Earlier this week, Ivanka Trump appeared on a panel entitled “Inspiring Women: Scaling Up Women’s Entrepreneurship” at the Women20 Summit in Berlin, Germany. The moderator, a German journalist and editor of a prestigious business magazine, asked Trump point blank to justify her mere presence on the panel alongside the likes of the managing director of the International Monetary Fund and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to name a few. “The German audience is not that familiar with the concept,” she said – referencing Trump’s nebulous role as  “first daughter” or “assistant to the President” or…something. “…Who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people or your business?”

Ivanka answered with a non-answer, “Certainly not the latter” — but then went on to speak “As an entrepreneur,” which of course directly contradicts her prior assertion. But moderator Miriam Meckel’s simple yet searing question merits close attention. Speaking in PRisms, as of April 2017 – what exactly is Ivanka Trump’s brand? What is important to her, and what is her actual influence and role in the administration? And if, like many of Ivanka’s statements, our answer to this is murky (Merke-y), we have to consider what we have projected onto Ivanka and if those ideas are based in what we know to be true or what we want to be true.

Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are seen as the smart, successful, and very pretty voices of reason in Trump’s administration. But as their governmental duties pile up, we have seen their objective lack of experience in the political arena outweigh the careful perception that they have meticulously crafted for themselves on the campaign trail.

As John Oliver mentioned in his show last Sunday night, Ivanka straight up owns this. Oliver referenced a direct quote in her 2009 book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, in which she wrote, “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true. This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.”

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