At the conclusion of today’s impeachment hearings, the First Daughter Ivanka Trump took to Twitter to defend her father by posting a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, a nineteenth-century French diplomat who wrote a book entitled Democracy in America.
The quote attempts to link a “decline of public morals,” presumably in the Democratic Party, with an “abuse of the power of impeachment” to “crush their political adversaries.”
“A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 21, 2019
The problem — and of course there’s a problem — is that this isn’t what Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his book. As the Washington Post notes, ”
The first daughter weighed in on her father’s impeachment Thursday evening with a quote from 19th century French historian Alexis de Tocqueville warning that impeachment could be used politically… that quote is a vague paraphrase of Tocqueville used by a judge in 1889 to defend President Andrew Johnson who opposed rights for freed slaves after the Civil War and was later impeached.”
The New York Times’s Jamelle Bouie found the actual de Tocqueville and discovered a very different pronouncement:
here’s how it looks in my copy pic.twitter.com/aH36MYUjQL
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) November 21, 2019
The quote is in fact from an 1889 book paraphrasing what de Tocqueville wrote…
Apparently, a recent WSJ op-Ed quoted the same text, with the same attribution: https://t.co/BlwfccvR3J
— Melissa Bender (@mbenderphoto) November 21, 2019
…that, in turn, was quoted by some Wall Street Journal toadies in an op-ed complaining about how unjust the impeachment proceedings are, which was probably sent to Ivanka by one of her staff and then fired off into the Twitterverse.
A decline of public morals in the political leadership of this country has indeed led us to this point, but the only one abusing his power here is the President — and we will see justice done.
Social media immediately exploded in mockery at Ivanka’s attempt to be a cool quoteposter:
Ivanka Trump being a passive-aggressive poster of out-of-context quotes from books she hasn't read is the most basic-ass shit of all time. If only we could harness the power of the perfect vacuum in the place her self-awareness should be. We could fly to Mars.
— Erin The Gordon Problem Ryan (@morninggloria) November 21, 2019
reading this gave me eye wiggles like when you do too much molly https://t.co/flkaCM6nr8
— ginger ale guy (@aniceburrito) November 21, 2019
Your father is a rapist and criminal
— Tiberius Gracchus (@SemproniusGrac) November 21, 2019
Lady, you are living proof that even the devil can quote Scripture for his own purposes. smh
— Mistress Matisse (@mistressmatisse) November 21, 2019
tl;dr “let them eat cake”
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) November 21, 2019
Sub-tweeting your old man, eh? Well-played! But you know perfectly well he's too oblivious to get it.
— Russ Burgos (@Russ_Burgos) November 21, 2019
Decline of public morals in United States is marked by the abuse of power of the President extorting foreign countries by withholding necessary military aid in exchange for undermining our election & corrupt business deals. And Republican Party’s complete obstruction of justice.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) November 21, 2019
Lol did you just google “impeachment quotes”
— Orli Matlow (@HireMeImFunny) November 21, 2019