Last November, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was not seeking top-level security clearance for his children, dismissing the claim as a “typical false news story.” Currently, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has that security clearance, a West Wing office and is one of her father’s most trusted advisors.
Story by Alexis Tatum
While Ivanka’s growing influence in the White House is unsettling, it is not surprising. The 31-year-old was the female face of her father’s presidential campaign, defending him during the outbreak of allegations that Trump behaved inappropriately towards women, stating that he was, “not a groper.” For months, officials continuously repeated that Ivanka would not have an official job in the White House or work directly in the West Wing, as affirmed in this tweet from the President:
I am not trying to get "top level security clearance" for my children. This was a typically false news story.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2016
Apparently, that tweet was an alternative fact. Ms. Trump has been photographed in meetings with multiple world leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite not being an actual White House employee. Ivanka has also had pretty hefty influence within the Trump administration, including her possible involvement with the Syrian missile strike that occurred on Apr. 6. President Trump made an executive order to launch 59 tomahawk missiles into a Syrian air base as a threat to the Syrian government after their suspected chemical attack on civilian rebels. According to a Daily Telegraph interview with Eric Trump, the decision to pursue the Syrian missile strike was influenced by his “heartbroken and outraged” sister.
The nepotism that exists in the Trump administration is concerning and unprofessional, given that many of those currently employed in the White House have either familial or previous business ties to President Trump. For example, Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner has even more influence as a senior advisor to President Trump. Kushner’s only excuse to be present in the White House is that he married well. Ivanka’s influence as a top advisor is particularly concerning because her only relevance to the White House is her role as the child of Trump. She, like her father, has no political background. Critics believe that the installation of family members and friends in Trump’s administration mirror the actions of dictators like President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
According to her attorney, Jamie Gorelick, Ms. Trump will, “continue to be the eyes and ears of her father and provide candid advice as she has for her entire adult life. She is intending to spend some time on initiatives that she cares about, particularly with regard to women in the workplace." While these intentions are not despicable, the lack of experience and knowledge on these issues can lead to detrimental policy and action, similar to the controversy surrounding the Syrian attack.
In addition to her lack of political experience, her fashion line has been criticized and dropped from major department chains like Nordstrom for lack of originality and boring designs. Her only other notable employment is her position as an executive vice-president of the Trump Organization, a position also held by her brothers Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. Though she has demonstrated entrepreneurial skills and experience, none of those things align with foreign policy. Frankly, Ivanka is not qualified to influence major decisions such as these.
This month, a Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters revealed that the majority disapprove of the advising roles held by Ivanka and Kushner. About 53% of the respondents believe that Ivanka Trump’s “significant role in the White House,” is inappropriate. While 50% of respondents don’t know enough about first son-in-law Kushner to form an opinion of him, 53% of respondents agree that his role in the White House is inappropriate as well.
President Trump has not technically broken any laws in hiring his daughter and son-in-law as his chief advisors. The Federal Anti-Nepotism Statute, which was passed in 1967, prevents family members from serving in an official agency position and if they do, they can’t get paid. The White House Office is not considered an executive agency within the law, therefore making the positions of Ms. Trump and her husband legal. The ethical issue with their positions, however, cannot be ignored. With Ivanka’s history in fashion and Kushner’s in business, the two lack any political knowledge or background to control what happens in regards to American government. Both are under qualified for the positions they hold. If the first daughter can cause an airstrike based on her emotions and her husband can silently take control of foreign affairs, there is an ethical problem of bias in this administration.