Dear Ivanka,

You are the daughter of a billionaire whose sole credential is being born into wealth. So when you decry anything about the “elite,” objective, rational human beings can’t help but roll our eyes. You’ve been playing both sides of that fence for years, and it’s played very well for your father’s “disaffected” (read: white) base. Even those of us repulsed by his antics wanted to give you a chance to live up to your billing as a modern, centrist woman who would keep his worst instincts in check.

But when you chastise the “elite” for “smug ridicule,” despite your father’s undeniable mastery of the art, your carefully cultivated façade cracks beyond all repair.

Those of us in the middle waited for you, for your promised voice. You were going to be a moderating influence on the purportedly inflammatory rhetoric of your tempestuous father. As patently absurd as it sounds, we clung to the hope that a child with no exposure to anything but her gilded carriage could temper the MAGA juggernaut. But you haven’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t.

We’re not waiting anymore.

We never should have. Democrats will say they’ve been saying it from the beginning. Republicans will say we haven’t given you enough time or we don’t know what you’ve done behind the scenes. But those of us who identify as neither — I’ve voted for just as many on one side as the other — just say that neither “I told you so” nor “give her more time” is an answer at the moment. I still believe it was only right to give you the chance to live up to your hype. But if you haven’t had enough time yet, you never will.

The image you’ve cultivated holds a lot of appeal. I’ve always felt stuck in the middle of the political crossroads. Like you present yourself, I’m too educated and basically too human to ignore the historic and ongoing systemic dehumanization of people whose skin doesn’t look like ours. I also believe, in theory, in the basic principle that the government should interfere in our lives as little as possible. But unlike you, I’m too poor to be “fiscally conservative.” My family and I needed help when we fell on hard times and thank God there were programs to get me on my feet when I needed them the most. But you were supposed to understand us, to be the aristocrat with a human touch. You were going to be the lone powerful voice of reason to remind your father that we’re all just people. But you haven’t, and it’s now clear that you won’t ever be.

Maybe your father and his advisors have proven more than you can take on. You are, after all, just one person. Except you’re not. You’re also part of your marriage, and you’ve done or said nothing to stem the constant flow of your husband’s influence peddling and cozying up to tyrants for his own benefit.

Maybe you’ve tried behind the scenes, as “sources close to the White House” perpetually claim to the reporters anxious to maintain or curry your favor. (FYI: we know you or your PR team are the “sources.”) But if you are half the woman crafted by your finishing school headmistresses/programmers/Madison Avenue advertisers, you would have fought harder, challenged more vociferously, or stood up and walked out. Not just out of the meeting where you didn’t get your way, but away from an administration whose actions run contrary to everything you publicly claim to stand for.

Or maybe, just maybe, you are a charlatan in a form-fitting, luxuriously priced, designer label dress. We were sold on the idea of a moderating, modern woman who would advocate for our common humanity. Instead, we fell for the bait-and-switch and got the façade of caring to distract us from your hands in the till. You’ve reaped for your brand trademarks in China you likely wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, access to global political events (where you clearly were in over your head), and involvement in geopolitically sensitive engagements for which you have no qualification, experience, or aptitude. All the while tweeting trite, disingenuous platitudes like this:

Or this:

Or this:

But you don’t get to extend your ivory tower privilege to mourn victims of gun violence, celebrate the diversity that makes our country great, or decry family separation. You don’t get to whitewash what your father and you are doing to Muslims, the Latinx community, the trans community, or people of color – and let me be clear, you are doing it, too, all of it, just as sure as if you were signing your father’s craggy mountaintop signature. You don’t get to bleach the stain with which you and your father have soiled our country’s future.

So we’re done waiting on you. And as it should have been from the beginning, it’s on is to move forward, to advance, and undo everything you’ve either let happen or actively supported.

With greatest disappointment and resolve,


New York

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