Ivanka Trump joins Kim Kardashian in pushing for criminal justice reform
There’s no denying Ivanka Trump’s image has been badly battered by her father’s chaotic presidency, which culminated in the deadly January 6 Capitol insurrection.
But the former First Daughter and White House adviser is reportedly concocting a new plan to turn things around – and potentially help her achieve her own lofty political ambitions at the same time.
According to a recent report by Axios, the 39-year-old’s “re-emergence plan” is centred on criminal justice reform – a cause already championed by a string of high-profile figures including Kim Kardashian, Jay Z and Kevin Hart.
Rumours have long been swirling that the mother-of-three was planning to forge a career in politics, including claims she was considering challenging Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio in 2022, and even running for president as early as 2024.
Those rumours went into overdrive after Ms Trump purchased a multimillion-dollar property in the state with husband Jared Kushner recently.
And while she has not yet confirmed the speculation, an insider told Axios that aligning her personal brand with criminal justice reform was a clever move given it was a popular cause which was not tied to any particular political party.
“It would not be surprising if it’s among the causes she champions in her next chapter,” a source told the publication.
IVANKA 'VERY MUCH INVOLVED'
Ms Trump has already been laying the groundwork, by helping to secure more than 140 pardons and commutations for those who had been victims of injustice within the system as well as for a number of her family’s associates.
While the mass pardons in the dying days of the Trump administration made headlines across the world, at the time it was not widely known just how involved Ms Trump had been.
According to Axios, she had been working with a number of non-government organisations including Americans for Prosperity and #cut50 which aims to reduce America’s prison population, and advocating on behalf of many individuals, many who had received lengthy prison terms for nonviolent drug offences.
Americans for Prosperity chairman Mark Holden told the publication Ivanka was “very much involved in the criminal justice issues for a long time” and that it would be “great” if she were to continue.
However, according to Axios, the work wasn’t done purely for humanitarian reasons, with Ms Trump “now plotting her political re-emergence by highlighting the virtues of some of the clemency grants”.
That “calculated strategy” was also the subject of a scathing analysis by The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi, who wrote that Ivanka “apparently plans to use the platform of criminal justice reform to rehabilitate her image and re-emerge into public life”.
“It gives her a way of worming herself back into liberals’ good books without alienating conservatives. It also doesn’t hurt that criminal justice reform has become rather glamorous,” she wrote, adding that as the Trump Organisation was facing a string of legal issues, there may also be another self-serving layer in Ivanka Trump’s latest pet project.
So, can it actually work?
Public relations expert Nicole Reaney told news.com.au the move could easily pay dividends for Ms Trump in the wake of the Washington riots.
She explained that aligning herself with such a worthwhile cause could help separate her from her father’s controversial legacy, and would also help to keep her name under the spotlight and in the news cycle.
“Catapulting her profile into criminal justice reform is an intelligent move to raise her profile as interest around her family still bubbles away,” she said.
“Advocating a cause that draws divisive parties together helps to build a favourable image in a wider community group.
“[It’s a] particularly savvy move, off the back of her father’s contentious personality.”
IVANKA FOR PRESIDENT
Late last year, Australian National University marketing lecturer Andrew Hughes told news.com.au Ms Trump’s words and actions following her father’s election defeat clearly showed she was angling for a political future.
And back then, he also predicted what her next moves could be as she worked towards that goal, suggesting she might spend the time before a hypothetical presidential nomination taking on high-profile charity work with selected, on-brand organisations as well as getting involved with think tanks to improve her image when it comes to public affairs and policy.
Ms Trump’s criminal justice work could be seen as a bridge between the two, given it has both a humanitarian and legal angle, and it proves she could one day be more of a political threat than many give her credit for.
“She is probably the best of the Trumps to make a run in future – she’s young and she’s got a cutting-edge image the Republicans would like to portray,” Mr Hughes said in November, adding her gender, social media savvy and celebrity status would give her a significant edge.
It was a sentiment echoed by US political commentator and author Spencer Critchley, who also told news.com.au Ivanka was more likely than her brothers to succeed in politics.
“Ivanka is more polished. Her reputation is built on marketing … it’s really all just a look and an attitude,” he said.
“In terms of who is the biggest threat, I would say Ivanka because she is better at faking charm and she gets cut way more slack than she deserves because she is elegantly presented and she comes across as reasonable.”
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