The idea was ultimately quashed by Ivanka herself, who was a 34-year-old fashion and real estate executive at the time. But she follows a long line of influential first daughters.
Alice Roosevelt was one of the most famous. She may have left some scorch marks on the White House roof, given her habit of sneaking cigarettes up there in defiance of father Teddy Roosevelt’s no-women-smoking rule.
“I can either run the country or I can attend to Alice, but I can’t possibly do both,” a frustrated T.R. once famously declared.
But after maturing a bit, Alice had real impact as a glamorous fashion plate who was dispatched to represent her father on a diplomatic tour of five Asian countries in 1905, even as the president was helping to mediate peace between Japan and Russia.
Alice actually sold cigarettes long after she set up her Georgetown salon and was widowed from her husband, House Speaker Nicholas Longworth. She flogged Lucky Strikes in print ads, quipped like Dorothy Parker and was a legendarily acerbic hostess in Washington society into her 90s.
But the time wasn’t right for her to play more of an overt policy role in her father’s administration, as Maureen Reagan did decades later.
The Gipper’s child with actress Jane Wyman, Maureen lived at the White House during much of her dad’s presidency. Mermie, as her father called her, was reportedly a voice of moderation on women’s issues, whispering in Reagan’s ear in the same way people often claim Ivanka does with her father.
Maureen was active in party politics, co-chairing the Republican National Committee and running unsuccessfully for public office twice in California before dying of cancer in 2001.
Anna Roosevelt also played a central role in her father’s White House. FDR turned to his daughter as an all-around helpmeet when his relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt had become strained and distant.
Anna was working as a journalist on the West Coast when Roosevelt asked her to come back to Washington during World War II. She ran his social calendar, took a hand in managing access to him and is credited by some with persuading him to pick Harry Truman as his final running mate.
Life magazine took note of her influence by suggesting, “Daddy’s girl is running Daddy.”
It was Anna the president asked to accompany him to meet Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at Yalta.
Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph took up first lady duties during two winters at the White House for her widower father, Thomas Jefferson. In 1806, she gave birth to the first child born at the White House.
First daughter Margaret Truman made a name for herself as an enthusiastic, if not accomplished, singer. When Washington Post critic Paul Hume panned her 1950 performance at Constitution Hall, her father let him have it in a note written on White House stationery.
“Some day I hope to meet you,” President Harry Truman wrote. “When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
Margaret Wilson was also a singer but a less notorious one. She took over first lady duties when Woodrow Wilson’s first wife died. Wilson had three daughters, who reportedly lobbied him to back the women’s vote and support the 19th Amendment.
His youngest, Eleanor Wilson, married Wilson’s treasury secretary at the White House, making William McAdoo the most powerful presidential son-in-law at that time.
But McAdoo has now been eclipsed by Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s influential husband.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post gave the wrong name for President Woodrow Wilson’s daughter. She was Eleanor Wilson. Her mother was named Ellen.
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