Speaking about social issues might not be one of Ivanka Trump's strengths — or at least it seems that way in recent days because many of her comments have totally backfired. First, when speaking about the sexual misconduct claims against Donald Trump on Feb. 26, she caused a pretty big wave of controversy when said she believed him over his accusers. And now, on Feb. 27, Ivanka Trump's comments about Me Too and her dad have reached the same fate.
In an interview with NBC News during her trip to South Korea for the PyeongChang Olympic Games, correspondent Peter Alexander brought up the recent spate of allegations of sexual misconduct against public figures, and the way her father, President Donald Trump, responded. Alexander asked Trump what she would say to critics who say her father empathizes with the accused over accusers, citing the president's responses to allegations against former Senate candidate Roy Moore and White House aide Rob Porter as examples. The White House adviser and first daughter responded by dismissing the idea that her father emotionally sided with the accused, stating,
I don't think that is true. I think that when there are cases of domestic violence, as we saw recently, that cannot be condoned, nobody would condone that. And I think there is a vast spectrum.
She also commented on the Me Too movement, though she didn't address it by name. She praised the women who have stood up and drawn attention to the problem of sexual assault and harassment, saying,
I actually think this is a really exciting and important moment in time. And I think many people are being exposed for doing some really awful things. And I am proud of the women who are standing up in the face of accusers with credible, with credible evidence and credible stories, and we've seen a lot of those, a lot of them recently.
Aside from the fact that Trump completely dodged Alexander's question and never gave him a straight answer, her comments are messed up because the president has taken up for the accused on countless occasions — including Porter and Moore.
President Trump's first response to allegations against both Porter and Moore was to defend the accused.
On Feb. 7, news reports were released that White House aide Rob Porter had resigned from his position in the Trump administration after two of his former wives claimed he abused them in an interview with DailyMail.com. However, Porter also told DailyMail.com that many of the claims were "slanderous and simply false."
On Feb. 9, rather than saying something like "abuse is never OK" or that his office took the matter seriously, the president appeared to come to Porter's defense, sharing a pointed message on Twitter about the power of allegations. He wrote,
Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?
That same day, the president called the departure of Porter "very sad" and said that he wished the former aide well, according to CNN. "We hope that he will have a wonderful career," Donald said, though he did not comment on the women who had allegedly been abused. He also reiterated that Porter had said he was innocent. "He says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that," Donald added.
Back in November 2017, Donald also defended Roy Moore, who had been running as the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama. Moore had been accused of sexual misconduct by at least eight women. Moore denied the allegations, and claimed he didn't know the accusers at all. On Nov. 21, the president chimed in and said since Moore denied the allegations, people should consider that he was telling the truth. According to Politico, he said,
If you look at what is really going on and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also.
He also didn't withdraw his support for Moore's Senate run, restating his endorsement of the Alabama Republican in a tweet on Dec. 4.
So, for someone who once said she didn't doubt Moore's accusers, and praised Oprah's Golden Globe speech about sexual misconduct, Trump's comments honestly could have been a lot more sensitive — especially when her father has been accused of sexual misconduct, himself.
Trump stands by her dad amid his own sexual misconduct allegations.
In the latest interview, Trump mentioned that "she was proud of the women" who stand up for accusers with "credible evidence" and "stories," but that doesn't seem to apply to the women who have accused her father of sexual misconduct. At least 16 women have made claims against the president — many of whom allege that he made unwanted sexual advances at them or groped them — which he vehemently denies, saying that he has never met his accusers.
Though the official White House stance is that all of the women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct are lying, Trump is usually resistant to discussing the subject. When asked about the president's own sexual misconduct allegations in an interview with NBC News, Trump maintained that she believed her father, saying,
I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he's affirmatively stated that there's no truth to it. I believe my father. I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.
It's fair to back your father, but at some point, something has to give and you can't make excuses for everything — nor try to get away with "alternative facts" or be dismissive to issues like these. Hopefully Trump sees that sooner rather than later.