When senior presidential adviser Ivanka Trump was asked at the Olympics if she believes the women who've accused the president of sexual assault, she replied that it was "pretty inappropriate" for her to have to answer that question, because the president is her dad. (President Trump has vehemently denied the accusations.) On Thursday, Ivanka's sister-in-law Lara Trump agreed it was "incredibly inappropriate" for Ivanka to be asked those questions, and accused the media of being "out to get the president and our entire family."
“I give [Ivanka] a lot of credit for going on NBC, quite frankly, because they haven’t been very kind to the president,” said Lara, who's married to the president's son Eric, in a Fox Business interview. “And I thought this was incredibly inappropriate to ask Ivanka and she handled with such class, such grace.”
Ivanka was widely criticized for her comments, as it's common for White House officials such as herself to be asked questions about the presidents they serve. But Lara defended Ivanka, and called the media's treatment of the Trump family "shocking" and "ridiculous."
“If it wasn’t for a double standard, the media would have no standard at all in this country,” Lara said. “It’s shocking, it is ridiculous, it’s sad. I could give you a million words to describe this but it’s not surprising, because the people who are in charge of the mainstream media are out to get the president and our entire family at every turn. And then you see Chelsea Clinton there — no mention of it.”
Lara's comment that "then you see Chelsea Clinton there" is probably a reference to the fact to the interview Clinton gave earlier in the week to Good Morning America. Given the context, Lara's implication is that Clinton should have been asked about her own father's accusers, and that the fact that she wasn't demonstrates a double standard in the media. The crucial difference between Ivanka and Clinton, of course, is that Clinton's father isn't the president.
Ivanka's father is, however, and this entire episode is an excellent illustration of the problems that arise from nepotism. If Ivanka was a private citizen who didn't work for the White House and had no power in government, it would indeed be inappropriate to badger her with questions about her father. After all, nobody should have to answer for somebody else's behavior simply by virtue of being in the same family as them.
But Ivanka isn't a private citizen. She's a presidential adviser who attends meetings with foreign leaders, represents the U.S. at international summits, and drops in on meetings with lawmakers unannounced. She's working for the president in a formal capacity, and has a great deal of power in her job, so of course it's appropriate for her to be asked questions about the president's conduct. It's understandable that she might feel uncomfortable answering those questions, given that the president is her father — which is exactly why nepotism is frowned upon in government.
In the Fox Business interview, Lara also said that she's not worried about her father-in-law's anemic poll numbers, explaining that "there's much more enthusiasm out there for the president than people will ever say," and defended the tariffs on steel and aluminum that President Trump imposed on Thursday.
"This is a man who was not a politician, a businessman who, if anyone understands how this works — listen, we have a $500 billion trade deficit in this country," Lara said. "It's insane. And what Donald Trump has said since the campaign trail, and well before he even thought about running for president, is it should be fair and reciprocal, and that's what he wants to see happen in this country."
Since her father-in-law assumed the presidency, Lara has kept a lower profile than some other Trump family members, most notably Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner. However, she does host a program called Real News on Trump's Facebook page, in which she highlights news stories that paint the president in a favorable light.