Get ready for an Ivanka Trump 2020 campaign, at least according to Mika Brzezinski.
The political scion, cohost of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and a “former” friend of the Trump family told The New Yorker’s David Remnick as much during the first evening of the magazine’s annual festival. Joe Scarborough, the still-conservative although no longer republican “Joe” of “Morning Joe,” supported the theory and explained to a surprised Remnick his fiancée’s strong track record in presidential predictions.
“Mika predicted in June 2007 Obama would win, she predicted in June of 2015 that Donald Trump would win and now she’s predicting Ivanka in 2020,” Scarborough said, but clarified that right now it’s just a prediction that the first daughter will run, not that she’ll win.
When Remnick asked for specifics of Brzezinski’s insight, which was not only plainly disturbing to all three of the people on stage, but most of the audience as they exchanged groans, scoffs and sighs while the host (who oddly kept her sunglasses atop her head during the entire discussion) briefly explained herself.
“[Donald Trump’s] got an obsession with positioning her; there’s clear ambition on her part, I mean, she’s got these carefully crafted sizzle reels on Instagram…she’s going to all of the key states, going to all of the key companies, taking photos and giving speeches and she always stands at a presidential podium,” Brzezinski said.
Remnick seemed almost a little dazed by the thought of Donald Trump not seeking reelection, but also that his daughter could potentially be the country’s first female president.
Talk of just-confirmed Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh and the media’s handling of allegations of sexual assault as a drunk teen by Christine Blasey Ford and a drunk young adult by two other women, dominated a lot of the 90-minute conversation.
Brzezinski, who said he’s unfit for the seat based on his refusal to say whether the Constitution allows a president to prohibit entry to the U.S. based on their religion, among many other evasions during his initial round of Congressional interviews, blamed “the media” for his certain confirmation.
“Twenty-four seven I watched cable and network TV and I watched guest, after guest, after guest convict Kavanaugh…and he may have done it, but he may not have,” she said. “Everyone was making the leap, Democrats did it and members of the media did it and I think it whittled away at our credibility.”
Scarborough leaned into blaming Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had a letter from Ford regarding her allegations, but didn’t make public because Ford had requested anonymity. It was only released after Kavanaugh’s first Congressional interview.
“It was cynically released,” Scarborough, a former congressman in Florida, said. “I would have loved three or four weeks to really investigate the claims and his testimony, much of which I believe to be false.”
Later in the evening, Ronan Farrow took to a separate stage with New Yorker editor Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, to talk about his year of stories for the magazine mainly focused on outing alleged sexual abusers, starting with Harvey Weinstein and continuing most recently with Kavanaugh. Serendipitously, or not, that’s where the conversation began and ended, as well, but it was peppered with almost constant mentions of Farrow’s many academic accomplishments: graduating college at 15; a law degree from Yale at 22 followed by passing the New York Bar; now 30, he’s just submitted his Ph.D. thesis, which was brought up at least half-a-dozen times on stage.
Despite all of his education and privilege, being the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, Farrow insisted that his career was “at rock bottom” before The New Yorker published his story on Weinstein, a story he was told repeatedly by unnamed news executives “was not a story.”
“My contract [with NBC News] was ending after I refused to stop those [Weinstein] interviews and I did not have a new one, my book publisher dropped me, refusing to look at even one page of a manuscript I’d labored over for years, I’d learned that another news outlet [The New York Times] was racing to scoop me and that I was falling behind,” Farrow said.
All that’s changed. In the year since, Farrow’s book has been published and he’s working on another (about the Weinstein story and his trouble publishing it), and probably another after that. There’s a deal with HBO and plenty of stories coming his way. He hinted that there’s even more to come on Kavanaugh.
While the event was billed as a talk between Farrow and Foley-Mendelssohn, Farrow actually gave a 30-minute speech at the start. He was well-spoken and relaxed and his anecdotal jokes hit (it was a sympathetic crowd, but still). He spoke of journalism, the importance of good editors, his recent work, but also broadly about the “extraordinary moment” the country is in culturally, the “systems” at work that divide people, the “two different medias,” the question of “whether the hard thing is also the right thing.”
Maybe Ivanka Trump isn’t the only one with presidential, or at least political, ambitions.