Despite controversy in the U.S. over nepotism and possible conflicts of interest, first daughter Ivanka Trump has become a celebrated figure in China for her “elegant and poised style.”
Some, such as 26-year-old business school student Wang Ge, have taken this reverence to the next level, going so far as to study Trump’s self-help tips and emulate her daily routine, according to a NY Times report Tuesday.
The report noted that Trump, 35, has been described as a “goddess” on Chinese social media, and that she has become viewed as a model of both personal and financial success by many in China, particularly among young professionals enamored with her opulent lifestyle.
Trump appears to be held in higher regard in China than her father, President Donald Trump, who during his campaign made statements highly critical of China, suggesting the country was “killing [the U.S.] on trade.” In May of last year, Trump used more graphic language, saying the U.S. “can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing.”
“A lot of people think Ivanka is the real president,” 31-year-old businesswoman Li Moya told the New York Times. “We think she has the brains, not her father.” A viral video of Ivanka’s young daughter, Arabella, singing Happy New Year in Chinese was a smash hit in the country, attracting millions of viewers.
Some Chinese also see echoes of Confucianism in Trump’s conversion to Judaism for her husband, and strong family values reflected in her defense of her father, according to the NY Times report.
President Trump himself is scheduled to meet for the first time with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday, a pivotal meeting in which the two will discuss issues including North Korea’s nuclear aims and trade tensions.
“Her father is a regular critic of China, so Ivanka’s moves sort of compensate for that,” Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University, explained to the NY Times.
“The Chinese government will see there are both ugly and positive messages coming out of the U.S.”