When reports circulated that Ivanka Trump would have her own office in her father’s White House—in the space normally reserved for the first lady, no less—it felt like just the next step in her political ascendancy.
A spokeswoman denied it, saying that no decisions have been made about Ivanka’s formal role. But wherever she sits, it’s clear that Donald Trump’s older daughter will be a powerful presence in the White HouseIvanka Trump says it is “inappropriate” to speculate that she will effectively serve as first lady in her father’s administration and occupy an office in the East Wing.
“I think it’s an inappropriate observation,” Trump told the ABC News program “20/20” for a segment set to air Thursday night. “There’s one first lady and she’ll do remarkable things.”
President-elect Donald Trump’s wife, the former model Melania, was a reluctant campaigner, and she plans to stay in New York City for several months after the inauguration before moving to Washington so that their young son, Barron, can complete the schoolyear there.
But Ivanka, Trump’s oldest daughter, was a regular surrogate for the campaign and has advised him on policy issues including parental leave and the environment. Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, is also an incoming senior adviser to the president-elect, and the couple is moving to Washington with their three children.
All that has prompted widespread speculation that Ivanka may fulfill some of the first lady’s traditional duties in Melania’s place.
She pushed back on that in her interview with ABC, though. She also discussed her transition from leader at the Trump Organization to Washington, describing it as “emotional.”
“It’s emotional that I’m stepping away from my business, and my father will be president, and hopefully I can be there to support him and to support those causes I’ve cared about my whole professional career,” she said.
ABC also spoke with Trump’s two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, for the segment. Both sons are taking over managerial control of their father’s business empire, an arrangement that has not satisfied ethics experts, who say it does not eliminate Trump’s many financial conflicts of interest.
“My father has the biggest responsibility of any person, arguably, on the planet, and that’s to run the United States of America,” Eric Trump said. “His focus is going to be running this country.”