*This piece of mine is published on CNN.*
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is right to be irked that it is not him but first daughter Ivanka Trump who will lead the US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India.
The annual event is put on by the State Department and in the past has been attended by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama.
This year, not only is the nation’s top diplomat not attending but the State Department, in a widely noted snub, is also withholding high-level delegation support from what is being billed as Ivanka’s most high-profile event representing the United States.
While tensions between the White House and the State Department have become apparent, what should also be clear to us by now is that Ivanka has no business representing the US on the global stage, especially at an international summit whose theme this year celebrates women’s empowerment.
Despite all her claims, Ivanka is no champion for women or our empowerment, and she has the record to prove it.
Despite touting her massive portfolio of “women’s issues,” and aside from her pending attempt to expand the child tax credit, Ivanka has not been successful in actually implementing anything.
She also stays disturbingly silent throughout her father’s systematic efforts to undermine women’s health and rights, standing idly by as the President supports bill after bill taking aim at women’s access to everything from birth control to workplace safety.
To make matters worse, Ivanka has demonstrated that even pay equity is not a real priority for her. She backed her father when he ended the Obama-era rule on gender-gap wage data collection, which enabled the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect salary data from large companies by race and gender to better understand patterns of pay discrimination.
“Ivanka Trump’s sporadic forays into discussions about her issue priorities, more often than not, have been largely rhetorical with few details and little concrete analysis of the economic, racial, gender, ethnic, geographic, and other differences that can influence policy needs and outcomes,” said the Center For American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning public policy research and advocacy organization.
“As a result, there has been virtually no tangible progress on any of the issues Ivanka Trump claimed that she would spearhead.”
The organization, which analyzed Ivanka’s work on women’s and working families’ issues in a report card, determined that her support for the Trump administration rolling back progress on equal pay sends mixed signals about her commitment to prioritizing the needs of all women and her ability to craft the policy solutions essential to women’s progress.
CAP gives Ivanka’s work on entrepreneurship, her most vocal effort to empower women, a D- letter grade.
So why is Ivanka representing America to the world? Because she is Donald Trump’s daughter.
Although she lacks any qualifications or credentials to represent the US on the global stage, India will not be the first time Ivanka will have led an official American delegation overseas.
Soon after her father took office, Ivanka, who is also a senior White House official, represented the US in Germany at the W-20, a summit of G-20 countries aimed at promoting women’s workforce participation and equality.
Ivanka even spoke on a panel alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel and was booed by the audience when she attempted to portray her father as a women’s rights advocate, prompting Ivanka to state that “the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”
But what Ivanka may have been able to (kind of) get away with in Germany is not going to work in India, because America is currently undergoing what could be a real cultural revolution when it comes to sexual abuse against women.
As the media in the US erupts with stories of sexual harassment and abuse allegations against high-profile men in virtually every industry, it is clear that the country is entering a dialogue which could impact women’s rights in America and around the world for years to come.
It is also clear that Ivanka can no longer spin her father, who has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct and was caught on tape bragging about assaulting a woman, as some women’s rights champion.
In addition, the President’s recent backing of Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who stands accused of pursuing sexual relationships with teenagers when he was in his early thirties, does nothing to improve Donald Trump’s own image as a serial abuser of women.
In the Moore case, Ivanka did publicly break from her father by saying, “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children” and that she has no reason to doubt the victims.
But while she may have effectively glossed over her father’s misogynistic administration in the past, we are now in the #MeToo era.
And the days of Ivanka being deployed as her father’s most effective PR tool are over.
At a time of decreased US global engagement and diplomacy, having Ivanka represent America in any capacity on the international stage only gives the world one clear message — that nepotism and corruption remain deeply entrenched in the Trump White House.
*This piece of mine is published on CNN.*