When Donald Trump took office, one potential point of comfort for liberals was the presence of his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. But as the two former Democratic donors and social liberals have gained more visible power in the administration, there hasn't been any proof of their influence in the actual policies coming out of the White House.
Most recently, President Trump's snap ban on transgender military service members is proof that Ivanka and Jared really aren't all that effective when it comes to policy issues, no matter how much sway Ivanka might seem to hold over her father, reports POLITICO. The trans service ban, which he announced on Twitter last week — and which has yet to go through the proper channels that will allow it to be enforced — is only the latest in a string of conservative policies coming out of the White House that the pair have been powerless to stop.
According to POLITICO, Ivanka, a public supporter of gay rights, only found out about the ban when she looked at Twitter. The ban was a big victory for some of the most conservative voices in Congress, and it happened so quickly and secretly that neither Ivanka nor Kushner — or even the highly conservative Mike Pence, who likely would have supported it — even knew that it was on the table.
Ivanka has faced a lot of criticism from the left each time one of these ultra-conservative ideas comes out with her father's stamp of approval on it, from people saying that her support of socially liberal issues, like LGBTQ rights, is all talk and little action. POLITICO reports that Ivanka bristles at the high expectations that people seem to have had of her, and says that she can't destroy all of her credibility with the more conservative elements of the administration by being adamantly against every conservative policy that gets proposed.
"It's unrealistic, unfair and cruel to expect her to change climate policy and pre-K and women's issues in six months," publicist and friend of Ivanka's R. Couri Hay, told POLITICO. And it would be unfair to say that Ivanka has had no achievements — after all, she did manage to stand up for LGBTQ rights in real terms when she and Jared successfully stopped Trump from signing an executive order rolling back LGBTQ workplace rights.
The couple has displayed more power when it comes to things like personnel decisions: they were a large part of getting former chief of staff Reince Priebus out and new communications director Anthony Scaramucci in, for example. But when it comes to policies that have huge, detrimental effects on millions of Americans, it's becoming increasingly clear that Ivanka's power is in words only. It's impossible to say whether Ivanka will actually achieve her stated goals — paid family leave, for example — but for now, it certainly looks like she's flailing.
Her credibility among her father's conservative allies might be at a healthy level, but it's definitely lacking in more liberal circles. While this doesn't put her job in jeopardy, she can't be surprised when it puts her directly into the line of liberal criticism. Every time something like the transgender ban comes out of the White House and she chooses not to publicly speak out against it, that's an active choice made on her part.
Ivanka and Jared's power, as POLITICO points out, clearly does have its limits. But for the sake of those who Ivanka so often speaks out in support of, it wouldn't hurt for them to start pushing those limits a bit more than they're already doing.