Ivanka Trump & Chelsea Clinton Defend Malia Obama Against Critics

by Morgan Brinlee
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

While Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton may not reside on the same side of the aisle when it comes to politics, there's at least one thing the first daughters agree on: their fellow first kids' right to privacy. On Friday, Trump and Clinton defended fellow first daughter Malia Obama after the media began to scrutinize the 19-year-old's personal life.

Videos showing the former first daughter kissing her boyfriend before a college football game and attempting to blow smoke rings — fairly normal behavior for any college freshman — sparked a frenzy of media interest into Obama's personal life earlier this week. But as headlines and criticism of Obama continued to mount as the week went on, fellow first daughters Clinton and Trump came forward to say, enough is enough.

President Donald Trump's eldest daughter defended Malia's right to privacy Friday, noting the 19-year-old Harvard University student was still a private citizen and should be considered off limits to public and media scrutiny. "Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school aged peers," Trump wrote in a tweet. "She is a young adult and private citizen and should be OFF limits."

Clinton, who, following Bill Clinton's election victory, moved into the White House in 1993 at the age of 12, also came to Obama's defense Friday. "Malia Obama's private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait," Clinton wrote in a tweet. "Be better."

Although the club for children that have lived or grown up in the White House is certainly an exclusive one, first kids have long appeared to be fiercely protective of each other, no matter their parents' political affiliation. In fact, this isn't the first time a former first kid has spoken out in defense of another.

Clinton defended Trump's youngest child, 11-year-old Barron, in August after a media outlet had criticized the pre-teen's choice of casual clothing. "It's high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves," Clinton wrote in a tweet published Aug. 21. In a separate follow-up tweet Clinton reiterated her condemnation for media criticism of Barron and all other children. "Barron is A KID," the former first daughter wrote. "No child should be talked about in the below manner-in real life or online. And for an adult to do so? For shame."

Back in 2014, former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager stood up for both of former President Barack Obama's daughters during an interview on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. At the time, Hager was responding to a Republican congressional aide who had extensively criticized the girls' clothing and facial expressions during the annual presidential turkey pardon. "I'm fiercely protective of them," Hager said. "I don't think it's easy… it's not a job that they wanted." Hager went on to say she thought Obama's daughters, who were then 16 and 13 years old, had "done a great job."

If there was anyone who knew how badly the glare of the national spotlight can burn a current or former first child, it would likely be Hager and her twin sister, Barbara Bush. The two sister were heavily criticized throughout their college careers. In fact, as Malia and Sasha Obama prepared for life outside the White House in January, the Bush daughters offered them support and guidance.

"Now you are about to join another rarified club, one of former first children — a position you didn't seek and one with no guidelines," Hager and Bush wrote in a letter to the Obama girls. "You will be writing the story of your lives, beyond the shadow of your famous parents... And you won't have the weight of the world on your young shoulders anymore. Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes— you are allowed to."