With the looming end of the first hundred days of the Trump presidency, we have been inundated with commentary cataloging its failures, missteps and gaffes. And while it may be tempting to join in, I will leave that job to others—for the most part. It’s just that there were so many “SMH” moments this week that I need to mention.
First up, Caitlyn Jenner did an interview with Diane Sawyer that was kind of interesting. I’m not a big Jenner fan (ok, I’m not a fan at all), but Ms. Sawyer did take the opportunity to talk about the high rate of suicide attempts in the transgender community, particularly with transgender youth. I was also pleased to see pictures from inside a school where basic human modesty is protected in the locker room. And, it wasn’t all that revolutionary. It involved curtains. Little dressing areas that provide the modicum of privacy that we’ve all been accorded since the beginning of the department store.
But I will give it to Caitlyn on one thing—that Jungle Red nail polish is fabulous and very flattering. There, I said something nice.
Then there was the return of Rachel Dolezal. She’s written a book—big surprise—and was invited to speak at the University of Johannesburg. She identified herself in an interview as “trans-black.” SMH. (I could give you three different letters, but I don’t use profanity in my acronyms.)
Fortunately, Ms. Dolezal was not invited to speak at the University of New Orleans. Her presence would not have made it any easier in the Big Easy when those Confederate monuments started coming down. The workers were disguised with scarves and wore flak jackets and helmets to dismantle the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk. SMH.
Did you see all those senators rounded up and bussed over to the White House to get a classified briefing on North Korea? Watching the likes of McCain, Rubio, Feinstein and Warren boarding a bus was just too cute. And wouldn’t you have killed to hear what was being talked about inside? I’ll bet the conversation was different on the way back than on the way over.
But in a week of strange and awkward images, the prize goes to poor Ivanka Trump in Berlin. First up, it is never good to find a New York Times headline containing your name and the word “jeered.” Defending her father after a thinly veiled reference to his own taped “inside the bus” comments, Ms. Trump showed that she doesn’t quite have a good answer to that one. But in that moment, Donald Trump may have succeeding in doing something it took his presidential predecessors years to accomplish. You might even say he did something “bigly.”
You see, Ms. Trump has joined the very select sorority of presidential daughters. This is actually a job, and it entails burnishing the reputation of your presidential father—for the rest of your natural life. Amy Carter hasn’t had to do it, and Patti Davis apparently won’t do it. The Nixon daughters, bless their hearts, had little to work with, but they’ve done the best they could.
But the Johnson daughters have literally written the book on how to do it right. They have worked hard to move LBJ’s legacy from Vietnam to Civil Rights. Good for them.
It is usually takes a lot of time before you need to get out the brass polish and defend your presidential father. Normally, it’s after he decides to not run for another term (Johnson) or after he has resigned in disgrace (Nixon). But Donald Trump, ever the overachiever, has managed to put his daughter on defense—not after four or five years in office or even after he has left office or died—but within the first one hundred days. Well done, Donald.
And as Ralph Edwards might have said, “Ivanka Trump, this is your life.” SMH.