Like much of her father's presidency so far, first daughter Ivanka Trump has shrouded herself in mystery over the last two months. In the earliest days of the administration, the country speculated about the balance she would assume between her reputation as an advocate for female empowerment and her family obligations. However, the transcript of Ivanka Trump's CBS interview with Gayle King suggests that she isn't going to be the subversive progressive within her father's administration that many people on the left had once hoped she'd be.
One of the most revealing parts of the interview was when Trump shared her attitude toward speaking out against her father. "I don’t think that it will make me a more effective advocate to constantly articulate every issue publicly where I disagree," Trump told King. Instead, she said she had a different strategy: "I think most of the impact I have, over time most people will not actually know about."
From my perspective, it looked like Trump was essentially saying that the American people should trust her to work behind the scenes, while also being a figurehead for the administration. However, she paid no deference to the concept that the world doesn't really work like that. In this era of open sourcing and transparency, it's simply not enough to trust that she is having some indescribable impact on her father's policy agenda and implementation. I believe the country needs, and deserves, to hear her objections and opinions straight from Trump herself.
As the president's daughter and now a federal employee, Trump has an unprecedented level of access and influence within the government. As such, I believe she needs to balance that with an unprecedented level of public availability. Instead, based on this interview, she seemed adamant on remaining an unaccountable part of her father's shadowy administration. Read through the transcript below to come to your own conclusion.
Gayle King: When you spoke with “60 Minutes” you said it was your intention to be a daughter, that you were not going to play a role in the administration, what changed your mind?
Ivanka Trump: When I spoke to-- “60 Minutes” it was-- I think five or six days following the election. And-- and I was processing real time the new reality and-- and what it would mean … I realized that having one foot in and one foot out wouldn’t work. … And the reality is that it-- it all happened very organically for me.
Gayle King: Did it?
Ivanka Trump: I had to determine that my husband and I, we both wanted to be in D.C., that it was viable to move our children, that they would be happy in the new environment. After I decided I wanted to try, I needed to divest with numerous businesses. So did my husband … And I wanted to understand where I could be an asset to the administration. About how I could help my father and, ultimately, the country.
Gayle King: What will you be doing?
Ivanka Trump: I think for me, what it means is that-- I’ll continue the advocacy work that I was doing in the private sector-- advocating for the economic empowerment of women. I’m very focused on the role of education… I’m still my father’s daughter. So to me the-- this particular title was about giving critics the comfort that I’m holding myself to that highest ethical standard. But I’ll weigh in with my father on the issues I feel strongly about.
Gayle King: You say that you are your father’s daughter, and we all get that. You also talk about the critics, and you have a couple that say, “Why isn’t Ivanka speaking out? Where is she on Planned Parenthood? Where is she on gay rights? Where is she on the rights of women? Where is she on climate change?” And it’s, like, you’re being held personally accountable for not speaking up. What do you say to your critics?
Ivanka Trump: I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence. I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard. In some cases, it’s through protest and it’s through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue on which you disagree with. Other times it is quietly and directly and candidly. So where I disagree with my father, he knows it. And I express myself with total candor. Where I agree, I fully lean in and support the agenda and-- and hope-- that I can be an asset to him and-- and make a positive impact. But I respect the fact that he always listens. It’s how he was in business. It’s how he is as president.
Gayle King: How much of a learning curve is it for you, for your father, for the Trump administration?
Ivanka Trump: For me, tremendous. The issues in this country are so big, and the problems are enormously complicated. But I am incredibly confident in my father to be able to execute on his promise to the people who elected him.
Gayle King: On the other side, though, there are critics who are very worried and who are very afraid, who are concerned about the direction that the country’s going on. And what do you say to those people?
Ivanka Trump: We live in a very polarizing time and this--
Gayle King: Do you think your dad’s contributed to that, to the polarization--
Ivanka Trump: This predates my father, but I think the election highlighted for people just how divided this country was.
Gayle King: I’ve seen many headlines that say-- “Ivanka and Jared are the moderating-- the moderating force in the White House. They have the president’s ear.” Who is it that tells him the hard truths? Is that you?
Ivanka Trump: I do. And almost everyone he surrounds him with does. … We’re in a very unique time where noise equals, in a lot of people’s perception, advocacy. And I fundamentally disagree with that. I do think there’s a time for public denouncement … I also think there’s a time for discussion. And so you asked me about-- about people who criticize me for not taking to social media on every single issue, and I would ask them if that would render me more effective or less effective with the people ultimately making decisions?
Gayle King: Not even--
Ivanka Trump: So I--
Gayle King: --necessarily social media, but just speaking up about things that you--
Ivanka Trump: I do.
Gayle King: Yeah.
Ivanka Trump: I speak up frequently. And my father agrees with me on so many issues. And where he doesn’t, he knows where I stand. But--
Gayle King: Can you give us--
Ivanka Trump: --it’s not my administration--
Gayle King: -- an example of something that you disagree with him on and that you think that by speaking up to him it made him change his position or soften his position? Are you comfortable with that?
Ivanka Trump: I think that for me this isn’t about promoting my viewpoints. I wasn’t elected by the American people to be president. My father is gonna do a tremendous job. And I wanna help him do that. But I don’t think that it will make me a more effective advocate to constantly articulate every issue publicly where I disagree. … And that’s okay. That means that I’ll take hits from some critics who say that I should take to the street. And then other people will in the long-term respect where I get to. But I think most of the impact I have, over time most people will not actually know about.
