Back in November 2016, Ivanka Trump chased off a “60 Minutes” question about joining the White House staff by saying, “No, I’m going to be a daughter.” The implication: Being a daughter was different from being a presidential adviser.
Except, apparently, when it comes to talking about President Trump’s alleged personal misdeeds.
NBC News’s Peter Alexander asked Ivanka Trump in an interview airing Monday about accusations that her father engaged in multiple affairs a decade ago and that the women were effectively paid to keep quiet. Trump quickly played the Daughter Card.
There has been plenty of chatter about whether the question was appropriate — whether there should be any exception made for a senior White House adviser who just happens to be working for her dad.
Here are two things we can say about this episode.
If she were any other presidential adviser, the question would not have seemed out of bounds to anybody. By installing his daughter and her husband in high-ranking positions in the White House, President Trump has created this uneasy balance, both for his advisers/family and for the media.
It’s also hugely important to note that the interview was conducted while Ivanka Trump was on official business at the Olympics in South Korea — during a trip, no less, in which the White House emphasized that she was acting as a diplomat rather than a daughter. The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson sums it up well:
Trump would probably argue that she was singled out for this question because she is the president’s daughter, in addition to being an adviser. But the staff who have been asked about the allegations haven’t exactly provided many answers.
- The president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has confirmed that he was behind that $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. But he only confirmed it in the face of a campaign finance complaint against him — after he offered vague denials about the whole thing. And Cohen’s apparently carefully parsed statement about the matter also led to plenty of questions that he has said he will not answer.
- The White House has also been silent on this from the briefing room podium. Deputy press secretary Raj Shah was pressed Thursday on the matter but wouldn’t commit to getting any answers.
- The president has also been unusually silent about this whole thing. Despite calling women who accused him of sexual harassment “liars” in the past, Trump has been quieter about allegations from Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.