Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump are friends. And they have been for quite some time. This is a fact, people. But for some reason (perhaps because their parents are in a knock-down drag-out fight for the White House) that social bullet point is constantly and consistently being called into question. Both potential first daughters have been asked repeatedly to define or defend their relationship. It’s the interview note card that will never die. And it needs to.
Last week, Clinton was once again called upon to quash rumors that she and Trump had “put their friendship on ice” in the wake of their parents’ campaigns.
“We were friends long before this election,” said Clinton during a sit-down with the ladies of “The View.” “We will be friends long after this election. Our friendship didn’t start in politics, and it certainly is not going to end because of politics.”
Clinton added that she loved Trump’s family, a point that co-host Joy Behar asked her to clarify. By family, Clinton meant Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, and her three children. Both broods (Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, have two children) live in Manhattan and run in the same small circles.
Besides being working moms in high stakes New York City, Clinton and Trump also know exactly what it’s like to have parents in the spotlight (and how to weather the grownups’ multiple scandals). Remove the flurry of the past 18 months, and no one would give their friendship a backwards glance.
It’s a point that both women have been forced to underscore several times. In July, Clinton told Extra that the campaign had not corroded their friendship. That same month, Trump told People: “We’re both incredibly supportive of our parents, as we should be. But we also continue to have great respect for one another.” Clinton has called Trump a “great woman” and Trump has said they have “great respect for one another.” Time and time again the twosome have reaffirmed their supposedly “unlikely” friendship.
More recently, Trump expounded on just how she and Clinton manage to stay above the fray.
“Obviously the intensity and the scrutiny of this moment in our lives is pretty extreme, so we’ve stayed close to one another — maybe a little less publicly,” said Trump in an interview with Greta Van Susteren for Fox News. “We support each other. We’re not the candidates. We’re the children of the candidates,” continued Trump, who added that the pair did not delve into politics before and do not now.
Even Donald Trump has weighed in on the daughters’ closeness. “You know, Chelsea likes Ivanka, and Ivanka likes Chelsea,” the GOP presidential nominee said at a rally in August. “I wish they didn’t like each other, but they do. It’s easier if they don’t like each other.”
Perhaps that’s why the friendship question persists? Because the “they hate each other!” headlines would be so much easier to write and read, feeding into the established narrative of fixed bipartisan animosity. Yet that is not the case at all, and both women have been reiterating that point since their parents first squared off against one another.