Ivanka Trump praised Oprah Winfrey’s viral Golden Globes speech and tried to hop on the Time’s Up movement of women speaking up against sexual misconduct.
The women of the movement clapped back: Thanks, but no thanks.
President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter tweeted on Monday that “a new day is on the horizon,” calling the speech “empowering” and “inspiring.” She called for women and men to come together and say time’s up, referencing a recently launched group of more than 300 women in Hollywood who are working to fight sexual harassment in their industry and beyond. She capped off the tweet with the hashtag #United.
Ivanka Trump failed to acknowledge that one of the men for whom time should be up, theoretically, is her father, who has been accused by more than a dozen women of alleged sexual misconduct and was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault. Some of his accusers spoke out as recently as last month, renewing their allegations in light of the #MeToo movement.
Trump herself has been the subject of her father’s sexist behavior: In 2004, Donald Trump told radio DJ Howard Stern that it was okay to characterize Ivanka as “a piece of ass” and famously said he would be romantically interested in Ivanka if she weren’t his daughter. Last year, then-candidate Trump said he thought his daughter should change jobs or careers if she were sexually harassed at work — not that the harasser should be held accountable.
Ivanka gave women some questionable advice for dealing with sexual harassment in her 2009 book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Business and in Life: “Learn to figure out when a hoot or a holler is indeed a form of harassment and when it’s merely a good-natured tease that you can give back in kind.”
She spoke out against Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including incidents that happened when several of the women were teenagers. But when her father supported the failed US Senate candidate, she made no public pushback.
The public didn’t buy Ivanka’s #MeToo bandwagoning
Observers were quick to note the hypocrisy of Ivanka Trump’s support for Oprah’s message and the women who have come forward to tell their stories of harassment and abuse in recent months. However sincere she may have meant her tweet to be, given her actions (or, often, inaction), her words rang hollow, as many on Twitter noted.
Actress Alyssa Milano responded with a suggestion that Trump make a “lofty donation” to the Time’s Up legal defense fund, noting that it’s available to support the president’s accusers.
ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum responded with a list of the names of Trump’s accusers.
This isn’t the first time Trump has called for an end to sexual misconduct while seemingly failing to recognize the tension with her father’s alleged conduct. She told an audience in Tokyo in November that the sexual harassment of women should “never be tolerated,” and that “all too often, our workplace culture fails to treat women with appropriate respect.”
Ivanka Trump is a failed feminist at best
Trump has, throughout her career, sought to cast herself as an advocate for feminism and her brand as one of empowerment. Last year she released a book, Women Who Work, which was widely panned as shallow and generic. Her brand is geared toward a lifestyle and affluence to which most women can only aspire, and broadly, many of her efforts on the feminism front have fallen short.
She has been supportive of, or at least complicit in, many of her father’s policies that adversely affect women. She backed President Trump’s move to end an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection and stood by as he sought to undermine women’s health and rights, including the reversal of Obamacare’s birth control mandate. She advocated for a child tax credit in the Republican tax bill but has remained silent on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the funding for which expired more than 100 days ago.
In response to a March 2017 Saturday Night Live skit parodying her in a commercial for a perfume called “Complicit,” Trump said in an interview with CBS that her complicity means “wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact.” She added, “I would not conflate lack of public denouncement with silence.”
To be sure, the fault for President Trump’s bad behavior cannot be placed on his daughter. His words and decisions, including decades of alleged sexual misconduct, are his.
But Ivanka’s #MeToo bandwagoning is in poor taste, and many just aren’t buying her feminist positioning, after the Oprah tweet or before it. Actress Helen Mirren in an August interview with Allure offered her assessment of the first daughter: “[Ivanka] talks a good game, but there’s no substance.”