Photo by Voice of America
Article by Hannah Klaus
It is predicted that Ivanka Trump will have significant influence on her father during his presidency. Some reports suggest that she will play as much of a role in public affairs as a typical first lady would do. Melania Trump, Donald Trump’s wife, has been very low-profile for an upcoming first lady. She has not made any public appearances or statements since Election Day except for during the family’s interview on 60 minutes. According to Politico, a source close to Ivanka has reported that she wants to focus on climate change as a key issue (3).
On Monday, former vice-president and leader on climate change Al Gore met with both Ivanka and Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, where they had a conversation about climate change. “I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued. And I’m just going to leave it at that.” Gore told reporters after the meeting. However, Monday evening he appeared on MSNBC and said, “It is no secret that Ivanka Trump is very committed to having a climate policy that makes sense for our country and for our world” (4). She also had a meeting with actor and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, who presented her with a copy of his recent documentary on climate change Before the Flood (1).
So far, Ivanka Trump’s stance on climate change appears to be vastly different than that of her father’s. The President Elect expressed his view on climate change in a tweet in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” (5). Since the election, the incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, has declared that Trump’s “default position” on climate change is that “most of it is a bunch of bunk” (3). President-elect trump has already demonstrated that his administration will not be active, and in some cases flat out opposed to, progressive action on climate as he has appointed Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, to lead to Environmental Protection Agency transition team. So if Ivanka intends to push her father towards progressive action on climate change, she would face the challenge of dissuading him from his current stance (3).
At the Republican national convention this year, Ivanka Trump spoke out in support of pay equity and parental leave, which are notably progressive issues that she reportedly intends to continue to champion during Trump’s presidency (3). Considering the issues on which she has been vocal, and the social circles with which she has associated herself, it appears she may be able to form a bridge between liberals, moderates, and conservatives. Many people have already recognized her more moderate policy positions and steady temperament as a beacon of hope following her father’s election. Some concerned citizens have even sent her letters over social media. A common theme of these letters has been the concern that Donald Trump will undo much of the Obama administration’s progress on climate (3).
With the possibility of Ivanka Trump having an active role in influencing her father’s presidency, it is necessary to consider potential conflicts of interest. Ivanka Trump and her siblings have been actively involved in Donald Trump’s business, The Trump Organization throughout much of their adult lives. With his election, Donald Trump, who currently serves as the organization’s chairman and president, intends to transfer the management of the business to his three oldest children: Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric (2). Ivanka Trump also has her own clothing line. She recently separated her personal social media accounts from those promoting her apparel line, but she still using her personal accounts to promote the line (3).
For now, it is only clear that Ivanka Trump as a demonstrated interest in climate change. The extent to which she will be able to influence her father and action on climate will materialize is uncertain still. However, if she continues to work for, and begins to manage, the Trump organization, it will be difficult for her to have much influence as all due to conflicts of interest.
- Blair, Olivia. “Leonardo DiCaprio Gave Ivanka Trump a Really Clever Present.” Indy100. December 07, 2016. Accessed December 07, 2016. https://www.indy100.com/article/leonardo-dicaprio-ivanka-trump-before-the-flood-climate-change-documentary-7460451.
- Flegnheimer, Matt, Rachel Abrams, Barry Meier, and Hiroko Tabuchi. “Business Since Birth: Trump’s Children and the Tangle That Awaits.” The New York Times. December 4, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/us/politics/trump-family-ivanka-donald-jr.html?_r=1.
- Karni, Annie. “Ivanka Trump, Climate Czar?” POLITICO. December 1, 2016. Accessed December 07, 2016. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/ivanka-trump-climate-czar-232031.
- Meyer, Robinson. “Why Did Ivanka Summon Al Gore to Trump Tower?” The Atlantic. December 6, 2016. Accessed December 07, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/12/why-did-al-gore-go-to-trump-tower/509771/
5.Trump, Donald J. “The Concept of Global Warming Was Created by and for the Chinese in Order to Make U.S. Manufacturing Non-competitive.” Twitter. November 06, 2012. Accessed December 07, 2016. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/265895292191248385.