Wednesday, 26 April 2017

All in the Family

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'Embarrassing' is the only word to describe Donald Trump using his daughter Ivanka to blur the lines between his political and business interests.

Many Americans were critical of Bill Clinton for extending the role of the First Lady (Hillary Clinton) into the political arena, rightly in my view because she was not elected to perform such a role and the Presidency is not the plaything of the President.  

But now Donald Trump has gone even further by bringing his daughter and son-in-law (jared Kushner) into the White House and is shamelessly using his family by sending them on expensive jaunts abroad which are paid from the public purse.


Ivanka Trump forced to defend father at G20 women's summit

BBC Europe

Media caption - Ivanka Trump explains her praise for her father

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka was met with groans as she defended her father's attitude towards women at the G20 women's summit in Berlin.

The First Daughter was taking part in a panel discussion about female entrepreneurs alongside German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

But the audience bristled at her praise for the US president.

The event is part of the G20 women's summit.

An audible groan went up as she told the room her father was a "tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive".

Mr Trump has been criticised over his attitude to women, especially after a tape of him making obscene remarks was released during the presidential campaign.

But Ms Trump said that although she had "heard the criticism from the media and that has been perpetuated", she did not recognise her father in the description and nor would the "thousands" of women he had employed over the years.

"He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish," she added.

Image copyright - AFP/GETTY - Image captionMs Trump said her father "encouraged me and enabled me to thrive"

Image copyright - REUTERS Image caption - She was invited to Berlin by Ms Merkel (second right)

Mr Trump tends to blame the media for negative portrayals of his character or presidency.

It remains unclear what exactly Ms Trump's role is within her father's White House.

In March, it was announced that Ms Trump - who joined her father's business a year after graduating from university - would be an unpaid assistant to the president.

She and her husband Jared Kushner are seen as increasingly influential, however, and German newspaper Berliner Zeitung said officials hoped "the president's daughter will convey a positive image of Germany to her father as a result of her short visit".

Mrs Merkel invited Ms Trump during her trip to Washington last month.

Trump Plays "Fast and Loose' (30/03/17)

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The Independent reports that Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka is to be found an office in the White House and provided with official security clearance even though she has no formal role in the Trump administration.

Ivanka's husband Jared (Kushner) is already a senior policy adviser to Donald Trump whose  family and business interests are now becoming completely intertwined with the day-to-day running of the American Government.  

So while it's hard to conceive of Donald Trump as the leader of the free world, I think most reasonable people can see that he's playing 'fast and loose' in the White House.

Ivanka Trump mired in White House controversy over West Wing office

Counsel Don McGahn criticised over unanswered conflict of interest concerns relating to President's daughter and loophole exploited by not designating her an 'employee'

By Julie Bykowicz - The Independent

Ivanka Trump participates in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her father at the White House - Jim Bourg/Reuters

President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump will have a security clearance, a West Wing office and the ear of her father on important policy matters. But don't call her an employee.

When it comes to government work, “employee” is more than just a word. That designation triggers an array of transparency and ethical provisions, including a law prohibiting conflicts of interest.

Government watchdogs are concerned that by refusing to call Ivanka Trump an employee, White House counsel Don McGahn could be attempting to give her a loophole if she improperly mingles her government policy roles with her business and financial interests.

In a letter to McGahn, they ask him to reconsider, saying the position as designed “creates a middle space that does not exist.” It is signed by two former White House lawyers and three other transparency and ethics advocates, all of whom have been highly critical of the Trump administration's approach to ethics.

“On the one hand, her position will provide her with the privileges and opportunities for service that attach to being a White House employee,” they write. “On the other hand, she remains the owner of a private business who is free from the ethics and conflicts rules that apply to all White House employees.”

The White House rejects that notion.

As an adult first daughter with an interest in politics and a clothing and lifestyle brand of her own, Ivanka Trump is in an unprecedented situation. There's no protocol for this, said a senior White House official who requested anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. She's family, not an employee.

All in the Family(21/03/17)

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Donald Trump clearly has a weird relationship with his daughter Ivanka who seems to have moved beyond the unprecedented 'First Daughter' role into one where Ivanka regularly sits at the same table as international politicians and visiting heads of state.

In this photo Ivanka is seated next to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and while she seems to be displaying far better manners and social skills that her boorish father, the truth is that the President's daughter has no right to be there.

Unless, of course, you believe that Donald Trump should be able to use the White House and his presidency, quite shamelessly, to promote his family and business interests.


All in The Family (15/02/17)

Here's a lovely photo of a dad and his daughter.

Except for the fact that the daughter is a well-known businesswomen who is exploiting his position as President by arranging a photo-shoot in the White House with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

Americans may rue the day they allowed their 45th President to turn the presidency into a political version of 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' as the action switches from Pennsylvania Avenue to Donald Trump's private beach resort in Mar-a-Lago to Trump Towers in New York where his wife Melania still lives.

And the laugh is that the bill for securing these different sites is all being met from public expense while Trump Enterprises enjoys the added bonus of free adverting and marketing for their private business interests.

The 'swamp' has never been healthier.  


All in the Family (30(01/17)

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'All in the Family' was the American version of 'Till Death Do Us Part' which told the every day tale of a dysfunctional but likeable working class family headed up by an overbearing, narrow-minded bigot.

Alf Garnett was the male lead character in the UK programme and his doppelgänger in the United States was Archie Bunker.

Now there's nothing remotely working class about Donald Trump, of course, though he does appear to have certain things in common with Archie Bunker, as well as drawing inspiration from the American programme's All in the Family title.

What with his daughter Ivanka moving into the White House with her dad, Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner being handed a role as a Trump adviser and Trump's two sons (Eric and Donald Jr) taking over his business interests - Trump seems to have turned the Presidency into a real family affair. 

Lucrative, I'm sure, but I doubt it's smart mover to have so many competing interests and family relationships surrounding the Presidency.