The most chilling image from the Trudeau-Trump visit -

The most chilling image from the Trudeau-Trump visit

In Ivanka Trump’s Instagram photo, both she and the PM are hapless props


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Of all the imagery that emerged from the Trump-Trudeau showdown, a photo that showed up on Ivanka Trump’s Instagram feed is the most haunting. In it, she’s seated at the desk of the president of the United States in the Oval Office. Her father stands to her right, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to her left. Both men are smiling. Trump’s grin is so big, it looks like his face might crack. Of course it is. He has just engineered a piece of political iconography, using Canada’s PM as a prop, that people are supposed to accept as normal. It is anything but.

Little doubt the children of past U.S. presidents have sat in dad’s office chair—in private. None have occupied it during a visit by a head of government. That Ivanka Trump, who has no official White House position, is sitting in the chair during a visit by a foreign head of government is ludicrous. But, as her sharing of it indicates, the photo serves a purpose for both daughter and father.

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For Ivanka, the image is a useful souvenir, a reminder of a day the Canadian government put a flattering spotlight on her, and by extension her father, by organizing a roundtable focused on elevating women in the workplace. If you want to flatter a parent, compliment his children. But bringing in the ladies served another purpose: it filled time and focused attention away from thornier issues such as refugee claimants fleeing the U.S. for Canada. Ivanka, reportedly an unofficial advisor to her father, sat next to Trudeau for the 35-minute gathering that included accomplished female executives from the U.S. and Canada. Its optical importance was telegraphed by the fact it was held in the Cabinet Room, the first time Trump has used the venue since he became president. The formation of the “United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs” provided a professional salve of sorts for Ivanka, whose clothing and accessories line was dropped by major retailers for poor sales in past weeks amid controversy. It also dovetailed perfectly with Ivanka’s own #WomenWhoWork branding featured on her clothing and upcoming book.

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On Instagram, the photo is accompanied by this message: “A great discussion with two world leaders about the importance of women having a seat at the table!” Yet, if anything, the photo infantilizes the president’s daughter. It’s a reminder that the only reason a woman is (fleetingly) sitting in the U.S. president’s chair has nothing to do with achievement or votes. She’s there because of a personal relationship and, in this case, nepotism.

The image is a mark of Trump’s arrogance, more proof of his poor judgment and lack of presidential decorum. Could it be the unofficial launch of Ivanka-for-President in 2020? Who knows. Stranger things have happened. The photo also stands as yet one more indication of  Trump’s lack of appropriate boundaries with his daughter, his proudest creation. There’s ironic unintended consequence as well: at the very moment Trump is facing  bombshell revelations about  Russian involvement in the U.S. election, the photo serves as a reminder that Ivanka’s father might not be sitting at that desk legitimately either.

Ivanka, by all measures a smart and competent woman, has long been her father’s political prop: she’s used as proof her father can’t be as misogynistic, predatory, and the threat to women’s rights that the evidence would suggest. The fact she converted to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner, is also cited as proof the Trump White House can’t possibly be anti-Semitic. Trump’s eldest daughter is presented as a progressive influence, though her own corporate practices and policy contributions don’t always walk that walk. She certainly looks the part—an attractive, modern, executive mother of three, juggling family and marriage. Her Instagram suggests a photogenic, privileged, charmed domestic life. Oddly, Ivanka’s family—and not the president’s own wife and son—has been employed to lend an air of domestic normalcy to the White House. Her Instagram features video of her youngest child crawling for the first time on a White House rug. In another photo, she’s sitting by a White House window, holding her baby, talking on the phone.

Most chilling, however, is Trudeau’s place in the farcical photograph. Could the prime minister have said, “No, I’m not comfortable with your daughter playing president? or “Why don’t we all stand up?” Of course. But at what diplomatic cost? The resulting image of him smiling in this absurd tableau presents him as biddable, even Trump’s patsy. It is difficult to picture, say, Angela Merkel being asked to do the same. Trudeau’s Washington visit would trigger much media commentary and criticism about how the prime minister extended his “feminist” credentials to Trump, a man who appointed only four women to his cabinet. But Trudeau has long used the “feminist” mantle as his political currency. What we witnessed in Washington was him exhausting it. And this photograph provides proof.

Correction: This post has been revised to reflect the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada is the “head of government,” not “head of state” as previously stated.


The most chilling image from the Trudeau-Trump visit

  1. Pearl Clutching moment oh the Horror…Give me a Break Komarade Kingston…

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  2. LOL one day…..perhaps sooner than you think….Canada will dominate North Amerca…so think of this as a prophetic picture.

