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The Schmooze

Ivanka Trump’s Memoir Reeks of Privilege

Ivanka Trump’s been coming even more into the harsh glare of the spotlight now that her father is headed to the Oval Office. Her personal brand has taken a hit, and now her 2009 memoir “The Trump Card” is attracting negative attention from The New Yorker.

Jia Tolentino writes in the magazine that Trump’s attempt at a self-help book contains an inherent contradiction — while she constantly asserts that everyone has the same chance to succeed, she also is forced to acknowledge that she had a leg up, getting started in business through her father’s fortune and connections.

“In business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you,” she writes in the memoir, but then adds, “Yes, I’ve had the great good fortune to be born into a life of wealth and privilege, with a name to match… Yes, I’ve had every opportunity, every advantage. And yes, I’ve chosen to build my career on a foundation built by my father and grandfather.” But Ivanka Trump somewhow protests, she hasn’t gotten her fortune “by any kind of birthright or foregone conclusion.”

There are other fun tidbits in the book that Tolentino recounts. At one point in the book, Ivanka Trump complains about the fact that she couldn’t sell lemonade because she and her brothers didn’t live in a normal home, but rather in a palatial estate in Connecticut and Trump Tower. “We had no such advantages,” she gripes, recalling that she and her siblings eventually coerced the hired help to buy the lemonade, who “dug deep for their spare change.”

Still, she insists, she and her brothers didn’t attain their positions in their father’s company “by any kind of birthright or foregone conclusion.”

She also praises her father’s gamesmanship as a businessman, recalling that he impressed her with his ability to calm a crowd and get his money’s worth out of others. “You have to be able to look the other guy in the eye and know that there is value in the deal on the other end, too — unless, of course, you’re a one time seller and just going for the gold,” she wrote.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon




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