A recent “Saturday Night Live” skit cast actress Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump. Dressed in head-to-toe gold, Johansson-as-Trump walks through a gilded room, the star of her own fragrance commercial.
“A feminist and advocate, a champion for women. But, like, how?” the narrator intones. “She's loyal, she's devoted, but probably should have bounced after the 'Access Hollywood' thing.”
“Complicit — the fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won't.”
The skit encapsulates the main critique of Trump's critics, who say there is little evidence that the first daughter has served as a moderating force within her father's administration.
Now officially a White House employee and an adviser to President Trump, Ivanka is dismissing detractors who say that her presence in the inner fold of the Trump administration makes her complicit in its actions.
“If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Trump said in an interview with CBS News on Tuesday. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.
“I don’t know what it means to be complicit, but you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and, much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be,” she added.
On Tuesday, Trump participated in a panel with business leaders at the White House, pitching workforce re-education and vocational training. She has also said that she will push her father's administration to move forward with paid family-leave legislation.
Those positions initially heartened folks on the left, who have long supported similar agendas. But the optimism has given way to disillusion as Trump instead has gone after the Affordable Care Act, issued executive orders banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries, and executive orders aimed at gutting the Obama administration's climate change policies.
Asked why she does not speak more publicly about issues like climate change, gay marriage and Planned Parenthood, Trump said that she advocates privately for issues that are important to her.
"I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” Trump said. “In some case it’s through protest and it’s through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue in which you disagree with. Other times it is quietly, and directly, and candidly.
“So where I disagree with my father, he knows it, and I express myself with total candor," she added. "Where I agree, I fully lean in and support the agenda and hope that I can be an asset to him and make a positive impact. But I respect the fact that he always listens."