Ivanka Trump may be pretty in pink, but she’s not powerful in pink, nor percipient
Front and centre: Ivanka Trump at the G20 Summit in Osaka. Photo: AP
By Mao Shan Wang
Oh, to be snubbed! Most of us would have buried our heads in shame. Not Ivanka Trump. She carried hers high, along with her hands, moving them for emphasis and attention. Also referred to, perhaps a little derisively, as the “First Daughter”, she is, I concede, not one of us. She’s made of sterner stuff—her father’s go-to whatever.
In a video posted by the French government and subsequently shared by many news agencies, Ms Trump was captured eager to participate in a conversation that she possibly did not initiate. The members of this group chat were head of states Theresa May, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron, and the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Legarde, and it is the IMF chief’s reaction that is truly—allow me to use Mastercard’s marketing tagline—priceless!
The now-diplomat-wannabe appeared to want to engage powerful players of world politics (or, maybe, interrupt), but was unable to even catch their attention, not even with her hand gestures, made more emphatic by the equally gesticulating trumpet sleeves that framed her wrists; she was frowned at. To me (and most of those who live online), Ms Trump appeared out of place, visually incongruous, not in the same league. Sesame Street fans will recognise this episode in the song/game “one of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn’t belong” (don’t mean to call anyone in the video a ‘thing’, but you now what I mean). And Taylor Swift fans, too!
Let me rub it in: Professionally, she’s not up there; intellectually, she’s not of equal heft; and sartorially, she’s not cut from the same cloth; she who has no more of her own label to turn to. Talking about cloth, is dressing like you’re going to lunch with your BFFs in a newly starred Michelin-rated restaurant a good look at the G20 Summit?
Professionally, she’s not up there; intellectually, she’s not of equal heft; and sartorially, she’s not cut from the same cloth
Admittedly, she did stand out, although not in a way that might be appreciated at such a high-level international forum, since this wasn’t a meet-and-greet at a Marie Kondo convention. Neither did Ms Trump rock it (to borrow a term often associated with Rihanna) in the pink Valentino, with what the brand called a “snowdrop” print, however sweet it was. Perhaps, she merely wanted to show the world how she had contributed to the US retail performance of Q3. Frankly, looking at her, I don’t know who or what she was representing—the White House, the United States of America, or the Miss Universe Organisation (even if her father doesn’t own it anymore). The floaty dress looked lame on her, a femininity enhancer and little else, something Jamie Chua might wear to host a program for her sadly inane YouTube channel. And I have not even started on the insipid white belt.
The thing is, we may not be able to see through that dress, but underneath it is a person with skin that can only be described as thicker—a lot thicker—than the fabric that sheathed it. We know her father has never stopped their family outings, not even after taking up residency in the White House, but that does not mean she should avail herself to what has been largely foreign-affairs occasions, even if it is often said that her husband Jared Kushner runs a “shadow State Department” (settling the Israeli-Palestinian problem/conflict a pet project)! Even the G20 Summit wasn’t enough. After Osaka, she went along with her father to North Korea, and no one knows what the president’s daughter is doing at the DMZ. If the Trumps wanted to see how “surreal” the hermit kingdom is, they should have joined a tour.
Okay, I forget. She did have an agenda at the G20 Summit: to sing the same song of “women’s empowerment” as she did—if you don’t remember—at the last G20 in Hamburg where she marketed her also-in-pink self. The sad thing about Ivanka Trump is this: it’s not the pink (Angela Merkel wore pink too in Osaka). She not only often looks like she’s done for the day and is off to the spa to spend quality time with a therapist and scented candles, she sounds just as inconsequential—in fact, trite and unoriginal.
At the summit, she called women “one of the most undervalued resources in the world”, and felt they should not only be a social justice issue, but one of “economic and defence policy” too. Didn’t Theresa May, responding to Emmanuel Macron comment on social justice, earlier say something to that effect in that conversation Ivanka Trump was not welcomed?