Now that it has said goodbye to its leader and namesake, Ivanka Trump the brand is trying a new image: one that hinges on accessibility. But with her handbag-selling days behind her, where does this leave Ivanka Trump the person? In the West Wing, apparently: with security clearance, government communications devices, and her own White House office, Politico reports.
Although Trump's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, assured the publication that Ivanka will not hold a paid position at the White House, she will be serving as the president's "eyes and ears," Gorelick explained.
The lawyer added that "having an adult child of the president who is actively engaged in the work of the administration is new ground. Our view is that the conservative approach is for Ivanka to voluntarily comply with the rules that would apply if she were a government employee, even though she is not.”
A statement released by Ivanka said much of the same: "I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life. While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees."
Yet her involvement in the Trump administration has already raised eyebrows as well as questions large (her lack of a political position or any qualifications thereof) and larger (potentially serious ethics issues). For example, Ivanka's recent presence in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders drew criticism.
“They're not saying she's going to voluntarily subject herself to ethics rules to be nice,” Norm Eisen, former ethics czar under Obama, explained to Politico of Ivanka's White House role. “There’s recognition that they're in very uncertain territory here. The better thing to do would be to concede she is subject to the rules. It would create some outside accountability, because if she can voluntarily subject herself to the rules, she can voluntarily un-subject herself to the rules."
He added that “you might be inclined to view this differently and more generously if the White House had shown a stronger commitment to ethics enforcement." Indeed we might.