Ivanka Trump may be getting welcomed back into her old socialite circles.
The former first daughter appeared at Kim Kardashian's birthday party — and on her Instagram page.
Ivanka Trump has spent the past two and half years publicly distancing from her father Donald Trump.
When Ivanka Trump stepped into the White House, some believed she was stepping away for good from the socialite life she left behind — but if the Trumps have taught us anything, it's to never say never.
Former President Donald Trump's eldest daughter made a high-profile appearance over the weekend at the birthday party of one of the most famous people on Earth: Kim Kardashian.
Kardashian, who turned 43, posted photos of the event on Instagram, including a group photo that included Trump, who wore a stylish, sparkly white, two-piece set. In another photo Kardashian posted to her Instagram story, she and Ivanka were seated next to each other and appeared to be laughing. Other stars at the party, which took place at Funke in Beverly Hills, California, on Friday, included Kardashian family members, Hailey Bieber, and Lauren Sanchez, the partner of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Ivanka Trump re-shared the story photo, tagging Kardashian and writing "Enjoying some Face Time on your special day."
Several commenters on Kardashian's post decried Trump's presence at the party, writing things like, "not Ivanka!"
But Mitra Ahouraian, an entertainment attorney with high-profile clients, said she wasn't surprised to see Ivanka Trump and Kardashian together.
"Although Ivanka has supported her father, even working for his various companies and in the White House, she has really tried to distance herself from him in the aftermath of his presidency," Ahouraian told Insider. "I'm not at all surprised that Ivanka has managed to re-engage with her social circles and establish herself as separate and apart from her father."
Ahouraian said that Ivanka Trump has likely struggled to balance her relationship with her father, with whom she was always close, and the ways in which she disagreed with him or disapproved of his actions — something Kardashian may be able to relate to. Kardashian has spoken about being close with her late father, Robert Kardashian, a lawyer who defended OJ Simpson in his murder trial. Kardashian has said the trial tore her family apart.
"The Kardashians are a perfect brand to attach to — assuming Ivanka wasn't getting pulled into this trial — because they do well with chaos," attorney and legal analyst Andrew Lieb told Insider, referring to a civil fraud trial facing the Trump Organization in which the eldest Trump daughter was dismissed as a codefendant but has still been subpoenaed to testify.
Lieb added that, because the Kardashians have built their empire on a chaotic brand that thrives on familial drama, "it's a perfect segue brand for her to be associated with" as Ivanka attempts to rebrand herself. But despite these low-level social moves, he said, she still has to contend with the potential for more court-related reputational damage.
"It's all working out and she's doing all these great things until she hits the dumpster truck head-on when she's called to testify against Donald and Jr. in the case," Lieb said. "So, no matter how much rebranding she does, the reality is going to hit as soon as she's back in the courtroom."
Ivanka was a Manhattan socialite before entering politics changed her reputation
Before her stint in politics, Ivanka Trump was an active Manhattan socialite, frequently appearing at red-carpet events and supporting various charitable causes. In addition to helping run the Trump Organization, she also had her own fashion and lifestyle brand.
But her support for her father's 2016 presidential campaign and eventual position as a senior adviser in the White House ostracized her from her prior circles. In early 2017, her fashion brand was dropped from stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus following customer protests and lagging sales. By 2018, she announced the company was being shut down while she focused on her work in Washington. Beyond the business fallout, reports said Ivanka Trump had lost friends over her involvement in politics and was largely cut out from high society events she previously attended.
Despite going all-in on her father's first term, Ivanka Trump has since distanced herself from him and politics in general. She's spent the last two and a half years avoiding Trump campaign events and largely remaining silent on his ongoing legal battles.
After being removed as a codefendant in the New York fraud trial, Ivanka has also asked to be released from a subpoena to testify against her father in the civil fraud case; a move Lieb told Insider is unlikely to succeed in court.
In the fall of 2022, she said she was "done" with politics and would not serve as her father's adviser. Days later, she skipped is 2024 campaign announcement. Instead of politics, Ivanka Trump has publicly focused on her family, often sharing photos of her husband and kids, charitable causes, and lifestyle content.
A crisis communications expert familiar with the situation told Insider in May that she and Kushner had been living separate lives from the rest of the Trump family for several years. However, he noted that shaking the Trump brand's reputation would be difficult for her.
"Most people are not going to care what she does, as long as her father is a viable candidate for the presidency, there is a significant portion of the population that will not have any interest in the reintroduction of Ivanka Trump into the general conversation," he said.
Ivanka Trump and Kim Kardashian have known each other for years
As for Kardashian's embrace of Ivanka Trump, their relationship goes back years. In 2014, Ivanka Trump's photo diary from the Met Gala published in People magazine included a shot of her talking to Kardashian and Kanye West. Ivanka Trump said she and Kardashian talked about being new moms.
Kardashian also made several visits to the Donald Trump White House to lobby for criminal justice reform. When Kardashian met with the president in 2018 to urge him to commute the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense, it was Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner who were believed to have arranged the meeting. The president commuted Johnson's prison sentence later that year and eventually granted her a full pardon.
Kardashian and Ivanka Trump were also spotted having dinner together in Beverly Hills in October 2022, shortly after Kanye West, Kardashian's ex-husband, had gone on antisemitic tirades. Ivanka Trump and her husband are Jewish, and West had also criticized Kushner directly. It was unclear if the dinner was business or pleasure, or if it had something to do with West's comments.
But after the birthday party showing this weekend, it's clear Ivanka Trump is visibly back in Kim Kardashian's circle, and has re-entered the role of Ivanka Trump, the socialite. It remains to be seen whether the rebrand will stick.
"Right now we're seeing her pop up at parties and do some other things, but we're not hearing about what Jared and Ivanka are doing as far as leadership and what are they doing that's different enough to counteract the thunder that is Donald Trump's media voice," Lieb said. "I think that's really a predicament — and I don't know that there's a great solution for her."
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