Ivanka Trump Wades Into the Baltimore Controversy Created by Her Dad: Support 'Great People,' She Says
The first daughter tweeted that she previously donated proceeds from her 2017 self-help book to form a Baltimore-based Women's Initiative within the National Urban League
Ivanka Trump is diving into the Baltimore discussion prompted by her father, President Donald Trump, who last weekend slammed Rep. Elijah Cummings and Cummings’ Maryland district while claiming it was a “rat and rodent infested” place in which “no human being would want to live.”
The president’s attack on Cummings, a prominent Trump critic in the House, has been echoed by some conservatives and denounced by leading Democrats. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said it was “outrageous.”
As noted by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and others, Cummings’ district, which includes much of Baltimore, in fact “has above-average college education rates and home prices … [and] is the 2nd-wealthiest majority-black district in the country.”
In later tweets, the president more generically attacked local Baltimore leaders and said they should reach out to him for help.
Rather than follow suit in ripping into the city, Ivanka, a senior White House adviser, tweeted out a message encouraging her followers to “advance smart policy” and support organizations that “uplift the great people of ‘Charm City.’ ”
In a follow-up tweet, Ivanka, 37, gave an example of her own that started with a visit to the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Greater Baltimore Urban League in 2017.
She wrote that the visit inspired her to donate “proceeds from my book to fund a @NatUrbanLeague Women’s Initiative, incubated in Baltimore, to assist women in starting and growing successful businesses.”
She visited the center in February 2017 and participated in a round table discussion with business owners, the Associated Press reported. She was invited by National Urban League President Marc Morial.
The first daughter published a self-help book, Women Who Work, in May 2017.
According to the book’s website, Ivanka donated the unpaid portion of her advance (reportedly $787,500) and all future royalties to the Ivanka M. Trump Charitable Fund and gave $100,000 to the National Urban League to help kick-start a nationwide Women’s Initiative within the organization.
Her book received lukewarm reviews from critics, and Forbes reported in 2018 that Women Who Work sold 31,900 copies and pulled in about $1.1 million, losing Portfolio, its publisher, at least $220,000.
PEOPLE’s calls to the National Urban League and the Greater Baltimore Urban League regarding Ivanka’s donation were not returned.
A White House spokeswoman for Ivanka did not comment.
Ivanka’s message of “uplift” for Baltimore was a far cry from her father’s criticisms, which began Saturday after Cummings assailed how border officials were treating migrants coming from Mexico.
President Trump shot back, without evidence, that the Democrat’s district was “considered the worst run and most dangerous” in the U.S.
He later claimed the crime rate in Baltimore was Cummings’ fault, despite the fact that the longtime congressman does not run the city.
Trump also caught flak from critics who pointed to the coded language he used against a black congressman just weeks after telling four female progressive lawmakers of color to “go back” to their countries of origin, despite the fact that all four are American.
“I’m the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
Many, including the Greater Baltimore Urban League and the Baltimore Sun‘s editorial board, disagreed with how Trump viewed the city.
CNN’s Victor Blackwell, a Baltimore native, became emotional discussing the president’s tirade.
“There are challenges no doubt, but people are proud of their community. I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there,” Blackwell said on-air earlier this week. “They care for their families there. They love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag, just like people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans too.”
“You are evidently clueless about Baltimore! It is a miserable day in history when you can daily depend on the President to divide the States of America instead of Uniting the ‘State’ of America,” Greater Baltimore Urban League President and CEO Tiffany Majors wrote in an open letter.
“Mr. Trump, if you’d like to make a statement, let’s talk about strengthening the middle-class in Baltimore, merely acknowledging the lower-class in Baltimore, let’s talk about supporting those who work tirelessly on the frontlines to make our city great,” Majors wrote. “Let’s talk about ways the federal government can better incentivize minority owned businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate and open businesses in Baltimore … Make People the Point not Politics!”
In addition to drawing criticism, the president’s comments about Baltimore brought renewed scrutiny to a 2017 report regarding the condition of Baltimore-area buildings owned by Ivanka’s husband and fellow White House adviser, Jared Kushner, 38.
According to a 2017 report from The New York Times and ProPublica, residents in Kushner-owned apartments complained of mice, mold, maggots and other problems.
Ivanka’s Baltimore tweets came days after the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Cummings, voted to authorize a subpoena for all work-related texts and emails or received sent by White House officials on personal accounts, something both Trump and Kushner have admitted to doing, according to The New York Times.