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The Astonishing Return of Ivanka’s Moderating Influence (TM)


One of the wilder narratives of the early Trump years, as what should have been obvious all along — that Trump would govern as a standard-issue Paul Ryan reactionary with more explicit racism — became hard to deny, was reporters imagining that Ivanka Trump would have a substantial Moderating Influence on her father’s presidency. I wish I could tell you that no journalist of any influence could still believe that but:

Ivanka Trump did a rare non-Fox News interview with CBS for Sunday’s edition of Face the Nation. But given the way it obscured key facts, host Margaret Brennan’s approach to interviewing the president’s elder daughter and senior adviser would’ve fit right in on Fox & Friends.

The interview was mostly about a 12-week paid parental leave provision for federal workers that made it into the $738 billion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) President Trump recently signed into law. That provision was included following a push from congressional Democrats who wanted something in return for the creation of the president’s much-hyped Space Force. Brennan, however, characterized Ivanka as the hero of the day.

“You worked to get Republicans on board … how did you get the Republican caucus to support these things?” Brennan asked.

Giving Ivanka so much credit for the NDAA’s leave provision was questionable, but things got worse at the end of the interview when Brennan went to extreme lengths to portray her as a moderating force in her father’s White House.

On the topic of immigration, Brennan described Ivanka as “vocal in your opposition” to the inhumane family separation policy her father implemented in April 2018, noting that she described the policy as a “low point.” But Ivanka was not in fact “vocal” in opposition to the policy — in fact, the opposite is the case.

As my colleague Emily Stewart chronicled at the time, Ivanka — supposedly an advocate for women and families in the administration — only spoke out in opposition to the family separation policy after her father signed an executive order in June 2018 ending it. She was conspicuously silent in the days leading up to that point, as heart-rending stories and images of children being separated from their families along the southern border were in the news.

I guess we need an amendment for Murc’s Law for the times when something vaguely good happens because congressional Democrats use their bargaining leverage so somehow there must be a Republican who ACTUALLY deserves the credit.

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