In the 2003 documentary Born Rich, a stomach-churning chronicle of the “scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite,” besties Georgina Bloomberg and Ivanka Trump—heiresses to Michael R. Bloomberg’s billions and Donald J. Trump’s debt, respectively—confess their true feelings on the burden of, well, being born rich. After introducing each of her horses, Georgina admits, “having the last name Bloomberg sucks.” Ivanka, on the other hand, boasts of being “absolutely proud to be a Trump,” before relaying a story she says helped shape her perspective on wealth.
“I remember once my father and I were walking down Fifth Avenue and there was a homeless person sitting right outside of Trump Tower… it was around the same time as the divorce,” she explains. “And I remember my father pointing to him and saying, ‘You know that guy has 8 billion dollars more than me.’ Because he was in such extreme debt at that point. And me thinking, ‘What are you talking about?’… it makes me all the more proud of my parents that they got through that.”
The contrast between the self-deprecating Georgina and vainglorious Ivanka couldn’t have been starker, and in the years since, they’ve gone on wildly divergent paths. Ivanka has worked directly under her father, first for the Trump Organization; then on The Apprentice; and finally as part of his presidential administration, where she’s defended the indefensible. Georgina, now 37, has carved more of her own path, as a champion equestrian; the co-author of four YA novels; and in philanthropy, serving on the Bloomberg Family Foundation; as vice president of Animal Aid USA; and a benefactor of the Humane Society, chairing their star-studded virtual gala on Nov. 14 hosted by SNL’s Cecily Strong and Audra McDonald.
“I’ve broken almost every bone in my body,” she says, including her back twice—owing to spondylolisthesis, a condition that she fixed through surgery in 2011, with metal rods placed in her back. “I’m sort of clumsy and accident-prone, so I’ve broken a lot of bones in very weird ways that were not to blame on horses. But I’m tough, and I’ve never really been afraid to get back on.”
A self-described animal lover, she’s been isolating on her farm up in North Salem, New York, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, surrounded by rescues. And she’s very happy that the presidential election is over, contrary to what the president and his lackeys so emptily claim.
“We can all take a deep breath now,” she says.
In a wide-ranging conversation, the heiress and philanthropist discussed how her best-friendship with Ivanka Trump has fared during the Trump presidency, why she didn’t want her father to run for president, and much more.
How did you spend the past week? I ate so poorly, just all kinds of ice cream and pizza and other crap.
[Laughs] There was a thing I was reading about the amount of alcohol sales and comfort-food sales that went up last week as people stayed glued to their TV, and not sleeping. I mean, listen, what are you gonna do? I think we all knew that it was going to be stressful and close, and very divided in many, many ways. It was a weird feeling of knowing that no matter what, half the country was going to be very upset. But that’s the way the country works—the beauty to be able to vote and live in America.
And how did you take the news? It seemed many people on the left were surprised to receive any good news in 2020 and almost didn’t know how to process it.
No, I agree! I agree. It is. There’s some hope now, and some good to go with all the bad.
There are a lot of causes you’re interested in. What would you most like to see a Biden/Harris presidency tackle over the next four years?
Interesting. Obviously, things that I’ve always cared about that I’ve devoted my life to are more animal causes, and probably less related to the things you’d want your president to really focus on, since they’re much bigger-picture. But those are things I’m focused on that I think I can make a difference with. There are obviously different causes, for example, that my father supports that I don’t support, and it’s not because I don’t think the things he does are great or that I don’t care about them, it’s that I know I can make a difference in what I do, and he’s able to make a difference in what he does. It’s a different scope and a different reach.
As far as the presidency, I obviously align more in thought with Biden than Trump, so there were things that I didn’t agree with politically over the last couple of years. The climate and the environment are very important to me, and whether [Biden] tackles them or not, there’s something nice about knowing that whoever’s in power does care about the same things that you do. You can’t care about animals without caring about the environment, and now also having a son, it’s not just my generation—you care about generations to come in a way you may not as much if you don’t have a child. Plus, there’s going to be a shelter dog in the White House for the first time, and the attention that that receives, people underestimate how important that is.
I was speaking to the filmmaker Richard Linklater the other week about his new series That Animal Rescue Show, and we touched on how Trump was the first president in a century to not have a dog in the White House.
