The XX Factor

Let’s All Chip In to Buy Ivanka Trump a Better Thesaurus

Namely henceforth as it were.

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Twilight vampire Ivanka Trump uses the English language differently from mere mortals. Or rather, she does not use it. She utilizes and employs and just kind of glistens at it. Unlike Donald Trump, who approaches words the way our caveman ancestors approached rocks, Ivanka displays a fondness, whilst conducting her verbal curations, for the most floridly multisyllabic or extravagantly Latinate option. Numerous, not a lot. Architecting, not building or creating.

I wrote a cheat sheet earlier this year with tips for identifying when an anonymous quote comes from the White House’s most glamorous adviser. Here are a few tells:

The president’s silver-tongued daughter tends to speak in the melodious, lavish tones of ad copy. … She never omits words. (“I would ask them if that [criticizing my father] would render me more effective or less effective with the people ultimately making decisions.”) She piles on superfluous but elegant descriptors as if carpeting a floor in an array of soft fabrics. (She told Gayle King she expresses herself in the White House “quietly and directly and candidly.”) Her diction inclines toward the corporate-aspirational.

That document, though, did not encompass the multitudinous ways in which Ivanka Trump repurposes everyday vocabulary. At this point, the American people have begun to notice that, as the AV Club puts it, “Ivanka Trump does not, in fact, know how to use words.” For instance, she admitted to being “complicit” in her dad’s agenda, “if being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact.” (It is not!) As lexical whistleblower Eve Peyser observed, Trump also wished her ostensibly human child Theodore a “happy birthday” on the eight-month anniversary of his birth. That is not how birthdays work.

Also, what is otherwise doing here?

It’s possible Ivanka means that, even apart from hugging her nephew Luke, she had an incredible day. (Such proclamations of #blessedness feel on brand for her.) You and I might say already in this context. But Ivanka is a Trump, and no dictionary can tell a Trump how to modify her adjectives.

Now consider this endive word salad with pears and pumpkin seeds:

Well, here is a tweet that profoundly misunderstands who wears the pants in the sexy, unpredictable relationship between Ivanka Trump and the English language. “On a relative basis” is a distinctly Ivankan phrase: complex, businesslike, indecipherable. When Trump says she tries to keep her hours on (on?) a relative (what?) basis (to her husband’s hours?), what she means is … I will leave this as an exercise for you the reader to complete on your own time.

A logical thought to express at this moment might have been “I try to arrange my day so it complements Jared’s tough schedule.” Maybe that’s what the first daughter was going for, relatively. If you are not Ivanka Trump, you should probably avoid the word albeit in most situations. If you are Ivanka Trump, feel free to think of it like salt in soup. Toss it in there!

An editor would likely tweak a normal person’s quote to read “We eat breakfast as a family every morning, although Jared is taking his toast and running out the door” or even “We eat breakfast as a family every morning, albeit the sort of family breakfast in which one of us is taking his toast on the go.” Ivanka plays by more rarefied rules, per se nevertheless indeed. In her world, words are frills, and extra frills are glamorous and desirable, even and especially when they are purely decorative and, albeit, make no fucking sense.