It appears Ivanka Trump has a new message for the public: Please expect less of me.
Now, as Ivanka Trump runs up against some of limits of her power in the White House, she appears to be narrowing her objectives— and disappointing those progressives who had pinned their hopes on the president’s family members exerting more of a moderating influence on his presidency.
Meanwhile, she desperately wants to lower expectations of what she can achieve in an administration where she views herself as one person on a large team — even though other White House officials said she still has access to the president whenever she desires it.
According to Politico, while Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner may be having some success in influencing personnel decisions — both were said to have been pushing the president for weeks to fire Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, though their love of Anthony Scaramucci doesn’t speak well to their judgment — they have had less success on the policy front.
For instance, Trump kept his decision last week to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military so quiet that Ivanka learned about it when she read her father’s tweets on her phone.
As we noted last week, the notion that Ivanka would be some sort of moderating influence on her father’s hard-right agenda was always fanciful, for two reasons.
For one, Ivanka may have her father’s ear, but the hard-line conservatives and nationalists in the Trump administration still have plenty of opportunity to make their voices heard. And President Trump often makes a decision based on the last advice he heard on an issue, which is one reason why individual aides famously scramble to see who can be the last one to bend his ear on any given topic.
For another, Ivanka’s is a transactional view of politics with one overarching principle: Protect Dad.
While she may have donated to Democratic politicians and supported socially liberal causes in the past, her main ideology is the Trump brand and her father’s success. She looks at every issue through this narrow lens, not through whether a particular path is good or bad, moral or immoral, likely to produce a desired outcome for one group at the unjustifiable expense of another.
This approach will always be at odds with people for whom an issue like whether transgender people should serve in the military is part of a deeply felt moral code or a matter of national urgency. She won’t fight as hard as, say, Steve Bannon, because Bannon’s goals are undergirded by a sense of mission about the country and the world. Ivanka mostly just wants to make sure she can still sell expensive handbags in four to eight years.
And that is why whatever limited moderating influence anyone, including possibly her, ever thought she could have on this White House was always highly unlikely. After six months, she seems to have realized it.