Donald Trump’s wife and eldest daughter have publicly broken with the president in recent weeks, but one political pundit believes that their moves are really just a ploy in order to soften the president’s image.
In the last few weeks, Melania Trump has publicly opposed her husband on a series of issues, starting with Donald’s ill-fated policy to separate children from their parents after crossing the U.S. border. This week she also appeared to side with LeBron James after Donald Trump insulted the NBA star’s intelligence on Twitter. Ivanka Trump too has broken with her father more, also saying she lamented the child separation policy. While the moves have garnered some headlines, Slate pundit Christina Cauterucci believes that they are really just a ploy to make it easier for Donald Trump to implement his agenda.
Cauterucci called both Melania and Ivanka “deliberate decoys” in a bid to soften Donald’s image and “[confer] humanity by association.” She took aim in particular at Ivanka, repeating the criticism that Ivanka portrayed herself as an adviser who could steer her father toward more compassionate policies, but instead remaining silent through unpopular actions like immigrant child detention and passing anti-LGBT measures like a ban on transgender troops.
“By making public statements that gently criticize her father, and by leaking through anonymous sources that she disagrees with him, all while continuing to stand by him in every way that matters, Ivanka has helped clear the way for her father’s agenda by showing his conservative skeptics how to question but support their president, how to appear humane while never really turning on the man doing those inhumane things.”
After Melania Trump garnered headlines this weekend for issuing a statement offering support for LeBron James after Donald Trump insulted his intelligence, the first lady already appeared to be walking it back. A senior White House official clarified to ABC News that Melania was not intending to break with her husband, and in fact was “not taking side” in the feud that has been largely one-sided, with LeBron offering no public reply to Trump.
“That wasn’t her taking sides — that was her office stick to what she is focused on, which is using Be Best for what it’s intended — to help children,” the official said.
Smart take. https://t.co/uDLedgq5hF
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) August 6, 2018
Many seemed to agree with the idea that both Ivanka and Melania Trump are only staging their public breaks with Donald on policy issues. Some even suggested that Melania’s offer to visit the new school that LeBron James opened was meant to be a trap for the NBA star to either turn down the invitation and appear petty or allow Melania to visit and give the White House what would likely be a strong photo op.