What, you might justifiably wonder, do Henry Kissinger and Ivanka Trump have in common? Just this: both served unelected and unconfirmed high positions as advisors in the Oval Office and both escaped with their reputations relatively more intact than the monsters they once served.
To be sure, history hasn’t been kind to Kissinger — as far as those who’ve paid attention to history are concerned. Kissinger, who turns 100 in May, leaves behind a reputation of intrigues and betrayals that include torture, kidnapping and murders on foreign soil sanctioned and plotted from afar.
So, too, might it appear with Ivanka, 41. We’ll have to await the final full story of what role, if any, she played in ignoring or denying or even covering up for the murderer of Jamal Khashoggi in the name of greed.
Meanwhile, like Kissinger, Ivanka takes her cues from Niccolo Machiavelli, if not consciously then instinctively. Many reports from inside the Trump family suggest that Ivanka has distanced herself from her family. She’s doing so for two reasons. First, she hopes to reduce the chances that she and her husband Jared Kushner might come under criminal indictment. Second, she hopes to slither back into the elite social circles of the chattering, cocaine-snorting classes of the super rich.
The result is intense resentment. Some reports from inside the family say Donald Trump, Don Junior and Eric resent Ivanka and her standoffish pose. She has been conspicuously absent from family gatherings both official and unofficial, and they’re also worried that she might do anything to maintain what’s left of her somewhat tattered reputation as a socialite, including but not limited to turning state’s evidence.
“The result is Ivanka has been declared persona non grata by all the other Trumps,” as one insider puts it. “And she’s begun to have regrets. She didn’t sign up to be a pariah in her own family. Donald was furious with Ivanka. Donnie and Eric considered her testimony [to the January 6 Committee] a betrayal.”
As far as I’m concerned, anything that creates strife and unhappiness in the Trump family is a good thing. After all, they blithely created strife and unhappiness in the families of millions of Americans, it’s only right that it should happen to them as well. It will be fun to watch them betray each other with future criminal prosecutors.
Meanwhile, Ivanka just wants to sneak off to the latest fish and goose soirée and hope that she and Jared can reclaim their old lives with their new billions and leave all that unpleasant business called the Trump administration behind. But the first daughter of Donald Trump and her husband rose to power with the help of nepotism and corruption, and that should not be forgotten — nor forgiven. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.