Ivanka Trump certainly isn’t shy about the fact that her White House role comes with a certain amount of influence over her father, President Donald Trump, but what she actually does at the White House is kind of a mystery.
Speaking on Monday with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, New York University journalism professor and Jay Rosen and freelance journalist Hannah Seligson said numerous White House officials have repeatedly declined opportunities to explain exactly what Ivanka does.
“Not only do we not know what Ivanka’s qualifications for serving in White House are, but really have no idea of her job description is,” Rosen offered. “[Seligson] asked the White House, ‘Can you just tell us what Ivanka does?’ [The White House] refused to reply. It’s amazing, like a palace.”
Some White House officials, frustrated by Ivanka’s reportedly ineffectual contributions to President Trump’s team, have taken to calling Ivanka “Princess royal,” according to Vanity Fair.
In her in-depth piece for the Columbia Journalism Review titled “The Queen of Spin,” Seligson argues it only benefits Ivanka to free her from the type of scrutiny reporters typically apply to other White House officials. Seligson writes that because of this, Ivanka “has succeeded at crafting and maintaining a narrative about her role in the White House.”
“Ivanka has mostly preserved the public perception that she is a benevolent and moderating force, and repeatedly evaded blame in the press when scandal has struck the White House and the Trump Organization,” Seligson writes.
“Ivanka certainly benefits from a vague yet all-encompassing role,” Seligson added.
But it’s not as if Ivanka had stayed hidden throughout her father’s campaign and into his presidency — it’s an arrangement Seligson and Rosen argue allows Ivanka to carefully craft her image, and one the press shouldn’t necessarily afford her.
Ivanka has gone on a so-called “listening tour” to better understand the issues she stakes claim in, namely women’s issues and economic empowerment. The listening tour didn’t exactly solicit stakeholders or experts to take part in a conversation though, instead Ivanka chose to consult her President Trump’s cabinet members.
Ivanka also very visibly took the stage at the G20 women’s summit in Berlin, where she was booed by the crowd when she claimed President Trump is a “tremendous champion” of women. And she also literally sat in her father’s seat at the G20 conference with world leaders.
Yet when President Trump’s decisions have gone poorly for women, environmentalists and others the first daughter has claimed to support, Ivanka has often backpedaled the reach of her influence over her father — case and point? The Paris climate agreement.
Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner have faded from public view of late in order to keep their White House roles undefined, according to Business Insider. Other reports suggest heat from the Russia investigation has prompted them to withdraw a bit. Whatever the reason, it’s not a luxury typically afforded most White House officials.