Ivanka Trump, first daughter and advisor to the president, referred to the extremists who stormed the Capitol building as “American patriots” in a tweet. She deleted the tweet after she was asked what she meant when she called a raging mob “patriots.”
“American Patriots,” she tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, seeming to address the pro-Trump hoard, some of whom were armed, “Any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.”
CNN correspondent Kate Bennett then tagged Trump on Twitter, wanting to know if she did in fact mean to suggest that the mob who forced the House and Senate into lockdown and—in at least one case—carried a confederate flag across the premises was made up of “patriots.” Trump responded, “No. Peaceful protest is patriotic. Violence is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.” She then deleted the initial tweet.
But the first daughter’s statement and clarification follows a pattern we’ve come to expect from her—using gentle, passive, persuasive language to encourage hateful behavior. She used the language of a loving daughter to sanction her father’s racism and to soften the sexual assault and harassment allegations against him. She used the language of feminism to defend her work for an administration that sought to limit reproductive freedom and that experts have said made life worse for survivors of human trafficking. She used the language of freedom and the “American dream” to justify opposing COVID-safety regulations. She used misleading language about “illegally cast votes” to sow doubt about her father’s loss.
This time, she slipped up—in an effort to use language to decorate mob violence, she described the people who have forced the United States Congress and their staff to shelter in place as “patriots.”
She took it back. But the insurrectionists do seem to feel entitled to call themselves “patriots,” claiming the same faux-patriotic motivation as the 14 Republican senators and over 100 members of the House who already began to object to today’s Electoral College certification at the president’s suggestion, despite zero evidence that the election results are inaccurate. Those Republicans were attempting to undo the democratic election by objecting verbally. The mob wanted to do it by taking physical control. But both groups working to do the ultimate anti-patriotic act—undermining democracy.
Every time Ivanka Trump gives a refined, softened gloss to violence and anti-democratic sentiment, she forms an eerie, hypnotic chorus with her father’s more direct message. This time is no exception—in a video posted to Twitter, the president once again falsely called the election “stolen” and “fraudulent.” After calling for “peace” and “law and order,” he added, “We love you, you’re very special.”
That, ultimately, is Ivanka Trump’s message too—a person who ignores rational fact, blindly serves Donald Trump, and desecrates democratic principles is a special person, a true American, a patriot. She loves you. You’re very special.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour.
Ivanka Trump Deletes Message Calling Armed Mob ‘American Patriots’ The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Glamour.