“I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” Ivanka Trump told her critics. “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard. In some cases, it’s through protest and it’s through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue on which you disagree with. Other times it is quietly and directly and candidly.”
She later returned to the idea that “public denouncement” isn't the answer, but insisted she tells Trump hard truths.
“I do, and almost everyone he surrounds him with does,” she said. “We’re in a unique time where noise equals, in a lot of people’s perception, advocacy. And I fundamentally disagree with that. I do think there’s a time for public denouncement. … I also think there’s a time for discussion.”
This, needless to say, isn't going to satiate those who wish Ivanka Trump's alleged moderating influence on her father would be more readily apparent. She's essentially telling people they need to take her word for it.
This criticism of her was best crystallized by a brutal "Saturday Night Live" sketch a few weeks back, which suggested Ivanka Trump was "complicit" in her father's ill behavior and policies and wasn't really doing anything about them.
It is pretty unrealistic to expect a presidential adviser or family member to speak out publicly when they differ with their parent. As Ivanka Trump notes, her father is the president, and she works for him. The idea that she's going to be out there with a message that is different from her father's doesn't make much sense — especially now that she works for him.
But it's also true that Ivanka Trump has cultivated an image that isn't exactly in-sync with her father's on issues like women's rights and Planned Parenthood. Like her father, she's very brand-conscious, but her brand is decidedly not like her father's, and her ties to the liberal community have often been the source of speculation about her ability to influence her father.
And the idea that she would be out there publicly denouncing her father is kind of a straw man; the real proof is in the results. For now, President Trump is still talking about defunding Planned Parenthood and is going in a direction on environmental issues that is completely the opposite of where some thought Ivanka Trump might be able to lead him.
If Trump does moderate on an issue that is of particular concern to his daughter, it's likely that word will leak out that she played a role in making it so. But first, there needs to be an actual example of that occurring. Trump has shown no signs of abandoning the base strategy he employed in the presidential election and very little appetite for proving that his daughter — or anybody else, frankly — can pull him back toward the middle.