Marie An

Ivanka, honey, we need to talk. I’d invite you to my home but I have dirty dishes on the counter and there’s dog hair on the couch, sorry, I haven’t had to time clean things up around here because the maid is sick and the dog walker just resigned. Wait, that’s not true- I don’t have a maid or dog walker. You see I have to do all of those things myself AND work. I’m going to be really, really honest with you, I’m glad you agreed to meet me at this restaurant but I can only afford water and a dinner salad in this place, your favorite- SUPPER, 156 East Second Street NYC.  Social security and pension aren’t much and health insurance premiums pretty much clean out any expendable cash I have.

Since I am going to be honest I haven’t read your books either because well, you see I have 3 kids also. Mine are all grown but I worked fulltime while I was raising them, just like you are. Well, not really just like you because I actually did raise them, no nanny, no maid, just me and the charity of some relatives. I’ve read the reviews and they aren’t inspiring me to read them. I’m wondering did you ever sit in a bathroom stall while your co-workers came in and out and pump breast milk? 

pump

Did you ever have to work through a 9 hour day smelling like child vomit because you didn’t have time to go back home, which was an hour’s commute through grid lock traffic, to change your clothes after you dropped your 3 year old off at grandma’s house, and you had to wake up an hour earlier to fit in the commute re-route to grandma’s, because day care didn’t take sick kids and you had run out of sick leave and couldn’t afford another day off to stay home? Just wondering.

stroll

I’m watching you more than I ever have before now that you are First Daughter. Working, raising 3 kids, caring for a husband with early onset Alzheimer’s and balancing a budget that needed a lot more elastic and a lot less bills took up most of my time until recently so I wasn’t able to fit in reading the High Society tabloids. I didn’t know much about you. But I sure do now, it seems you and your family can’t go a day without drama. It must be exhausting. And that’s what I wanted to talk to you about, the drama. It needs to stop.

Your dad. Look I know you love him. He’s your dad, that’s normal. What’s not normal is his behavior. “It’s not unusual for a 6-year-old child to see her father as perfect, the measure of a man. What is unusual is for those sentiments to withstand adolescence, young adulthood, independence, and the beginning of married and family life. Malia Obama has been seen giving her father the occasional eye roll. Chelsea Clinton looked like the oldest 18-year-old in history when she walked her disgraced parents across the White House lawn to Marine One.” Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, these are pictures of presidents and their daughters...... 

daughters

And these are pictures of you and your dad.....

kiss

You see the difference? It’s unusual to say the least. When you envelope yourself in a Golden Tower the way you and your family have you don’t see how other people live, you don’t see how other families interact, how other mothers work and raise children. When you live in a bubble you think your way life is the same as everyone else’s. You have to get out into the world, get dirt under your finger nails, come home to 2 days of dirty dishes in the sink because you’ve been too tired to unload the dishwasher (or maybe your dishwasher is broken and you don’t have the money to repair it) and scramble to find a matching pair of socks for your son; are they in the pile of clean clothes waiting to be folded? The dryer? Still in the washing machine? Under the couch? In the toy box? Who knows? It’s 5:30 am, he’s whining because he’s hungry, your hair isn’t quite dry, your daughter just wrote on the wall with permanent marker, can you make it the rest of the week on a half tank of gas because you don’t get paid until Friday? That’s how 99% of women who work live. Can you understand how ridiculous it sounds when you and your friends talk about a clothing fashion line for kids? Most of us working moms were glad our kids had a shirt without holes!

Some people who saw the pictures of you and your father thought, ‘what a close relationship they have’ and were hoping when you moved into the White House that you could tame him but I’m not sure you can because I don’t think you understand how abnormal he is. She is always trying to calm him down and say, ‘I don’t know if this is good for business,’” a close associate of Donald’s told me. In 2012, when Donald was beginning to question whether President Obama was really an American citizen, Ivanka asked him to stop, this source said. As she put it to her father, it was a bad idea to attack the president politically at a time when the Trump Organization was seeking permission from the federal government to develop the landmarked Old Post Office in Washington, D.C.“ It’s not normal for fathers to talk about dating their own daughters and calling them a piece of ass. So either you understand it isn’t normal or you don’t care because you have your own agenda, and why wouldn’t you? You grew up in a Golden Tower.

