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Friday, July 19, 2019

Please, Ivanka and Melania are not moderating influences. They are complicit.

by digby

Oh come on

CBS News has learned President Trump took a lot of heat from his family over the racist chants at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday. He heard from first lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka and Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr. Trump on Thursday disavowed the chants of "send her back" and said he tried to stop it. "Well, number one, I think I did, I started speaking very quickly," he said.

But the video tells a different story. The president stands in silence for nearly 15 seconds, looking around the arena. When Mr. Trump resumed his speech, he made no mention of the chant, which started after he attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar. The rally left Republicans once again answering for the president.

CBS News learned that Mr. Trump spoke to several members of his inner circle about how to react to the chant. He weighed the pros and cons of softening his tone, worried supporters would not like it.

But ultimately, he declared unhappiness. Congressional Republicans also expressed concerns to Pence and asked him to relay the message to the president.

Slate's Dahlia Lithwick called this out all the way back in 2017.

[Ivanka] Trump sees herself as a force for good. She sees her role in her father’s White House as a formal-yet-informal ambassador for generalized human kindness. Her brother has let us know that it is the free-floating human-like kindness of Ivanka that led Donald Trump to bomb the crap out of Syria last weekend. Is that even a job? Is she even that kind?

When it comes to President Trump, one must either begin from the proposition that he is a mentally ill huckster, unfit to serve, or one must start with the intention of continuously parsing each momentary action (the “give him a chance, he’s not that bad, the people have spoken” approach). And if you are of the camp that chooses to parse each jog and twist in the current madness, you can certainly make the case that though Ivanka does not, in fact, “know what it means to be complicit,” she certainly does seem to hope that “time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”

Indeed, if you are of the camp that maintains that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, despite flagrantly self-enriching and profiteering from the Trump presidency, are vitally important “moderating influences” on the narcissist to which they answer, you can surely assert, as Jared Kushner has been known to do when challenged, that he is doing what he believes is right with “complicated facets,” and that he is, in his own view, “navigating it appropriately.” The argument amounts to the proposition that having elected a nutball, anyone who performs a braking function on the nutball is by definition a national hero.

Semantically, you might be able to make this point. But ethically and morally, you would probably be wrong to do so. Put aside for a moment the very real allegations about very real wrongdoing by this family. Ivanka and Jared’s justifications of their actions rest on the claim that destiny has forced them to play outsize parts in this administration, and that as profoundly and intrinsically good people they are simply trying to play that role with performative goodness. This defense—that anyone who accuses Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner of complicity is opposed to their sane and benevolent intercessions on behalf of America’s good people—is without doubt the most morally and ethically shallow claptrap offered up to public discourse since Trump took office. I think it’s time to label it as such.

And Melania is the person who wore that coat. She knew exactly what she was doing.