It took the two of us a while to even start discussing Donald Trump as a serious national threat—after all, Jenni once saw Celebrity Apprentice being filmed, and it was hard to imagine that the man stomping down the hall of his namesake hotel with his children in a line behind him like very wealthy ducklings would ever be in spitting distance of the presidency. But it’s become more and more apparent that, whether he wins the Republican nomination or not, people listen to this man on issues besides whether or not Omarosa was unjustly dismissed from Season 1 of The Apprentice (by the way, she seems fine with it—she’s a surrogate for his campaign now).
Someone recently asked Lena what she would say to Donald Trump if she met him. She stuttered through a vague answer, something along the lines of, “But I don’t wanna meet him,” and brought it back to Jenni to kick around. And we decided that if we met him, we would ask this question: “Hey, Donald Trump, what about your daughter?”
Donald Trump has two daughters, and his oldest, Ivanka, is a successful public figure in her own right. She’s a dynamic entrepreneur with a beautiful family and a stated interest in advancing the cause of professional women, often employing the hashtag #womenwhowork on her website. Trump has said publicly, “I have a daughter named Ivanka and a wife named Melania who constantly want me to talk about women’s health issues because they know how I feel about it and they know how I feel about women. I love women. I respect women.” He has also said publicly that he is anti-choice, and even if his campaign has said women and men who work for Trump receive equal pay, he has not advocated for wage equality on a national level, saying women should only be paid the same as men, “if you do a good job.” He has assessed his opponents, namely Hillary Clinton, based on their appearance and using gendered terms like shrill.
So, Donald Trump, a few more questions for you: Do you understand that your daughter has the remarkable life she does because she had access to excellent medical care and family planning? She had the choice to have two children once she was already married to a high-earning partner, her own career in full bloom. Donald Trump, you seem to take pride in Ivanka’s professional achievements, and she holds a position at your company in addition to her namesake fashion lines—by the way, she makes some very chic bags. Do you understand that, as a businesswoman, she will be constantly facing and may already deal with the possibility of making less for doing as good a job? Would you like it if your own daughter’s merits were assessed by someone like you, someone who thought her looks and her sexual choices and the very sound of her voice were fair game?
Donald Trump, your lack of connection to the people you want to govern is evident in more ways than we can count, and especially glaring when you consider the divide between the woman you raised and the women you want to lead. We hope your younger daughter, Tiffany, enjoys all the successes her older sister has. We hope all our daughters do. But you’re not helping.
Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner are the writers and producers of Girls on HBO and the co-founders of lennyletter.com. Sign up for LENNY, a newsletter about feminism, style, health, politics, friendship and everything else.