Take Ivanka’s burgeoning role in her dad’s administration. Already, she’s sitting in on high-level meetings with world leaders, Cabinet secretaries, and business muckety-mucks. She’s offering policy advice. She keeps talking with people about her child-care plan as though it’s actually going somewhere in this congressional atmosphere, and she has expressed a desire to tackle other issues dealing with women in the workplace.
No question, Ivanka remains a PR boon to her father: Not infrequently, someone from Trumpworld leaks an anonymous tidbit to the media about how Ivanka and Jared are serving as this great moderating influence on the president. And now, she is getting her own room in the West Wing, to, as her lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, explained it to NPR, “continue to be the eyes and ears of her father and provide candid advice as she has her entire adult life.” (One cannot help but wonder exactly what impact that advice has had on Trump pere over the years.)
To clarify, Ivanka’s is not a formal advisory position. That would require her to follow certain protocols and abide by certain ethics rules. But do not fret; Gorelick insists that Ivanka will voluntarily abide by all the same rules that apply to ordinary government officials. Not that anyone should be surprised. The entire Trump family clearly prefers to keep these things more freewheeling. Ethics guidelines can be so limiting, so intrusive, so common.
But back to that other member of the First Daughter’s club, Chelsea. This time last year, people were pestering Clinton fille about what role she would be playing in her mother’s administration and how much time she would be spending in the White House. Now, Chelsea pops up in the news only rarely, when she issues some piquant remark on Twitter or when someone wants to float a rumor that she’s considering a political run in the very near future. (Maybe to replace Nita Lowey in the House in 2018—or how about Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat, if the New York senator makes a run for the White House in 2020!)
And now, Variety is feting Chelsea, specifically for “her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits.” The award is being given in conjunction with Lifetime, the cable channel best known for its made-for-TV movies and its reality series including Project Runway, Dance Moms, Bringing Up Ballers, and Little Women: LA. The award’s title—Lifetime Impact Honoree—sparked media reports that the 37-year-old was receiving a “lifetime-achievement award.” That would have been rich. But a Variety executive confirms that the Power of Women honorees are receiving awards from the presenting sponsor, Lifetime. “It's not a lifetime achievement award.”
That makes sense. Thus far, Chelsea’s greatest accomplishment is surviving her eternally needy parents’ raging ambition while making solid use of the near-countless advantages their wealth and power have conferred upon her. To be fair, this puts her way ahead of many celebrity offspring. But it’s not like she’s got her own office in the West Wing or anything like that.
And so the bizarreness of this political season grinds on, reaching down a generation to shuffle the public’s expectations about even Chelsea and Ivanka. At this rate, Chelsea will soon roll out her new eponymous line of fragrances while Ivanka is announced as her dad’s new chief of staff.