Ivanka Trump Is Proof That Kids Can Thrive Despite Their Parents

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images

Ivanka Trump introduced her father at last night’s convention finale

Last night was the finale of the Republican National Convention and America got to hear from Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka. She introduced her father before he gave his seemingly endless acceptance speech and in the process, showed us that kids can grow up to be different from their parents.

Thank God.

As a card-carrying liberal Democrat, I spent the last several nights hate-watching the RNC. Mostly, I was just hoping Donald Trump would have some kind of SNL-skit-worthy entrance before his speech, or arrive on “the backs of two bald eagles” but as it turned out, the most riveting part of this week’s mess was Ivanka Trump introducing her father.

Let’s be clear — I didn’t watch last night’s speeches anticipating any warm feelings toward this woman. After all, she’s supporting her father, a toxic puddle of tangerine goo that seems hell bent on ruining the country I love, but her words were not what most of us expected to hear considering where half her DNA came from.

As she smiled and promised her father would give a shit about working mothers and families, that he would make childcare more affordable and close the wage gap, I found myself with an incredibly uncomfortable feeling.

I was starting to like her. Well…maybe not like. That’s a bit much. But not hate.

It wasn’t that I believed Donald Trump might actually do the things she claimed — he’s never expressed interest in many of the important issues she raised — it’s because she came off as empathetic and intelligent. She was about as far from her showboating, caustic and dangerous father as she could be, and some argue that could make her even more dangerous down the line. The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti summed it up in a Tweet last evening saying, “When Trump lies it’s bombastic and obvious. What’s dangerous about Ivanka is that when she lies, you want to believe her.”

And that’s exactly it. But instead of panicking that I was falling under the spell of a pretty face and some nicely put-together words, I came to a conclusion. It’s possible that she’s not like her asshole brothers who hunt big game for sport or her father who vomits out hateful rhetoric as a matter of course.

As she stated in her speech last night, she’s also not a Republican or a Democrat. But the ideals she spoke of were, if anything, decidedly liberal and nothing like the woman-hating policies of most Republican candidates. Of course, the most likely explanation is that she was just pandering and trying to get more of the vote, but it’s possible she actually believes the things she said.

If these are her true views, the only way to explain this turn of events is that kids (obviously) aren’t always like their parents and certainly don’t always agree with them. Sure, she’s supporting her father and his terrifying dumpster fire of a campaign and that is pretty hard to get past, but really, did she have a choice? After all, as Time contributor Darlena Cunha points out, “Her father is Donald Trump, and his world has defined hers. But she’s doing what she can in the area provided her. She’s making due and trying to do more than that. In this way, she’s like every feminist born into this patriarchy.”

When I look at it that way, I can (sort of) make myself OK with Ivanka Trump. Or at least not lump her in with her father and hate her guts. Make no mistake — we need to keep our eyes wide open and do all we can to prevent a Trump presidency, but one thing became clear this week; Ivanka may be Donald Trump’s daughter, but it’s possible she’s her own person in spite of that fact.

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