And perhaps most notably, she recently moved into her own office in the West Wing and gained high-level security clearance — despite not being a government employee and, therefore, not subject to ethics rules. The president’s elder daughter has said that, despite her lack of an official White House job title, she will “voluntarily” comply with those rules.
“I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life,” Ivanka Trump told Politico in a statement about the move to the West Wing office. “While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees.”
Amid this ambiguity, Vox reporter Liz Plank unearthed a 2014 campaign promoted on IvankaTrump.com from when Trump still controlled the daily decisions for her clothing and accessories brand. In it, she encourages woman to state their job title — or job titles.
“To join the #WomenWhoWork conversation, record yourself giving us your ‘extended job title,’ followed by your name and actual job title,” the website instructs. “Post the video to your social channels and tag a few of the women who inspire you to encourage them to follow suit.”
The goal of the initiative was to “celebrate” the modern working woman, starting with proudly acknowledging their roles in the office and at home.
“The women I know who are working today are working hard to create and build the lives that they want to live, and there’s nothing more compelling and powerful than that,” Ivanka said in an accompanying video. “Let’s show the world what it looks like to be a woman who works.”
The irony that Trump won’t or can’t elaborate on her White House duties, while working at “the nation's highest office,” should not be lost, according to Plank.
“Trump’s brand emphasizes empowering women at work, and there is nothing feminist about a woman stepping in to do all the work with no credit or pay,” Plank wrote. “If Trump truly wants to preserve her commitment to the cause she supposedly takes the most pride in, she would disclose what her own work entails.”
All the president’s adult children have been under scrutiny since the election, mainly for their roles in the family business and whether they have profited from their father’s position in the White House.
“My father will be president,” Ivanka told ABC’s “20/20” in January. “And hopefully, I can be there to support him and to support those causes I’ve cared about my whole professional career.”
That month, she also announced she would be taking a formal leave of absence from both the Trump Organization and her eponymous fashion line after her father took office. However, she continues to own and receive financial benefits from her brand.
At times, the business and the political roles have collided. In February, President Trump lashed out at Nordstrom on Twitter after the department store said it would no longer carry Ivanka Trump-branded clothing and shoes, though it cited flagging sales, not politics.
Shortly after that, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on “Fox & Friends” and promoted the clothing and jewelry line.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you,” Conway said. “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody.”
The White House later said Conway had been “counseled” after touting the first daughter’s brand.
About a week after Trump’s Nordstrom tweet, Ivanka Trump published a photo of herself seated at the Oval Office desk, between her father and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She tweeted:
That photo came under scrutiny, reflecting the debate over her specific role in the White House.
Her critics immediately zeroed in on the fact that she had taken a seat at not just any table but at one normally reserved for the president. Others defended it as “a photo op, nothing else.”
She has denied that she is serving as a de facto first lady and has spoken about her White House jobs only in broad terms.
Her move to a coveted West Wing office spurred critics and government watchdogs to raise more concerns about potential conflicts of interest — and to push for her to clarify her role in the White House. Her husband, Jared Kushner, serves as senior adviser to the president and is a government employee.
“This is untenable,” Fred Wertheimer, president of the Washington-based watchdog group Democracy 21, told the Associated Press. “She can make a decision at any time not to comply, and there’s no penalty or sanction whatsoever.”