Like Her Father, Ivanka Trump is No Conservative Role Model

Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

With each new presidential administration, the country looks for a female role model among the new women converging upon D.C. This time around, it’s obvious that First Lady, Melania Trump, will play a quieter role than her predecessors.

Both Michelle Obama and Laura Bush were quite vocal during their husband’s administrations. Admittedly, we are only six months into the first year of President Trump’s tenure, but already, it seems Mrs. Trump will have a much more diminished role.

Since that is the case, Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president, has stepped into a decidedly controversial – and unpaid – role of prominence. She meets with leaders, discusses pressing issues, and advises her father.

Like her father, she should not be considered a conservative role model.

A rather glaring issue I have with Ivanka Trump is her continued support and promotion of a paid family leave. Such a policy position is not a conservative idea at all. Ivanka consistently and heartily defends paid family leave because she is passionate about the issue. Worse than that, the Trump administration supports it, and Ivanka has quite obviously been tapped as the sympathetic figure chosen to share it to the masses.

Her op-ed in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week tried hard to sell paid family leave as an investment, rather than what it is – an entitlement.

“The policy outlined in the administration’s recent budget proposal emphasizes the need for mothers and fathers to have access to paid leave to encourage both parents to share parenting responsibilities and to strive toward minimizing hiring biases,” she wrote, arguing that paid family leave will “have an especially positive effect for women” and will be critical in “solving the persistent gender and minority pay gap that exists in part because of prolonged periods away from the workforce and challenges with re-entry.”

The provision in the White House’s proposed budget, which was released in late May, allocates six weeks for new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents. The proposal allows states to establish their own family leave programs paid for by reforms to the unemployment insurance system.
But the policy faces an uphill battle in Congress. Conservatives also say the program is an entitlement, an argument Trump addressed in her letter.
“We agree wholeheartedly that government benefits should not be a substitute for private-sector investment. We see a national paid-leave benefit as the necessary floor from which private sector companies and state governments can build,” she wrote in the Journal.

Excuse me? Paid family leave will help solve the “persistent gender and minority pay gap” which exists because of “prolonged periods away from the workforce”? So, personal, educational, and family-related choices might affect lifetime earnings? That’s simply groundbreaking.

Ivanka’s attempted explanation as to why paid leave is necessary manages to refute the long-held belief that the wage gap is purely sexist by nature. Prolonged periods away from employment, because of responsibilities in the home and with family, are by definition personal choices. These choices should not be subsidized by the government with a national paid-leave benefit. Furthermore, these individual choices should not be seen as part of a larger attempt at patriarchal domination in the the job area, or some such nonsense. That last one is a common liberal talking point.

What Ivanka Trump and her father’s administration are trying to establish is that paid family leave is necessary to restore some sort of idealistic balance to the landscape of American families. There’s nothing wrong with providing common sense resources to millions in our country or directing them to places where support can be found. However, paid family leave is an entitlement, not an investment, though Ivanka claims otherwise. The path of state-funded leave is not one we should be traveling down.

Ivanka Trump’s passionate defense of paid family leave not only represents her own personal viewpoint, but also the position held by her father’s administration.

Neither is based in conservatism.