Ivanka-the-politician could not escape the headlines attracted by Ivanka-the-celebrity

By Adam Carlson
September 06, 2019 09:02 AM

Ivanka Trump, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has been in South America this week promoting various women’s initiatives and other diplomatic efforts, including the U.S. government’s ongoing support of Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó in replacing Nicolás Maduro as president there.

An international trip on sensitive diplomatic and socioeconomic issues, with frequent White House missives to reporters touting Ivanka’s role, is a reflection of her importance as the government’s face on women’s and workforce issues.

Not everything has gone smoothly, though.

A longtime lieutenant for her father in his real estate and reality TV ventures — who enjoyed her own spotlight in the press and a seat in The Apprentice boardroom — Ivanka, 37, joined the president in the White House not long after he took office.

She and husband Jared Kushner, another senior presidential adviser, then steadily amassed large portfolios, covering various economic, gender and foreign policy areas, including brokering peace in the Middle East.

That, coupled with the turnover of other top White House aides, has made Ivanka one of the most influential figures in the administration — and one of the most scrutinized, given her lack of political and policy expertise.

And so as she embarked on her international trip this week, Ivanka-the-politician could not escape the headlines attracted by Ivanka-the-celebrity: Journalists quickly took note of her new haircut, a nearly shoulder-length blonde bob, wondering what it might portend for her ambitions. (“In the optics-obsessed Donald Trump White House, a haircut is never just a haircut,” reads one piece.)

At the same time, her critics — legion on Twitter, where her father conducts much of his business — pounced when her dress got the best of her on Tuesday in Colombia.

Thanks to some stiff wind, her large green sleeves blew inside-out as though she were being “eaten alive,” like a Venus flytrap. Or perhaps she was a lily pad.

The viral memes and mockery took off from there.

As one Washington Post reporter put it, “Ivanka Trump descended upon Bogota, Colombia, this week to talk about women’s empowerment and left us talking about her sleeves.”

That same day, Ivanka spoke at the launch for the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs in Colombia, where she was joined by the country’s vice president, according to Reuters.

“[AWE is] designed to equip women with the practical skills they need to create sustainable businesses and to participate more fully in the global economy,” she said, linking their financial livelihoods to larger forces.

“This is particularly important in Colombia where women play an increasingly critical role in the country’s economic development and continued transition to peace,” she said.

On Instagram, Ivanka has also regularly chronicled her work thus far.

“It was deeply moving to meet female leaders of the Guaidó coalition as well as some of the women impacted most by the brutal Maduro dictatorship in Cucuta today,” she wrote in one post.

But not everyone cared.

As one detractor sniffed in her comments, “It would be more ‘deeply moving’ if you would get your unqualified, unelected a** out of government. Take a hike, nepotism Barbie.”