Dear President Trump,
Your daughter, Ivanka Trump, is a full grown woman.
That is a statement of the obvious, but given your statements of the past day, and the defense of your press secretary of your daughter, I feel it important to state this plainly.
Your daughter is also a member of your inner circle, advising you on the official business of the United States of America. Her husband is an official member of your staff. She is photographed, and posts photos, of herself in the White House on a regular basis.
You asked her to serve this function. And she, as a full grown woman, has agreed to serve thusly.
Your press secretary has suggested that, as a father, you have the right to defend your daughter. As a Father myself, this might seems to be intuitively true.
Until you remember the two facts I have stated at the beginning of this letter to you:
1) She is a full grown woman.
2) She is a member of your inner circle, advising you in your capacity as our president.
Were someone to treat my daughter in a manner I consider to be unfair, I would *absolutely* rise to her defense. But I am not the President of the United States. You are.
Therefore, your situation is different in two ways:
1) Your daughter is full grown woman, and
2) She is a part of your inner circle of advisers.
Both of these things create a unique situation that we have not experienced before with recent presidents and their children.
Both the Bushes and the Obamas raised children, children who were “children,” in the glare of the White House fish bowl. From time to time, the press, or other commentators, would say something terrible about their families.
Time and time again, these men, our presidents, sucked it up. While others rightly rose to the defense of their literal children, more times than not, the two of them continued to behave with calmness and assuredness.
They would hear what was being said about them and their families —in both cases, sometimes vile and and offensive things— and they would dust themselves off, put on their big boy pants, and wake up the next day to be our president…without extended commentary about how “unfairly” they or their families were being treated.
Keep in mind, they were raising literal *children* in the White House.
Your daughter, Ivanka, is a full grown woman.
She is smart, intelligent, and savvy. I can understand why you value her advice and counsel. But no one (at least, in this instance) is shaming her appearance, clothing or hair. I am sure most everyone would join you in rising to her defense, had any of these been the issue.
Therefore, I find your use of the official White House Twitter account (@POTUS), and the use of your press secretary to address this issue (a government employee) to be ethically improper.
At a press event some weeks back —with great fanfare and stacks of paper as a visual prop— you promised to separate yourself from your family’s business dealings.
And yet, you are failing to live up to that promise, in a way that could absolutely financially benefit your family and their business interests.
I would invite you to remember three things:
1) The examples of both Presidents Obama and Bush, who endured much worse things said about their child-aged children, who sucked it up, and who responded presidentially to the fishbowl of the White House.
2) That Ivanka is a full grown woman.
And, finally, that you sir have brought all of his upon yourself, by virtue of the your reliance on both Ivanka and her husband as a close advisors. You invited her to be such an advisor, and she has apparently accepted this role.
And that, Sir, makes this quite different from any comparison to other presidential children in our recent history. In fact, it’s exactly what sets up these ethical issues in the first place.
Nordstrom made a business decision. Consumers can either support or not support the decision. But the ethical issues related to this situation start and stop with YOU, and no one else is to blame for them.
Either Ivanka is a full grown woman, and capable advisor to you. Or, she is a small helpless child, in need of a father’s protection.
But you cannot have it both ways.
And I would suggest to you, Sir, that she is a full grown woman.