With Washington at a stand still for the holidays, Ivanka Trump, along with her husband and fellow government employee, Jared Kushner, took a family fishing trip off the Florida coast Tuesday, and posted adorable photos of father and son reeling in a fish.
There’s just one problem. In one of the photos she chose for her collage, there’s a conspicuously placed Confederate flag in the background.
The placement and inclusion of the controversial, racially charged symbol is either a huge misunderstanding and oversight, or, like everything the Trump family broadcasts over social media, a meticulously orchestrated message meant for the eyes and ears of a specific audience: White supremacists.
When events force the administration to confront the scourge of white supremacy, the President and his representatives have proven particularly adept at calibrating their messaging so as not to alienate this demographic that’s proven so critical to his support base.
The confederate flag didn’t get past observers on Twitter, including former government ethics chief, Walter Shaub. He immediately tweeted, “Confederate flag over Jared’s shoulder. Couldn’t find four photos without one? Or is this a dogwhistle?”
Over the years, Ivanka Trump has carefully cultivated an image as a gilded member of the glamorous jet-set, partying it up with the world’s rich and famous in seasonal hot spots around the globe.
Now a wife and a mother – not to mention a senior White House aid – the partying has been dialed back a bit, but the glitz and the glamour are still very much on-brand. She took some heat in the media for a ski trip she took with brother Eric and their spouses and kids to ritzy Aspen, Colorado in March of 2017.
The optics of the trip were one thing. The images of the first family in designer winter wear high atop one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world ran completely counter to the administration’s persistent claims that they’re fighting for the forgotten men and women of America’s working class.
The price tag of the trip to the taxpayer, however, was quite another. According to Newsweek, the Trump kids’ Aspen jaunt cost the government, at least $330,000.
“The Secret Service had to spend nearly $50,000 alone on renting cars, ski gear and even lift tickets while its agents monitored members of the first family in Aspen, Colorado,” according to Newsweek’s investigation.
Ivanka, it appears, got the message with the much more base-friendly optics of this Florida fishing trip. The confederate flag ensures that the people for whom these optics were meant get the message loud and clear. The fact that the deeply offensive photo hasn’t been removed all but confirms this.