Liberals and anti-Trump conservatives were excited to see that the first primetime televised hearing from the House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot featured video testimony from the ex-president’s favorite family member, Ivanka Trump. In her deposition, she said she had accepted, in the wake of the 2020 election, that her father had lost, and that any claims it was fraudulently stolen were bogus. Former Attorney General Bill Barr said likewise.
The clip furthered the committee’s case that Trump’s inner circle tried to make him face reality in the weeks leading up to January 6th, which led him to try to retain his office by unlawful means. But most observers seemed more titillated by the familial betrayal. “That must have been a bittersweet moment for the president — she finally screwed him,” quipped Stephen Colbert on his late-night show, alluding to Trump’s long, repulsive history of sexualizing his own daughter. I wasn’t so sure the testimony would lead to a rift. Until, that is, I read Trump’s reaction on Truth Social.
Granted, this is a light takedown by Trump’s standards, and you can tell he’s more comfortable smacking Barr around. His portrait of Ivanka here is redolent of his most casual, barely deliberate misogyny: My daughter, an empty-headed bimbo, had no idea what was going on in the White House where I employed her as a senior advisor. She was “checked out,” i.e., making the most of her nepotistic status in order to keep her hands clean. But something more subtle in this post drew my attention. He calls her by her full name. Trump is a weird, weird guy, yet it’s hard to believe this is within his usual frame of weirdness. Searching the archive of his banned Twitter account, you can see he always used to call her just “Ivanka” — famous and important enough to be identified by her given name alone — and, frequently, “my daughter, Ivanka.”
The disappearance of the superfluous, braggy “my daughter” and the terse addition of the surname puts Ivanka closer to the category of “disloyal relative,” like his niece Mary Trump, who wrote a book critical of him and whom he tended to sniffily call by her full name. Indeed, Donald seems to invoke his surname like this when he wants someone forced to carry the stain or burden of it. So, while Ivanka is no longer the chosen daughter, he might be hinting, she will never escape her parentage, however much she strives to create distance between them.
Yep, the Ivanka era is finished. She and Jared Kushner grifted a cool $640 million during Trump’s term, and they’ll have to make do with those spoils. Now it’s Tiffany’s time to shine!