Lost amid the chaos of President Trump’s refusal to admit defeat in the 2020 presidential election, his haphazard attempts to start a crypto-coup, and growing distrust of the legitimacy of our elections among his base... is a low stakes mystery about Trump’s favorite daughter, Ivanka.
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner reportedly plucked their children out of the Jewish day school they’d been attending since they arrived to Washington, D.C. nearly four years ago. According to the Jewish Telegraphing Agency, the couple’s three children were abruptly pulled out of Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital and started school at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in suburban Maryland on October 19.
A spokesperson from Milton confirmed that Trump and Kushner withdrew their children from the school, but the timing is suspect: Earlier that month, President Trump’s inner circle faced a covid-19 outbreak following a super spreader event at the White House Rose Garden, where supporters gathered indoors for the announcement of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and their son Barron all contracted the virus, as did Trump advisor Hope Hicks, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former advisor Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and many others.
Did Ivanka and crew get shit for potentially spreading the coronavirus around the school? JTA reports that a source close to the family said Trump and Kushner withdrew their children from Milton for unrelated reasons; they favored Berman’s in-person classes. Kushner made his support for in-person learning evident during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation in August. Kushner said that the data he has seen does not suggest children are major carriers of covid-19, and that, “[Ivanka and I] will absolutely be sending our kids back to school and I have no fear in doing so.”
(New research suggests that schoolchildren are not covid-19 superspreaders and neither are schools, but outbreaks have still occurred, and seeing updated data as the covid-19 surge continues to plague the nation this fall and winter is essential.)
But the rumor mill isn’t quite buying Trump and Kushner’s excuse.
From JTA (emphasis ours):
But three parents of children attending Milton, which is switching to fully indoor, in-person classes next week, said the withdrawal came after parents raised concerns that Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top aide, and Ivanka Trump, his daughter and also a top aide, were seen at events not complying with the coronavirus protocols that Milton demanded of its parents.
And it wasn’t just the Rose Garden event that got people worked up:
[...On Sept 29.] Ivanka Trump traveled to Cleveland for the debate between her father and Joe Biden. Trump’s family disregarded orders set by the Cleveland Clinic to wear masks throughout the debate. Photos showed Ivanka Trump watching the debate with no mask.
“There was concern for the safety of children because it was very clear the Kushner parents were violating public health recommendations,” said the mother, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because her employer bans interactions with the media.
Another inflection point, the mother said, came days later on Oct. 2 when Donald Trump announced that he had contracted the coronavirus. She said the school would not tell the parents whether the Kushners had informed the school of the last day of contact between the president and his grandchildren. (Trump also declined to make public the date of his last negative COVID-19 test.)
More than one parent has alleged that Milton tried to work out a compromise with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, one that struck a balance between acknowledging the school’s covid-19 safety protocols and the couple’s top tier position in the White House. Trump and Kushner apparently weren’t interested.
While an aide for Kushner called these allegations “idle gossip,” it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which Milton tried to gently address concerns over Trump and Kushner’s lackadasical approach to covid-19 safety and received pushback and a withdrawl from the school in return. It’s also plausible that Milton was pressured by other parents to ask the Trump-Kushner clan to leave the school (a favorite phrase of private schools).
“At the same time of rising cases in the states and children going back to school, we were seeing the Kushners violating quarantine requirements,” one Milton mother told JTA.
Chances are, they’ll continue to.