  3. I think you’re going a little over board here. #45’s administration knew exactly how to get JT’s interest – chicks in the boardroom.

    And why all the freak-out over THIS particularly? Srsly – 45 has done far FAR FAAAAR worse things in the last 17 months than this. Russia, videos, walls, tariffs, ICE roundups (going on right now, btw), appointing the Death Eaters to Secretary of Whatever… and THIS is what you’re losing your marbles over?

    Hows about you bring to light all the unlawful sh*t that’s going on instead of saying that #45’s kid shouldn’t be sitting at the desk for an IG pic. This is the new normal now. Get used to it.

    • The whole women’s council thing was proposed by Canada to get Trump’s interest.

  4. I noticed that Bibi and wife were at the White House with Donald and Melania, but Justin showed up alone; why is that. Do the Israelis rate higher than us.

    • If you had a good looking wife like Justin Trudeau does, would you take her around a guy (Donald Trump) who bragged he grabs attractive women by the pu$$y whenever he feels like it?

      • Wives of the other two visiting leaders have attended-apparently without fear. But then again,
        they were invited.

        • No actually they weren’t. It isn’t a tea party you know.

          Trudeau has gone on from there to France

        • Sophie is very good looking is my point and The Donald has no boundaries. Wives of the other leaders weren’t tv personalities. They aren’t very good looking. Jeez Jerome you are a bit slow on the uptake.

          • Sophie is a TV personality??????????-GIVE ME A BREAK!!

          • Jerome, do some research. Sophie was a Quebec television personality before she married Justin Trudeau and she is good looking. Why do you think Vogue did a photo shoot of the Justin and Sophie? They are a good looking couple. You are giving those of us that vote Conservative in Canada a really bad name.

    • Whether you or anyone else likes Trump or not, he is still the President of the US, it isn’t going to change for 4 years, so get used to it, or get over it. That’s what people have to do, is get over it, if there is a hole big enough for him to fall in, I’m sure Trump will find it. Save your energy for the next election, everyone is going to need it. Karma comes eventually for people, it isn’t instant, though John Lennon would have you think differently, it happens over time. I think Trump will end up having something seriously medically happen to him, i don’t think he has the stamina to last, he is starting to look burned out already. Trump is not used having this many people around him, shouting and roaring at him, he may even have a complete meltdown before his time is up, though I hope he is not near any buttons at that time. I very rarely follow what he does anymore, i’m not a consumer of what he sells, I’m more concerned about our own country and the decisions our leaders make.

        • Once the wacky alt left get fatigued and Trump gets to move on without all of their current nonsense, his successes will ensure he’s there for 2 terms. There is not a single thing he’s done that he could be impeached for. My god, Hillary got away with emailing classified information over a network that wasn’t secure. Who the hell knows what enemies got hold of that stuff!!

        • Hiliary was NOT the POTUS. She left her position of Secretary of State not long after Benghazi. Who knows how that really played out. The FBI investigated her emails not once but twice, the second time, 90 days prior to Election Day. Bill Clinton DID get impeached for lying about having sex with Monica Lewensky. Let’s not rewrite history. As for Trump’s so called successes. What would those be? His immigration and refugee ban has been suspended by the US Supreme Court. Mexico won’t be paying for his wall and if he adds a border tax on, he will be sticking it to his own citizens as prices for consumer goods will rise. Further, Obama built a fence on the southern border. The border is 3200 km long. He could only fence 1/3 of it. Texas ranchers sued him to stop him from fencing on their land and then there are the actual mountains and the rivers that make it impossible to construct a fence in those areas, let alone a wall. Perhaps you have heard of Rio Grande. The wall would have to go down the centre of the Rio Grande River, cutting of cities like Laredo, Texas from the River. The Rio Grande is huge. Is America going to give up access to the Rio Grande because Mexico is not. The craziest part of the whole scenario is that statistic show that migration is actually moving south into countries like Mexico and continents like South America, not north. There are 11 million illegal aliens in the US and only 5 million are from Mexico. Illegal Mexicans make up 5 percent of the American workforce and he wants to build and $12 billion? Dollar wall? Further, he is trying to take business away from Mexico but the cars that were being built in Mexico were cheap cars and Mexicans made about $2.80 an hour. When the plants are built in the US instead, the plants will be automated. Americans won’t work for cheap so the plan will be to use robots in lieu of people. So will jobs grow? No. Will Ivanka and other clothing manufactures stop manufacturing their clothing in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and come to the US? That would mean Ivanka would have to give her employees that make the clothes more than a week off for maternity leave? Is she going to do that? Is Trump going to start buying his suits from tailors that make them in the US? Is he going to buy all the goods for his hotels from manufacturers in the US. As it is now, his family is just costing the tax payers added money because all his kids get secret service protection so every time they travel for Trump business, the secret service flies with them. I am not sure how this is saving the taxpayer’s money. I really look forward to your pointing out what great things he has actually been able to accomplish.

