From the very beginning, members of the art world protested the Trump regime. Four years ago, they began a social media campaign under the handle @dear_Ivanka, which petitioned her to recognize the fears her father’s looming presidency inspired. At a candlelight vigil the group organized in SoHo one night, the artist Marilyn Minter told a reporter for The New Yorker that she and others were appealing to Ms. Trump because “we think she is potentially one of us.”
As the Trump era progressed, Ms. Minter abandoned hope that Ivanka was any different than her father. She would never sell her work to Ms. Trump, she told me, nor would her dealer, the prominent gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn. “There have to be consequences for behaving so abhorrently,” Ms. Minter said. “How do you forgive that level of cruelty?”
The fashion industry, too, will present obstacles. Batsheva Hay is a young independent designer roughly Ms. Trump’s age who is favored by awards committees and celebrities and magazine editors. “The fashion world is pretty ready to shun her,” Ms. Hay told me. “No one is going to lend Ivanka clothing — she’ll have to buy it covertly at retail.”
And what of Mr. Kushner’s real-estate empire, which he ran for his family after his father was sent to prison? That landscape, too, is very different, devastated by the pandemic. Just this week a Brooklyn judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit claiming that Kushner Companies bypassed rent stabilization guidelines on a building it owns in Brooklyn. A lawyer for the firm called it baseless and accused the plaintiffs’ “enablers” of acting out of political motivation.
The problem with the fever dream that has the Trump-Kushners consigned to lawyers’ offices, shopping at Macy’s and eating in chain restaurants adjacent to Times Square is that it overlooks the power of transactionalism inherent to the city. This was obvious from a recent piece in Vanity Fair looking toward the couple’s post White House future. Most of the sources quoted were unnamed, which suggests the wariness even those dismissive or hostile to the Trumps still have about alienating them.
The dispiriting truth is that you can always eat lunch in this town again. When I spoke with Eric Ripert, the chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, he told me that his policy is to welcome everyone, and if Ms. Trump and her husband came to the restaurant, he would treat them as he would anyone else. He has sat dictators and other public figures of ambiguous moral distinction, his own views be damned, and they have nearly always been left alone.
When I asked a publicist for Vogue whether Ms. Trump would ever be invited to the Met gala going forward, she told me that the magazine never comments on potential guests, which is to say that she did not deliver an emphatic “no,” even as Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour have spent the past few months desperately trying to persuade the media that they are staunchly aligned with the millennial left.