Editor’s Note: Anushay Hossain is a writer and political commentator based in Washington. For more, visit AnushaysPoint.com. The views expressed are her own.
When Ivanka Trump took the stage at the Republican National Convention in 2016 to stump for her father, then-candidate Donald Trump, she presented herself as the champion of women’s rights in her father’s future presidency.
In front of millions of Americans, she stood up for working women and mothers, arguing for equal wages, better child care and paid family leave. To many commentators, her speech sounded more suited for the Democratic National Convention than the RNC.
Nonetheless, after Trump became President, Ivanka accepted an official role as an adviser to her father. Her portfolio, unsurprisingly, included women’s empowerment and rights.
And yet, despite her claims of championing women’s causes, Ivanka has largely failed to make progress on any of the issues she said she would spearhead.
The left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) even said that Ivanka’s “sporadic forays into discussions about her issue priorities, more often than not, have been largely rhetorical with few details and little concrete analysis of the economic, racial, gender, ethnic, geographic, and other differences that can influence policy needs and outcomes.”
Ivanka’s pattern of inaction has become most evident in recent days, as she remains alarmingly silent on the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, which has resulted in the forcible separation of parents and children at the border.
Her silence is even more stark in comparison to first lady Melania Trump and former first lady Laura Bush, who have both used their respective platforms to advocate for a solution to this deeply horrifying situation. While Melania’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said she “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart,” Laura Bush wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that the United States government cannot be in the business of “warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso.”
And yet even her stepmother and a former first lady have not been able to persuade Ivanka to speak out.
In fact, she appears to be pouring salt onto the gaping immigration policy wound, posting photos of her beautiful, intact family to her Instagram account.
But why is Ivanka doing this? It’s one thing not to make a comment despite being one of her father’s closest advisors, but it’s quite another to continuously make these truly insensitive posts.
I honestly do not understand what the reason behind her silence is, nor do I understand why she would want to remain silent. As a mother and as a human being, I want to shout at the very top of my lungs every time I think about those children being taken away from their parents. If that happened to me and my two young daughters, I might not survive the trauma.
Of course, it’s not too late for Ivanka Trump to act. On Instagram, Mika Brzezinski asks her to do as much: “Not only is this a story about who we are and redefining who we are in the worst way, this is a story about women and their vital roles as mothers,” Brzezinski continued. “I wish you would speak for all mothers and take a stand for all mothers and children … There is still time …”
If Ivanka wants to salvage her reputation as an advocate for women’s rights and lives, she must make it clear that she fully supports the rights of children and use her power as adviser to the President to bring an end to this cruel policy.