Anne Mahlum, the founder of Solidcore, an exercise studio popular among a range of professionals, publicly revealed that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, had attended a class under an alias. In a Facebook post on February 9, 2017, Mahlum wrote that she had requested a meeting with Ivanka, and that Ivanka’s father, President Trump, is “threatening the rights of many of my beloved clients and coaches.” She later deleted the post, but received criticism for publicly revealing that Ivanka was attending a class under an alias. She subsequently clarified her statement that she had intended to offer private classes to Ivanka, which had been a common practice with other high-profile clients in the past.
Anne Mahlum founded Solidcore in 2013. According to the Washington Examiner, its first gym opened that year in Washington, D.C., and the company has since expanded to 25 different locations around the country, from North Dakota to Texas. Seven more studios are planned, according to its website. By late 2016, the company employed 16 full-time coaches and more than 100 part-time employees. Its website advertises a “high-intensity, low-impact” exercise, and also lists the company’s exercise studio locations.
Ivanka Trump is the daughter of President Donald Trump. She is one of his advisors and is married to Jared Kushner, also a powerful senior advisor to the president.
Mahlum wrote the Facebook post on February 9 and then deleted it the next day. It read,
“What [do] you do when you find out Ivanka Trump just took [Solidcore], but used an alias to sign up for class? You reach out and ask for a meeting. While I don’t know her and I always seek to understand … I do know her father is threatening the rights of many of my beloved clients and coaches and as a business owner, I take my responsibility to protect and fight for my people very seriously.”
Ivanka Trump did not respond to Mahlum’s request for a meeting.
The incident regarding Mahlum’s gym occurred shortly after Nordstrom announced that it was dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line due to poor sales. On February 2, 2017, Bloomberg reported that Nordstrom’s announcement was also related to the threat of boycotts of her brand and potential conflicts of interest with her role in the Trump administration. One customer had published an open letter asking Nordstrom to drop Ivanka’s line in November of 2016, to which Nordstrom responded that, “We hope that offering a vendor’s products isn’t misunderstood as us taking a political position; we’re not.”
Michelle Obama was a noteworthy patron of Solidcore, and Fox News reports that Mahlum had previously bragged about Obama’s participation, implying that she played political favorites among her customers.
Mahlum told the Examiner that her post was an attempt to set up private workouts with Trump, as had been the practice for “high-profile clients” in the past. “I reached out to Ivanka in hopes of having a discussion about our community, and to suggest that we set up private classes for her in the future, which is what we have done for other high-profile clients. Ivanka is welcome at [Solidcore] and we hope she comes back,” Mahlum said in a statement after deleting her initial post.
The Washington Post reported that Mahlum took “full responsibility” for the incident, and noted that “It’s important to know that at no point did [Mahlum] say that Ivanka would not be able to attend [Solidcore] classes and service was not denied to her.” She added, “Our clients represent a spectrum of different races, religions, sexual orientations and political beliefs, all of whom are welcome here proudly.”
Users on Twitter called Mahlum a “bully.” An opinion piece published in the Washington Examiner described her as an “opportunist,” and accused her of trying “to score free publicity by ginning up outrage.”
Solidcore gym owner clarifies previous statement, Ivanka Trump not denied services
Anne Mahlum clarified that Ivanka Trump was welcome at Solidcore, and that she did not intend to prevent Trump from attending Solidcore classes.
Prepared by Graham Piro ‘18
September 1, 2017