First Daughter Ivanka Trump is one of the most media-savvy members of the Trump administration, but every so often, she misses the mark badly. In a recent interview, Trump basically blamed Americans for thinking she has influence in White House policy. Ivanka Trump said persuading her father is "unrealistic," which seems pretty counter-intuitive given her job description.
“Some people have created unrealistic expectations of what they expect from me,” Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times published Thursday (a line on par with Kourtney Kardashian's "there are literally people dying in Africa"). “That my presence in and of itself would carry so much weight with my father that he would abandon his core values and the agenda that the American people voted for when they elected him. It’s not going to happen. To those critics, shy of turning my father into a liberal, I’d be a failure to them.”
In many ways, Trump is right. Reason does not dictate that she would be able to change her father's mind on many subjects. Many people are familiar with the struggle of trying to sway your conservative parents to be more liberal, usually without bearing much fruit. Political affiliations aren't reasonable — people identify with their partisan ideology to find sociocultural belonging or match their religious beliefs, only occasionally through rational choice.
It's also arguably unreasonable to expect that she'd denounce her father, because the reasonable thing for her to do is to not bite the hand that feeds her. Trump has made a fortune off of her name and her father's legacy, so distancing herself from it would hurt her brand. Plus, liberals have pretty much indicated that there is no redemption for Trump at this point — if she were to ostracize her father's base by denouncing him, all of America would be against her. If she's going to lean to one side politically in order to protect herself, it's reasonable that it would be the side where her family is, too.
Yet it's what Ivanka left out of her statement that is the most unreasonable. It's unreasonable for her to not expect criticism when she aligns herself with this unprecedentedly controversial administration, even if it is a family matter for her. It would be unreasonable for Americans to sit back and watch all these ethical changes, i.e. the president hiring his daughter and son-in-law, go into effect in the highest levels of government without trying to demand a say in how it happens. It's definitely unreasonable for the nation to continue to believe that she's a relatable, young, liberal activist who supports real women who work and has a thorough understanding of modern feminism.
Last but not least, it would be unreasonable not to question what exactly it is that Trump does all day in her West Wing office, if she neither influences her father nor thinks the American people will hear about most of the work that she does. She's supposed to be a special counselor to the president, but if she is denying having any impact on policy one way or the other, it seems like a prime example of the government waste that her father is always harping on. The country deserves for qualified, influential people to be at those desks, that close to the president.
Ultimately, as she's attested herself, what Trump says and does isn't that consequential — she doesn't appear in headlines that often and hasn't been behind any major policy initiatives yet. Still, that creates even more interest in her, because there's so little transparency from this administration that one of its most visible members is somehow simultaneously invisible. In seeking reprieve from personal criticism, an appeal she's used multiple times with little success so far, she threw a spotlight onto the many unanswered questions regarding her father's White House.