The Trouble With Ivanka Trump

All throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Ivanka Trump had the unenviable role of tempering the far-right hardline stance of her father, Donald Trump. Ivanka straddled the line between the fiscal and social wing of the Republican party, softening her father’s anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-environmental and anti-LGBT stances, attempting to make dad more palatable to the anti-tax but pro-equal rights economic right.

As a campaign surrogate, it was an excellent role for the successful, personable and charming Ivanka. But now that she’s an administration official, things aren’t working out nearly as well.

In fact, her new position makes a very clear case for why family members are traditionally forbidden from having official positions to begin with.

It was always clear that the Trump administration had a difficult time separating personal from presidential, especially when it came to Ivanka. Spokesperson Kellyanne Conway flubbed early when she plugged Ivanka’s product line at Nordstrom during a press interview, following in the footsteps of Ivanka herself when her marketers promoted a bracelet she wore during an early post-Election Day interview on 60 Minutes.

The first daughter has allegedly stepped away from the business world now in order to focus more on her White House duties — duties that have been constantly evolving during the first 100 days of the administration.

First she served as a surrogate first lady, stepping in while a reluctant Melania Trump remained ensconced in her New York Trump Tower life with son Barron. Now after months of being called an unofficial advisor, Ivanka was formerly offered an administration position — primarily in order to tamp down potential conflicts of interest.

“The Office of Government Ethics encouraged the White House to hire Ivanka Trump as a government employee amid concerns that as an informal adviser she would not be bound by the standards that accompany an official position, according to a new documents provided to ABC News,” the outlet reports.  “OGE Director Walter M. Shaub said in a letter to Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that he contacted Trump’s attorney and the White House’s ethics official on March 24 ‘to express OGE’s view that Ms. Trump appeared to meet the legal standard to be considered an employee covered by the executive branch ethics rules.’”

Ivanka may now be bound by disclosure rules, but conflicts of interest remain an issue. Most recently, Ivanka was sent to Germany on an official trip as a White House representative. While there, she announced that she will assist in establishing a global fund to provide financial support for women entrepreneurs.

Analysts were quick to jump on the announcement, noting that endeavor sounded suspiciously like the same setup as the Clinton Foundation, which conservatives attacked as a way for power players to buy favors from the government. The White House quickly clarified that Ivanka would have little involvement at all.

“She will not solicit funds. This is not a White House fund. This is not something that she will have any authority over in any way,’ the administration official said in a late-afternoon call with reporters,” The Washington Post reports. “The official declined to be quoted by name describing an idea still in its early stages. That account, on a call with World Bank officials listening in, was markedly different from the first report on the fund in the online news site Axios on Wednesday morning.”

It may not be entirely clear what Ivanka’s role is in the new fund — much like it isn’t clear what her role is as an administration official, either.

During her visit to Germany, the first daughter was loudly booed for trying to defend the president’s new policies — a task that is in the job description of any Trump spokesperson or liaison. Yet some members of press defended her, arguing that it was unfair to ask her to criticize her father.

“[I]t’s important to remember that Ivanka is, first and foremost, her father’s daughter. As such, she is going to defend him — as would almost every daughter in any situation in which her dad is under attack. And, whatever you think of the Trumps, it’s beyond debate that they are a very close-knit family who always sticks together,” writes CNN’s Chris Cillizza.

Clearly, Cillizza totally missed the point that this is exactly why family members are usually denied administration positions in the first place.

Ivanka promises that as an assistant to President Trump, she has left all conflicts of interest behind, and maybe that is true, business-wise — if putting your business into your brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s hands is really letting go of it.

But Ivanka’s biggest conflict of interest is that she is supposed to remain independent, while serving as her father’s biggest cheerleader — and that conflict is one that will never be resolved.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

197 comments

Helene L
Helene L10 months ago

Simple, her problem is that she is Trump's daughter.

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Gino C
Past Member 10 months ago

Thanks for this

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silja s
silja s11 months ago

lies spew from her similar to the geysers of yellowstone park

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn P11 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Danuta W
Danuta W11 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R11 months ago

Thank you for posting your opinion.

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Olivia M
Past Member 11 months ago

Thanks

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Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga11 months ago

noted

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Marija M
Marija M11 months ago

Trump again - can not believe Care2 main point - Trump, Trump...

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Sarah Grayce P
Sarah Grayce P11 months ago

Thanks.

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