Lysandra Ohrstrom might not be a household name to many but she is one of Ivanka's former best friends who grew up with the now advisor to the POTUS in New York City.
Trump wanted to know if Ivanka was the prettiest or most popular girl in her grade
The two met at Chapin, an all-girls school on Manhattan's Upper East Side and soon befriended each other after attending Ivanka's 13th birthday party at the penthouse of Trump's own Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. One thing that Ohrstrom noted early on into their friendship was that Trump couldn't care less about Ivanka's friends and was purely focused on his daughter's own popularity.
He would barely acknowledge me except to ask if Ivanka was the prettiest or the most popular girl in our grade.
Before I learned that the Trumps have no sense of humor about themselves, I remember answering honestly that she was probably in the top five. “Who’s prettier than Ivanka?” I recall him asking once with genuine confusion, before correctly naming the two girls I’d had in mind. He described one as a young Cindy Crawford, while the other he said had a great figure.
Trump would make inappropriate comments about Ivanka's friend's body size
Ohrstrom added that Trump was also prone to making inappropriate comments about her size and congratulating her on any weight loss, despite being unable to remember her name. She recalled an incident in Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, where Donald Jr stole half-a-grilled sandwich from her plate only for his father to reply:
Don’t worry. She doesn’t need it. He’s doing her a favour.
Ivanka tried to bring a more intellectual approach to the Trump brand
Ohrstrom notes that compared to her father and her brothers, Ivanka always tried to have a more refined and considered approach to her wealthy celebrity status and didn't play up to her father's worst tendencies.
The Ivanka I knew spent her career developing and embodying a more polished and intellectual offshoot of the Trump brand, which blended the language and look of white millennial feminism with the mythical narrative of the business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit she claimed to have inherited from her dad.
Her objective was always a more refined brand of celebrity than the bombastic, nouveau riche variety her dad had perfected—the kind that allowed her to be graciously received by the B&T and Maidstone set, invite Blake Lively over for a girls’ dinner, and vacation on the yachts of tech billionaires, but also serve as an inspirational example of a “woman who works” to the middle-class housewives to whom she peddled her fashion brand.
She is disappointed that Ivanka hasn't stood up to her father more during his presidency
Ohrstrom adds that although she knows that Ivanka tried to portray a much different image for the Trump family, that she was ultimately let down when she didn't make more of an opposition to some of Trump's more controversial moments in office.
In private, I’ve had countless conversations with friends who also grew up with Ivanka about how appalled we are that she didn’t publicly oppose Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, or any of her dad’s especially repugnant policies.
Ivanka was disgusted when she was recommended a book about 'poor people'
Ohstrom and Ivanka were still close friends in their mid-20s and she was always interested in taking book recommendations.
During one phone call Ivanka admitted her outrage after Ohrstrom had recommended her the 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning novel Empire Falls, about the hardships a diner owner experiences in a struggling working-class town in Maine. To put it bluntly, Ivanka wasn't interested in reading about this type of lifestyle.
'Ly, why would you tell me to read a book about f**king poor people?' I remember Ivanka saying. 'What part of you thinks I would be interested in this?'
Trump once gave a Mar-a-Lago speech where he called the crowd the 'richest Jews in the world'
Ohrstrom's closeness to Ivanka gave her the opportunity to witness some of Trump's private speeches at the Mar-a-Lago. One particular speech she recalls saw Trump mockingly joke about some of the guests at the dinner and him bragging about a fight in was in with a nearby club.
Another memory that often occurs to me is of Mr. Trump delivering a toast to a room full of diners at Mar-a-Lago, who watched him as devotedly then as his red-capped followers do today. They laughed when he addressed them as the richest Jews in the world, complimented the array of luxury sports cars in the parking lot, and gleefully recounted the fight he was waging against the Waspy club across the street, which he dismissed as a dump. Beneath the taunting, it was obvious that Mr. Trump was insecure; back then, Palm Beach’s old-guard communities were among the few not seduced by his wealth.
Ivanka warned her she was going to be 'replaced' if she didn't return to New York
Ohrstrom, who is a freelance journalist, spent time working in Beirut, Lebanon during troubled times for the region. However, rather than enquiring about her friend's work or wellbeing, Ivanka would reportedly tell her to come back to New York City because she was going to be 'replaced.'
During my first two-year stint in Beirut, Ivanka regularly emailed me messages like, 'When are you getting your ass back to NYC? You’re going to be replaced.'
I remember her being the only person I knew who didn’t ask me what the war was like.
Ivanka was unhappy about her friend's pro-Palestine stance
Through working in the Middle East, Ohrstrom adopted a pro-Palestine outlook that didn't sit well with Ivanka, who by this point had started to date her now-husband, Jared Kushner.
One incident she recalls saw Ivanka liken a necklace that Ohrstrom owned, with her name written in Arabic on it, to terrorism.
By the time I did return home, she had started dating Jared Kushner, whose family was Orthodox Jewish, and my pro-Palestinian stance began to chafe. Since 2007, I’ve worn a necklace with my name written in Arabic, and Ivanka grew increasingly irritated by it. Sometimes, she would randomly say, “I hate that thing.” Then one night in the middle of dinner, she glanced at the necklace and said, “How does your Jewish boyfriend feel when you are having sex and that necklace hits him in the face? How can you wear that thing? It just screams, ‘terrorist.'
Called her best friend a 'Marxist' for expressing concern about affordable housing
Ohrstrom recalls a car ride that she and Ivanka shared around this period from Manhattan to Bedminister. During the trip, they had a disagreement about affordable housing projects in New York City which Ivanka didn't want to engage in.
I distinctly remember Ivanka saying something along the lines of, 'Ly, I can’t talk about this stuff with you anymore because you’ve really turned into a Marxist.'
Ivanka was 'too busy for this s**t' when asked if she was interested in her friend's new job
The day after Ivanka got married to Jared Kushner in 2009, Ohrstrom started a new job but she didn't hear anything from her best friend about how it was going.
Ohrstrom queried this and received a rather blunt reply:
When I started a new job in a different field the day after their wedding, however, I expected my best friend to ask how it was going. After what could have been a few days or weeks, I remember sending her a text that said something like, 'Hey, I started a new job the day after your wedding, and you haven’t asked me a single question about it.' I don’t remember her exact reply, but it was something along the lines of, 'Ly, I’m too busy for this shit.'
Ohrstrom predicts Ivanka will retreat to Palm Beach, Florida
When it's finally time for Trump to vacate the White House and his family's adventure in Washington DC is over, Ohrstrom predicts that her former best friend will wind up in Florida where she will be able to escape any consequences for her actions during the past four years.
I expect Ivanka will find a soft landing in Palm Beach instead, where casual white supremacy is de rigueur and most misdeeds are forgiven if you have enough money. It’s the perfect spot for her to lie low, shielded from the economic and social consequences of the policies she pursued for the past four years, the backlash against them, and from having to interact with her MAGA following.