What Ivanka's smile can't hide

Ivanka Trump stayed in character in Jerusalem on Monday, blessing her father's decision to open the United States Emb...

Posted: May 15, 2018 11:12 PM
Updated: May 15, 2018 11:12 PM

Ivanka Trump stayed in character in Jerusalem on Monday, blessing her father's decision to open the United States Embassy there. She watched as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled the cord on a curtain to unveil a plaque. Then, dressed all in creamy white, and with microphone in hand, she beamed her 100-watt smile and welcomed the attendees on behalf of "the 45th President of the United States on America."

The glitch of saying "on," not "of," would have gone unremarked from a more typical emissary. Who would fault a nervous State Department official or a prominent American citizen enlisted for a meaningful reason?

But this was the President's daughter, and her performance called attention to the fact that she had no qualifications when she was appointed as a White House adviser, a job that mostly involves trying to make her father seem less appalling to the people he offends. Remember when people in Germany booed her defense of Trump's treatment of women? How about the time she dismissed the allegation of sexual misconduct lodged against him by 14 different women?

This time she smiled broadly as she said, "We welcome you officially, and for the first time, to the embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel." It was a grand opening of the kind this hotel-hawking real estate clan has presided over many times. Her delivery was one part wedding toast and one part game show host -- which may have been why Judd Apatow took to Twitter to say, "Is this the trailer to a horror film?"

Others on social media posed the very good question of why she and Mnuchin were carrying out key duties at the event when neither is responsible for policies related to the Middle East.

Mnuchin's presence might be credited to his status as the only Jewish person in the Trump cabinet. Loyal to a fault, Mnuchin offered no public comment last year when the President announced there were "fine people" among the neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ivanka, who converted as she married her husband, Jared Kushner, is the only one of Trump's children who is Jewish. As such, she has been considered, by some, to be living proof that the President is not bigoted.

The embassy opening celebration occurred even as Israeli security forces were doing battle with Palestinian protesters, killing more than 50 of some 35,000 who massed at the border separating Gaza and Israeli territory. More than 2,000 were wounded as Palestinians surged toward a border fence and security officers were authorized to use tear gaze, rubber bullets, and lethal ammunition in response.

The protesters had rallied against Trump's decision to abandon America's neutral position in the decades-long conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

At the embassy, various dignitaries struck a celebratory tone. Among them was an American pastor, Robert Jeffress, who has said all faiths, except his, lead people to eternal damnation. "Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism - not only do they lead people away from God," said Jeffress, "they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell."

As the most prominent Mormon figure in America, Mitt Romney took exception to the role Jeffress played at the embassy opening. He expressed his view in clear terms, tweeting, "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem." However, Jeffress was an early and vocal Trump supporter who helped deliver the conservative Christian vote in 2016. He was so important that he delivered the sermon Trump heard at a private service on inauguration day.

Jeffress provided such invaluable help to Trump that his appearance on the morning of the inauguration was to be expected. That he popped up in Jerusalem, where his presence could be insulting to both Israelis and Americans such as Romney, is a bigger problem.

Ivanka's smile was undoubtedly offered to calm concerns about him and, perhaps, to distract from the mayhem and death that any thoughtful person could have anticipated as the embassy opened and Trump abandoned America's claim to honest broker status in the Middle East.

It was the biggest test yet of Ivanka's ability to cast a benign light on a man who regularly creates a shadow too dark for her to dispel.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 449492

Reported Deaths: 6047
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin933031483
Ramsey40134741
Dakota33159344
Anoka31061365
Washington20220230
Stearns17922188
St. Louis13730242
Scott1199496
Wright11656104
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Sherburne822065
Carver696436
Clay653981
Rice610769
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Blue Earth543233
Crow Wing484877
Otter Tail457967
Chisago453336
Benton421086
Winona390046
Douglas375766
Nobles371746
Mower367829
Goodhue349259
Polk328958
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Morrison312145
Beltrami311048
Lyon302538
Becker286239
Itasca285243
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Carlton280943
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Pine267013
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Todd232230
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Rock110312
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Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 307088

Reported Deaths: 4340
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46016457
Linn17864278
Scott15566166
Black Hawk13875238
Woodbury13040177
Johnson1216051
Dubuque11434153
Pottawattamie9047113
Dallas896572
Story871235
Webster470172
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Sioux456157
Clinton451863
Warren449038
Marshall428662
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Des Moines383641
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Wapello346598
Jasper324059
Lee318131
Marion305752
Jones272649
Henry264831
Carroll255934
Bremer246848
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Washington220332
Boone219517
Benton210150
Mahaska195037
Jackson193031
Tama188758
Dickinson186227
Kossuth174844
Delaware174536
Clay169820
Wright165224
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Hamilton160730
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Page144915
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Mills136916
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