Ivanka Trump’s office: clean, white, quiet. A zone of punctual start times and promptly-offered water bottles, and a conference table at which she conducts meetings. A short, winding walk away from her father’s Oval Office downstairs.
She does not necessarily appreciate daily schedules. Neither does her father. When Ivanka needs to see the president, she stops by. When he needs to see her, he calls. When he wants her opinion, he asks for it and she gives it, but without expectation that it will be followed.
She sees her role as not to persuade, but to inform and support: That much is clear to White House staffers and friends who have observed the first daughter’s early months in the White House. Anyone who has invested in her the ability to change her father clearly doesn’t understand the dynamic that has always governed their relationship and also the dynamic of a president and his staff. After all, she works for him.
“The people are different. The decisions are different and the office is different,” Ivanka, an assistant to the president, said in a recent extended interview in her office, one of the few she’s granted. “But he is the same person and I am the same person. And we interact in the same way as we always have.”
One morning last week, she was one of the senior staff who convened around a long table in the White House’s Situation Room. On the agenda was solidifying her father’s remarks at the upcoming G-20, a global economic summit, particularly in a session relating to the economic empowerment of women.
“She’s been the advocate to put these things on the president’s agenda,” said a senior White House official who was in the meeting.
Ivanka argued that the administration’s message should focus on the barriers facing women: access to capital, access to markets — issues that were her personal interests before she maneuvered them onto her father’s official platform.
In the meeting, she was, as usual, collegial and thoughtful, thanking the mid-level staffers present for their research and work.
A few hours earlier, her father had already issued a few words on one woman. Just before 9 a.m. the president had gone on a Twitter bender targeting MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. He called her “crazy” and “low IQ.” He described her as coming to his Florida estate, “bleeding badly from a facelift.”
The media and political world exploded — another days-long uproar over a sexist remark by the impetuous @RealDonaldTrump. His words were again seen as tearing down the platform Ivanka says she is trying to build. People wondered: Who would dare tell him to stop undermining his office and damaging himself.
“Where are Jared and Ivanka right now?” Politico demanded.
Ivanka was discussing policy.
And then she went, presumably, back to her West Wing Office — small by CEO standards, big by White House ones — and to what has become the most complicated father-daughter dance in the history of American politics.
SOURCE: Monica Hesse and Krissah Thompson
The Washington Post