He was. There was a funny video going around on YouTube, sort of made as a Biden ad, that riffed on how every president had a dog until Trump. It’s funny. And it’s cool that we get to have a shelter dog in there too.
And you’ve got a whole bunch of rescue animals, right?
I do. Right now I have five dogs of my own, and then we have a bunch of foster dogs—some are permanent foster dogs who will always stay with us unless someone comes along and adopts them, and then I have two foster dogs that were from transports and needed medical care that nobody else was going to give them, and when they’re better we’ll eventually try to find them a home. And at the farm we have two rescue mules, a whole bunch of rescue horses, two cows that were rescued, and then a pig, a goat, a rooster. I lose count sometimes, to be honest!
“At the end of the day it’s her father, and she’s very quick to get a lot of criticism that she doesn’t deserve, and I think that she’s handled herself wonderfully over the last four years.”
Where did this love of animals come from? Was there something that happened when you were younger that drew you to them?
I always loved animals. My mother was a big animal lover, so as a child we always had animals around, and I always considered myself an animal person. I wanted to adopt a dog, and I went to a pound in Florida to adopt a dog, and it was a high-kill shelter, and the experience of having to go in there and seeing firsthand the way it was—seeing all the dogs in there, and knowing that the majority of them weren’t going to make it out alive. You think dogs in a pound are going to be big and aggressive, and that was just not the case, so I was really taken aback by the fact that there were dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. I really needed to understand why, and how those dogs ended up there. That was really emotional for me. The dog I ended up adopting [Hugo], we had for eleven years and he was the love of my life.
We mentioned the Trump White House and the fact that they didn’t have a dog but it was almost the opposite of animal love, because the Trump sons regularly go out and hunt exotic animals in foreign countries for sport.
Yeah, I mean listen: I don’t hunt and don’t necessarily agree with it. I have no problem with people who hunt for an animal and eat it. That’s something that’s always going to exist, and I understand killing an animal for a purpose. I don’t agree with killing an animal for ego, or for a trophy. I don’t agree with that.
I understand Ivanka Trump is one of your best and closest friends. And look, I have a bunch of friends I grew up with who are Trump supporters, but obviously this is something entirely different since she works for the administration. How has your relationship been affected during the Trump presidency?
Yeah. We were good friends growing up in our 20s. I haven’t seen her since her father took office. We would stay in touch a little bit over the years, but I haven’t seen her as much since she’s been down there. So there hasn’t really been any awkwardness at all. I think she’s a wonderful, smart person, and she’s handled the situation really, really well. People always assume that the daughters of politicians agree with everything that their father is doing, or that they stand for the exact same things or have the exact same beliefs, and that’s just not true. I support a lot of what my father believes in, but do I agree with every single one of his policies? No. I’m my own person and have my own beliefs.
I think she does a really good job of being a good daughter and being a supportive daughter and not being disrespectful to her family, but you know, also being her own person. I think she took an opportunity to work in the White House that almost anybody would have taken. At the end of the day it’s her father, and she’s very quick to get a lot of criticism that she doesn’t deserve, and I think that she’s handled herself wonderfully over the last four years.
Their politics have changed over the years though. As a New Yorker, I remember when Ivanka and Jared were some of the biggest bundlers for Cory Booker—and this was just in 2013, 2014. So to see her come out as anti-choice seems…
…You know, I agree—I think that a lot of things have changed. I think people change, and people grow. For me, like you said, I have a lot of friends who are not completely in line with my beliefs. I dated a guy for two years who I know voted for Trump last time and probably did this time. I have a lot of friends who think differently, and for anybody who only has friends who think exactly like they do and believe in everything that they do, you probably need to get some new friends because your life sounds really boring. Obviously I don’t want to be friends with anybody who is a racist or homophobic or anything like that, but not everybody who supports Trump or supports his policies is.
Do I like to talk about politics with people who support Trump? No I don’t, because we disagree on things that are fundamentally important to me. But there’s a difference between dating somebody who agrees more with Trump than being friends with them. There are things you can disagree on with friends, and have a healthy disagreement or argument about. There are certainly lines that can be crossed where you can’t be friends with certain people who think certain ways, but they probably think that way about me as well. My relationship with all the Trump kids has been one where, at the end of the day, they’re good people, they’re kind, and they’re friends. Do we disagree on issues? Yeah, absolutely. But at the end of the day, they’ve all been wonderful to me.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether the Trump family will ever be allowed back into New York high society, and really, New York City itself. Do you see them returning to New York City, settling down in Florida, or what’s your theory?
