At the start of 2019, Jim Yong Kim “made the surprise announcement” that he would be stepping down at the end of January after six years as the president of the World Bank. Kim was not due to leave until 2022, and that institution’s leadership has always been something the United States—and more specifically the acting president of the United States—gets to choose. This, of course, made the entire global financial community anxious as Donald Trump’s singular financial achievement was to be born rich. His business acumen led to multiple bankruptcies and very compromised finances.
Very quickly, there were rumors that the orange guy wanted his equally unimpressive daughter Ivanka to take over. At the time, the word used was “floated,” as in: “Ivanka Trump’s name is being floated to head the World Bank.” It made for good copy, but while most of us around these here parts realized it was a very real thing that Donald Trump would do, most people felt it was nothing more than someone reporting on one of the burped up mishmash of phrases The Donald probably threw around behind the scenes. Now, Ryan Grim and Max Ufberg of the Intercept report that they have anonymous sources that say that Ivanka’s name was more than floated, and the only thing that stopped it from happening was Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
According to Grim and Ufberg, one source tells them President of the World Bank Ivanka Trump “came incredibly close to happening.” Part of disgraced president’s pitch was Ivanka’s previous two years of experience working “closely with the World Bank’s leadership” on her failed Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). Ivanka’s failure of a crowning achievement came after being publicly shamed into doing something, anything that at least made her appear to be a productive member of public service.
That W-GDP was the program the Trump administration used as a public relations smokescreen after ending Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” program, and putting the Trump signature on the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act (WEEE Act). The Trumps also got the Saudis to announce a $100 million donation to Ivanka’s W-GDP, an announcement that coincidentally took place at about the same time that Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, reportedly finalized negotiating a $110 billion record-breaking arms deal with the Saudi government.
At the time, Ivanka’s vaguely defined fund, which promised to “codify gender analysis and deliver targeted finance across the women’s programs of 10 U.S. government agencies,” sounded a lot like the handful of programs the Trump administration had cut back and dismantled. The fact that it would soon be revealed as a vague, unaccountable, and poorly defined mess is exactly what anyone with two sticks to rub together could have predicted.
According to the Intercept, as luck would have it, the fact that Mnuchin was a high-powered Hollywood producer gave him just enough clout with Donald Trump to stop him from appointing his abysmal-at-morality-and-business daughter to the World Bank position. The reason Mnuchin had clout was simple: Mnuchin was “a representative of the set whose approval Trump craved.” Donald—like a middle-schooler battling with the beginnings of an identity, puberty, and a new school—believes the Hollywood elites are the cool kids, and he wants them to like him.
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