The president of the United States sent out a tweet on February 8 that was pretty far-fetched even by #Donald Trump’s standards. In the tweet, the president stated that “My daughter #ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstroms.” He added that “She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”
Trump followed up three days later, adding that “I am so proud of my daughter Ivanka. To be abused and treated so badly by the media, and to still hold her head so high, is truly wonderful!”
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
I am so proud of my daughter Ivanka. To be abused and treated so badly by the media, and to still hold her head so high, is truly wonderful!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2017
These tweets propagate several myths about Ivanka, as well as her husband, top presidential advisor #Jared Kushner, that have been present ever since Trump began running for president. All of these myths are self-evidently false.
Ivanka and Jared: Not the "good Trumps"
There’s the idea that Ivanka and Jared are “the good Trumps,” that they are basically decent people who act as a check on Donald Trump’s worse impulses.
There’s the notion that those otherwise skeptical of Trump can count on the two of them to keep him from doing anything too bad, since they’re so educated, successful, respectable and good-looking.
There’s the meme that because Ivanka and Jared are Shomer shabbas, Trump is free to indulge his worse impulses and send his worst tweets between Sunday-Friday and Sunday-Saturday. And yes, way too many of my Jewish friends are of the belief that the president’s Jewish daughter and son-in-law can be trusted, simply because they’re Jewish.
None of this is true. None of it. And rather than “abuse” Ivanka, the news media has spent most of its coverage of her in recent years propagating that very myth.
Leave aside that the clear intellectual influences on the Trump presidency in the early going are Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, much more so than Jared.
It doesn’t appear the “moderating influences” have been doing much moderating- in fact, it’s not clear when they ever did. When Ivanka and Jared were supposedly “moderating” him, Trump called for a Muslim ban, proposed building a wall, and so much else.
A mythical 'moderating' skill
And contra the president's tweet, it’s not clear if any human being in history has ever been so bad at a particular task as Ivanka is at pushing her father to do the right thing. Ivanka and Jared aren't good at moderating, but they're very good, it appears, at planting stories indicating that they are.
Not even the Shomer Shabbas part holds up. Trump sends awful tweets all week long, and it’s not like his daughter and son-in-law are by his side 24/7 anyway.
A lot of people, for various reasons, are very invested in these myths. But they remain false.