Say what you will about Ivanka Trump, but she knows a thing or two about #branding. After all, her job in the White House is essentially to throw a trendy Instagram filter on her father’s toxic agenda. And, disturbingly, she’s getting better at it.
On Thursday, Trump spoke with The Daily Signal, a “news outlet” created by the Heritage Foundation, the ultra-conservative Washington think tank. (The Trump administration has leaned on Heritage to fill out many positions in the federal government.)
In the interview, Trump talked about how excited she was about the omnibus spending bill which Congress passed hours after the interview. She called the bill “the omni,” because she is a Serious Policy Wonk. She ended the interview by talking about how super jazzed she is about Republicans putting the modern working family first with their spending bill, and with her father’s administrative agenda.
One of the things that I’m really excited about is a really dramatic expansion of the funds that are allocated toward the childcare and development block grants which go to the states, which are going to help so many parents who can’t afford the rising cost of childcare stay in the workforce and be able to do that.
And obviously that’s going to have a great benefit for women, but it’s the largest expansion ever, and it was expanded by over $2 billion, and will go to the state to fund the programs that work the best and support the modern working family. So that’s a very relevant issue for millennials who are having children.
Wow, $2 billion in block grants! That sure sounds like a big number! What Ivanka Trump left unsaid, of course, is that her father’s proposed 2019 budget also:
- Calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which allowed an estimated 710,000 children to gain public healthcare coverage under Medicaid expansion
- Cuts $17.2 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (nearly 70 percent of SNAP recipients are families with children)
- Cuts $7 billion from the Children Health Insurance Program
- Cuts $3.4 billion from a program to help low-income families with energy costs
- Cuts $1.19 billion from before- and after-school programs
- Cuts $190 million in grants for improving K-12 literacy instruction
- Cuts $400 million from a program supporting digital literacy for students
- Cuts $68 million in funding for rural single families’ housing loans
- Cuts $73 million in grants to military families living in “distressed communities”
This is to say: Ivanka Trump’s answers on issues like childcare are still bullshit. But unlike her past answers, they are somewhat more coherent bullshit, and that is worrisome. In a country of people who have been historically misled about how the U.S. economy actually works—where corporate tycoons are “job creators,” and massive corporate welfare is “spurring job creation”—it’s not hard to see how a young, charismatic white lady preaching the sexy secret of free market ideology could become a political force to be reckoned with.
Donald Trump is an idiot, a boor, a slob and a bully. Ivanka Trump, by comparison, is a smooth-talking, attractive blonde woman. American politics is often extremely superficial, and American voters, it pains me to say, are extremely susceptible to the type of facile bootstrapping bullshit that Ivanka Trump is hitting at here. They just don’t like it when Donald Trump is the messenger.
Never underestimate white Americans’ willingness to trust a white woman against all evidence that they should.