A short 19-second video clip of Ivanka Trump went viral on social media yesterday.
It showed her at the G-20 summit, standing in a group with French President Macron, outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.
The reason it went viral is that people presumed from the footage – released by Macron’s office – it humiliated Ivanka in some way.
The clip, which is not entirely clear in either sound quality or meaning, begins with Macron making a point about social issues.
‘It’s on..’ says Ivanka.
May then responds to Macron by saying: ‘As soon as you talk about the social aspect of it though, a lot of people start listening who wouldn’t otherwise listen.’
To which Ivanka interjects: ‘It’s the same with the defense side, in terms of the whole ecosystem, it’s been very male-dominated..’
Ivanka Trump has come under fire for her senior role in her father's administration, because she was not elected
At this point, the others, notably Lagarde, appear to respond to Ivanka’s comments in a manner that many have gleefully suggested shows they were irritated by her involvement in the conversation.
I’ll readily concede it certainly looks awkward.
But then most 19-second clips of conversations like that, taken out of any context, would look awkward.
I suspect if you ask every one of those in the clip if they were actually irritated by Ivanka, they’d all be totally bemused even by the question being asked given how many times they have had similar conversations with her in the past.
For Ivanka’s not just some random person trying to muscle her way into a leader chat.
She’s a formal White House Advisor to President Trump, making her one of the most powerful people in his administration.
And as such, it’s neither unusual nor inappropriate for her to engage in such conversations at events like the G-20 summit, just as she has at many similar events since her father was elected President in 2016.
‘But she wasn’t elected!’ screams Twitter.
President Obama had four Senior Advisors: David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Valerie Jarrett and Dan Pleiffer.
None of them was an elected official, yet this omission from their resume wasn’t used as a stick to beat them.
As for the charge of nepotism, President John Adams appointed his son to be United States minister to Prussia, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower both appointed their sons to administrative positions, and President John F. Kennedy made his brother Bobby the attorney general.
The latter was widely attacked for his lack of experience, but went on to be both brilliant at the job and beloved.
So spare me all the n-word bullsh*t about Ivanka.
But, of course, none of this matters to the legion of Trump critics; this was just another chance to toss Ivanka onto the social media bonfire once again, and chuckle demonically as she was metaphorically burned alive.
Leading the demented charge was Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young firebrand socialist who seems to lead the demented charge at everyone and everything.
‘It may be shocking to some,’ she tweeted snarkily about the video clip, ‘but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification.’
AOC, as she is known, had been complaining about Ivanka working in the White House despite not being elected when Piers took the opportunity to argue that she herself did not have a long career in politics and had been working in a bar not long before she was put in congress
This glib, sneering tone struck me as particularly inappropriate given that Ms Ocasio-Cortez is herself arguably the least ‘qualified’ member of the House of Representatives in US political history.
‘Could be worse,’ I tweeted back, ‘Ivanka could have been a bartender 18 months ago.’
This wasn’t, as some promptly claimed, a dig at bartenders.
I grew up in a pub in Southern England and have worked behind the bar many times myself.
But since Ocasio-Cortez was mocking Ivanka for her lack of experience, I felt it pertinent to point out she herself was still working as a bartender when she won the New York 14th congressional district primary election a year ago.
Of course, Ocasio-Cortez reacted to my jibe by doubling down – just as she did last week when she so shamefully compared Trump’s immigration policy on the southern border to the Holocaust.
‘Actually,’ she retorted back to me, ‘that would make government better – not worse. Imagine if more people in power spent years of their lives actually working for a living?’
AOC fired back on Sunday morning that it would make government 'better' to have more people there who had worked in bars and restaurants
Wow. So now she was saying Ivanka isn’t just unqualified to be a White House Advisor, she’s never worked for a living either.
In fact, Ivanka’s worked very hard all her life.
Yes, she was born into vast wealth and privilege.
But that was not her choice, and I don’t see why she should now be castigated for it.
Ivanka enjoyed a successful modelling career before joining her father’s business - working for Versace, Thierry Mugler and Tommy Hiflger, and appearing on myriad magazine covers.
She could have carried on doing that, or chosen to