So, on Sunday Ivanka Trump shared with her 4.3 million followers a photo of her face smushed to that of her youngest son Theodore, who was still in his little sleeping bag from a nap.
“My heart,” Ivanka, 36, captioned the photo, using the emoji for heart, accompanied by the hashtag #SundayMorning.
It was the sort of anodyne, schmaltzy post millions of parents share every day, the ones that draw requisite gooey ‘Looking good mama’ responses of approval from friends.
Not Ivanka. The happy snap of her and her two-year-old had celebrities racing to skewer her. She was slammed as a “nasty soulless little troll” who “preens and gloats and poses”.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 27, 2018
The moral outrage could be seen from outer space.
The problem? The image was shared amid claims the United States government has lost track of 1500 migrant children who entered the country at the Mexican border.
According to reports, those children mostly arrived at the border alone and some were placed under the watch of the Obama administration.
The latest immigration policy of the administration of Ivanka’s father, US President Donald Trump, authorises border agents to take away the children of immigrants unlawfully crossing the border with Mexico.
While it is unclear exactly how many children have been separated from their parents by the Trump administration, in April a New York Times report said it was at least 700.
But back to Ivanka. She had earlier fanned the flames with other inflammatory photos of her in casual glamour mother mode, holding her “lunch date” Theodore’s hand as he gamely toddled next to her at the White House.
A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on
Sure, the images on one level make you want to stab your own eyes out: A young, super-rich white mother boasts smugly and shamelessly about cuddles with her clean, well-fed, extremely well-housed child who has been born into power and privilege.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, and an easy target to lampoon as “unbelievably tone deaf”, as Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas put it.
Yes, Ivanka’s timing was bad, and the idea of the lost children is heartbreaking.
But there was nothing remotely political about her post.
Put yourself in Ivanka’s shoes. It’s the weekend. An adorable photo is taken of you and your kid. Your ego kicks in and you want your social media friends to see how good you look and how you’ve got it all together. You post it, expecting likes.
Then this happens:
.@IvankaTrump, you are lucky to hold your son while 1500 mothers cannot, because your father ripped their children away under a vicious policy that he created.
— Paola Mendoza (@paolamendoza) May 27, 2018
What in the world is wrong with this family? Is this picture supposed to remind Mexican asylum seekers what they’ve lost? https://t.co/Vvrt7vUtJQ
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) May 27, 2018
Isn't it the just the best to snuggle your little one — knowing exactly where they are, safe in your arms? It's the best. The BEST. Right, Ivanka? Right? https://t.co/X79r8aWInc
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 27, 2018
Singer Halsey asks, “I wonder what #SundayMorning is like for the parents of 1500 lost children your father is responsible for”. And actor Jim Carrey shares a new cartoon: “1500 innocent children ripped from their mothers’ arms at our border. Lost in Trump’s ‘system’.”
But Ivanka was just being a stock-standard proud mother, albeit one who made sure her grooming and outfit were quietly aspirational and on brand.
If those who thought her message was off are concerned about the lost children and new policy, they should write to their local representative or petition the White House.
The grandstanding was clichéd, petty and poorly directed.
Ivanka Trump gives critics plenty to attack her about, not least the current corruption concerns over China approving trademarks for 13 of her products – from baby blankets to coffins – in 13 months.
But, seriously, keep the powder dry for when it matters. Don’t waste it on finding a spurious political connection between a greeting card image and the tragedy of lost children.