From the moment Ivanka Trump strode to the podium at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland to introduce her father, she’s held a special place in his plan and in American politics. Wearing a simple pink dress from her now-defunct fashion line, a congenial addition to the fiery lineup of Trump supporters calling for his opponent to be locked up, she delivered a promise: Donald Trump would come to the Oval Office with an intention to treat women with the respect and compassion they deserved.
The address got great reception. Ivanka’s stock went up, and she was widely perceived as someone who could tailor her father’s bluster into a message that younger women, moderates and independents could get behind.
And it seemed to work: her dad went on to defeat Hillary Clinton with considerable support from white female voters.
That was then. Now, just days remain in one of the most wildly contentious midterm elections in modern history. Women, as candidates and voters, have been squarely center stage. You’d expect Ivanka Trump—the figure who said her priority as the daughter of a would-be president (and later, his advisor) would be women—to be front and center. But, largely, she’s been absent from the scene.
While her father, brothers, and much of the political class keep up a breakneck campaign-trail pace, Ivanka seems to be sticking to her day job. A spokesperson for the 36-year-old didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but she, along with other women of the White House, will reportedly be hitting the trail for certain candidates in the big run-up to November 6—a day that could end up saying a lot about how Americans feel about not just the people on the ballot, but the president and his party.
You’d expect Ivanka—the figure who said her priority as the daughter of the president would be women—to be front and center. But, largely, she’s been absent.
It’s not that she hasn’t been seen at all. Over the summer, she took a break from her work promoting women’s equal pay and STEM education issues to attend a GOP fundraiser with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in Fresno, California. The event drew protesters who figured out where it was being held, despite reported attempts to keep the location quiet. But watchers of this midterm cycle’s campaign trail don’t think it would hurt to see more of her.
Amy Tarkanian, a former Nevada Republican Party chairwoman whose husband, Danny, is running for Congress, says she would love to see Trump publicly pitching GOP candidates: “Oh, I think she would be incredibly helpful,” she told Glamour in a phone conversation. “I think she’s the voice that most women never thought they had.”
While her father and brothers have their own communication styles and have put them to use out on the trail, the First Daughter is “able to take a stand with grace and elegance, and still exude this enormous amount of power, also mixed in with femininity,” Tarkanian said. “I think a lot of people on either side of the aisle [seem] to view her as a voice of reason, which I think is extremely powerful in this environment where you’ve got [people going] far to the right, far to the left, and toxicity all wrapped into one giant ball.”
Although she thinks an Ivanka arena-style appearance has the potential to draw “thousands,” Tarkanian—who jokingly calls herself a “taxi mom” for all the time she spends chauffeuring her own kids around—isn’t willing to lay into the presidential scion for not being on the trail 24/7. If Ivanka Trump doesn’t go into full barnstorming mode, “I don’t think it’s ‘disappointing.’ I think people realize she’s a mom, she’s a wife, she’s a daughter. She’s in a role that I don’t believe [any] other first daughter’s ever had,” she says.
“[Trump’s] got so many roles. There’s no way—I mean, I’m a mom of four and a wife and a daughter, and I feel like I need an assistant with an assistant with an assistant. So I understand completely, and I think most women would who are in this role of the parent in a middle class family trying to get everyone from Point A to Point B.”
Whether the First Daughter’s presence would still draw ire from those who criticize her for being quiet about other high-profile administration fumbles is unclear. As both daughter and aide to her father—and one whose husband, Jared Kushner, is also a top White House advisor—she’s also been called out for not being vocal enough in opposing administration policies that would seem to run counter to her message of caring for women and children. High on that list: Opposing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Ivanka eventually described the separations as a “low point” and publicly said she opposed them (while still calling immigration a complex issue).
The advisor to the president also got name-checked during the divisive confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: A-listers demanded she live up to her self-proclaimed feminism by pushing for an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against the judge. (Kavanaugh denied the claims; after a briefly renewed FBI background check, he ultimately got confirmed in a close Senate vote.)
Elizabeth Renda, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, told Glamour via email that “whether she shows her face on the campaign trail or not, Americans won’t forget Ivanka Trump’s complicity in the Trump administration’s dangerous rhetoric and harmful policies, which consistently hurt working and middle-class families.”
But ultimately, says Sarah Chamberlain of the non-profit Republican Main Street Partnership, it’s up to the candidates to make their own sales to voters.It’s been great to have Ivanka bring some attention to officials’ work and “highlighting key policies and initiatives that we’ve championed,” Chamberlain said, but “our members are focusing on their own major accomplishments and wins.”
Celeste Katz is senior political reporter for Glamour. Send news tips, questions, and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.In a pivotal election year, Glamour is keeping track of the historic number of women running (and voting) in the midterm elections. For more on our latest midterm coverage, visit www.glamour.com/midterms.