First daughter Ivanka Trump was roundly bashed for smiling and celebrating at the Jerusalem U.S. embassy opening ceremony in mid-May, at the same time as Palestinians were being killed as they approached the border fence during violent protests in Gaza. Trump, a White House senior advisor in her father’s administration was dubbed “tone-deaf” and insensitive for ignoring the Gaza carnage, and newspapers like the New York Daily News dubbed her “Daddy’s Little Ghoul” on its front page.
Less than two weeks later, Trump is once again the target of critics who charge her with insensitivity and willful ignorance regarding the implications of her father’s policies after the first daughter posted a photograph on social media of herself snuggling with her youngest child in matching pajamas, celebrating a cozy Sunday morning.
The problem: on the same day, mainstream and social media were full of heart-wrenching accounts of the separation of children from their parents as a result of toughened U.S. immigration policies. The policy of parent-child separations includes cases in which parents are not “smuggling” their children but openly declaring that their family is seeking asylum from persecution.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions described the new "zero tolerance" policy while speaking to law enforcement officials earlier in the month. "If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It's that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law," Sessions said.
Outrage has also been boiling across the United States and social media on the issue. The hashtag #WhereAreTheChildren has been spreading in response to a report that over the past year, American authorities somehow lost track of almost 1500 children who had crossed the border and were separated from their parents, amid fears that many have fallen victim to human traffickers.
With this, Trump’s carefully crafted image celebrating the joys of weekend parenthood struck a raw nerve and angry reactions once again made their way across Twitter.
Ivanka’s cultivation of a glamorous and flattering social media profile has clashed with the outcry against her father’s policies since the first days of the administration. Early in the Trump presidency in January 2017, she posted a photo on Instagram of herself and husband Jared Kushner dressed for an elegant date in black tie and a shiny silver ball gown while demonstrations were raging in airports across the United States following the executive order calling for a ban on Muslim ban immigrationt that was resulting in detentions and deportations.
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Reacting to the criticism over that post, a source close to the couple told Vanity Fair blamed the Jewish Sabbath for the timing snafu. Unaware of the news from sundown Friday till sundown Saturday, when they dressed up and the photo was posted, the source claimed, they hadn’t been aware of the backlash over the executive order until it was online. The source was quoted as saying, "Ivanka feels terrible about the post, and does not want something like this to happen again."
Ivanka’s recent critics include her her former friend, ex-first daughter Chelsea Clinton. An interview published this week in the Guardian has been widely quoted for Clinton’s assertion that Trump has “degraded what it means to be an American.”
The Guardian interviewer, noting that she was speaking to Clinton “two days after a smiling Ivanka Trump opened the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, as dozens of Palestinians were massacred,” asked her if she felt “any sympathy for the first daughter, obliged to do her father’s grotesque bidding, or considers her complicit.”
Clinton’s expression, the interviewer wrote, “hardened” as she spoke of Ivanka. “She’s an adult. She can make the choices for herself. I mean, she’s 36. We are responsible for our choices,” Clinton was quoted as saying
Trump’s adult children, she said, were “adults who’ve made the decision to work in this administration.”
The two women, according to Clinton, never had a formal falling-out, but their friendship, understandably, has not survived Ivanka’s formal role at her father’s side.
Clinton stopped short at criticizing the president’s decision to employ his daughter as an advisor at the White House - but her description of the nature of her former friend’s workplace was harsh.
“I think the president should be able to hire whoever he or she thinks are best qualified,” Clinton said. “I do not believe that many of the people that he has hired have been qualified to do the jobs. Not only do I want an administration that isn’t venal, corrupt and focused on making life harder for millions of Americans, I also want a competent administration. So for me, the larger question is the collision of cruelty and incompetence and corruption that we see across the administration.”