Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump. Photo / AP
Having once enjoyed the best of New York High Society, Ivanka Trump no doubt expected she’d slot right back into the city’s social scene when her father’s administration came to an end.
In April last year, an extensive profile of the 39-year-old – who has served as one of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers over the past four years – in The Atlantic said the first daughter “believes this won’t harm her in the long term”.
“She is intent on returning to New York when her time in the White House is over,” reporter Elaina Plott wrote, after speaking with a number of Ms Trump’s close friends.
“Invitations to the Met Gala, dinners with girlfriends at Italian restaurants, charity events – she is said to be certain that they’re ‘all waiting’ for her.”
Now, as her father refuses to concede the loss of the presidential election to Joe Biden, almost three weeks on, Ms Trump and her husband and fellow adviser to Mr Trump, Jared Kushner, may finally have realised their dream of being welcomed back with open arms is a longshot.
The couple, who married in 2009 and have three children, are reportedly planning to retreat to their “cottage” on the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey – an hour from Manhattan.
Proposals to upgrade the home, submitted to town officials and uncovered by The New York Times, show plans to add a spa and yoga complex, move a heliport and insert four pickleball (a sport that combines elements of tennis, table tennis and badminton) courts.
The new plans also call for an expanded master bedroom, bathroom and dressing room; two new bedrooms; a study and a ground floor veranda – aligning the home with the US$5 million ($7.1 million) residence they rent for US$15,000 ($21,500) a month in Washington’s Kalorama.
Trump representatives are set to present the plans to the Bedminster Township on December 3, though a friend of the family told the publication renovations have been going on for a while.
“In an odd way, they will even have a harder time than Trump himself in New York,” brand management mogul Donny Deutsch told The Times.
“He’s despicable but larger than life. Those two are the hapless minions who went along.”
While Mr Kushner and Ms Trump were initially seen as liberal, moderating influences to Mr Trump – until 2018, they were both registered Democrats; Ms Trump was a close friend of Mr Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea – their fierce alignment with the President over the course of his administration has dramatically altered that perception.
Their turbulent social ride came to a head in October when – after three years of complaints about the disruption of their heavy security details; lobbies to refuse their children admission and the disastrous White House coronavirus outbreak – the couple withdrew their daughter Arabella and son Joseph from Washington’s Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School.
Ms Trump has transformed from projecting the image of an aspirational “woman who works” – with a fashion business and carefully cultivated personal brand – to “MAGA royalty”, her childhood best friend, Lysandra Ohrstrom, wrote in an explosive piece for Vanity Fair last week.
“When Ivanka joined her dad’s administration, I was sure she would step in to moderate her father’s most regressive, racist tendencies,” Ohrstrom wrote.
“The Ivanka I knew spent her career developing and embodying a more polished and intellectual offshoot of the Trump brand, which blended the language and look of white millennial feminism with the mythical narrative of business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit she claimed to have inherited from her dad … Instead, I’ve watched as Ivanka has laid waste to the image she worked so hard to build.”
Prominent Upper East Side figure, Jill Kargman, told The Times that she has fantasised about the moment the couple return to New York – only for them to be shut-out of the circles they once moved through.
“I have had visions of Ivanka with her thousand-dollar hair and makeup trying to show up at the opera like that and getting ejected,” Ms Kargman said.
“The poetic justice is that coming to New York would put them in a kind of prison already.”
“They’ll be welcomed back by people who know the Trumps are as close as they’ll get to power,” one of “Javanka’s” former friends told Vanity Fair in a separate piece.
“But everyone with self-respect, a career, morals, respect for democracy, or who doesn’t want their friends to shame them in private and public will steer clear.”