The term “sorry not sorry” is a common one among millennials. It’s often seen as a backhanded remark on how unapologetic one usually is.
Ever since President Donald Trump took office, his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, has been offering plenty of variations of the equivocal “sorry not sorry”. Last month, Ivanka moved into an advisory position as a government employee in the White House, despite previously stating that she would not take an official role in her father’s administration. This - without surprise - caused quite amount of backlash among American citizens.
And sure enough, Ivanka issued a public “sorry not sorry” statement; although in her case specifically, it was an acknowledgment rather than an apology. In her statement, Ivanka said “I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the President in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” (cited in a New York Times article). She continued, “Throughout this process, I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role,”
As much as Ivanka is trying to brush this aside with her public statements, her willingness to take on an active federal role raises major ethical red flags that the public cannot ignore. Ivanka would be granted security clearance, government-issued devices and access to classified information. Not only is this move a violation of federal rules, it ignores normal procedures of employment. An office in the West Wing usually requires one to have years of expertise. Ironically, much like her father, Ivanka is being placed at the center of the federal administration without any political background or experience.
Upon her immediate arrival at the White House, Ivanka stayed rather quiet and took an inconspicuous role by her father’s side. This appears to have changed quite drastically; from hosting meetings with policymakers to being a major influence behind the attack on Syria, Ivanka is practically ruling Trump’s administration.
And much like her father, Ivanka has a major conflict of interest: her clothing and jewelry line. Although she sold millions of dollars in assets to comply with anti-nepotism rules, there is no denying that she still owns the company. That is, there is nothing to stop her from following in her father’s footsteps, whose hotels and golf courses continue to create business relations with foreign companies. The Trump family’s active role in the political affairs of the White House means less accountability for Ivanka when she runs into conflicts of interests, which will no doubt happen. And having her issue public statements reassuring the public is simply not enough.
The United States federal government is known to pride itself on many values, some of which include equality, fairness, and justice. However, since the start of the Trump presidency, it is clear that such values are long gone. Instead, the federal government has taken upon itself to turn a blind eye to clear violations of legal procedures.
It is time for people to realize the long-term harm of such actions. It is time for people to accept that Ivanka is not a better version of her father (rather just a less offensive one). And in the words of “Saturday Night Live”... “Complicit.”