She’s the Trump campaign’s unflappable surrogate “wife,” who defends her father strenuously but politely to the media and insists that he’d “be amazing for women.”
She even counts Chelsea Clinton as her bipartisan BFF.
Ivanka Trump — multi-tasking businesswoman, summa cum laude Wharton grad, former model, author, wife, mother of two (her third child is due this month), fashion and jewelry designer, lifestyle guru and international real estate developer — is one interesting and perplexing woman.
To many, she seems like the anti-Trump, except there she is, speaking more eloquently than anyone else on the campaign in support of her father as his wife, Melania, has to be coaxed into saying a few words in heavily Slovenian-accented English.
Does she agree with her father’s provocative, sometimes illegal pronouncements on immigration, torture and Muslims? It’s not entirely clear. She hasn’t criticized him in public. In fact, Ivanka in public has been unshakably diplomatic and graceful about her father and his campaign, even when he’s making her the target of cringe-inducing comments about dating her.
“Yeah, she’s really something,” Trump said of his daughter in September, “and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father … ”
Ivanka has brushed off controversies like crumbs from a silk blouse.
“Look, my father is very blunt. He’s very direct. He is not gender specific in his criticism of people, and people that he doesn’t particularly like or people that he does like but thinks they’re wrong on a particular issue,” she said in an interview with CNN. “So I don’t think that he’s gender-targeted at all. Like I said, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be a high-level executive within his organization if he felt that way.”
Named for her mother, Ivana, her father’s first wife, she was born with a gold-leafed spoon in her mouth and could have become one more gilded young socialite. Tall and gorgeous with statement blonde hair and an ivory complexion, she could have glided through life on looks alone.
She doesn’t seem to have spent much time at her father’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, showing up for holidays and the few charity events where she’s been photographed since she was a teenager.
Instead, Ivanka, 34, has created an affordable, for-the-masses fashion line of polished, ladylike clothes and shoes meant for working women aiming for the title “partner” and the corner office. Some of her handbags include built-in phone chargers for women with jam-packed lives.
Her fashion lines are sold at mainstream department stores including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and even Zappos. A collection of fine jewelry landed at Neiman Marcus.
At her Ivanka Trump blog, under the hashtag #womenwhowork, she and her staff dispense advice on the topics that reflect the 360-degree working lives of 21st century women: business negotiations, talking about money with your partner, what to pack for work trips, what to wear to work and keeping romance alive, all while subtly promoting the brand.
Her 1.82 million Twitter followers get daily advice on topics such as pregnancy dressing, planning dinner parties and public speaking, spiced with a dose of brand promotion.
She converted to Judaism when she married her real estate developer husband, Jared Kushner. She told Vogue they observe the Sabbath, even turning off their constantly-buzzing cellphones for 24 hours. She learned to cook the Shabbos meal.
At the same time, she is spearheading some of The Trump Organization’s biggest real estate ventures, including the transformation of the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., into a luxury hotel. She led The Trump Organization’s negotiations to buy the Doral Resort & Spa (now Trump National Doral Miami) a few days after delivering her daughter, Arabella, in 2011, for what Forbes said was a “bargain-basement price.”
“She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with,” said one of the sellers.
So far, nothing has breached Ivanka Trump’s balanced public image as a busy, entrepreneurial wife and mother who supports her family’s enterprises.
It will be interesting to see how she manages the ugliness sure to come.
She might have to take her own advice on managing stress: “Regardless of how fast your heart may be beating, sit upright, make eye contact and focus on breathing evenly.”
WHO ARE THE OTHER TRUMP CHILDREN?
Besides Ivanka, there is:
Donald Trump Jr., 38, business executive, son of Donald Trump and Ivana Trump.
Eric Trump, 32, businessman, son of Donald and Ivana.
Tiffany Trump, 22, actress, daughter of Donald and Marla Maples.
Barron Trump, 9, son of Donald and Melania Trump.
And did you know: Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne, is a senior judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District.