Scarlett Johansson may have recently poked fun at Ivanka Trump on Saturday Night Live — but when it comes to the first daughter’s private influence on politics and policies, the 32-year-old actress is not laughing.
In an interview at the Women in the World Summit in New York City on Thursday, Johansson spoke out about Ivanka Trump’s recent interview with CBS News — in which the president’s eldest daughter said that her impact on the White House will happen behind-the-scenes.
“I don’t think that it will make me a more effective advocate to constantly articulate every issue publicly where I disagree,” Trump told Gayle King. “And that’s okay. That means that I’ll take hits from some critics who say that I should take to the streets and then other people will in, the long-term respect, where I get to. But I think most of the impact I have, over time most people will not actually know about.”
Trump’s words miffed Johansson.
“It was kind of baffling, I have to say” the Ghost in the Shell star told Arianna Huffington on Thursday. “It was really baffling. You can’t have it both ways, right? If you take a job as a public advocate, then you must advocate publicly, right?”
Ivanka Trump was recently formally hired by the White House and given the official title of “Assistant to the President.”
It wasn’t that Johansson thought Trump might be hiding something when she said her change would happened behind closed doors. Instead, Johansson was bothered that Trump appeared afraid to own up to her choices and her influence.
“I thought to myself, ‘Well, that’s empowering!’ “Johansson said. “How old-fashioned! This idea that behind a great man is a great woman. What about being in front of that person, or next to that person, or standing on your own?”
“It’s such an old-fashioned concept that to be this powerful woman, you can’t appear to be concerned with that someone’s going to think you’re ‘bitchy.’ I think powerful women often get concerned with this idea that they’re going to be seen in this unforgiving light,” she added. “Screw that! It’s so old-fashioned, and so uninspired and actually really cowardly.”
Though Johansson admitted that she understands the complications of the situation Trump is in, she stressed the opportunity Trump to make a “big impact, just by being vocal.”
“I have met her several times in the past — we both grew up in New York and have some friends in common,”Johansson said. “And she’s a very well-spoken, smart and intelligent woman. And I think engaging. It baffles me. The whole situation baffles me.”
Johansson has been outspoken about women’s rights in recent months, lending her voice to Jan. 21’s Women’s March on Washington.
She also lent her voice to the rolling criticism that Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have been staying silent on executive orders that may contradict their personal beliefs, in a Saturday Night Live skit on March 11.
There, Johansson played Trump in a pre-taped faux advertisement for a fake perfume called “Complicit” — “the fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.”
“She’s loyal. Devoted. But probably should have bounced after the whole Access Hollywood bus thing,” SNL cast member Cecily Strong in a voiceover narration. “Oh well. Also, I bet when she watches Titanic she thinks she’s Rose. Sorry, girl, you’re Billy Zane.”
Speaking with King, Trump defended herself against the “complicit” criticism — saying she shares her opinions “with total candor” with her father in private.
“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Trump said. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.”
“I don’t know what it means to be complicit, but I hope time will prove I have done a good job and that my father’s administration is the success I know it will be,” she continued. “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence.”