Ivanka has succeeded in this endeavor by accepting, consciously or subconsciously, that her father is a narcissist, and then striving to excel at all the things that Donald Trump thinks he’s good at, so that he sees her as his truest reflection.
Against that backdrop, which interpretation of Ivanka Trump’s performance in public life seems more plausible: that she tried very hard to negotiate with her father on climate change—to use The Art of the Deal on him as it were—and failed miserably, or that she’s cynically severed any connection between her image and reality in order to maximize profit?
There’s a practice called greenwashing, whereby polluting companies devote relatively minor resources to environmental causes to reap public relations windfalls. The Trump game, applied to public service, is even more disingenuous than greenwashing because Ivanka has literally sacrificed nothing, not even a modest sum.
It may be Ivanka’s tragic circumstance that she was born to an ethically vacant parent, and that forging a bond with him required making herself in his self-image. But it is our tragic circumstance that the man in question is a moral obscenity, a mental flyspeck, a fraud, and president of the United States. In the context of his presidency, her commitment to their relationship requires her to piss down our backs and tell us it’s raining.
Even if I’m wrong about that, the best we can say about her brief tenure as a political operative is that she’s awful at it, the kind of source whom reporters would normally take pride in disdaining, except that she’s the president’s wealthy, glamorous daughter. But every political reporter will at some point find that such “well-placed” anonymous sources aren’t necessarily sources worth listening to. They lie, or they bullshit, or they think they know more than they do, or they self-deal one news clip at a time. Or some combination thereof. That’s Ivanka. If she weren’t her father’s daughter, he’d call her a loser. For the press to give her more credit than that is an abdication of their professional responsibility to the public.