This turnabout will hurt.
In days when Chelsea Clinton was a teenager, Democrats sold the soul of their party to defend the “private” behavior of a president who used a young woman not much older than Chelsea as a sexual plaything.
But with President Donald Trump in the White House, the now 38-year-old Chelsea appeared this week on a television show hosted by one of Trump’s most vocal — and loathsome — critics to give the greenlight to attacking Trump’s daughter with the same logic Democrats couldn’t stomach 20 years ago.
In a book-flogging interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Clinton handled a question from the Trump-hating Colbert on whether Ivanka is “fair game” for media attacks. And she used the same kind of oily circumlocution her family is famous for.
But the message might not have been what she intended. Instead of attacking Trump, Chelsea hit her own father instead.
“I think anyone who works for the president certainly should expect to be scrutinized for whatever decisions not only she or he is making, but whatever decisions the White House is making on any given day,” she said.
That sounds logical enough, but it flies in the face of what Democrats were arguing when Chelsea’s dad was doing when he was in the Oval Office – and who he was doing it with.
Back then, Democrats pounded the thriving economy of the 1990s (an accomplishment of the GOP-controlled Congress as much as the Clinton presidency), and declared that what the president did on his own time was his own business.
But if people who work for the president should expect to be scrutinized “for whatever decisions” they make, in Chelsea’s telling, it follows that the president himself should expect at least the same level of scrutiny for “whatever decisions” he makes.
And if those decisions include enjoying fellatio from an intern barely older than his daughter, sexually assaulting a White House aide in a private study, or continuing the cover-up of a rape in an Arkansas hotel room in 1978, they deserve to be under the microscope of American public attention.
But that wasn’t the Democrat line back in the 1990s. Then, all that mattered was the peace and prosperity of the era (Democrats never mentioned that they were the results of the historic presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and the final Cold War victory under his successor, George H.W. Bush).
Now, an economy that rebounded almost immediately after Tump’s historic upset of Hillary Clinton in 2016 is feeling the effects of the Trump tax cuts approved by a Republican House and Senate, so by the Democrat logic of the 1990s, everything should be going swimmingly at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Instead, the media is filled daily with scurrilous attacks on the president and his administration, but daughter Ivanka is the most prominent target.
She’s mocked on “Saturday Night Live” compared bizarrely to the sister of a murderous dictator by Newsweek and was even asked outright on the “Today” show about accusations that President Donald Trump was guilty of sexual harassment and assault on women.
“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated there’s no truth to it,” Ivanka responded. “I don’t think that’s a question you would have asked many other daughters.
“I believe my father. I know my father.”
Chelsea Clinton might think Ivanka is “fair game” for criticism now, but it’s a turnabout that flies in the face of the political party she grew up in was arguing to defend her own father a generation ago.
And here’s the part that about the turnabout that hurts the most:
Trump supporters, and even just fair-minded Americans, can believe Ivanka when she says she believes her father.
And everyone — even Democrats — knows Chelsea can’t say the same.
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