The Consumer Technology Association announced that Ivanka Trump would be a keynote speaker at CES 2020. Some of the people who have been pushing for more female speakers and more diversity in general at the country’s premier tech confab protested.
Why they protested
Some argued that Trump was a bad choice. She lacks tech credentials. On social media others were more honest: They maintained that the first daughter shouldn’t have a place on the stage because she is a Trump. Yes, Ivanka Trump would be on the stage if she were not the president’s daughter. Her job exists because of nepotism. But: Ivanka Trump works without cashing a paycheck.
And rather than designing a portfolio that starts with accessories or branding, Ivanka Trump has waded into some of the least glamorous corners of government policy. She often appears at events with the most sleep-inducing member of the Trump cabinet, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
On the stage with the head of the CTA Trump did not talk like the airhead fashionista her detractors see. She talked about her lack of sympathy for employers who lay off workers and then complain that they don’t have enough skilled workers. They should have taken the time to “reskill” those workers, she argued. She also advocated for employment opportunities for former prisoner inmates and the need to not over-peddle four-year college as the ticket to career success. These are not airhead positions.
Why they are out of line for protesting
Her workforce portfolio has her rubbing shoulders with the likes of Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Their firms have signed the White House Pledge to American Workers. This is entirely consistent with the Trump re-election campaign. POTUS frequently says that he is a man of America’s “forgotten” workers. And we clearly see his raised in Manhattan daughter championing those who don’t have college educations.
Ivanka has embraced the lunchbox workforce. She gets the wonky jargon that surrounds training issues. She’s not out doing the Barbie doll wannabe thing at all. The Trumps are clearly tending to their mending with the lunch bucket brigade. That’s the opposition didn’t want her to speak at CES 2020. They didn’t want other people to grok what’s going on.
The talk about Ivanka Trump lacking credentials is cheap perfume to hide the stench of left-wing intolerance in the tech industry.
Don’t think it’s true?
Ask Brendan Eich, the former Mozilla CEO who was forced to resign in 2014 after it was learned that he had donated $1,000 to a 2008 California ballot measure to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The tech world found Eich’s past opposition to same-sex marriage a corporate capital offense.
The tech world makes a lot of noise about promoting diversity, but it doesn’t apply to the diversity of thought. Ask James Damore or Kevin Cernekee and these are visible and likely not isolated incidents. Not only are the Trumps talking the talk, but they are also walking the walk.