Gayle King: People are fascinated-- very fascinated by you and Jared. And particularly now, fascinated by the role that Jared is playing. He seems to be doing a lot. Let’s talk about dealing with Mexico, China, running an office of innovation, brokering peace in the Middle East. He’s now in Iraq. How is he able to do all of that? And what are his qualifications? That’s the other thing people are saying. How can a person who has no military and political experience be involved on such a high level in this administration?
Ivanka Trump: So, you know, a lot of people would say the same about how could somebody successfully win the presidency who had never been engaged in politics? And my father did that, and Jared was instrumental in helping his campaign succeed. So, you know, Jared is incredibly smart, very talented, has enormous capacity. He is humble in the recognition of what he doesn’t know, and is tremendously secure in his ability to-- to seek informed viewpoints. He has an amazing team that my father has built at the White House and that he’s built that’s helping work on each of these initiatives. So, you know, the myth that he’s operating in a silo is-- is just that.
Gayle King: I’ve read articles saying you are complicit-- that Jared and Ivanka are complicit in what is happening to the White House. Can you just weigh in on how you feel about that? There’ve been articles. There’ve been parodies. What do you think about that-- that accusation?
Ivanka Trump: If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit. I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I’m doing. So I hope to make a positive impact. I don’t know what it means to be-- complicit-- but-- but, you know, I hope time will prove that I have-- done a good job and much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.
Gayle King: When we talk about the Ivanka Trump brand you are no longer running the day-to-day.
Ivanka Trump: No, I’m no longer--
Gayle King: What have you done with your business?
Ivanka Trump: I have no involvement with any of that. … I felt like proximity to my father and to the White House and-- with my husband taking such an influential role in the administration, I didn’t wanna also be running a business. So I put it into trust. I have independent trustees. I have no involvement in its management, in this oversight and its strategic decision making.
Gayle King: But the trustees are family members, right? Your brother-in-law and your sister-in-law?
Ivanka Trump: They are.
Gayle King: So from the--
Ivanka Trump: But they’re completely independent. And I’m transparent about that.
Gayle King: But you can you see from the public point of view, yes, you put it in trust but it’s family members. They’re thinking, “Well, is she really not involved? Do you really not get on the phone and say, ‘What’s going on?’” You have no involvement--
Ivanka Trump: I take--
Gayle King: --whatsoever?
Ivanka Trump: --I take a legal document very seriously and I wouldn’t go through the pains of setting this up if I intended to violate it. Gayle King: Did you think about selling the business?
Ivanka Trump: Because the name of the business is Ivanka Trump, had I sold the business an independent third party would be able to go around the globe today licensing and leveraging the name of the 45th president of the United States of America-- complete unfettered.
Gayle King: I think the big concern people-- that I keep hearing out there is that the family is benefiting financially in their own personal business while your father is in the White House in all sorts of ways.
Ivanka Trump: I would argue that if I had not come to Washington, D.C. and if I was in New York growing my business I would be doing far better than by placing the restrictions that I have placed on my team, and ensuring that any growth is done with extreme caution. So just practically speaking, if my interest was making money or growing my business, I would do far better to completely disengage and do exactly that.
Ivanka Trump: I actually-- I really love living in D.C. I really enjoy it here with my children, so--
Gayle King: But you’re such a New Yorker.
Ivanka Trump: I’m such a New-- but that’s the great—
Gayle King: You’re such a New Yorker.
Ivanka Trump: Never in my life would I have thought that I would have actually moved out of New York, not while my children were in school at least. My business was there. My life was there, so this is actually an amazing moment in time where I came to Washington and I told Jared with-- with my kids, I-- I wanna treat it almost like I’m-- I’m a visitor. Every week, I take my children to a different museum or cultural institution. We went to the Supreme Court. We’ve been to five or six museums. We went to the monster truck show. So-- so just having real unique experience with my children--
Gayle King: Monster truck show?
Ivanka Trump: Yeah. Not exactly a cultural experience but Joseph loved it--
Gayle King: Monster truck show?
Ivanka Trump: They don’t have them-- nearby in-- in New York because I’ve looked for years. We went in Baltimore. But every week, I try to do something different-- and-- and unique and really celebrate being in a different city and-- and in a different community. And it’s been great. I have a backyard with a swing set. As a New Yorker, that doesn’t happen. So it’s a small backyard, and my kids swing into the hedge, but--
Gayle King: It’s enough room for them to clear.
Ivanka Trump: It’s-- it’s great--
Gayle King: But you at the monster truck show.
Ivanka Trump: My son has not stopped talking about it since. He talked about it for around three weeks beforehand and-- ask him about monster trucks shows. He’s actually sleeping right now, which is shocking that we made it through this interview without-- one of my-- my two little boys crying--
Gayle King: Can I say, it’s a very nice neighborhood you live in. Did you wanna live here because-- I saw Barack and Michele Obama’s house around the corner, and Jeff and McKenzie Bezos also live in the neighborhood.
Ivanka Trump: Yes, and Secretary Tillerson lives here and Wilbur Ross. And-- so we have a nice community.
Gayle King: Yeah. Yeah.
Gayle King: Should voters get their Ivanka 2024 campaign signs out?
Ivanka Trump: No.
Gayle King: The speculation has already started--
Ivanka Trump: Politics is a tough business. Politics is a tough business.