Ivanka Trump has the intelligence and presence to have run for senior office… instead, by cynically playing to her father's basest supporters, she has lost the kudos she built up. Her political ambitions are in tatters, and she can never even return to the elite New York set that spawned her
When I interviewed Graydon Carter last July, the former Vanity Fair editor said something about Donald Trump that stuck with me — and seems eerily prescient now. “I always thought he was craven,” he said of the freakishly “small-handed” man he’s known for over 40 years, “he’s the sort of person who, if he’s being thrown out of a bar, will smash the window with his elbow on his way out.”
That metaphor became a reality last week. Only it wasn’t just elbows being used by the president’s “patriot” puppets to smash through the Capitol but crowbars and bats. The “sturdy guard rails” Carter felt should be “placed alongside him between the November election and January” would have been futile under such a ferociously goaded attack.
And only when Trump’s daughter Ivanka allegedly warned him that he would face immediate removal from office — via either impeachment or the invocation of the 25th Amendment — unless he condemned this violence and lawlessness and called for an “orderly transition of power” did the president effect a U-turn that sounded disingenuous and hollow, and proved too little, too late.
Today, 56pc of Americans want Trump removed from office. In language he, as a businessman, should understand, he has burned his brand to such an extent that everything and everyone connected with it has been left blackened and charred.
That must include Ivanka, the golden girl once seen as the only voice of reason he would listen to, and the only person capable of walking him back from an edge he nevertheless threw himself over, time and time again.
In that respect, and others, she failed. And the sympathy I initially felt for a woman I have met twice and interviewed once, in 2012 — when any presidential ambitions her father fostered would have been taken as the end of dinner party joke they should have remained — has eroded.
In that interview, conducted in her Trump Tower corner office overlooking Fifth Avenue, the Wharton Business School graduate came across as impressively serene and self-aware.
“I knew early on that no matter what I accomplished, there would always be someone saying, ‘She would never have been able to do that without her parents’. And you know what? I can’t argue with that, because it’s a hypothetical,” she said.
“So rather than dwell on it, I decided that what matters to me is that I’m respected by people I interact with — not people who have decided to dislike me.”
Nine years on, her father can only be seen as having reduced, rather than boosted, her accomplishments, and the antagonism Ivanka will now face is likely to be more vehement than anything she has experienced before.
Quite something when you consider that even at the start of Trump’s presidency, according to a friend of mine with a child at the same school as hers, parents were threatening to withdraw their children when Trump’s grandchildren were first admitted.
That kind of behaviour still strikes me as grossly unfair.
But much of the respect Ivanka had earned will have been lost by her own actions: her decision to be not just a First Daughter, but a fully paid-up adviser to the president, and have her husband, Jared Kushner, take on an outsized presence and responsibilities; her calculation that playing to her father’s basest supporters on social media was the way to go — a calculation that felt all the more cynically motivated because it must have run counter to both her instincts and her intelligence, and was epitomised by a hastily deleted tweet in which she called the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol “American Patriots”.
With any hopes she and her husband may have had of reinserting themselves into the liberal Manhattan elite set they once belonged to now dashed, the pair are apparently now considering a move to Florida, where Ivanka is thinking of a run for Senate.
She’s clever and accomplished enough to have a lucrative career in the “development and acquisitions” she once handled at the Trump Organisation.
But it’s hard to imagine that a spin-off political career could be a viable option. I’d now love to hear her answer a question asked of her by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni in November: “Was it worth it?”
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
Telegraph Media Group Limited