News and Commentary

5 Things You Need To Know About Ivanka Trump Taking A White House Job

Ivanka Trump has officially taken a job in the White House.

The president’s daughter will now be presented with “increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously,” according to a White House spokesperson. Ivanka had already been playing an unofficial role in her father’s administration – she even has an office in the West Wing – but now she has an official role.

Here are five things you need to know about it.

1. Ivanka’s title is now assistant to the president.

2. She will not be receiving pay for her White House job. Her husband, Jared Kushner, also has an unpaid job in the White House working as a senior adviser.

3. Giving Ivanka an official job title was done to ease ethics concerns. A number of ethics organizations were reportedly concerned about Ivanka not having to abide by the same kind of ethics guidelines that official White House employees had to follow, so giving Ivanka the official title requires her to follow rules regarding conflicts of interest.

“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,” Ivanka said in a White House statement. In her own statement, Ivanka said, “Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House Counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”

The White House also issued a statement that said, “Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”

4. Legal ethics experts argue that there are still ethics concerns regarding Ivanka’s role in the White House. Washington University Professor Kathleen Clark and former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told ABC News that Ivanka would need to recuse herself from matters that would directly involve her or her husband’s business, but would not necessarily have to divest herself from them. Clark mentioned a tax on jewelry as an issue that Ivanka would have to recuse herself from since her business involves jewelry; Painter mentioned that Ivanka should recuse herself from trade negotiations in countries that her business has a stake in.

Some experts are also concerned that Ivanka’s role in the White House smacks of nepotism, but Painter noted that the Department of Justice basically gives the president discretion to hire the people he wants for the job.

5. Ivanka is not the first child of a president to work in their parents’ administration. According to USA Today:

John Quincy Adams served President John Adams as a diplomat (and later became president himself). Anna Roosevelt became an unpaid personal assistant to her presidential father, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. John Eisenhower worked as an assistant to President Dwight Eisenhower.

Ivanka’s job title may not be unprecedented, but what is unprecedented is the enormous influence she wields over her father and her involvement in crafting administration policy.

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