Some people are bothered that Ivanka Trump has been given an office in the West Wing of the White House. But the truth is, we should all be relieved.
Given the sketchy cast of characters surrounding our new president, it’s not a bad thing to have a concerned daughter hovering nearby. Most parents, perhaps even Donald Trump, dread the idea of embarrassing their kids.
By most accounts Ivanka is bright, level-headed and empathetic — in other words, the type of person of which there is currently a dire shortage in her father’s inner circle.
And he actually listens to her, though not often enough. Otherwise his Gallup approval ratings might be higher than 35 percent, a dismal milestone that no other modern president has achieved after only 10 weeks on the job.
It’s far-fetched to hope that one person, even a favorite child, could magically transform an erratic 70-year-old lout into a thoughtful statesman. But anybody who can exert even a slightly calming influence on the Big Orange Trumpster deserves office space in the West Wing — and the closer to the president, the better.
Ivanka is also receiving a controversial security clearance, which means she’ll have access to some classified information. So does Steve Bannon, who is much scarier.
There’s been grumbling because Ivanka has been sitting in on some important White House meetings, but I can’t think of a better way to make her father behave.
While gunning solo, Trump’s signature characteristics are pettiness, petulance and paranoia. He needs a grownup in the room with him, and Ivanka is one of the few he trusts.
Her new official title is assistant to the president, but they might as well call her Sane First Daughter. Those wary of her power should ask themselves: How can she possibly make things any worse?
It’s far-fetched to hope that one person, even a favorite child, could magically transform an erratic 70-year-old lout into a thoughtful statesman. But anybody who can exert even a slightly calming influence on the Big Orange Trumpster deserves office space in the West Wing.
In a few short months her big-mouthed poppa has managed to piss off key American allies around the globe. The next time it’s necessary to speak with a world leader, he would be wise to hand Ivanka the phone.
Later this month she’ll be traveling to Berlin for a summit on the economic empowerment of women. She was invited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently endured a cringe-worthy meeting with the president, and understandably prefers the company of his daughter.
Ivanka also made a positive impression on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who gamely visited the Oval Office in March and escaped without a presidential insult.
Politically, Ivanka has two potential weak spots. Her husband, presidential adviser Jared Kushner, may face questions from the Senate about his role in arranging meetings between Trump campaign operatives and Russian officials.
Critics have also raised the issue of Ivanka’s business interests, including her line of fashion products. They argue that her prominence at the White House gives a promotional boost to her brand of dresses, shoes, perfume and purses.
Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway already got in trouble for touting Ivanka’s products, a spontaneous babble that reportedly angered Sane First Daughter.
Ivanka says she’ll give up control of her brand but will continue to own it. That seems reasonable because she’s not getting paid for her West Wing gig. She also must adhere to ethics rules that bar those in government from financially exploiting their positions.
If Ivanka is able to catch her father’s ear long enough to prevent even one national disaster, then I really don’t mind if she sells a few more handbags.
It is in the country’s best interest to cut Ivanka some slack on such matters, for these are frantic and dangerous times.
We’ve got a commander-in-chief who is one rusty screw short of coming unhinged. He doesn’t read, barely sleeps, tweets reckless nonsense at all hours and displays the attention span of a gopher on cocaine.
So if Ivanka is able to catch her father’s ear long enough to prevent even one national disaster — screwing millions of elderly Americans out of their health care coverage, for instance — then I really don’t mind if she sells a few more handbags.
Out of patriotic gratitude, I’d probably go out and buy one for my wife. Maybe two.
And when the Big Orange Trumpster arrives in Palm Beach this week — his sixth visit to Mar-a-Lago since the inauguration — we should all breathe a little easier if Sane First Daughter is on that plane, too.
Even if she can’t completely stop the old man’s wacky, wee-hour tweets, she can definitely help him with his spelling.
Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for The Miami Herald.