It is impolite to boo a person.
So okay: I said it, and you read it, and if we were sitting together in-person we would be nod at each other and acknowledge that being interrupted is annoying at best.
But then, we would roll our eyes and agree that when an audience booed Ivanka Trump at a panel at the Women20 Summit this week, it was magnificent. Even more than that, it was called-for. Because if Ivanka wants to present herself as an extension of President 45’s administration—which she does, especially by defending his policies—then she should expect to receive the ire of those who oppose him.
Which is not a stance that’s been universally embraced. CNN’s Chris Cillizza was one of the first to jump to the First Daughter’s defense (among many on Twitter), reminding readers that the Trump clan has built an empire on sticking together and that Ivanka should not have been expected to call out her dad’s history of mistreating women. And that’s fair: particularly because nobody was expecting her to do that. They were simply expecting not to hear so many lies.
“That is something I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy, long before he came into the presidency, he championed this in the primaries,” she said of the President’s proposal for paid family leave. “He’s been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.”
“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media and that’s been perpetuated,” Ivanka continued, amidst boos and hisses. “But I know from personal experience, and I think 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.”
And, like, no. Nope! No thank you. To start, Donald Trump has recently signed an order that makes it easier for men to sexually harass women at work and get away with it—so shout-out to the fact that he is far from a flag-waver for equality. (Especially since he also recently told The New York Times that former Fox News host—and alleged prolific sexual harasser—Bill O’Reilly was “a good person.”) And that makes sense when you remember that the President’s history of dealing with women is entrenched in scandal. Whether walking in on teen pageant contestants changing or bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy,” the only conviction Trump seems to have is a determination to make women feel as unsafe as humanly possible. Which, for the record, is the opposite of championing anyone (but himself) to thrive.
So what Ivanka was trying to peddle was propaganda. And not just propaganda, but propaganda of the laziest variety. Even someone who isn’t glued to the internet knows that Trump’s policies seek to service only the upper crust of the American pie. The President’s administration has sought to defund Planned Parenthood, introduce Trumpcare™ (which would be a death sentence for thousands), and ban refugees based on their religious affiliations. Ultimately, he’s positioned himself as a leader who gets off on the fragmentation of society who speaks and thinks in tiers and classes, and regularly escapes to a resort on the dollars of his citizens. In no way has he stepped up to champion working families or the women within them. If anything, he’s sought to destroy them all quickly.
Which is why she should be booed. By sitting on that panel and spreading falsehoods used to further Trump’s anti-woman agenda, Ivanka was inserting herself as an extension of the U.S. government. She was a spokesperson, a messenger, and a crusader. With an office in the actual White House (and a presence in most meetings with world leaders), Ivanka isn’t a little girl who can’t believe people don’t love her daddy: she’s a grown-ass woman who’s smart and calculating enough to align herself with the likes of Justin Trudeau (with whom she attended a made-in-Canada Broadway play about diplomacy). She is on Trump’s team, and she’s proud to be on it. And if you’re proud enough to peddle lies under the ignorant assumption that the public will buy them because they’ve been said, you’ve more than earned every hiss and boo that comes your way.