It’s a truism that the rich are different.
That was reinforced today by two clueless tweets sent out by members of the family of Donald Trump in response to the increasingly stringent travel and “shelter in place” restrictions being implemented as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic accelerating its way across the nation, an advance that is at least partially due to the president’s leisurely and inept failure to address the crisis in a timely fashion.
The first post was made by the privileged spawn of Trump’s loins who has never had to face a day of her life in any sort of financial insecurity despite her father’s multiple bankruptcies, the president’s daughter Ivanka.
Staying home today w/ kids?
Plan living room camp out!
Throw a bedsheet over some taped together brooms. Plan a menu & ‘pack’ sandwiches, salads (S’mores optional😜)
A fun activity that also brings family together for a meal!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) March 17, 2020
Framed as a helpful tip for suddenly shut-in moms that would not look out of place in the pages of the sort of “women’s magazines” usually found at the checkout counter of your local grocery stores (at least before their shelves were stripped bare by panicked hoarders), Ivanka’s tweet represents the height of privilege by its assumption that most moms have the time, money, and accommodations available to live the Elle Decor lifestyle she presents.
CNN analyst and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa saw the president’s daughter’s tweet and responded with a takeaway shared by the many harried mothers desperately trying to figure out how they will survive the next few months as jobs disappear, childcare options evaporate, and stores experience shortages of essential items, even if they were allowed to leave their homes to go shopping in the areas already on lockdown, like portions of New York and California are already facing.
She truly has no idea how this impacts real people with jobs https://t.co/rYoDG2rrzq
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) March 17, 2020
It didn’t take long for others to join the chorus of derision.
Progressive Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also noticed Ivanka’s tweet and couldn’t help but take up the offer to share her own ideas on how the president’s daughter could be using her downtime productively.
Thinking of all the families separated forcefully by your father’s policies today.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 17, 2020
Not to be outdone on the cluelessly callous front by her evil step-daughter, First Lady Melania Trump also tweeted out her own suggestions for involuntary shut-ins.
Consider taking advantage of time working from home to connect with your loved ones via email or FaceTime, spend time w family, or work on your well-being by reading a book or spending time on a hobby.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) March 17, 2020
Consider the fact that economic insecurity caused by the massively unequal distribution of wealth in this country, coupled with the stress of dealing with a health care system that fails to provide coverage to every vulnerable American and is inadequately prepared to deal with a crisis of this magnitude, may be more pressing issues for the vast majority of Americans who didn’t have the luck of marrying a supposed billionaire conman.
Perhaps the book she should be recommending is Das Kapital, so Americans can begin to understand the economic system that delivered them to their current fate. Books on emergency medical responses and government preparedness would also be particularly useful right now.
Melania’s critics were equally savage as those who replied to Ivanka’s posts.
If one were to declare a winner in the clash of privileged cluelessness between the president’s family members, one would have to give the prize to Ivanka since she went to all the trouble and expense of setting up a staged photo-op for her tweet, putting in the extra effort as if her advice was actually valuable and relevant.
Melania’s tweet has more of the feeling of an obligatory faux expression of compassion expected from the First Lady with little creativity in her suggestions for activities for the sequestered.
Still, both of the Trump family tweets are champion level examples of how one’s exalted position in society can blind one to the reality of the lives of those whose circumstances are not even envisioned in one’s limited world-view.
Let’s see them both volunteering at hospitals and childcare facilities and making actual contributions of value at this time of crisis and perhaps they can be worthy of respect and praise rather than the butt of derisive putdowns for their disconnection from the real lives of the American populace.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.