“I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something,” Ivanka Trump told Fox News’ Steve Hilton in an interview about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal proposal earlier this week. “I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get.” (In addition to offering an outline on how to achieve net-zero emissions in the next decade, the Green New Deal proposal proposes creating millions of new jobs and offering a guaranteed federal job at a livable wage; one recent poll found 71 percent of Americans supported a hike in the federal minimum wage. But OK, Ivanka.)
It’s a rich observation from a woman who has quite literally been given not just “something” but much, much more wealth and privilege than most Americans will ever see. On Fox, Trump went on: “I think that this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where there’s the potential for upward mobility.”
It was a comical, if tragic picture: Trump after all has a guaranteed job (working for her father’s real estate empire and in his White House) and a rather maximum wage (she and her husband Jared Kushner have made at least $82 million in outside income as they serve in the White House). What qualifies her to speculate about what Americans in desperate financial situations, with which she has zero experience, do and do not want?
I know just how rose-colored her vision must be. Early in my own career, I had an obvious leg up. My mother is a famous writer, and so when I decided to write too, I began miles ahead of the usual starting line. I sold my first novel at 19 for way more than I would have if my mother weren’t Erica Jong. I knew better than to believe that talent alone got me to where I am now. Nepotism is deeply unfair, and anyone who says otherwise is blinded by their own delusions.