Vanks for Nothing
Why does the media (and law enforcement) give mob princess Ivanka Trump a pass?
LET US TELL of a creature of the underworld—third-generation scion of a mob-owned family. Let us speak of the plethora of shady real estate deals, slam-dunk indictments that went away, a rogue’s gallery of La Casa Nostra and Bratva business partners in crooked schemes from Baku to Panama City to Vancouver. O, the sweatshop labor and plagiarized fashion designs! O, the Chinese patents on coffins and voting machines! Of dirty dealing and money laundering, sing, Heav’nly Muse!
If this individual were called Boris Andropov and bore Vor ink, or Luigi “Big Lou” Lucchese and wore pinky rings, the press might be more objective it its reportage, more inclined to call a crook a crook. But our inveterate grifter is a thirtysomething woman, pretty and well-arrayed, and she is so nice to the journalists covering her—especially the many easily-flattered dudes who drool as she coquettishly flips her blonde hair and answers their softball questions in a breathy, Marilyn Monroe voice that is as authentic as any phone sex operator’s. How could she be a villain? How could she be part of a global criminal enterprise?
I refer, of course, to Ivana Marie Trump, known to one and all by her diminutive: Ivanka. She is her daddy’s favorite child as well as his romantic ideal. To gain his trust and affection, she worked as a “teen model,” directly managed by a family friend notorious for raping his underage charges. She underwent plastic surgery. After two years at Georgetown and two more at Wharton, to burnish her non-existent business credentials, she went to work for Donald John Trump and has never stopped doing so. She was always on call to tickle her old man’s fancy. Even her marriage was arranged for his benefit. (Are we to believe that she really wed the sexless, witless Jared Kushner for love?) So many sacrifices, from cradle to Oval, to help her father launder more money for his mob whoremasters and thus avoid an unpleasant end. Nowadays, she is the softer, fresher, saner face of the mad tyrant’s reign. Whatever her official West Wing title, she is the Enabler-in-Chief.
As Virginia Heffernan adroitly phrased it in the LA Times two years ago, Ivanka “holds an indeterminate public-facing position in the White House—or in real estate, or maybe fashion. Oh, Ivanka. Her livelihood is as opaque as her full-coverage foundation, but she plays a critical role in her father’s administration—and in the broader danse macabre of corruption and legitimacy. The so-called first daughter proves that ‘laundering’ applies to more than money. She washes and gilds just about everything she touches.”
One of those things being a boondoggle in Baku—a butt-plug-shaped hotel complex in the Azeri capital, allegedly financed with dirty riyals from the Iranian National Guard. Adam Davidson wrote a damning feature in the New Yorker about this three full years ago, but the press—and the more overtly seditious members of the Senate GOP—seems far more interested in Hunter Biden, who, whatever he may be, is not a money launderer for America’s enemies.
In 2017, under my “Billy the Poet” pseudonym, I wrote this poem:
CHAMPAGNE POPSICLE SUCKER
Ivanka cares about the earth.
That’s what Ivanka said.
Ivanka had one job to do.
Ivanka crapped the bed.
Ivanka seems like she’s so nice,
Ivanka teems with poise,
But Vanks is just as odious
As The Donald’s boys.
So it’s not like this wasn’t easy to spot, if examined objectively. But, as Hillary Clinton can well attest, media narratives die hard.
Even in the Age of Pandemic, the notion still endures, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Ivanka may yet prove a good influence on her father, that she has some sort of hold over him that will eventually save his presidency and the republic. Thus the media rushes to defend her (nonexistent) honor! A thousand wordsmiths could brainstorm all week and not top the wonderfully apt two-word description of Ivanka offered by Samantha Bee (the first of the two words was “feckless”)—and what was the response? Indignant pearl-clutching that Bee would dare use the c-word to describe someone who is arguably the most shining example of c-word-dom on earth. Bee was even made to apologize!
It’s almost like the press doesn’t want to go after Ivanka because she’s a woman, although it had no qualm about eviscerating Hillary Clinton and erasing Kamala Harris. A master manipulator and propagandist, Ivanka seems to have figured out how to use their baked-in misogyny against them. Or maybe media types are treating her, as the child of the president, with the same deference they showed Obama’s daughters, the Bush twins, and Chelsea Clinton. The difference, needles to say, is that none of that daughterly quintet held jobs in her dad’s administration. And none of them are owned by Putin. Or sat in his chair.
Some in the media cling desperately, still, to the preposterous narrative that the president’s daughter embodies a New Camelot. But Ivanka Trump is not Caroline Kennedy; she’s Meadow Soprano. And she’s not just a pretty face; she’s an essential component of the grift machine. Without her intimate involvement, the Trump Tower of Cards collapses.
Just as Donald Trump is a front for his mob overlords, Ivanka Trump is a front for Donald. Why is her name on all these patents for voting machines and coffins, all those trademarks for handbags and sunglasses? Is it because these are her own business dealings? Has she Christie Hefner’d her old man? Or is the father hiding his own shady shit by using his daughter’s name?
A business professional who spent time in Russia explained the genius of this convenient father/daughter arrangement to me: “They don’t file the same tax returns! Even if he does eventually have to turn things over—his returns, debts, penalties, etc.—what’s in her name is outside the blast radius. She’s his Swiss bank account.”
As I type this, Trump is holding the entire country hostage, as we wait for the Supreme Court to allow the release of the Mazars and Deutsche Bank documents to prosecutors in New York State and to the House Intelligence Committee. He has been able to kick the can this far down the road because, as the president, he enjoys certain protections. Ivanka Trump does not. Neither does her fatuous husband, who has failed at everything he’s attempted—with the exception of avoiding indictment for obvious crimes…which, I mean, if evading prosecution were an Olympic event, Boy Plunder would lead the US team (except that there are no Olympics this year).
We are well into the fourth year of the worst presidency in the history of the United States. Ivanka Trump has had ample opportunity to temper her father’s baser instincts. At every turn, she has failed to do so. For all we know, she has not even tried.
The only way Vanks is going to betray her old man, if indeed she ever will, is if she has to choose between turning fink or doing time. She’s already sacrificed her childhood, her original face, her career, her friendships, her reputation, her public profile, and her very place in history to cover for her contemptible old man. I’ve no doubt she would happily give up her husband and her brothers, too, if it comes to that. But is she willing to also sacrifice her freedom? It’s long past time we found out.