Ivanka Trump spoke at CES, but she didn’t say very much

This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.

Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to President Donald Trump, delivered a keynote at CES 2020 on Tuesday, January 7 — but she said little that was new or enlightening before a crowd of tech journalists, largely using the time to hype herself and promote her father’s administration.

During the buzzword-filled discussion with Consumer Technology Association (CTA) President Gary Shapiro, Trump discussed retraining mid- and late-career workers, as well as apprenticeships for people who don’t attend four-year universities. In addition to citing her work on the administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers initiative, Trump also talked about immigration and the tech sector. 

“There really is a blue-collar boom,” she said. Tech leaders like Google’s Sundar Pichai and others have joined the administration’s job-training initiative, meant to provide 250,000 workers with new skills. In addition to teaching younger workers, the program is also meant to help those with established careers learn new skills to help them in their current roles. 

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Toward the end of the keynote, Shapiro mentioned that both he and Trump have mothers who are immigrants and asked about efforts to keep the pipeline open to foreign talent. “Well, the president said that he thinks that it’s absolutely insane that we educate immigrants from across the world, and as they are about to start their business, open their business, become employers, we throw them out of our country,” Trump said. She went on to say the U.S. immigration system needs to be overhauled. However, the Trump administration has increased H-1B visa denials that affect these high-tech positions. In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has set up fake technology and computer science schools to bring in students from countries such as India, only to deport them. 

After the CTA announced Trump as a speaker, many criticized the decision, saying CES could have chosen women in the tech industry to give a keynote, an area that the show has struggled with in the past. Trump, who has no notable tech experience, appeared to be at the show largely because of her last name, not her contributions to the industry, many argued — and based on her keynote, it seems they were right. 

Rachel Sklar, co-founder of Change The Ratio, tweeted: “There are so many great, qualified women. Shame.” 

“These are policy priorities that we work on, and she’s here this week to help talk and bring light to that issue that’s very important to us as an industry,” Karen Chupka, executive vice president of CES for the CTA, told Digital Trends earlier this week.

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