How not to transition from celebrity life to politics

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Ivanka Trump is used to getting easy questions from the celebrity press. She is surprised to face tough questions now that she has entered politics. Interesting:

For the rest of the interview, she’s combative: “You said he made those comments,” she says to Gupta. “I don’t know that he said those comments.” When Gupta reiterates that, yes, Donald Trump said pregnancy was an inconvenience, Trump responds, “There’s plenty of time for you to editorialize around this, but I think he put forth a really incredible plan.”

Gupta’s questions aren’t any tougher than policy questions usually are for candidates and their surrogates — but it’s clear that Trump isn’t used to this kind of treatment. As she plays a larger role in the campaign, her impeccable mask is starting to slip a bit.

Ivanka Trump has had a really bad news cycle
Since she started appearing on her father’s behalf in spring 2016, Ivanka Trump has drawn firm boundaries around her own brand as separate from parts of the Trump campaign. She’s chosen what issues to speak out on, emphasizing women’s issues in the workplace. She’s sidestepped her father’s controversies around race, immigration, and Islam.

But Trump is increasingly acknowledged as a serious policy adviser playing a big role in her father’s campaign. She’s being treated more like a political surrogate. And she’s starting to get caught in controversies that, until now, she’s mostly been able to avoid.

On Wednesday alone, besides giving the interview, Ivanka Trump got caught in a bizarre lie about Hillary Clinton, saying the Democratic nominee had no child care or family leave policies on her website. (Clinton’s website is basically nothing but policy proposals, and she’s emphasized those issues since the start of the campaign.) Then she tried to claim that Trump hotels offer paid maternity leave to their workers. (They don’t.)

This wouldn’t be noteworthy for her father — Donald Trump is so loose with the truth that cable news has had to invent a new chyron style to point out that he’s lying onscreen — but Ivanka Trump has mostly been able to avoid this kind of misstep. She has her own brand to protect, and the educated young women who are her core audience are not exactly a bastion of Donald Trump support.

But being a campaign surrogate rather than a lifestyle guru has consequences, and one is that the media is less willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Ivanka Trump’s remarkably gaffe-free run seems to have ended.

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