Not Everyone Thinks Dan Goldstein Was Wrong To Confront Ivanka Trump on JetBlue Flight

The Brooklyn lawyer who confronted soon-to-be first daughter Ivanka Trump has plenty of pro-Donald Trump enemies online now — but he also has defenders.

“Ivanka is no innocent bystander,” Aaron Chandler, a member of a health care reform advocacy group, wrote on Facebook. “She’s now the leader—or co-leader—of the Trump businesses, and in that role, she’s central to, and going along with, Trump’s plan to use the Presidency to monetarily enrich himself and his family.”

“This is exactly how to protest,” Mike Frederickson, a prominent gay advocate, posted online.

Daniel Goldstein, a Jewish lawyer from Brooklyn, confronted Trump as he boarded a plane at John F. Kennedy Airport on Thursday morning. According to TMZ, Goldstein told the future first daughter, “Your father is ruining the country.”

Goldstein’s husband, Matthew Lasner, posted an image of the interaction to Twitter. The two Brooklyn men, along with their child, were escorted off the plan and put on another flight. Lasner shut down all social media, where supporters of Donald Trump mounted a “troll storm” against the two men. Donald Trump’s own spokesman, Sean Spicer, told Fox News: “To do that to a woman who was on there with her children, I don’t care what your political background is or what your thoughts are, that’s not the way we as Americans need to act.”

But others saw his interaction with Trump as a valid protest against Donald Trump’s incoming presidency and Ivanka Trump’s involvement in her father’s business.

“Ivanka Trump is not only a mother, a wife, and a soon-to-be first daughter,” Steven Petrow wrote in a Washington Post article about the ordeal. “She’s also one of father Donald Trump’s closest advisers and an official member of the president-elect’s transition team.”

She and her husband, Jared Kushner, are “now public figures with official roles; they must expect to answer for, and be the target of, those who disagree with Donald Trump’s policies,” Petrow wrote.

But, Petrow allowed, protest should be more “focused” than this.

Another critic, Baruch Herzfeld, founder of the Zenolive radio station, boasted on Facebook that he also accosted the Trump family when he saw them out in public last year in Brooklyn.

“I yelled at Jared and Ivanka in a Williamsburg bar. He was very gracious, by the way, when I yelled at him. He said, ‘Thank you’ then I called him a hypocrite for eating food prepared by, I’m assuming, undocumented Mexicans,” Herzfeld wrote.

By Friday afternoon, neither Trump nor the two Brooklyn men had made any public statements. The story was featured in New York City tabloids. The New York Post front page said, “Dems are attacking Trump’s kids”; the New York Daily News called Goldstein a “plane idiot.”

But the liberal news site ThinkProgress criticized how the fiasco played out online and in the press.

“The narrative of the account was set by TMZ, which has a friendly relationships with the Trumps,” Esther Yu Hsi Lee wrote. TMZ’s “coverage set the tone for how other tabloid and media outlets covered the incident.”

Contact Sam or follow him on Twitter, @skestenbaum


Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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Not Everyone Thinks Dan Goldstein Was Wrong To Confront Ivanka Trump on JetBlue Flight

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