Tiffany Trump, the forlorn lost star in Donald Trump’s glittering galaxy of sired stooges, spoke Tuesday night at the fever dream nightmare that was the second day of the RNC. Her arrival was foreshadowed by CNN’s ominous chyron, which shimmered in patriotic red, white, and blue. “Ahead: Tiffany Trump” it read, as a dairy farm CEO boasted about cows that milk themselves. After some time, Tiffany took the stage, dressed in an outfit meant to communicate that she is a millennial, and delivered a speech about media bias, her father, and “the Dream of America.” As the abandoned Trump daughter gesticulated wildly at the podium, her role in the administration’s publicity machine was solidified: She is the less-intimidating, non-threatening, dollar-store version of her half-sister Ivanka Trump, who is clearly the favorite and who projects as more expensive and in a higher class bracket than Tiffany.
Having being released from law school into a world gripped by the pandemic, Tiffany attempted to present a relatable face to any millennials like herself who might be watching the RNC. “As a recent graduate, I can relate to so many of you who might be looking for a job,” she said. “My father built a thriving economy once, and believe me, he will do it again.” Like Ivanka, who bandies about her children and her motherhood in a ham-fisted stab at relatability, Tiffany’s role in the PR machine is to pander to a younger conservative audience who might feel threatened by the looming specter of “cancel culture” or the imagined threat of a biased media. Tiffany’s speech touched on these talking points before launching into boilerplate rhetoric in service to her father, one of the gods that she purportedly worships.
The top three Trump children have long been foot soldiers in their father’s indomitable war, but before last night, Tiffany’s role in the campaign has been small. Unlike Ivanka, who is her father’s ideal, Tiffany lacks the polish and the shine required to reach the hearts and the minds of the upper-crust white women with whom Ivanka resonates. But her appearance at the RNC, gussied up in Ivanka drag, speaking with the same cadence and forced conviction, established her role in the re-election campaign. She is both relatable and aspirational, an icy blonde cut from the same cloth as Tomi Lahren, but lacking the mental fortitude or the cunning required to really make an impact. In short, she is the kind of woman that the leader of a campus Young Republican club aspires to be: superficially articulate, well-versed in bullshit, but still uninhibited enough to post content on Instagram that is reminiscent of a lower-tiered influencer whose brush with fame is entirely predicated on the fact that Donald Trump is her father.
What’s intriguing about Tiffany is not her willingness to do the job assigned to her by birthright, but the fact that we don’t know nearly enough about her to form an informed opinion. She attended Georgetown for law school, her mother is Marla Maples, and while she trotted out to deliver a middling speech at the RNC in 2016, she’s largely stayed out of the spotlight until now. There’s something about her that evinces sympathy, partially because she really does seem to be ignored for the most part, cast aside for shinier toys that do the job required of them with startling efficiency. But leaning into that impulse and allowing yourself to feel that sympathy for her is part of the Trump re-election campaign’s master plan. Like Melania, who uses her platform very strategically, Tiffany represents the softer side of the Trump women, lacking Ivanka’s calculated and cold polish, appealing to voters intimidated by the veneer of sophistication her sister presents. She’s nothing more than a vessel for the same garbage the Trump administration has been selling for the past four years, following her sister’s playbook, but always one step behind.