It’s time for Ivanka Trump to step out of her Dad’s shadow. But how?

Hadley Freeman
·5-min read
<span>Photograph: AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

For much of this dumpster fire of a year I’ve been self-medicating with Schitt’s Creek, the completely delightful sitcom about a wealthy family who, after losing all their money, learn to be good. But as the US election approached, I no longer wanted to watch a show about rich people who end up happy. I wanted to watch one about rich people being humiliated and regularly slung in prison. And so I’ve been rewatching Arrested Development.

The extraordinary similarities between the Bluth family (dodgy property dealer father, pathetic idiot older son desperate for his father’s love, blond idiot daughter, even more idiotic younger son) and the Trump family (see above) rendered the show nearly unwatchable during the presidency. Now that Trump is definitely leaving office, it feels close to cathartic. But there was one thing Arrested got wrong in its prophesying of the Trumps: it underestimated the daughter.

Lindsay Bluth (played by Portia de Rossi) has a crippling lack of confidence and is pathologically lazy, not things anyone, critic or fan, would say about Ivanka. It’s been fascinating over the course of the presidency to watch the trajectory of the Trump offspring their father would most like to date, from affecting to be reassuringly moderate to full Maga Barbie. Three days before the election, Ivanka – who in 2017 wrote a feminist-extremely-lite book called Women Who Work – announced that she is “unapologetically pro-life”: “I respect all sides of a very personal and sensitive discussion. But I am also a mother of three children, and parenthood affected me in a profound way,” she said. Ivanka went to one of the most expensive colleges in America. But if she believes that legalised abortion means that her children – now nine, seven and four – will be aborted, then her parents should ask for a refund.

It was revealed last week that there are two fraud investigations into whether the outgoing president reduced his taxable income by deducting millions in fees to consultants, one of whom, it is alleged, is Ivanka. Proving she is her father’s daughter, Ivanka tweeted that the investigations are “harassment, pure and simple”. But at only 39, this is the third time Ivanka’s been under investigation. Along with her goonish brothers, she was slammed last year for “allowing illegal activity” when it emerged – who’d have guessed? – that the Trumps had been using their family foundation to enrich themselves. In 2012, she and Don Jr were accused of lying to prospective buyers of their father’s properties. Truly, the woman is pure Trump.

Many are wondering what Ivanka will do next. Will she risk social ostracism and return to New York? Or will she move to – gasp! – Texas and build a Republican base? I suspect both of these theories vastly, if not underestimate, then at least misunderstand her.

Every job Ivanka has had came from her dad. So while I am sure she would love the glory of being president, slogging through the primaries would feel too much like, well, work – especially as her father won’t be the incumbent and so can’t parachute her in. So what would suit Ivanka instead?

Fox News host Obvious, but potentially controversial. Fox News acted as Trump’s Pravda, and he returned the favour by tweeting out talking points directly culled from the news channel, which he almost certainly watched while sitting on the toilet and stabbing at his phone. (You’re welcome.) Ivanka certainly has the requisite look (white supremacist chic). But Trump has fallen out with Fox since it stated on air that he had lost the election, ie, reported actual news, which, to be fair, shocked the rest of us, too. So a potentially tricky move for Ivanka, but one – after light flirtation with Rupert on his yacht – I’m sure she could pull off.

Mumfluencer I miss the days when Ivanka’s Instagram, rather than showing photos of her meeting bemused-looking world leaders, consisted entirely of pictures of her smiling blandly at a computer, while her children tumbled about her feet. Women: they can have it all! (If they have a full battalion of staff, just out of shot.) I’d definitely read some Live, Love, Laugh-style blogs from Ivanka, although from her they presumably would be more in the vein of Leverage, Loot, Lie.

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Movie producer There’s a big hole in Hollywood since some unfortunate unpleasantness detained friend of the Trump family Harvey Weinstein in a maximum security correctional facility, but I reckon Ivanka could fill it. Artifice, greed, and a lack of discernible talent have never been bars to becoming a producer – indeed, they could almost be described as requisites.

She could also enlist her father-in-law, Charles Kushner, who showed he has a talent for casting, sound mixing and storytelling when in 2005 he hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, recorded said seduction and sent the tape to his sister, in revenge for his cooperation in a federal investigation into Kushner’s tax evasion. He was sentenced to two years in the clink for aforementioned tax dodginess and witness tampering. But he’s out now and would fit right in over in Beverly Hills.

A refuse collector A noble profession – certainly nobler than anything anyone in the rest of her family does. Also, Ivanka is used to hanging out with garbage all day, so this should feel comfortingly familiar. As she once wrote in Women Who Work, “Honour yourself by exploring the kind of life you deserve.”