Ivanka Trump defended taking on a role in the White House administration in her first TV interview since her father, President Donald Trump, took office in January. Watch the video above.
The businesswoman, who claims she has “no involvement” in her fashion brand now, was officially named special assistant to POTUS last week — even though she previously said that she would not take on a formal government role.
“I realized that having one foot in and one foot out wouldn’t work,” Ivanka explained during her CBS This Morning sit-down with Gayle King, which aired on Wednesday, April 5. “And the reality is that it — it all happened very organically for me.”
Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, was also named senior adviser to his father-in-law. “I had to determine that my husband and I — we both wanted to be in D.C. — that it was viable to move our children, that they would be happy in the new environment. After I decided I wanted to try, I needed to divest with numerous businesses. So did my husband,” Ivanka added. “And I wanted to understand where I could be an asset to the administration. About how I could help my father and, ultimately, the country.”
Still, Ivanka and Jared’s involvement in the administration have raised plenty of eyebrows, and many have accused them of being complicit with the controversial decisions POTUS has made so far.
“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Ivanka said in response. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I’m doing. So I hope to make a positive impact. I don’t know what it means to be complicit, but, you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job, and much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”
Ivanka made no mention of Saturday Night Live during the chat. Last month, Scarlett Johansson debuted her Ivanka impression during a skit in which she appeared in an ad for a perfume called “Complicit.” A cologne bottle named “Jared” was also a part of the gag.
Critics have called out Ivanka’s noticeable silence about women’s rights and other issues since her father took office. (Her Twitter bio reads that she is a “passionate advocate for the education and empowerment of women and girls.”)
“I’m still my father’s daughter. So to me the — this particular title was about giving critics the comfort that I’m holding myself to that highest ethical standard. But I’ll weigh in with my father on the issues I feel strongly about,” she told King. “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence. I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard. In some cases, it’s through protest and it’s through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue on which you disagree with. Other times it is quietly and directly and candidly. So where I disagree with my father, he knows it. And I express myself with total candor.”
In fact, she says she “frequently” speaks up. “My father agrees with me on so many issues,” she said. “And where he doesn’t, he knows where I stand.”