PHILADELPHIA — After days of endorsements from celebrities, elected leaders and passionate supporters, Hillary Clinton will be introduced Thursday night by the woman who knows her simply as mom.
Chelsea Clinton will open for her mother at the Democratic National Convention as Clinton accepts a place in history as the first female presidential nominee for a major party. Chelsea Clinton’s appearance comes after her father, ex-President Bill Clinton, gave a deeply personal address about his wife Tuesday night.
It’s part of a campaign effort to show the softer side of the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.
And it’s hardly a new role for 36-year-old Chelsea, who works for the Clinton Foundation and recently gave birth to her second child. She has been active in the campaign, as with her mother’s past campaigns. She was at the convention Wednesday night, as her father called her birth “the greatest moment of my life.” Hillary Clinton talks about her too, often telling a story about toddler Chelsea asking her to stop singing lullabies.
Of course, Chelsea Clinton is not the only prominent daughter during this presidential campaign. Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is a leading surrogate for her father and gave an emotional speech for him last week, pledging that the two will work on issues like pay equity and affordable childcare.
The two women, New Yorkers of similar ages with high-profile parents, have been friendly in the past. Chelsea Clinton praised Ivanka Trump in a Vogue magazine story last year, saying “There’s nothing skin-deep about Ivanka.” While the contest between their parents has become acrimonious, Ivanka Trump said in an interview with People Magazine this week that the two were “friendly.” Still, she added, “There’s certainly tremendous intensity around both of our lives right now.”
Chelsea Clinton commented on Ivanka Trump’s convention speech during an interview on Facebook Live hosted by Glamour this week. Asked what she would say to Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton said: “How would your father do that? It’s not something he has spoken about. There are no policies on any of those fronts that you mentioned.”
Politics is the family business, so Chelsea Clinton has spent most of her life in the public eye, moving to the White House at the age of 12 after her father was elected in 1992 and heading to Stanford University with a security detail in tow. Perhaps her most high-profile moment came in 1998, when at age 18 and at the height of her parents’ marital troubles, the three were photographed walking together, with Chelsea Clinton holding both parents’ hands.
Because she’s lived so long in public, many voters feel they already know her, like Cynthia Doty, 65, a Clinton supporter from New York City, who said, “I think she’s grown up into a really remarkable woman.”
After spending time as a management consultant and as a correspondent for NBC, Chelsea Clinton now works for the Clinton Foundation and recently wrote a book for middle-school aged kids.
With husband Mark Mezvinsky, a hedge-fund manager whose parents both served in Congress, she has two children under the age of 2: Charlotte and Aidan.
Katie White, 18, of San Antonio, Texas, said she was looking forward to the speech: “I think Ivanka did a lot to help Donald Trump. It will be interesting to see what Chelsea can do.”
But some Democrats are less interested.
“There’s nothing relatable about her,” said Quinn Symonds, 34, of Mason City, Iowa. “She’s not one of us, the 99 per cent.”
Emma Schmit, 22, of Rockwell City, Iowa, agreed: “She’s part of the one per cent.”