In a biting column for the New York Times, Frank Bruni claims Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner left Manhattan at the top of their game where they were lauded and admired as a high society couple and will now return after their foray in Donald Trump’s White House damaged and despised.
With their days in Washington, D.C., numbered after Trump’s re-election failure, the couple are expected to return to a New York City that has learned to loathe them for their complicity in an administration that has been at war with the city.
As Bruni puts it, “Just five short years ago Jared and Ivanka were dinner-party royalty here in Manhattan. It’s that kind of place. They had money, they had youth, they had celebrity. They were thin. I’m told that their manners were impeccable, so you’d never know that his father was an actual felon and her father a de facto one. Besides, you can’t hold family against someone, can you? We don’t choose how we’re born. But from then on, we do make choices, and we’re accountable for those.”
“Jared and Ivanka are about to be held accountable,” he added.
Building his case, the columnist shares a quote from a friend of the couple reported in Vanity Fair, who stated, “Everyone with self-respect, a career, morals, respect for democracy, or who doesn’t want their friends to shame them both in private and public, will steer clear.”
“Tell me, Jared. Be honest, Ivanka. Was it worth it?” the columnist asked.
“They are the Faustian poster couple of the Trump presidency, the king and queen of the principle-torching prom at which so many danced alongside them, although in less exquisitely tailored attire,” he wrote. “They are Mitch McConnell after a makeover, Ted Cruz gone to charm school, Mike Pompeo with a more rigorous fitness regimen, Lindsey Graham with less time on the links. They are Mike Pence and Nikki Haley and scores of others in and out of office, so entranced by power, so enchanted by perks, so primed for future prizes that they junked values that they once supposedly held and downgraded decency to something ornamental, a sprig of parsley on a fish fillet.”
According to Bruni, before heading off to Washington, Ivanka had often mentioned to friends that she thought she could become the first female president. That, he explained, is likely now out of reach.
“They chose to tether their fortunes to her father’s, chose to go along for the ride, chose to see how far it could take them, because what if it took them all the way? What if Ivanka became the first female president, something that Manhattan acquaintances of hers assured me that she fantasized about, a giddy possibility that her father floated out loud. With that crowning adventure — that climactic branding opportunity — dangling before her, she and Jared rationalized her father’s tantrums, fed his delusions, laundered his cruelty and kept her Instagram aglow with images from their fabulous new Washington life,” he explained. “They epitomized the very entitled, elite class of Ivy-educated, Davos-destined Americans that her father mocked. They were sanctioning the savaging of their soon-to-be-former friends. You could say that they defected. But are they really going to be content in their new social homeland, now that 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is no longer its clubhouse?”
“Javanka can’t protest that they moderated the president, not after his past immoderate weeks of raging against democracy and conniving to subvert it. They can’t retroactively claim some profound but strangled ambivalence about his reign, not after her fangirl phantasmagoria at the Republican convention,” he added before concluding, “No, they have made their bed. Lucky for them, the sheets have a serious thread count.”
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