What will Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner do now that they’re no longer cushioned by power? As one former friend put it to Vanity Fair last week, they’re likely to be shunned by those in their former social circles, which is frankly the least that they deserve. “They’ll be welcomed back by people who know the Trumps are as close as they’ll get to power,” the source said. “But everyone with self-respect, a career, morals, respect for democracy, or who doesn’t want their friends to shame them both in private and public will steer clear.” Another described their future social prospects more bluntly: “There will always be private dinner parties for them to attend, but they will be the entertainment... No one wants to hear about Sarah Huckabee’s pies or Steve Bannon’s shirts.”
This is all pure speculation of course—I personally put no faith in rich people to tar and feather the couple at every possible instance. But one person—Ivanka’s one-time BFF Lysandra Ohrstrom—is determined to do her part to ensure that Ivanka is exiled to social Siberia. Ohrstrom, who met Ivanka at the tony all-girls school Chapin and who was a maid of honor at Ivanka’s wedding to Jared, has come out publicly with some juicy stories about her former friend.
As she wrote in Vanity Fair, Ohrstrom was motivated to share these stories now to “ensure that [Ivanka] really will never recover from the fateful decision to tie her fate to her father’s.”
And unsurprisingly, Ivanka is exactly who you think she is—a classist, racist asshole! Let’s review.
One of the earliest memories I have of Ivanka from before we were friends is when she blamed a fart on an insecure classmate. Some time later, she goaded me and a few other girls into flashing our breasts out the window of our classroom in what has since been labelled the “flashing the hot dog man” incident in Chapin lore. Ivanka had basically been the ringleader, but she pleaded her innocence to the headmistress and got off scot-free. The rest of us were suspended.
As she’s touted the achievements the Trump administration has made for the middle class while not-so-covertly pursuing a massive wealth transfer to corporate America, I’ve been reminded of a phone call we had in our mid-20s. Ivanka always solicited book suggestions from me, and I had recently recommended Empire Falls, Richard Russo’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel about the life of a diner manager in a working-class community in Maine. “Ly, why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?” I remember Ivanka saying. “What part of you thinks I would be interested in this?”
When Eric Trump posted a photo on Twitter of a mansion supposedly belonging to Joe Biden and wondered how a politician could afford such a house, I thought about how Ivanka used to point out inconsistencies between a character’s profession and their lifestyle when we went to the movies. “Since when can a teacher afford a BMW?” she would ask, munching on her usual small popcorn, coated in what would be an unpalatable amount of salt to a normal person. Or, “Why is a police officer living in a house like that?”
One time, we were driving to Manhattan from Bedminster, and I think we were having some sort of disagreement about affordable housing in Manhattan. I distinctly remember Ivanka saying something along the lines of, “Ly, I can’t talk about this stuff with you anymore because you’ve really turned into a Marxist.”
The time Ivanka called her friend a ‘terrorist’ because she wore a necklace with her name written in Arabic
While Ivanka was laying the foundation for her conquest of Manhattan, I was experiencing a new reality in Lebanon as it was rocked by a string of political assassinations and bombings and a decimating war with Israel. The gulf between us became increasingly apparent. During my first two-year stint in Beirut, Ivanka regularly emailed me messages like, “When are you getting your ass back to NYC? You’re going to be replaced.” I remember her being the only person I knew who didn’t ask me what the war was like. By the time I did return home, she had started dating Jared Kushner, whose family was Orthodox Jewish, and my pro-Palestinian stance began to chafe. Since 2007, I’ve worn a necklace with my name written in Arabic, and Ivanka grew increasingly irritated by it. Sometimes, she would randomly say, “I hate that thing.” Then one night in the middle of dinner, she glanced at the necklace and said, “How does your Jewish boyfriend feel when you are having sex and that necklace hits him the face? How can you wear that thing? It just screams, ‘terrorist.’”
Ohrstrom, who is a freelance journalist once based in Lebanon, explained why she waited so long to speak out about Ivanka, whom she described as someone she was “more sisters than best friends” with for a decade. “I told myself it wouldn’t make a difference if I shared my bird’s-eye view of the first family because the public had long ago grown inured to the run-of-the-mill instances of misogyny, elitism, and poor character that I could recollect,” Ohrstrom wrote about her silence, adding, “In reality, I was afraid I’d lose friends and get skewered from all sides as a hypocritical, privileged elitist looking to capitalize on her Trump connection. My disgust with the Trumps was outweighed by my fear of being dragged through the mud, dismissed by the family as a nasty loser.”
Ohrstrom added, “Whether Ivanka is able to rehab her stained image or not, I hope she wasn’t able to drown out the applause of the city she once aspired to rule, cheering and celebrating her political downfall. I was with them, crying with relief, matched only by the regret and shame I feel for not holding my former friend to account sooner.”
Better late than never, I guess! Congrats to Ohrstrom, who I’m sure is being flooded with book deals right now.