Let This Bit of Gossip Haunt Ivanka as She Claws Back to Manhattan Life

A former best friend reveals the perfect childhood memory to follow her gallery hopping plans.

Ivanka in 2007.David Gard/AP

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As her father clings to the remnants of a sad coup, Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner are apparently over their West Wing life, with the soon-to-be-former first daughter reportedly busy laying the groundwork for a return to Manhattan’s ultrawealthy art scene. While some predict a difficult transition back into New York high society, as one PR executive recently told the New Republic, complete pariah life for them appears unlikely: “Recent history has taught me that’ll only happen if they go broke.”

But if their ghoulishness within the Trump administration won’t make a difference in their social standing, perhaps a reliable tell-all, chock full of ugly details revealed by a former best friend, will. That’s what we have from Lysandra Ohrstrom in Vanity Fair today, in an essay filled with gossipy anecdotes extending from their days together at the elite all-girls’ school Chapin to their partying when they were in their early 20s. There was the time young Ivanka trashed a necklace that had Arabic writing—“It just screams, ‘terrorist,'” she allegedly said. Then there was Ivanka’s literary criticism of Richard Russo’s Empire Falls. “Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?” Not much is surprising until you reach this:

One of the earliest memories I have of Ivanka from before we were friends is when she blamed a fart on a classmate. Some time later, she goaded me and a few other girls into flashing our breasts out the window of our classroom in what has since been labelled the “flashing the hot dog man” incident in Chapin lore. Ivanka had basically been the ringleader, but she pleaded her innocence to the headmistress and got off scot-free. The rest of us were suspended.

Ivanka concealing a fart? At once petty and telling (here we see young Ivanka throwing people under the bus to preserve her image), this new revelation offers, for me, a moment of true joy. I can’t think of a better one with which to follow her efforts to rebrand back to Manhattan.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

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