Ivanka Trump’s Memorable First Year in the White House
Donald Trump was not the only member of his family to have a big year in politics. It was also an interesting year for his daughter, Ivanka.
Despite her initial insistence on “60 Minutes” shortly after the 2016 election that she would assist her father only “as a daughter,” Ivanka Trump soon moved to Washington, D.C., where she and husband Jared Kushner began advising her father.
In many ways, it’s been a no-win situation. Trump has been criticized for being too close to the president as well as for not being influential enough on some of her pet causes, like environmentalism.
She’s drawn criticism for receiving a high-level security clearance despite no political or policy background, for participating in a meeting with the Japanese prime minister while negotiating a business deal with that country’s government and for sitting in her father’s chair during a Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July.
But she’s also faced criticism for failing to persuade her father not to leave the Paris climate agreement, over his attempt to bar transgender troops from serving and for writing a book about “Women Who Work” that included anecdotes from opponents of her father’s administrations.
Her one clear win this year was the doubling of the child tax credit as part of the Republican tax reform plan, which was still less than she and Senate allies hoped for and a change from her initial plan to create a new deduction for child-care expenses.
Here is a look back at some of the First Daughter’s more memorable moments over the past year.
Jan. 11, 2017: Announces move to Washington
After much speculation, Ivanka Trump announces on Facebook that she and Jared Kushner will move their family to Washington, D.C., where he will serve as a senior adviser to her father, and she will settle their children into their new surroundings. In that same announcement, the soon-to-be First Daughter said she will take a formal leave of absence from the Trump Organization and her brand, although she will retain ownership.
January 2017: Meets With Planned Parenthood Executive
The first daughter gets a taste of bridging partisan divides when she meets with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. News of the meeting does not emerge until April. “The purpose of the meeting, from Planned Parenthood’s perspective, was to make sure that Ivanka Trump fully understood the important role Planned Parenthood plays in providing health care to millions of people and why it would be a disastrous idea to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood,” Richards says in a statement after the news broke. But by the time the statement was issued, Vice President Mike Pence had already cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate for a bill allowing states to deny federal funds for abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. And Richards had already criticized Ivanka Trump, telling Buzzfeed News’ Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith it was time for her to “stand for women.”
Jan. 28, 2017: Travel ban backlash over Instagram post
The day after President Trump signs the first iteration of the travel ban, prohibiting citizens from seven countries from entering the United States—an Executive Order that sparks protests at airports across the country—Ivanka Trump posts a photograph on Instagram of herself and Jared Kushner dressed in a tuxedo and evening gown. The post immediately spurs a social media backlash.
March 22, 2017: Moves into the West Wing
After appearing at a slew of high profile meetings and appearances during the first weeks of her father’s Administration, Ivanka Trump is given her own office in the West Wing, along with a security clearance for classified information. However, she will not officially become a government employee, even though her attorney says she will comply with the necessary ethics precautions.
March 29, 2017: Officially becomes a federal employee
After encountering criticism for joining the West Wing in an unofficial capacity, the White House announces the First Daughter will officially become a federal employee and assume the title of Assistant to the President. “I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” she said in a statement.
April 25, 2017: First trip abroad as staffer
Appearing on a panel at the W20 summit in Berlin, Germany, Ivanka Trump is asked explicitly about her role in the White House, and if she is representing her father, herself, or her business. “Certainly not the latter,” she responds. She subsequently explains she is still navigating the waters of the administration. “This is early for me. I’m listening, I’m learning, I’m defining the ways in which I think I’ll be able to have impact.”
May 2, 2017: Publishes ‘Women Who Work’
Ivanka Trump’s book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules For Success, is published. Trump had announced that, because of her new position in the White House, she would not participate in any promotion or publicity of the book, but it till ends up on the New York Times bestseller list. (The manuscript had been completed before her father won the election). The book incorporated anecdotes and quotes from public figures and female leaders, some of whom publicly lamented their inclusion. Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code who was featured in the book, wrote on Twitter that she did not want Trump to use her story unless she stopped being “complicit.” The conservationist Jane Goodall, who was quoted in the book — and was not aware it would happen — said First Daughter “is in a position to do much good or terrible harm,” and that she hoped she would stand up for natural resources.
July 8, 2017: Sits in for her father at G20
The World Bank announces at the G20 summit in Germany that they are launching a fund to help female entrepreneurs, an initiative spearheaded by Ivanka Trump. But what should have been a victory for the first daughter was overshadowed by photographs circulated on social media that showed her sitting in for her father, between Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
September 21, 2017: Discusses her postpartum depression
In an interview with Dr. Oz, Trump discussed her bouts with postpartum depression, which she said occurred after each of her three pregnancies. “It was very – it was a very challenging, emotional time for me because I felt like I was not living up to my potential as a parent or as an entrepreneur and an executive,” she said.
July 2017: Clothing brand investigated
An investigation by the Washington Post showcases the extent Ivanka Trump’s brand’s clothing production heavily relies on overseas manufacturing, despite her father’s “America First” agenda, and that much of that overseas manufacturing is done in poor labor conditions.
This investigation comes less than three months after a factory audit reportedly revealed inspectors had found a multitude of labor violations at a Chinese for G-III Apparel Group, which licenses Ivanka Trump’s brand of clothing, and less than two months after activists investigating a factory that produced her brand’s shoes in China were detained. (They were subsequently released that June).
September 25, 2017: Personal email revealed
Newsweek reports that Trump used a personal email account to correspond with an administration official in February, when she was operating as an unofficial White House adviser. The report came shortly after it emerged that her husband had used a personal email account, which he set up during the presidential transition, for White House business.
November 28, 2017: Trip to India
Ivanka Trump visited Hyderabad, India, where she led the American delegation for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Local news reported that, in preparation for her visit, beggars were banned from the street.
Questions abound, however, about her decision to promote global female empowerment while still retaining ownership of a brand that had been frequently criticized for its overseas factory conditions.
December 22, 2017: Tax reform is signed
President Trump signs the Republican tax reform bill into law. Included in the sweeping changes to the tax code is an expanded child tax credit, which Ivanka Trump had lobbied for.
January 8, 2018: Backlash for praising Oprah
After Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes — which had many speculating she would run for President in 2020 — in which she spoke about the #MeToo movement, Ivanka Trump was criticized online after tweeting in solidarity.
January 15, 2018: Report of concerns about friendship
The Wall Street Journal reports that intelligence officials warned Jared Kushner that Wendi Deng Murdoch, the ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, could be using her close relationship with Kushner and Ivanka Trump to further the interests of the Chinese government. A representative for the couple described the warning to the Journal this was a “routine senior staff security briefing.”