America’s electoral process can be so complex that it trips up even some of the most capable and best-educated in the land.
Take Ivanka Trump. It was revealed during a television interview with the Trump family this week that Trump’s daughter had failed to register to vote in the New York primary – a contest her father badly needs to win after a testing fortnight on the campaign trail.
She explained to CNN that independent voters – as she was then categorised – were required to register for the New York poll a year ahead of the actual vote, and she’d only realised it a week after the deadline had passed.
Ivanka has generally been viewed as an asset to her father’s campaign – thanks to being a successful, articulate woman with a calm and collected manner that offsets some of her father’s wilder statements.
Even in China – a country that has been on the receiving end of some of candidate Trump’s most barbed language (see WiC318) – she has been praised by the Global Times as “a lovely daughter”.
But her China connections may have backfired last week, when it emerged that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission had recalled goods made in China for her fashion brand, the Ivanka Trump Collection. The 20,000 rayon scarves posed a “burn risk”, the watchdog found, and failed to meet flammability standards.
The wider fallout from the recall was the hint of hypocrisy surrounding the news. Throughout his run for the Republican nomination Donald Trump has made trade a key issue, criticising China for stealing US manufacturing jobs. Making the political case for a ‘made in America’ economy is tougher when your own daughter is signing contracts with garment manufacturers in a country that Trump accused of “the single biggest theft in the history of the world” (with the US the victim).
News of Ivanka’s sourcing policy also turned the spotlight back on some of her father’s branded products. CNN reminded its viewers that the candidate admitted last year that his Donald Trump brand ties are also made in China rather than in the US, with Trump stating at the time that “it’s very hard to have apparel made in this country”.
If elected, Trump says he will slap import taxes of as much as 45% on goods like clothing from China and Mexico.
Meanwhile Ivanka seems to have bounced back quickly from the scarf debacle, looking poised during the CNN town hall on Wednesday that featuried the Trump brood. She robustly defended her father’s attitudes towards women – an areas where he’s come in for criticism in recent weeks. She said his true views were evident in how he had raised herself and her sister, Tiffany. Their father, Ivanka said, gave her the message that she had “the potential to accomplish exactly what her brothers could” adding “he believes in inspiring women, empowering women”.
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