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Ivanka Trump Is Pained

We’ve talked plenty about how Donald Trump’s indictment and arraignment might affect his latest presidential bid. We’ve pondered their meaning for the future of the republic.


But “whither America?” isn’t the question. Whither Ivanka? A fair-haired, fair-weather daughter has allegiances to re-examine and decisions to make, and not just about what to wear if there are jailhouse visits to come. Right here, right now, does she stand by Daddy? Or does she treat Mar-a-Lago as if it were Three Mile Island and run as fast and as far from it as she can?


Nepotism was never supposed to be this hard.


I ache for Ivanka. But mostly, I marvel at her — and at the many, many people like her who have a special talent, a preternatural discipline, for pausing at every pivotal crossroads and making a coldblooded, single-minded assessment: How do I navigate this to maximum advantage for me?


Ivanka navigates like Magellan. She’s GPS made flesh. At times, the coordinates and calculations have been easy: Daddy’s going to the White House; I will not be left behind. She traipsed after him to Washington. She traipsed after him to meetings with European leaders. She even traipsed after him to the Demilitarized Zone. She did so much traipsing that Twitter had a hashtag for it: #unwantedivanka. And then Daddy was dethroned, and the traipsing just wasn’t what it used to be.


Things got tricky: Daddy sent those ruffians to the Capitol, where they made a horrible mess and threatened to maul Mike Pence. Ivanka recalculated. For her appearance before the Jan. 6 committee, she wore a glimmer of disapproval.


And now, well, there’s no figuring out where to turn or whom to burn. Daddy was just hauled into a Manhattan courthouse because of that smuttiness with the porn star. Can Ivanka play the part of a distracted onlooker without seeming like a 24-karat ingrate?


Nothing good for her can come of this, so she’s saying and doing almost nothing at all. She’s in limbo. She’s in hiding. She has gone from gaga to Garbo and wants to be left alone, at least until the Stormy weather clears.


She did, according to a report in The New York Post, visit Daddy at Mar-a-Lago on Sunday. And last week, following his indictment, she put out that statement about it on Instagram. But it read as though it were written by a chatbot getting a pedicure. It comprised just 27 weightless, gutless, exquisitely noncommittal words — about loving Daddy, about loving America, about being “pained.” His indictment is a kidney stone to be passed.


And she’s the patron saint of all the unscrupulous opportunists who are taking little or big steps away from Daddy but contentedly ignored his depravity and destructiveness when there was power to be gained from that. When there was a profit to be made.


The day of Donald Trump’s indictment, a team of Times journalists reported that wealth funds in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar had invested hundreds of millions of dollars with a private equity firm that Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, started not long after he and she left the White House, where they had cultivated close ties to the Arab world.


That’s the bonanza that Ivanka R.S.V.P.’d to, not the bedlam since November 2020, not the ravings of Sidney Powell, the rioter in Viking horns, that wacky Waco rally, all these icky criminal cases.


For Daddy’s current presidential campaign, she sent her regrets. “This time around,” she said in a statement released the same night he announced his candidacy, “I am choosing to prioritize my young children.” Were they not priorities before?


She added that she didn’t “plan to be involved in politics.” The thing about plans is they can change. Ivanka’s vanishing act is a testament to that.


Her brothers are picking up any slack. Their reactions to Daddy’s indictment were as insane as hers was insipid.


Pol Pot? Junior and I clearly had different history teachers, and there are gaps in his moviegoing that cry out for filling. Note to self: Send him a DVD or link to “The Killing Fields.”

波尔布特?小唐和我显然不是同一个历史老师教出来的,他还有电影方面的功课要补。我要提醒自己:送他一张《杀戮战场》(The Killing Fields)的DVD或者链接。

It’s a cracked political religion that the Brothers Trump practice, but at least they’re keeping the faith. Their sister has strayed. She always wanted all the glory without any of the sacrifice, Air Force One without the gale-force controversies, the big, bright stage that Daddy gave her without the critics’ pans. She always insisted that her transaction with him — oops, I mean relationship — keep her in the black.


It’s not doing that anymore, so she’s establishing distance and projecting detachment, but in a pained way, with all that love in her heart. #unwantedivanka wants to turn the page. She may find that impossible when the text is this soiled.

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