Ivanka Trump Visits Greenville

Lilly Maple, Staff Writer

On Friday, January 29, Ivanka Trump spoke at the Westin Poinsett in downtown Greenville at the second annual Francis Scott Women in Leadership conference. This event is held by senator Tim Scott, named after his mother. Alongside Scott, Trey Gowdy and Lindsey Graham helped welcome the President’s daughter into Greenville.

In a finely furnished conference room in the hotel, 200 women sat in rows around a stage on which Ivanka Trump and Tim Scott presented the new GOP tax bill-specifically child tax credit.


When introducing Ivanka Trump, Tim Scott described her as a “classy lady” and told the audience that she often gives her father, Donald Trump, great advice. He then went on to rattle off a list of Ivanka’s accomplishments including her 2 bestselling books and running an international clothing business and also says that her affect on the country has been very impressive even in the single year of the Trump administration. He tells the crowd that she has a “strong backbone”.


Throughout Ivanka Trump’s panel of questions, she repeatedly described her goals with the new tax bill and how they will affect families directly. She says that the extra money that families will gain from the tax bill should be donated to charities or given to those in need. While Tim Scott mentioned that the media’s “illuminations” may make it harder to understand the way the tax bill will have real effects on business owners, the panel was kept fairly neutral and did not overtly mention democrats or potential opponents of the tax bill.


Most of the attendees of the panel were middle aged white women in peacoats with blonde highlights. They each seemed to be in agreement with the tax bill, nodding frequently at every repetitive point that Ivanka made, and laughing along with Scott and Trump. As Trump departed from the event, the women fawned over her flawless skin and her poised demeanor, but she was ushered away by security. Although Tim Scott represents a minority, there were noticeably less than 10 minorities of the 200 guests, including press.


While the event itself was fairly uneventful and monotone, there was a small group of protestors on the corner outside of the hotel. These men and women wore pink hats that are a reminder of the women’s march over a year ago, and held signs with statements such as “America needs to lost 239 pounds” (in reference to the recent release of Donald Trump’s physical). Protesters included Lee Turner, who is running for the congress of South Carolina in November 2018, as well as a local Catholic priest.


The outside protest seemed like there may have been a thoughtful meaning behind it, but some of the protestors were aggressive and rude to those passing by or going into the Westin to the event. Fellow CCES news journalist, Michaela McNutt, and I approached the group of protesters in hopes to interview them for CCES news. McNutt and I were immediately confronted by a woman, who did not provide her name, holding an iPhone in our faces and aggressively questioning us. While we did give permission to be interviewed, we were not asked if we consented to being on video and were not notified where the video would go. Her opening line was, “So I’m assuming you two are a couple of young Republicans,” and that “[she] used to dress like [us]”. This comment was obviously referring to our appearance that was akin to the clothing of the women going into the Westin to observe the event. This was delivered like an accusation, and McNutt and I responded by saying we are not registered for either party and that we are at the event to cover it for our school newspaper. After being confronted by this woman about our knowledge of abortion rights as well as other hot-button political topics, McNutt and I continued onto the event. When we exited the panel, the protesters were gone.


In my opinion, there wasn’t much to protest. The event was very neutral and, from an objective point of view, I did not see anything inflammatory or revolutionary in the panel. The purpose of the protest was unclear and the signs were not all related to Ivanka, which made the protest seem arbitrary and not necessary. Furthermore, Ivanka Trump is not the problem, but merely a footnote. If the administration proceeds as it has, she will just be a small detail when we look back at the history of this administration. She is just the face of women in the GOP right now- an easy way for women to feel connected to her and see her as an idol, because she is beautiful and well spoken. Women want to be like her and they want to know her, which is why she is the perfect symbol for the Trump administration to gain the support of more younger women- especially when they tack on the “empowering women” label to her image.

The panel was relatively uneventful and did not raise any serious red flags to either myself or my fellow CCES journalist, Michaela McNutt. Therefore, the protests outside did not seem to serve any true purpose and merely legitimized Ivanka Trump’s “power” to a greater magnitude than it truly is, and should be. Furthermore, it was concerning that Ivanka was described as having so much power in the US government, as well as advising her father, because she is not an elected official. 


*The CCES journalism staff does not take an official position on the ideas expressed in this article, and these opinions may not reflect those of the entire CCES community, administration, or student body.