When it comes to the 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump, there is little that he will not do or at least try to do. This, of course, includes moves that are considered to be unconstitutional or even illegal in nature. The most recent of these questionable moves involves his most well-known daughter, Ivanka Trump.
Back when President Trump won the election, Ivanka publicly stated that she would not, in fact, be moving into the White House or into an office (i.e. an official position) in the White House, but would be moving to Washington, D.C.. However, actions and words do not always match, and in the case of Trump’s White House, they almost never do.
Ivanka has been seen in numerous official photos of meetings between the President and Cabinet members as well as with foreign leaders. This in and of itself seems like an ethical breach in that these meetings should be highly classified and the information only available to those holding the highest positions in the government.
But that is not all, of course. Now Ivanka Trump will be getting her own office in the White House. While she will not be working in a paid capacity, she is said to be taking on a role as the so-called “eyes and ears of her father.” The idea, apparently, is that Ivanka will give her father advice particularly on issues and legislation that she is passionate about.
Political purists and concerned citizens alike are none too pleased with these developments. The question is one that has not come up in the past as no serving president had adult children and if they did, those children were not interested in serving in the administration. Instead, they may have served as advisors unofficially and not in an office of their own.
However, in true President Trump form, this president flies in the face of convention and history. Ivanka will have an expansive portfolio as well as have the benefit of bypassing being elected and receiving Senate approval. The question is whether this is an ethical decision on the part of the president.
In light of the fact that an anti-nepotism law was passed in 1967, the question becomes whether or not Ivanka’s role in the White House as well as he husband, Jared Kushner’s official advisor role are in violation of that law. The matter is further complicated by the fact that former President Bill Clinton challenged the law and one in his appointment of his wife Hillary Clinton to lead his attempts at healthcare reform. The ruling was that White House positions were essentially exempt from the anti-nepotism law.
However, both Hillary Clinton and Jared Kushner gave up stakes and work in other businesses to taken their roles. Ivanka is continuing with her role at the helm of jewelry and clothing businesses. This means that she could potentially have massive conflicts of interest in terms of the best interest of her businesses and of the nation. Should the government and the American people accept that Ivanka is serving in her role merely as a daughter to the president? Or is she acting as a businesswoman? Can she be both in her role as advisor to the president? Is this in and of itself an ethics violation? These questions are likely going to continue to divide law experts and further call into question the legitimacy and the legacy of this presidency.