BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump may be one of the most powerful women in the world right now. But she's not exactly acting like it. Before you snort and roll your eyes, yes, she's now officially part of the administration with a job in the White House as adviser to the president. But the first daughter wasn't exactly acting powerful when she appeared on CBS News in her first interview since becoming assistant to the president and tried to answer critics' claims that she's complicit in her father's activities in the White House.
Her answer was straight out of the "my dad calls the shots" playbook.
The president's eldest daughter told Gayle King, "I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence. I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard .... where I disagree with my father, he knows it. And I express myself with total candor. Where I agree, I fully lean in and support the agenda and hope that I can be an asset to him and make a positive impact."
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At the outset it may sound like she's saying she's just keeping the griping in the family. But then Ivanka added this:
"For me, this isn't about promoting my viewpoints. I wasn't elected by the American people to be president. My father is going to do a tremendous job. And I want to help him do that."
She's right. She wasn't elected to be president.
She is an American citizen, and it's her father who has taken an oath to serve. It's now his job to work for all Americans, and that includes his daughter. He's still her father, of course, and that alone is reason enough for her speak up -- loudly.
Our parents don't get a pass on being called to the mat if they're acting inappropriately. Calling on them to correct their behavior is our part of the social contract.
But for Ivanka, this goes one step farther. If she's not with her father when it comes to budget cuts that will decimate the poor, not with her father when it comes to travel bans that reek of bigotry and intolerance, not with her father when it comes to choosing an education secretary whose policies could have devastating impacts on millions of American children, then she has a right granted to her by our very government to tell him he's wrong and demand he step up and fly right.
After all, she's an American citizen. He's the American president. She wasn't elected, but she elected him (presumably, anyway).
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Speaking out against his callous disregard for women and other causes she professes to hold dear is her right. And unlike everyday Americans who would have to crash a Fox News segment for the slim chance of catching the president's attention, Ivanka Trump has the unique position of being right at the center of it all. She's a citizen who can speak her mind directly into the president's ear.
It's literally her job to do so now as a member of the White House staff.
So yes, she's complicit.
She's complicit as a woman who notes on her own Twitter account in observance of Equal Pay Day that she believes women deserve equal pay for equal work -- and yet doesn't use her power to hold accountable a man who works for her, a man who this week canceled an executive order drafted by his predecessor to protect thousands of workers.
She's complicit as a woman who tweets her dismay over opioid addiction rates in America, but professes to be in full support of a president whose health care plans would decimate Medicaid expansion, and with it the majority of addiction treatment programs in this country.
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She's complicit as a woman who has literally said "I want to help" with the president's current agenda rather than doing what is in her power to do: standing up and speaking for those who can't stand up and speak for themselves.
And considering her father gave her a job in his White House, it would stand to reason that he trusts her counsel ... if she speaks, it would probably behoove him to listen.