At an event at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for local school kids “Getting Excited About STEM” on Tuesday morning, Ivanka Trump needed no introduction.
Or at least she didn’t get one. The powerful first daughter was announced to the crowd simply by her name, with no title — because she doesn’t really have one, although she has claimed an office in the West Wing. (The speaker’s list handed to the media identified her only as “Ivanka Trump, White House.”)
But once she took the podium to help introduce a screening of the movie “Hidden Figures” — a film about three African American women who were NASA mathematicians in the early years of the space program — Trump made it clear what she believes her job to be.
There’s one part boosting women and girls. “The heroes of ‘Hidden Figures’ were trailblazers for women in STEM,” Trump intoned, “paving the way for greater representation of women and African Americans in these fields. They embody America’s spirit of innovation and inspire us all to continue pushing gender boundaries across all industries.”
And then there’s the matter of selling her dad’s policies. “My father’s administration has expanded NASA’s space exploration mission and added Mars as a key objective.” (She didn’t mention the NASA cuts in dad’s proposed budget, which would slash the education office that helps promote STEM for girls.)
Oh, and of course, she’s there to project the image so central to her brand — that of the flawlessly coifed mom-who-has-it-all. “My daughter, Arabella, and I are enrolling in a coding class this summer,” she told the crowd of young people. “We’re excited to learn this incredible new language together.” (Arabella is 5 years old.)
Earlier in the morning, Trump smiled as she briefly toured several of the museum’s exhibits alongside Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The pair nodded dutifully and touched the moon rock brought back from a NASA mission. She posed for pictures with the schoolchildren, who were mostly African American girls.
Even the kids seemed not to know quite what to make of the glamorous first daughter. Some shot videos on their phones. Others hung back.
“She’s so skinny!” one of the girls whispered to a friend as they lined up nervously for a selfie.