Swan on a lake: Ivanka Trump’s poise at trial differs from family but playbook is the same | Ivanka Trump
When Ivanka Trump took the stand at her father’s New York fraud trial on Wednesday, it appeared she was following the advice she gave to readers in her 2009 book The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life. “Perception is more important than reality,” Trump wrote. “It is more important than if it is in fact true.”
In stark contrast to her father’s often angry performance on the stand just two days earlier, Ivanka Trump was calm and amiable. Her brothers, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, also visibly lost patience on the stand, speaking quickly and sternly when answering some questions and making sarcastic comments at others. The eldest Trump daughter maintained her poise throughout. She delivered her testimony like a swan gliding across a lake. But beneath the surface, she was furiously paddling.
Despite the control shown during her testimony, Ivanka Trump was ultimately utilizing the same Trump playbook her family has used throughout this trial: deny any memory of working with the financial statements at the center of the case and emphasize the time that has passed since the deals were made.
“I generally understand that there was a personal guarantee condition of the loan,” Ivanka Trump said when asked about whether she knew the financial statements at the center of the case were used to guarantee a loan used to purchase the Old Post Office building in Washington DC. “And a series of requirements that were fulfilled by the team in accordance to the terms.”
Her siblings and father had given similar answers, though phrased differently.
“I rely on the accounting office,” Eric Trump said about the statements. “I relied on a great legal department.”
Trump himself kept on referring to his “highly paid accounting firm” that handled the statements.
Like her siblings, Ivanka Trump often said she did not recall multiple emails and statements that were used as evidence, many of which attested strongly to the attorney general’s case.
When obtaining financing for the Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Ivanka Trump had responded to a loan agreement with Deutsche Bank with: “It doesn’t get better than this let’s discuss asap.” Four minutes later, a lawyer for the Trump Organization responded with concerns over the agreements, specifically a covenant that Trump must maintain a net worth of $3bn, which “would be a problem”. Ivanka Trump then suggested that they negotiate the covenant to $2bn.
“I don’t recall,” Ivanka Trump answered when prosecutor Louis Solomon asked her about the exchange.
General Services Agency, an agency in the federal government, had documented concerns with Trump’s statement of financial conditions for not following accounting principles when the Trump Organization was trying to purchase the Old Post Office Building in Washington DC. Documentation showed Ivanka Trump attended a meeting where the purchase, including the “deficiencies” the agency saw in the Trump Organization’s proposal, would be discussed.
Again, memories of these meetings had been lost to her.
“We spent many years working on the response to the request for a proposal, many, many emails, many conversations. I don’t have a recollection sitting here over a decade later,” Ivanka Trump said.
What she never lost were her manners. Sitting in the same seat where her red-faced father called the case a “witch-hunt”, Ivanka Trump thanked the court officers as they handed her documented evidence. She answered slowly, quietly. “I’m sorry,” Trump said when the judge asked her to sit closer to the microphone. “It’s OK,” the judge responded.
Trump appeared wistful when prosecutors first brought up the 2012 Trump Organization deal to purchase the Doral golf course in Miami.
“I was in the ninth month of pregnancy,” Trump recalled with a smile, saying that it was 12 years ago when her daughter was born.
The moment provided an insight into how Ivanka Trump is positioning herself in her post-White House days. The high-powered daughter of a real estate tycoon who became a dutiful adviser to the president, she has distanced herself from her father recently.
When she announced she would not be a part of her father’s 2024 presidential campaign, she said: “I love my father very much. This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics.”
Once a mainstay of New York’s elite socialite scene, which leans Democratic, Ivanka Trump has been shunned by her peers in recent years for her involvement in her father’s political career. But the tides could be changing. Last month, Kim Kardashiana picture of herself with Ivanka Trump at her birthday party in Beverly Hills, the first time in years an A-list celebrity had acknowledged friendship with Trump.
But as much as her father’s political brand has been a hit to her personal brand, Ivanka Trump appeared very much to be her father’s daughter on the witness stand, especially as the day went on. In cross-examination, when Trump’s team was trying to emphasize that Deutsche Bank actively sought out a relationship with the Trump family, Ivanka Trump proudly talked about her family’s properties, using words like “iconic” and “beautiful” – all words straight out of her father’s lexicon.
“It was a historically significant building, a beautiful building,” Ivanka Trump said of the Old Post Office building. The former president himself, two days earlier, similarly called his properties “beautiful”.
“Witch-hunt”, “political hack”, “election interference”, “a disgrace” – she left those phrases to her father.
Unlike the members of her family, who gave lengthy statements to the press once they left the courtroom, Ivanka Trump quietly left the courthouse at the end of the day, looking past the crowd of reporters who shouted her name.
Ivanka Trump is the last witness for the attorney general’s office. The trial continues with the defense’s witnesses.