It’s interesting… I mean, I think in New York they’ll probably forget about this and it’ll probably change for them, but I think right now it’ll be a bit difficult for them coming back, because obviously this is something that is still very fresh and stoking everybody’s fire. But I think that in the years to come people will hopefully welcome them back, and realize that part of the beauty of New York—and America—is that we can all think different things and still be friends.
I’m curious how you felt about your father’s 2020 presidential run. Just seeing the ugly tabloid treatment of, say, Hunter Biden, if my father ever told me he was running for president I would caution him against it for my own wellbeing.
It was definitely something that I didn’t want. For me, more than anything, I just knew the scrutiny that he was going to face, and the criticism, and how dirty it was going to be—in any year but particularly this year. I was worried for him. He’s my father, and I love him and want the best for him, and it was very scary to think about him entering that stage and what would come for him. So yes, it was not something that I wanted because I knew his chances of winning were very slim, and it seemed like something where he would just be putting himself out there to be slammed for nothing. But I really respected the fact that he put himself out there and did this because he thought it was the right thing to do.
“I think people assume that I was only upset and disappointed by Trump’s comments toward my father, but on the flip side I was not super happy about my father insulting him either.”
It must have been quite surreal to see your best friend’s father and your own father insulting each other on national television. You had Trump calling your father “mini Mike” and your father firing back with other stuff.
I would say it was a bit upsetting. I think people assume that I was only upset and disappointed by Trump’s comments toward my father, but on the flip side I was not super happy about my father insulting him either. One of the things I respected the most about his mayoral campaign was that he didn’t really feel it necessary to put anyone else down to get ahead, and I felt like this campaign just brought out the worst in everybody.
Would you ever want to run for public office?
I think on a big level: no. Although, I couldn’t say never, and when you see politics done right and it doesn’t have to get dirty to get there, and you see a politician who inspires people and does great things, then I wouldn’t completely count it out in certain ways. I think being mayor of a small town would be wonderful. But I have a lot of other ways in my life to be able to make a difference, and I’m very fortunate for that. I think maybe I’ve had enough of politics in my life and I can move on.
OK, so I’m a big fan of Gossip Girl and I know you went to Spence, which was the inspiration for Gossip Girl. How similar was it to your experience?
[Laughs] You know, listen, there are a lot of things that are very similar that they got spot-on. It’s obviously a dramatized version of it, otherwise it wouldn’t be as entertaining. It’s quite similar in a lot of ways, though. I loved growing up in New York City and going to Spence. I’m sometimes not a hundred percent proud of who I was as a teenager. I was rebellious. But a lot of teenagers can say that, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with growing up in New York City.
We’ve all been there. How did you rebel as a teenager?
I wasn’t a very good student. I definitely didn’t put my academics first and was probably difficult in that way, with school and the teachers. My parents were always very understanding of my personality and I had a lot of freedom growing up, so we had a lot of parties and I liked to socialize. I pierced my tongue when I was 15 years old. All these typical ways that people liked to rebel. I was one of those people where if you told me not to do something, I would do it.
You clearly grew up with immense privilege. What has your attitude been in regards to your privilege, and how to manage it?
For me, when I was 18 years old like I said, I was rebellious and resentful of it. I didn’t like any attention, and rebelled against having a last name that people would recognize. Then I matured, and realized how lucky I am to have certain things in life—to not worry about medical care, or tuition, or how to pay for a place to live. There are so many things where as you mature, you think, “Wow. That was so immature and bratty of me to feel sorry for myself about.” As far as criticism, it for the most part rolls off of you. I can’t say all of it does though. There are times where it gets under my skin and bugs me, because people assume that you can’t have any problems—or that everything should always be OK—because you have money. And that’s just not the case. I fully appreciate everything my father has done and given us, and I’ve always said that my biggest luxury is to give back to the things I care about and do good things in the world.
And your father is in the series finale of Gossip Girl.
[Laughs] He is! Yeah, that was a big highlight for me in my life. So funny.
He thought it was Dorota.
[Laughs] It was great.
#Georgina #Bloomberg #Believes #Ivanka #Trump #Handled #Wonderfully