As Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday to further shame former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado by insinuating she had a sex tape, the eldest (and favorite) scion of the Republican nominee has been mysteriously MIA. Often a surrogate for Trump’s wife Melania in fulfilling the traditional role of a First Lady hopeful, she has laid low since her heated interview with Cosmopolitan earlier this month—which she cut short after the reporter asked about Donald Trump’s assertion that pregnancy is “inconvenient” for business. “I think that you have a lot of negativity in these questions,” she snapped.
As Ivanka jets across the country for women’s alliance breakfasts and child-care policy roundtables, her father is blowing to pieces the image she constructed of him as a champion for women at the July GOP convention. “He is color-blind and gender-neutral,” she said of her father, adding that there are more female than male executives at the Trump organization, that they are paid equally, and that they are not “shut out” if they become mothers. The crowd ate it up, giving her a standing ovation.
Emily Nussbaum has aptly described Ivanka’s strategy as “weaponized graciousness.” She has been using her father’s presidential campaign as a platform for her own brand, described on her website as “a lifestyle concept dedicated to women who work.” She tweets about “make-ahead snacks to get through the week” and “tips and tricks to boost your job hunt.” If there is one person who can save Donald Trump’s numbers among women, it’s Ivanka. But perhaps she’s finding it harder to convince herself that coming to her father’s aid will be beneficial—not only for women generally, but for her specifically.