          • Clinton lied like a trouper during Benghazi while she held the second highest position in the US.
            Trump is the first President to put a ban on lobbying to run for his whole first term. Lobbying in the US is a very corrupt process.
            Trump didn’t use anything but his own funds for his campaign so he doesn’t have the pay for access favors to return that Hillary would have had.
            Trump has started the process to replace Obamacare which the insurance companies believe was unsustainable and “in a death spiral”.
            Obama deported 2.5 million illegal Mexican aliens. Even CNN called him “goodbye Obama”. Trump is continuing with that. Of course when Obama did that, it got no press attention. Trump doing the same is viewed by these same biased media as awful.
            One of the underlying features of trade agreements is to raise the standard of living of workers in the countries involved. That has not happened in Mexico-as you point out the workers get a whopping $2.80/hr. I’m sure that will become a key aspect of Trump’s renegotiated deal with Mexico.
            The markets think his planned reductions in corporate taxes and personal income tax are great as indicated by the souring DOW since he was elected.
            I saw a number of small business owners praise his executive order to remove unnecessary regulations.
            Even the Democrats support hi infrastructure plan.
            And finally his temporary travel ban which will get resurrected is supported by 55% of Americans. 30% are against and 15% don’t care one way or the other.

          • You know nothing about where Trump got funds because he refuses to release his tax returns. As for Clinton and Benghazi, we discussed that…she left the job shortly after. Hiliary was investigated for unsecured emails. Donald had been using an android cell phone as late as January and he had a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister and their aides at his club in Mar-largo where they looked at secure documents using their cell phones to light them up. Meanwhile diners looked on in fascination and took pictures which they posted on Facebook. This is the man who is going to tighten up security for the US???? He has the leakest Whitehouse in history. As for lobbying, he went on twitter and complained that Nordstrom’s dropped his daughter’s clothing line. Then his advisor, KellyAnne Conway went on tv and asked people to buy Ivanka’s clothing. KellyAnne who is now a civil servant has been sanctioned. Donald Trump is against lobbying for others except himself, his family businesses and obviously his daughter’s business. I didn’t ask you about things he is in the process of getting rid of like Obamacare….those plans have evolved…perhaps do some research because Paul Ryan has found out that many states want to keep the Obama care model, others do not. Of course Obama deported illegal aliens. I told you, he built a fence but Obama wanted to give a break to those who had been in the country since they were children and were working hard and had committed no crimes. Of course it got press attention. How do you think we know about the fence and the knickname. Even making $2.80 an hour is a huge rise in the standard of living for Mexicans. I went to a an all inclusive. Employees there made $5.00 a week. His temporary travel ban won’t get re-instated. It’s suspension was upheld by the Supreme Court. Donald Trump can go no higher to plead for his ban to be re-instated. The problem…he can’t prove that the people he wants to ban are a danger because he doesn’t have any statistics that show they are any more likely than anyone else to do anything wrong. Now he is talking about re-writing it. As for de-regulation. The guy has regulated the dumping of sewage which is good but he has de-regulated the dumping of fuel into water ways. He also believes that vaccines cause autism. The only positive thing he is doing is trying to cut through some red tape. Of course he should cut corporate taxes. Ours are 20 percent, there’s are 35 percent. However, ticking off tech companies by making it impossible to bring in highly trained staff from certain countries is stupid. Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant. What has Apple done for the US? Now the Daily Beast is claiming Mexico isn’t the real threat but Canada is. The Congressmen and Senators will come out of the woodwork wanting to build a Northern wall even though there has never been a terrorist who has ever gotten across the Canadian border into the US. Facts aren’t important. They weren’t important on 9/11 or after 9/11 when many people continued to insist for years that one of the terrorist did come from Canada. One of those people was the head of Homeland Security. Paranoia based on proganganda breeds a culture of fear, hatred and hyperbole.

  5. You’re worried about the optics of this??? My goodness. HELLO!!! Do you know what Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky did in that oval office? On the desk? In that chair?

    At least those 3 bring some class to that office.

    • I believe Ivanka is thinking of the future-the first female President of the US at the young age of 44. Articulate, smart, a business leader and apparently much more balanced than her father.

