Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire & Fury, portrays a Trump campaign and administration populated by thirsty idiots and headed by a doddering narcissist. There are enough juicy details in it to fuel several hyperactive news cycles. (Even if it’s not all true—which it might not be—it’s fun to watch everybody fight!)
But one particular detail was particularly interesting.
In the book, Wolff claims that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have an “earnest deal” between them, that if either of them runs for president, it will be Ivanka—making Ivanka the first female president, not Hillary Clinton.
As though that pair were a beloved power couple, a political Beyonce and Jay-Z. As though they were in a mental footrace, their expertise in shady business dealings and shoe marketing making them neck-and-neck frontrunners for future leader of the free world.
It’s hard to imagine somebody as inexperienced and ineffective as Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump having the audacity to believe they’d be good Presidents. And Wolff’s book should be taken with a salt lick’s worth of salt. But once I overcame those two roadblocks, it wasn’t hard to imagine how the first year of an Ivanka Trump presidency might look.
The inauguration address (and all speeches, but mostly the inaugural address) would be delivered in the same tone and inflection as the ad voiceover that explains the possible side effects of a sexual dysfunction drug to daytime television audiences. Her smile would bloom and wilt robotocally, suddenly, as though President Ivanka’s mood were controlled by an oversensitive dimmer switch.
Since being appointed White House advisor by her father, Ivanka has thrown her ethics into question by continuing to hawk the eponymous clothing line from which she was supposed to have divested. Emboldened by her election, President Ivanka would double down. Her first act as President would be to appoint the most important role in the administration—Instagram monitizer. The Presidential Instagram monitizer would be charged with making sure that every item of clothing pictured in every photo posted to the President’s account was available for purchase through the official presidential store.
The White House would be repainted a light sickly beige. Every state dinner centerpiece will look like a terrestrial Cthulhu.
As Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, President Ivanka would make sure to learn what the branches of the armed forces were. And unlike her father, who spent more than 90 days on his own golf courses during his first year in office, Ivanka would not spend her weekends golfing. She would spend them skiing.
Ivanka’s tendency to misuse words—basic ones, like “otherwise”—would stimulate the presidential malapropisms industry, latent since George W. Bush left office in 2009. President Donald Trump repeats things; Ivanka misuses them. Thousands of novelty desk calendar designers would go back to work putting together Learn One Vocabulary Word The President Uses Incorrectly Per Day calendars, which would trend across the country, uniting an otherwise divided populace.
President Ivanka Trump would undoubtedly have an ambitious policy agenda for her first year, but before she got to any of it, she’d have a thick stack of pardons to get through. Who can say who will get caught up in the Mueller probe by the time it’s over? Maybe she’ll have a brother to pardon, maybe a dad. Maybe her husband will go to jail, just like his dad. The family name, the family business. Jail, Jr.
Maybe she’ll pardon Paul Manafort, for the normal reasons the scion of a family that has set up several businesses conducive to money laundering would release a man who has made millions cozying up to kleptocrats.
Throughout all of it, a dogged PR machine would hum in the West Wing of the White House, delivering unsweetened whipped-cream answers to women’s magazines and getting cross with follow up questions. Jared Kushner, provided he isn’t on permanent sabbatical in a country without an extradition treaty with the U.S., will often appear in public in pale polo shirts and shorts that are both too short and too long. The couple’s children, in their late teens and early twenties by then, will make teenager faces in the family photo-ops, like the Obama girls used to make.
Over the course of her first year, President Ivanka’s tweets and speech will devolve into magnetic poetry made from Successories posters. “Keep excellence striving onward!” “Reach for the potential!” “Unmask the America you wish to see in the mirror!”
In 2017, the future first female president was famously photographed at her father’s Oval Office desk flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump. As a callback, when she’s the president she’ll have her assistant write an Instagram caption beneath a photo of Ivanka Trump sitting alone at the same desk: “Women deserve a seat at the table.” There will be no other women besides Ivanka Trump at the table.
As she always is and will be, Ivanka Trump will be wearing clothing that was manufactured by one of her brand’s factories, in Bangladesh, by mostly women, under suboptimal conditions. All of the pieces will be copies of pieces that other designers have made, but just different enough to avoid lawsuits. She will bear the same last name of an unrepentant chauvinist whose words and actions she never disavowed.
The calendar year will end with a beige fireworks display.