Ivanka Trump is a public figure because of her last name. Born into wealth, she had only ever worked for her father’s real-estate companies before he became president. While she and her husband, Jared Kushner, enrich themselves off her father’s turn in the White House, she’s fashioned herself into an advocate for working women — or at least, that’s what she’s tried to do. A person who relied on sweatshop labor to produce her fast-fashion line is not the most obvious choice to represent the needs of workers. And on Monday, the contradictions of Trump’s self-appointed role revealed themselves with particular clarity. In an interview with Fox News host Steve Hilton, Trump disparaged both the Green New Deal and its job-guarantee provision.
“I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get,” Trump said. “So, I think that this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where’s there’s the potential for upward mobility.”
America is “doing very well,” Trump added, claiming that her father’s economic policies are “continuing to allow this economy to thrive.” That’ll be news to a lot of workers. Unemployment is dropping, but America remains a radically unequal place. Donald Trump has only reinforced that inequality — through tax cuts for wealthy households and through other economic policies like his precious tariffs. Trade wars, it turns out, aren’t so easy to win. Farm bankruptcies in the upper Midwest have begun to climb, a trend driven in part by retaliatory tariffs on American goods. The federal government has paid $7.7 billion so far to farmers affected by tariffs.
To her minor credit, Trump correctly surmises that people do want economic security. They also want higher taxes on Trump’s income bracket and generally favor a higher minimum wage, a federal jobs guarantee, and the Green New Deal. These are policies that her father’s administration uniformly oppose, and so Ivanka inevitably gets it backwards. People want to get something for their work. They want what people like Ivanka have possessed since birth — dignity, security, a future. The guaranteed minimum.