    • Yeah, they had sex… many other presidents did.

      And that’s new furniture.

      Goodness that was last century.

      • The same “Resolute Desk” has been used by Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama and now Trump. Maybe other office furniture has changed occasionally over the years.

        However, the point of the article was how “shocking” it was to see Ivanka sitting at the desk. As if the desk is some sort of sacred-privileged place of power. What a joke. The desk was “desecrated” long before Ivanka sat there.

          • From YOUR link.

            “President Jimmy Carter brought the desk back to the Oval Office, where Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have used it.”

        • Yeah…’s just ship boards Chip…..and not all presidents have used it..

          It’s also been rebuilt several times.

          I remember John Jr playing under it.

          Nothing sacred about it.

          • Exactly my point. Why the author is “chilled to the bone” is anyone’s guess?

  6. More Kingston vitriol. It’s just a fun shot with Ivanka featured in the middle since the biggest, most newsworthy part of Trudeau’s visit was the formation of the women’s council.
    Get a life Ann!!

  7. I’m not a American or a Maclean’s subscriber, but Anne Kingston – take a Valium. This is pure Big Smoke Media dribble…. got nothing else to cover? Look at your own province. You give credence to Donald Trump’s assertion about ‘fake news’. This article is ridiculous. I’m embarrassed for Maclean’s and as a Canadian.

  8. Jesus, seek therapy lady. Yes, Trump is terrible. But to read into a harmless little pic like this…it’s not a good look. Seriously you should probably talk to a professional, because an obsession like this can’t be healthy.

    I wonder, why would Maclean’s publish drivel like this, the rantings of a person who is obviously in the midst of a mental health crisis? Well, because it’s crapping on Trump. Anything that will make the Republican party in the US look bad, or the Conservative party here in Canada, or any right-of-centre party around the world look bad Maclean’s will publish it,even if it is nonsensical claptrap like this piece here.

    • Ever since JFK appointed his brother Robert Kennedy Attorney General, there has been a law against nepotism in the White House. The first to break it…Donald Trump. It is somewhat disappointing but the man is a complete narcissist and Trudeau, although he is not a favourite of mine, in this instance dealt with Donald Trump and his need to fawn over his daughter and elevate her to a role she has not earned, perfectly. I am sorry Anne, I appreciate many of your opinions but in this case, Trudeau was right in choosing his battles. Antagonizing a lunatic is never a winning strategy.

  9. If there is anything that will get Trudeau’s attention, it’s a pretty lady.

    • Trudeau has never been a ladies man or playboy type.

      • No he has not but Ivanka found him attractive and The Donald appreciates attractive people so in this case, Justin Trudeau’s looks were an asset to Canada. Good for him playing along in their incredibly superficial games. We are talking about the people who ran the Miss Universe contest. A more misogynistic bunch, one has never met.

        • You are sounding more like Ann Kingston by the minute.
          “Justin Trudeau’s looks were an asset to Canada”. Now that’s both shallow and distorted. I know a number of women from both sides of the political spectrum who think he looks very arrogant. He is more of a narcissist than Trump.

          • Wait a minute…..Trump is the one who told women in the White House to dress like women…aka…where a dress. Trump is the one who ran the Miss America pageants. Trump is the one who has cheated on various wives and spoke about grabbing women and kissing them and doing other disgusting things. If one is going to have to lay down with dogs, one has to get dirty. I am a Conservative but Trump is all about attractiveness and superficial bs. Otherwise, he would to have twittered that his show, the Apprentice deserved an Emmy. He wouldn’t have spoken in such superficial terms about his daughters….calling one volumptous. I am not concerned with your perception of Trudeau’s looks. This are shallow times and we have the most shallow personality possible in the White House. Frankly, we need to use every asset we have, including Justin’s great hair. I want a good deal for our ranchers and our soft wood. If Trudeau can get it, great. After all, I am a Canadian, aren’t you?

      • Naw- Justine likes hanging out witht he gays and the muslims ( where he can wear a nice, long dress)

        And to the person who thinks he is nice looking – gaag- with his pasty, doughy skin and kind of gresyish green teeth, you can have him. He looks kind of sick.

