President Donald Trump and his campaign and White House associates currently face at least five separate investigations related to Russia meddling in the 2016 election, possible obstruction of justice or violations of campaign finance laws and of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
There also is a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation and reports of probes into the financial dealings of Ivanka Trump, with legal experts and investigative journalists saying she should be worried about what Michael Cohen, her father’s disgraced former longtime lawyer, or Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, could tell these investigators, according to Huffington Post.
And yet, Ivanka Trump continues to regularly share glowing news on social media about her work as a senior White House advisor — boasting about how she met a particular lawmaker to talk about human trafficking or her proposal for paid family leave.
The self-styled White House workforce development czar also tweeted out praise for the “American worker” on Labor Day — two days after she and her husband Jared Kushner ignited a firestorm among both Trump critics and supporters for turning up at the memorial service for the late Senator John McCain — one of Trump’s strongest GOP critics and a regular target of his disparaging comments.
On Monday, The View’s new co-host Abby Huntsman said the McCain family would have preferred that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner not attend the service at Washington National Cathedral, People reported.
“Look, I’m sure (the McCains) had final approval of everything, if they had it their way — as was evident in the tone of the funeral — they probably would rather not have had anyone from the Trump family present,” said Huntsman, a longtime friend of Meghan McCain, who is taking time off from cohosting “The View” to be with family after her father died from brain cancer on Aug. 25 at 81.
Meanwhile, Emily Jane Fox, the author of “Born Trump,” a biography of Ivanka Trump and her siblings, said in an interview: “It’s just so weird to me when I see her continuing to post, ‘I had a fantastic meeting with this lawmaker today’ on a day, like, when Michael Cohen is in court, pleading guilty and implicating her father in a federal crime.”
Fox, speaking in an interview late last week, added that Ivanka Trump’s continued posting about her “minor and small” White House accomplishments speaks to the ability of her and her husband to “completely compartmentalize.”
“And it’s so delusional that (Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner) think … no one will attach to (them) the stench of what’s else going on,” added Fox, which the Vanity Fair senior reporter said in the interview was on the magazine’s The Hive podcast.
“I don’t understand how they can get up and go to work every day, and say we’re going to keep working on these other things,” Fox continued in her conversation with Vanity Fair special correspondent Nick Bolton.
In her book, Fox added to the view that neither Donald Trump nor his wife and children and his campaign staff expected him to win the 2016 election.
But after Trump won, his reported favorite child got stars in her eyes about what her father’s presidency could mean for her personally, professionally and even politically.
For example, a friend of Ivanka Trump’s was quoted in Fox’s book as saying that the 36-year-old former teen model, real estate executive and fashion brand entrepreneur saw Trump’s January 2017 swearing in as a “coronation.”
Ivanka Trump saw the inauguration as the Trumps enjoying “their Kennedy moment,” with Donald Trump as the patriarch of a new American royal family and Ivanka Trump emerging as a combination of princess and leading political heir.
For that reason, Ivanka Trump made sure she literally took center stage at the inauguration. She planted herself directly behind Trump on the dais while he was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president.
And as much as Trump’s oldest daughter initially demurred about whether she would go to work in his White House, she began to see how joining his administration could be a stepping stone to another more high-powered, high-profile career, Fox reported.
Her friends told Fox they thought Ivanka Trump had begun to think about running for president herself one day. Meanwhile, Jared Kushner would leave his White House career and start a media empire or a hedge fund that would make him even wealthier than he already is, according to “Born Trump.”
“The only reason they went (to Washington) was to better themselves in the future, whether that would mean Ivanka running for office down the road or them coming back to New York and Jared starting a hedge fund with the connections he’s made,” Fox said in the interview. “Whatever they thought this would would mean for themselves and their future having this experience in Washigton, they have to know that this future doesn’t exist anymore.”
It increasingly looks like America isn’t embracing Ivanka Trump’s idea of self-improvement.
In just the week before McCain’s memorial service, Ivanka Trump aggravated her father’s critics for a number of actions. There was her tweet claiming he cares about women’s empowerment, her tweet expressing sadness about a shooting at a Jacksonville, Florida, video game tournament, and then her tweet “honoring the memory and legacy of Senator John McCain” — when her father had once famously proclaimed the decorated U.S. Navy pilot was “not a war hero” because he was captured and imprisoned during the Vietnam War.
Ivanka Trump also got slammed over the White House’s initial refusal to lower its flags to half-staff to honor the late Arizona Republican.
Then came McCain’s memorial service; Trump reportedly had been asked by McCain’s family to stay away.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner’s presence was widely criticized, even after it was learned that Senator Lindsey Graham, a friend of McCain’s who is a Trump ally, had asked Cindy McCain if they could come.
“They still showed up,” said former “Fox and Friends Weekend” co-host Huntsman on “The View,” according to People magazine. “I gotta say, there were a number of moments that were awkward, I’m sure for them, sitting there.”
People thought Ivanka Trump’s decision to attend lacked class and was “inappropriate.” Criticism of the couple being at the service even crossed party lines with people, commenting on the coverage by the usually Trump-friendly Fox News, expressing distaste and even outrage at their attendance.
Trump allies also fumed that the couple were there when the eulogies, notably by McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, contained criticism directed at Trump, even if his name wasn’t mentioned, according to Politico.
One person called the couple’s attendance a “huge” mistake, Politico reported. But another complained that they had been seated too far back in the church, not up front with other VIPs, such as former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their wives.
“It was a very nice gesture by Jared and Ivanka to attend,” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, told Politico. “I find it contemptible that the McCain family couldn’t seat them in a better, more respectable section.”
In her interview, Fox said Ivanka Trump is aware of people writing critical things about her, but she either tunes out those comments or or is so convinced of her own righteousness that she’s able to carry on despite the criticism — or despite the legal jeopardy she herself may face.
Cohen, Trump’s lawyer who worked with Ivanka Trump herself every day for 10 years, pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to six charges of tax evasion and bank fraud and two charges of violating campaign finance laws. The campaign finance charges implicate Trump in potential felony violations of the law.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who investigated the Cohen case, have granted immunity to Weisselberg, one of Trump’s closest financial advisors. According to Fox, Weisselberg knows where “every dollar and cent” went in the Trump organization.
“They really believe they are there for the right reason,” said Fox, explaining the “mental gymnastics” the couple must perform to get around “the darker” sides of Trump’s legal issues or of his controversial policies and rhetoric.
Fox said Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may also believe the line coming from some people close to them: “Can you imagine if they weren’t there? As bad as it looks now, imagine what it would be like if they weren’t there.”
But there are ways in which Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have found their lives circumscribed by their associations with her father’s White House, according to Fox.
“They haven’t taken a major European summer vacation this summer for the first time. They also didn’t go to Sun Valley,” Fox said, referring to the annual gathering of America’s powerful tech and media elite in Sun Valley, Idaho. The couple attended the Sun Valley conference last year, potentially hobnobbing with the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“It’s significant how much their lives have changed in the year and a half since they’ve been in the White House,” Fox said.