News & Politics

Don’t Waste Your Time Protesting Outside Ivanka and Jared’s House

Trump's decision to end DACA is the latest sign Javanka can't influence him.

On Monday night, a group of demonstrators from at least seven states gathered outside Ivanka Trump‘s and Jared Kushner‘s house in Kalorama for a candlelight vigil in support of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era initiative that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation. At the time, Javanka probably seemed like an ideal protest target: last weekend, it became apparent that President Trump intended to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2012 order creating the DACA program, reports surfaced—as they always do whenever Trump is expected to act on his revanchist impulses—that his eldest daughter and son-in-law were trying to save it.

It might be uncouth to finger-wag at a sympathetic group of protesters. But it begs asking why anyone at this point would bother staging their rally outside the Kalorama manse inhabited by the Trump Administration’s “moderating force” that, in seven-and-a-half months, has proven to be neither moderating or forceful in influencing the President? Once again, Jared and Ivanka failed to achieve their supposed policy objective, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday gleefully announced that DACA will end in six months, lest Congress—which spent consecutive eight-year presidencies fumbling immigration policy—passes legislation that codifies the program.

When the Trump presidency began, Javanka’s house seemed like a tempting target for protesters. As the favorite child and spouse of a President with a reputation for relying more on filial connections than outside expertise, Ivanka and Jared arrived in DC poised to be the senior-est of senior White House counselors. The queer dance party outside their house on April 3 was a festive and punchy event that turned a discreet block of Washington’s fanciest neighborhood into a disco floor on behalf of environmental justice.

Unfortunately for the protesters—and, probably, the earth’s climate—Jared and Ivanka weren’t moved to push harder against Trump’s aggressive rollback of Obama-era environmental and energy policies. It appears they were just as powerless on immigration policy after Monday night’s DACA rally.

Or maybe they’re just not trying. If White House advisers could be ranked according to a statistic similar to, say, a batting average, Javanka would be well below the Mendoza Line. And that’s why gathering outside their house and asking them to change the President’s mind might be the most fruitless type of protest in a protest-filled year.

Not to bat away all demonstrations in response to Trump’s actions: It’s impossible to overlook the huge crowds that assembled across the country for impromptu protests in defense of the roughly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries put at risk by Tuesday’s decision. It just might be time to stop trying to apply direct pressure to two people who just aren’t that influential, despite their genetic and marital pedigrees.

Jared and Ivanka, despite their reported efforts, already failed to stop the President from signing a Muslim ban, threatening Mexico over a border wall, pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, kicking transgender individuals out of the military, condoning the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville, and overturning regulations that promote equal pay between genders. Why would anyone expect them to save DACA?

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.