Ivanka for president? Stranger things have happened But what is that weird father-daughter relationship all about?
Quiz question: who was the first female US president? There hasnt been one? No, this is a quiz in the future, so there has. Elizabeth Warren? Michelle Obama? Hillary Clinton? Catherine Cortez Masto, maybe? No, no, no and no. The correct answer is Ivanka Trump!
Not impossible is the conclusion Matt Frei reaches in Ivanka Trump: Americas Real First Lady? (Channel 4). Stranger things have happened.
First, though, we get a little Ivanka refresher. Like Mum Ivana, she did some modelling before joining the family business and rising to becoming executive vice-president and, everyone agrees, Daddys favourite. She was with him on his famous TV show, too. Today, she is assistant to the president. Assistant, possibly apprentice, now that the presidency is something between a family business and a gameshow.
Those Donald-Ivanka clips are not just peak weird-Trump, theyre some of the creepiest television ever, arent they? What do the two of them have in common, they are asked. Real estate and golf, she says. Well, I was going to say sex, says Donald. (What does he even mean?) And: Ive said that if Ivanka werent my daughter perhaps Id be dating her.
She laughs. Instead of shouting: Dad! No! That is so inappropriate!, which would be a better response. Or, as he seems to suggest that he has said it before, calling 911. Frei is not really helping by asking if she is simply a fig leaf for her fathers policies now Ive got a picture of Donald, nude, orange all over, with his policies covered by his daughter. Eurgh, God, Im sorry.
Frei has assembled a reasonable bunch: writers and journalists, academics, a psychologist, a rabbi, neighbours, fundraisers for, campaigners against, antis and pros. They say that Ivanka embodies the conflict of interest that poisons this administration, shes being used as a tool to whitewash his behaviour, shes his best weapon, he couldnt have been elected without her, she softens the edges, her conversion to Judaism in order to marry Jared Kushner shows dedication, shes beautiful, successful, graceful, a champion of women, LGBT rights and climate change, even
Actually, she gets a reasonably easy ride. So, for example, we see the look of surprise on Christine Lagardes face, surprise perhaps that Ivanka is on a panel with her and Angela Merkel at a womens summit. But we dont hear the jeers from the audience as Ivanka defends her fathers treatment of women. And I wanted more some serious (psycho)analysis on The Weirdness, the odd father-daughter relationship and her apparent acceptance of it. And the thing he does when he introduces her to a rally crowd: Im sure most of you have never heard of her, and: Has anyone heard of Ivanka Trump? Whats that about?
What about the actual first lady, Melania? Invisible. She seems to have gone into a witness protection programme, say Frei. Or to Guantnamo, maybe? The colour of her jumpsuit a cruel reminder of her husbands face
Anyway, this isnt about her, its about Ivanka. A Princeton prof, Julian Zelizer, makes most sense; he says her influence is significant because we have a president who doesnt know what he is supposed to do. And then, on the possibility of an Ivanka presidency: We have to imagine everyone can run for presidency at this point.
So, in the photo of her with her father and Canadian president Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office, her in the presidents chair, is she trying it out for size? Dont laugh, says Frei. America loves a dynasty.
Why stop there, then? Back to the quiz. A bit trickier this time: the second female US president? Arabella Rose Kushner, daughter of Javanka? Good guess, but unfortunately Arabella didnt have the right surname, the one emblazoned on the White House (were in the future, remember). The correct answer is in fact Chloe Sophia Trump, daughter of Donald Jr.
So (returning to the present), Chloe may not yet have reached the age of three, but word is she is already showing excellent leadership qualities, as well as being very pretty and graceful. No official role yet, although she is beginning to sit in on the meetings. The Middle East is an area of particular interest, apparently. About which Grandad holds her opinion in high regard. Exciting times.