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Wealth Begets Love Begets Likes Begets Power

The saga of Wendi Deng, the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch and maybe-lover of Vladimir Putin who helped Ivanka and Jared stay together

Rachel Shukert
August 17, 2016
Facebook / Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump and Wendi Deng, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, August 14, 2016. Facebook / Ivanka Trump
Facebook / Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump and Wendi Deng, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, August 14, 2016. Facebook / Ivanka Trump

I’ve said this before on no less a breaking news site than my own Facebook page, but I am genuinely convinced, to the bottom of my soul, that Wendi Deng is the most terrifying woman on the planet.

Think about it. She married Dark Lord Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate on whose behalf she famously attacked an errant pie thrower in 2011 at the height of the News of the World hacking scandal. (Eyewitnesses say she growled with “genuine rage” in her eyes.) Now they’re divorced, and Deng is rumored to be romantically involved with Vladimir Putin. Before that she was linked, however thinly, to Tony Blair—an affair that if it indeed occurred, was alleged to be responsible for the end of her 14-year marriage to Murdoch. (Our Australian magnate man understands that his wife 38 years his junior—38 years being the cited length of the Zbornack marriage on The Golden Girls, just so you have a sense of the magnitude of the age difference—might have certain needs he can no longer fulfill, but with a Labour politician? Never!)

Wait, there’s more! This week, The New Yorker reported that Deng is responsible for the unholy alliance (Is that too cruel? Do I care?) between Trumpistan and Kushervania. That is to say, she brokered their reconciliation in 2008, when they briefly split due to that fact that Ivanka (who, as the magazine recalls, appeared in the documentary Born Rich “wearing a necklace with a silver cross”) was not exactly who Kushner’s mother imagined him standing under the chuppah with. And if you’re reading this, you know exactly what I mean (and honestly, hasn’t poor Seryl Kushner been through enough?)

Enter Wendi, who orchestrated a chance meeting between the lovelorn pair on the Murdoch yacht (because seriously, what aspiring yenta hasn’t?), leading directly to their engagement, wedding, and Ivanka’s conversion to Judaism, by now the most famous since Ruth’s in the bible—and the reason why we’re all supposed to think it’s fine that her father is cool with white supremacists. Well, that and the fact that Jared Kushner’s grandparents are Holocaust survivors, which apparently gives a child of extreme privilege who has never lived outside the bubble of East Coast wealth a supernatural insight to know when people talking about an international Zionist conspiracy and superimposing a Star of David over a background of money mean it, and when they don’t.

Now, Jared and Ivanka are on their summer vacation in Europe. They’ve been seen on David Geffen’s yacht; Geffen was one of the chief supporters of Obama’s campaign in 2008, and is a major Hillary donor now, proving that there are no real politics in the world of wealth, that billionaires are really their own ethnic group, or maybe they’re just wisely hedging their bets. Oh, and Ivanka recently posted to her Instagram a photo of herself and Wendi Deng, grinning in designer summer finery as they overlook the ancient Croatian city of Dubrovnik, last seen in American popular culture (which, let’s face it, is basically what the Trump campaign is), as the stand-in for King’s Landing on Game of Thrones.

Is this proof that Ivanka, by dint of being relaxed and on vacation, is dialing back her support for her father’s campaign? Or are she and Putin’s alleged paramour mentally dividing up the spoils of Eastern Europe once her father is elected and the Iron Curtain—only this time, made of gold, possibly bejeweled and probably designed by Dolce & Gabbana—descends? I couldn’t say, but some people (to use a favorite phrase of her father and his odious allies) are asking questions. And as anyone as image-conscious as these two knows, a picture is worth a thousand words. And 30,000 likes.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.