reporter's notebook

Doth Ivanka Protest Too Much?

on October 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump during the annual meeting of President's Interagency Task Force (PITF) to Monitor and Combat T... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump during the annual meeting of President's Interagency Task Force (PITF) to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This meeting of the PITF is the first held by the Trump Administration. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 12, 2018 11:40 a.m.

President Trump on Friday doubled down on his belief that he’d be accused of “Nepotism” if he appointed his daughter Ivanka Trump — whose foreign relations experience consists of outsourcing the production of her fashion line to China and being extremely patriotic at the winter Olympics in South Korea — to be the U.S. envoy to the United Nations. But it’s hard to swallow that show of concern for optics from someone whose entire business and political career rests on the principal of rewarding loyalty.

And though Ivanka claims she doesn’t want the job that the President is lobbying her to take, she was reportedly quite interested not long ago.

Since at least last year, there have been whispers in the West Wing, and within Ivanka and Jared Kushner’s inner circles, that Ivanka is angling for the post, which Nikki Haley announced on Tuesday she’d be vacating at the end of the year. About a year ago, friends of the power couple told The New York Times that Ivanka and Kushner were eager to return to New York, and to their former lives among the city’s social elite. As Trump became increasingly open about his vexation with his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, there was reportedly talk of a musical chairs transition: Haley could replace Tillerson when he got the boot and Ivanka could then snag Haley’s gig at the United Nations.

It’s unclear if that potential scenario was initially circulated by Trump or Ivanka or just advisers and friends close to the family, but the scheme has apparently stuck with Trump and his pundit-allies. As soon as Haley’s departure was reported earlier this week, conservative talking heads began boosting the possibility on television.

Coincidentally, hours later, Trump floated, and quickly shot down, the idea about his favorite daughter while speaking to reporters.

“I think Ivanka would be incredible, but it doesn’t mean I’d pick her,” he said Tuesday. “Because I’d be accused of nepotism even though I’m not sure there’s anybody more competent in the world.”

Ivanka took it upon herself to shut down the possible scheme not long after.

After it became clear that the White House’s darling choice for the position, Dina Powell, had no interest in losing time with her family — or leaving her lucrative role at Goldman Sachs — for the appointment, Trump couldn’t help but tout the possibility again on Friday morning. He claimed “everyone” wants his daughter to replace Haley, while carefully acknowledging it would be a Bad Idea.

The subtlest brand of transparency. 🧐

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