Though Donald Trump always cut a cartoonish figure amongst New York high society (he’s a poor person’s idea of a rich person, as Fran Lebowitz famously put it), his eldest daughter Ivanka Trump always found a way to fit right in. In fact, her father’s rather ridiculous persona and her parents’ tabloid circus of a divorce only bolstered her own image. That she turned out just like every other proper Manhattan-bred girl despite her parents was taken as proof of some extradorinaiy innate character in some circles. In any event, she was a pretty young woman with a bold-faced last name that usually got enough press attention, and thus was welcome on any number of guest lists in Manhattan.
Then came not only her father’s presidency, but Ivanka’s decision to join his administration in the role of “advisor to the President.” This has, of course, meant Ivanka has received all sorts of scorn, but, apparently, she thinks that it’s only temporary. According to an extensive profile by Elaina Plott in The Atlantic, Trump’s friends assert that once her excursion in the swamps of Washington, D.C. is over, she’ll be welcomed back to New York society like nothing ever happened.
“Ivanka believes that this won’t harm her in the long term,” writes Plott. “She is intent on returning to New York when her time in the White House is over. Invitations to the Met Gala, dinners with girlfriends at Italian restaurants, charity events—she is said to be certain that they’re ‘all waiting’ for her.”
“Look, this crowd is not off reading Rosa Luxemburg at two in the morning,” adds lawyer Rich Farley in the piece. “They invited Roy Cohn back with open arms… The only unpardonable sin in New York society is poverty.”
True, it’s not like a move from a controversial, conservative White House back into the sanctuary that is the high society of New York City isn’t unprecedented. Though, much of Donald Trump’s rise to the White House and all that has happened since has been without precedent, and it would not be surprising if the fallout afterwards is without precedent as well.
Sure, perhaps we’ve seen Ivanka’s younger sister Tiffany still manage to score spots in the front row of certain fashion shows and the VIP section of certain parties (if not the right fashion shows and the right parties), but Tiffany, who was raised mostly in California away from her father, is not part of the administration. If anything, Tiffany is sort of like the Olivia Jade to Trump’s Lori Loughlin: it’s not entirely clear that she even understands what is going on let alone that she might be in on it, and is mostly in her own world anyway. Ivanka, however, is literally employed in the White House as one of her father’s most trusted and, at this point, longstanding advisors.
Other people who have openly supported or are associated with Trump have found themselves suddenly cast out from choosier circles. Noted law professor and Trump apologist Alan Dershowitz claims he’s been shunned by the “liberal elite” of Martha’s Vineyard; a rich, white gay couple complained to The New York Times that they’ve been pushed out by many of their former friends in New York and had to retreat to Georgia; and socialite Nikki Haskell claims that she’s now just giving up on ever having a single friend again after supporting Trump.
Meanwhile, a sense of radical chic has taken over at least some parts of New York’s social scene. Feminist and LGBTQ activists are feted at galas, fashion designers work political statements into their shows, and being caught without an informed opinion can be as embarrassing as being caught in last season’s Prada.
While it’s true that the privileged few often find that the bonds of class can overcome the divide of left vs. right politics—at least when it comes to sipping complimentary champagne together—and memory can be short, the doings of Ivanka’s father’s White House won’t be soon forgotten. The separation of families at the border, the demonization of immigrants, erasure of Trans rights, and general disruption of everything from international relations to the idea that the executive branch of this country should function smoothly are not on the same level of a regrettable social faux pas. What has transpired is not pardonable even in New York society. Even if you don’t think inviting Ivanka back would incite a class war, perhaps you’d realize she’s not exactly the kind of person who would get you the right press for your event anymore.
Ivanka, as we know, has tried hard to distance herself from her father’s more controversial stances, focusing on other more palatable policies to mixed success. Though, The Atlantic profile in whole makes you wonder how much she’s even devoted to those politics or if, in fact, her main goal now is trying to keep her personal brand as untarnished as possible for her inevitable return to Manhattan.