What Does Ivanka Trump Do In The White House? Without Her, It's Likely Nothing Much Would Change
Ivanka Trump's official title is advisor to her father, the President of the United States, though there has been significant debate about what role Trump actually plays in the White House. Indeed, many might wonder what a White House without Ivanka Trump would look like — and whether her absence would have any veritable implications for the administration.
Frankly, a White House sans Trump would likely hardly look any different. The president's daughter has repeatedly demonstrated that she does not desire to assert herself independently in the White House, instead seemingly quietly pursuing her ambiguous adviser role and also not fulfilling previously-expressed policy advocacy ambitions.
When Trump initially took on a role in her father's administration — first as an unpaid advisor and now as a unpaid staff member — many people had high hopes that the president's daughter might serve as a moderate foil to her father's more conservative and impulsive tendencies.
However, these hopes have largely been dashed, as the president's daughter seemingly wields little independent influence in the White House, instead perceiving her role as one in which she supports her father as part of his larger White House team.
For example, in a CNN interviewback in April, Trump spoke at length about how she perceives her role, saying, "For me, this isn't about promoting my viewpoints. I wasn't elected by the American people to be president. My father is going to do a tremendous job. And I want to help him do that." She also claimed she did not understand the critique that she is "complicit" in her father's administration:
I don't know what it means to be complicit, but 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. ... 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 am doing.
While Ivanka did indicate during the interview that she is willing to tell her father if she disagrees with him, she also would not name an issue about which she disagrees with her father.
More recently, Trump has made even more confounding comments regarding how she perceives her White House role. In June, she revealed during an interview on Fox and Friends that she tries to "stay out of politics" when asked about whether or not she speaks to her father about his controversial Twitter feed. And, in September, during an interview with the Financial Times, the first daughter stated plainly that she believes that people expect too much from her role, while downplaying the influence she has on her father.
Some people have created unrealistic expectations of what they expect from me. That my presence, in and of itself, would carry so much weight with my father that he would abandon his core values and the agenda that the American people voted for when they elected him. It's not going to happen. To those critics, shy of turning my father into a liberal, I'd be a failure to them.
To voice dissent publicly would mean I'm not part of the team. When you're part of a team, you're part of a team. That doesn't mean everyone in the White House has homogeneous views. We don't, and I think that's good and healthy — but that doesn't mean we're publicly undermining [each other] and this administration.
Beyond her own limited view of her role as a White House adviser, it's hard to identify many tangible ways in which Trump has had influence in the White House, particularly when it comes to keeping her promises around women's advocacy. At the Republican National Convention last year, Trump promised that her father would fight for equal pay if elected president. However, when the administration rescinded an Obama-era rule designed to close the wage gap in early September, Trump actually offered her support, saying "the proposed policy would not yield the intended results."
Trump has also advocated for a federal maternity leave policy. However, her proposed policy would seemingly disproportionally benefit women with higher incomes. Moreover, Trump seems to have done little to actually get her father or members of Congress to publicly advocate for maternity leave, as neither entity has really addressed the issue since the beginning of Trump's term.
Seemingly, Ivanka Trump has only one publicly-documented substantial impact on her father since the advent of his administration. The president's daughter reportedly played a key role in convincing him to bomb Syria following the deaths of over 80 civilians in a sarin nerve gas attack perpetuated by the Assad regime. However, it is certainly possible that other advisers would have convinced the president to take similar actions and that without Ivanka Trump, the same outcome would have been produced.
In her time at the White House, Ivanka Trump has shown a limited perception of the role she plays in the White House, a history of backtracking on policy promises (particularly around women's issues), and few tangible accomplishments since taking on the role of a presidential adviser. Thus, it is probably fair to say that if Trump stepped down from her role, the White House would more or less look the same.
Indeed, perhaps the public will soon be able to tell whether this prediction comes to fruition, as both Trump and Kushner are reportedly shrinking their White House roles to avoid further public scrutiny.