Ivanka Trump always envisioned herself as a mogul, not a punch line. But on February 4, the refined, professional daughter of President Donald Trump provided the setup for Saturday Night Live’s opening sketch. Alec Baldwin, in his now infamous caricature of Donald, remarked that Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, one of his senior advisers, “make sure I don’t do anything too crazy” before asking if they were gone. Upon confirming they were home observing Shabbat, he summoned chief strategist Steve Bannon, cracking, “When the Jews are away, the goys will play!”
The bit wasn’t total satire. “Donald doing the most controversial stuff when Ivanka and Jared aren’t around — there is some truth to that,” a close Ivanka insider reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly.
And less than a month into her dad’s presidency, Ivanka, 35, is seeing firsthand that not everyone hails to the chief. While many assumed the former Trump Organization VP and her real estate investor husband, 36, would serve as calming forces for Donald, they have at times struggled to advise the short-fused tycoon.
It was during their Friday-night quiet time January 27 that Donald, 70, signed the much maligned order to temporarily ban refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Since observing the Sabbath means unplugging from technology — “We turn off our phones for 25 hours,” Kushner has said — the couple were somewhat unaware of the fallout from Donald’s decree when, the next night, she posted an Instagram photo of herself in a metallic Carolina Herrera gown with her tuxedoed husband.
The backlash was immediate: A meme circulated of Ivanka side by side with a young Syrian refugee wrapped in a silver emergency blanket, and the Marie Antoinette–inspired hashtag #letthemeatcake trended on Twitter.
This first blow to Ivanka’s carefully cultivated image — “She doesn’t put a foot wrong,” family friend and Avenue columnist R. Couri Hay tells Us — was quickly followed by a second. On February 2, citing poor performance, Nordstrom announced it would no longer carry her fashion brand. “The transition has been difficult,” says the insider.
But for Ivanka, no challenge is insurmountable. Notes a friend, “She’s staying positive and focused on what she’s trying to do.”
She’s also celebrating the small victories with her husband. The parents of Arabella, 5, Joseph, 3, and Theodore, 10 months, persuaded Donald not to overturn President Barack Obama’s order protecting the LGBT community from discrimination in the workplace. “That was all because of them,” says the insider of the scions. “They stood strongly against Donald repealing that executive order and told him they wouldn’t tolerate that.”
That’s not to say POTUS always listens to the duo. “Sometimes Jared and Ivanka are a big influence and sometimes he takes other opinions into account and does something they disagree with,” says the insider. “They win some and they lose some.”
For more on Ivanka and Kushner — and how they advise Donald — pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now!
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