  10. There is something bizarre about the manner in which this piece is presented…. from the “gossip-collum-like thought process behind some of the scenarios to the outrageous concluding paragraph that belies the writer’s REAL motivation here:

    “Most chilling, however, is Trudeau’s place in the farcical photograph. Could the prime minister have said, “No, I’m not comfortable with your daughter playing president? or “Why don’t we all stand up?” Of course. But at what diplomatic cost? The resulting image of him smiling in this absurd tableau presents him as biddable, even Trump’s patsy. It is difficult to picture, say, Angela Merkel being asked to do the same. Trudeau’s Washington visit would trigger much media commentary and criticism about how the prime minister extended his “feminist” credentials to Trump, a man who appointed only four women to his cabinet. But Trudeau has long used the “feminist” mantle as his political currency. What we witnessed in Washington was him exhausting it. And this photograph provides proof.”

    This is a trick that many National Post writers (Ivison, Murphy, etc) use – the hidden message – they write a piece mostly focused on “A” but in reality their purpose is to (subtly) disparage “B”.
    I have to admit, some of them are so good at it that it could arguably be called an art form.

    But here’s the thing: It’s is deeply, soul-suckingly dishonest.

    The good news is that this writer is not good at it. That is why, after you have read on of her pieces, you walk away thinking, “what was the point of all of that”?

    • It is very interesting that you bring up Angela Merkel. She has always been identified as someone who had the best relationship with Vladimir Putin. During the Crimea crisis, she took a lot of photos with him that I bet her uncomfortable. However, when dealing with sociopath, a sane person realizes to pick their battles because in the end, the sane person has an agenda and meeting the goals of the agenda are all that matter. Being personally demeaned to some degree is irrelevant, if in the end, one is able to bring around the monster to your way of thinking. Journalists can be very naive. Diplomacy, especially with a monster or a narcissist is like walking a tight rope. A leader must asses the risk and benefit of every action because there is going to be a reaction and with someone unstable, it is hard to predict how volatile that reaction might be. From what was reported, Trudeau sought out a lot of advice from people who knew Trump including Brian Mulroney. I think he played it the way they told him to. Angela Merkel has an innate ability to deal with all kinds of leaders and I would not doubt she wouldn’t flinch no matter what the Donald expected of her but she isn’t physically attractive enough for him to want a photo like this with her.

  11. Don’t see a lot of Mrs Trump. With Michelle Obama out of the spotlight, guess she no longer has a script to copy ….

    • I lost all interest in and respect for Mrs. Obama when right after her husband was elected she declared that it was the first time she was proud to be an American!! That justifiably got her labeled as “an angry black woman”

  12. By most accounts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to Washington was a enormous success. Everything went extraordinarily well. It seems that Anne had to go a little deep in the petty column to find something negative to say. That’s her call, but Anne should realize that it’s not absolutely a requirement at McLeans that columnists write negatively about the Prime Minister (although, it seems, it helps). Positive reporting is accepted, too.

    • My observation is that Kingston can only write negative, vitriolic articles about her pet peeve of the day. This one is relatively mild.

  13. Annie girl….you need to get some help for your fixations.

  14. What would you have had the Prime Minister do? Refuse the picture? It is they who are chilling, not Justin Trudeau.

    • As it says in the article, Trudeau doesn’t seem to have had a choice. He was asked to by Trump, no doubt. But for the President’s daughter to allow it was an error on her part, too.

      This is what feminists don’t want, for successful women to be seen as being granted success rather than earning. That must really gall Hillary, except she could hope that viewers would see through it. She came so close to getting into that seat herself, legitimately, that they appear to be ridiculing her. On the other hand, it still remains trued that women get where they do in their careers by supporting the men in their life, as she herself did, with Bill. So even with this, Trump is telling a truth of sorts. And he probably knows it.

      Yes, this is a worthwhile topic for Anne Kingston to investigate. And yes, considering Trudeau’s support of feminism, and the topic being discussed, it makes sense that Trump would make this request of him and not Angela Merkel, for instance. It’s a shame that happened.

  15. OMG – someone forgot to take her Prozac?
    Jealous much. It’s a picture, no need to create some hokey conspiracy theory.

    Slow news day?? Can’t believe that a grown up would allow this piece of adolescent opinion piece through as a serious piece of journalism.

  16. ” she’s used as proof her father can’t be as misogynistic, predatory, and the threat to women’s rights that the evidence would suggest. ”

    This part by Kingston may be the only part I cannot agree with. I don’t see her father as hating women. He simply behaves towards women the way men in our society are encouraged to, by pushing for sex any way they can. Just like Bill Clinton and JFK, who we know of, and many more President and high officials no doubt. But Trump helps women get ahead, gives them great jobs, so why should he be described as misogynist?

  17. This is great. Hysteria at it’s finest. It’s hard to imagine anyone, other than hardcore Trump haters, finding anything remotely ‘chilling’ about this photo.

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