But it may be time to face the fact that Ivanka Trump is a bad person. Failing to compensate your interns when your company centers on female empowerment, on paradigms for a freer, more creative office, and on professional self-respect looks awful, because it is. Ivanka’s own branding aside, how can she claim to stand for wage equality and paid parental leave when she can’t even acknowledge the importance of coupling labor with a salary? How can she allow her website to dispense advice on surviving unpaid internships when she works for her daddy? Ivanka, who has celebrated the Trump name’s “deep connection to luxury and success,” might perhaps consider that one hallmark of successful luxury is the ability to remunerate your employees. Or she might pause, a single manicured finger about to tap the key that would tweet out #nomoneynoproblems to the world, and shiver, briefly, at the gallows humor of it all.”

“As a friend of hers told The Huffington Post while watching her deliver her speech at the Republican National Convention, “I thought, she is either lying to herself or she is making herself believe things like her father does. She is up there talking about women in the workplace while the crowd is basically chanting ‘lock up the bitch.’” 

I can tell you are uncomfortable, I’ve pointed out some harsh stuff and I’m sorry about that, I really am- I don’t like to tell people hard things but I have to say this because the world is bigger than you or I. I am compelled to say these points to you because I am worried about more than if I can pay for this salad, I’m worried about the country I love and all the odd, kooky, wonderful, unique, interesting, hardworking, loving and caring people in this country, all 291.6 million of us (even that guy in my club who is so damned annoying) in all our beautiful color and religion and wonderful lifestyles. And now I’m going to have really break your heart.....

Sweetie, Daddy’s not well. Wait, hear me out, don’t shake your perfect blond hair, be careful not to spill tears on your flawless makeup..... your dad is sick, honey. He’s really sick and sadly even with all your money there isn’t anything you can do to stop it. That women in the black and white photo? That’s Patti Reagan and I think you should call her. Yes, I believe your dad has dementia just like her dad did. I know, I know, some people think he’s always been loud and opinionated and forceful but what’s going on now is so much more than that. His short attention span, his angry out bursts, his inability to speak in full sentences, his use of repetitive words, and substituting nonspecific terms like “thing” for specific nouns, his ignorance of geography and all the little things that you have noticed but have been afraid to admit- your dad is losing his mind. And it’s sad for you, I’ve been there. But you have to step up because if you care about him and you care about the family name and the family business you are going to have to do what the rest of us women do- put your big girl Walmart brand panties on and figure out how to gracefully get daddy out of the White House and back into the Golden Tower. Like you did when you were little, you are going to “make the best of a bad situation”.

You can do what is right for our country and ultimately for you and your family’s business, or you can be blind like Marie was. Marie and Louis waited too late to leave and ended up in the Tuileries- you don’t want that, not even symbolically. Wealth did not prevent their downfall. Take your family and go back to New York, this is a familiar story and it does not end well. Your family name and business are at stake. As you have said yourself, ‘I don’t know if this is good for business,’. We deserve more than lemonade and cake. We deserve a president of sound mind and body.

marie and louis

Louis XVI and his family, dressed as bourgeois, arrested in Varennes. Picture by fr:Thomas Falcon Marshall (1854).

“When Ivanka was a kid, she got frustrated because she couldn’t set up a lemonade stand in Trump Tower. “We had no such advantages,” she writes, meaning, in this case, an ordinary home on an ordinary street. She and her brothers finally tried to sell lemonade at their summer place in Connecticut, but their neighborhood was so ritzy that there was no foot traffic. “As good fortune would have it, we had a bodyguard that summer,” she writes. They persuaded their bodyguard to buy lemonade, and then their driver, and then the maids, who “dug deep for their spare change.” The lesson, she says, is that the kids “made the best of a bad situation.”

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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