 2018, but there's a lot at stack for the future of the nation. Trump getting more political — regardless of which way her politics leaned — would at least clear up who she's fighting to protect.
Editor's Note: This op-ed does not reflect the views of BDG Media and is part of a larger, feminist discourse on today's political climate.