There are many ways to put off packing for a big move. Procrastination comes in various forms—napping, TV watching, deciding it’s time to vacuum even though that is usually your most hated chore. Ivanka Trump, who has little more than a month to leave Washington, D.C. after her father’s defeat, appears to be stalling by taking late-night walks around the city's monuments.
During her stroll on Monday, Ivanka posted a wild-eyed selfie in front of the Washington Monument. What could the sight of Ivanka, doe-eyed with a messy bun, possibly mean? And why does it look so unhinged? Along with posing in front of the obelisk, she snapped pictures of the Lincoln Memorial.
Since the election, Ivanka Trump has turned to a type of spaghetti-on-the-wall social media strategy. She’s throwing up ideas and seeing what sticks. Sometimes she’s the MAGA mama bear, posting photos of her khaki-clad children. Sometimes she pretends it’s 2010 again, and she and Jared Kushner are but humble heirs of shadowy family fortunes, posing in front of a Christmas tree, all smiles. She has also gone on the offensive, ranting about “illegally cast votes” and “free and fair elections.”
Ivanka ominously captioned her latest post with only three American flag emojis. Is she feeling nostalgic for her time in the capital and taking in the sights before absconding to her $30 million “Billionaire Bunker” in Florida? Or is it something more sinister, a coded signaling to her fanbase that no matter where she moves, she isn’t going anywhere at all?
Donald Trump loves monuments—he’s got an obsession with political pageantry, and seems to require at least a dozen or so American flags around him at all times. Ivanka is her father’s daughter. Earlier in the day, she shared an “amazing” photo of her father during his speech at Mt. Rushmore in July, where his head appeared superimposed on the empty space of the Black Hills.
In true tourist form, history and context don’t really matter to Ivanka. She just wants a backdrop. The Black Hills are nothing but a pretty picture, not a chance to reckon with the fact that her country’s history is built off of stealing land from Indigenous people. The Lincoln Memorial is but a pile of marble to pose in front of, not a sacred space for protesters and activists from the Civil Rights movement to today.
Ivanka’s Washington Monument selfie resembles so many dating app profile pictures where people try to make “I travel, sometimes,” a defining personality trait. It is devoid of self-reflection.
With her photo, Ivanka projects ownership of the memorial, which also looks eerily empty—hers is the only visible face. It is megalomania costumed as patriotism, as if pressing three flag emojis with your thumb is the equivalent of storming the beaches at Normandy.
As Ivanka mulls her next move, she’ll no doubt put much of it online. She has joined Parler, the conservative-friendly social networking site known as a kind of alt-right Twitter. (So far, Ivanka’s content has been boring; she mainly uses it as another forum for her tweets.)
But Instagram remains her real home, and Ivanka is not resigned to go quietly. She might not exactly be removed from the White House kicking and screaming, but she will be angling and posing all the way.