Ivanka Trump released the commencement speech she intended to give at Wichita State University online this weekend, and her political opponents used it to make an impactful video condemning her. Trump was meant to give the commencement speech to the graduating class of WSU-Tech, but the school canceled the appearance due to outcry from the students, according to a report by The Guardian. In an act of defiance against "cancel culture," she released the speech anyway, with devastating effect.
Trump felt that she was a victim of "viewpoint discrimination" when her speaking engagement at WSU-Tech was dropped. Since it was a digital ceremony anyway, her speech was pre-recorded, so she posted it on the official White House YouTube channel. However, that allowed video producers at MeidasTouch.com to cut it together with clips of her father's most infamous moments, as well as footage from recent protests against police violence. The effect cast Trump's words in a much different light.
The video went viral on Saturday night, buoyed by the trending hashtag "Bye Ivanka." It included some scandalous headlines about Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, such as their suspicious acquisition of Chinese trademarks and their exorbitant $82 million earnings during a year when they were working in the White House as public servants. It also timed words carefully, showing a tear gas canister hitting a crowd of protesters just as Ivanka said the word "tears."
Even without the edited video, Trump's speech struck the wrong chord with many viewers. One of the first excerpts to gain widespread notoriety was the quote: "In my own life, I have found that my greatest personal growth has arisen from times of discomfort and uncertainty." Viewers wondered what discomfort or uncertainty the wealthy heiress has experienced, doubting that she has seen much.
Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia.
Listening to one another is important now more than ever!https://t.co/VW6W8TIL9c— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2020
The first daughter was also criticized for her outraged response when the speaking engagement was canceled. In a tweet after the news broke, she wrote: "Our nation's campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!" Responders accused her of entitlement, with some accusing her of bigotry and saying that "racism is not a difference of opinion."
Dissenters also pointed out that it was the students and faculty of WSU-Tech that decided they did not want to hear from Trump, not some unilateral decision-maker. A petition to cancel the speech reportedly circulated among students, garnering 488 signatures before it was accepted.