Friday 23 June 2017

Ivanka Trump to continue working on women's issues

Ivanka Trump has made clear she wants to push for policies benefiting women and girls
Ivanka Trump has made clear she wants to push for policies benefiting women and girls

Ivanka Trump, t he president-elect's daughter, has revealed she is determining the "most appropriate ways" to serve the country.

She may not be working in the White House, but that does not mean Ms Trump is staying out of politics.

Although she has said she will have no official role in her father's administration, she has been quietly laying the groundwork for an effort that could make her perhaps the best-connected policy advocate in Washington.

Ms Trump, who has made clear she wants to push for policies benefiting women and girls, last week sought the advice of a group of female executives and media stars in New York.

And transition aides have reached out to congressional staff on childcare policies, an area she has urged President-elect Donald Trump to prioritise.

In a Facebook post detailing her next moves, Ms Trump thanked people who had reached out on such issues and added that she is determining the "most impactful and appropriate ways for me to serve our country."

It is not clear if she will establish herself independently or if she will eventually enter the White House.

But operating from the outside may take her into uncharted territory, as there are few recent examples of a first family member without a White House office advocating for policies. The closest model is the first lady, who has an office in the East Wing.

For now, the businesswoman has said only that she is stepping away from executive roles at the Trump Organisation and her lifestyle brand and is moving her family to Washington so that her husband Jared Kushner can take a job as a senior adviser.

She has also stressed that she wants to focus on settling her three young children in a new home.

But Ms Trump is also thinking beyond that.

On Thursday, she attended a dinner with female executives at the home of her friend Wendi Deng, ex-wife of media executive Rupert Murdoch.

The dinner was put together by Dina Powell, a Goldman Sachs partner who is joining the Trump administration as an assistant to the president and senior counsellor for economic initiatives. Ms Powell has been advising Ms Trump and is expected to continue working closely with her.

Also there was Sheila Marcelo, founder of www.care.com, a website that connects families with caregivers, said an attendee. Ms Marcelo spoke about the high cost of caregiving - both for children and adult family members.

The attendee said the group also discussed the Trump transition team's recent approach to the House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee staff about Mr Trump's childcare proposals. Asked about news reports about the approach, Ms Trump noted that these were priorities for the president-elect, the source said.

A Trump Transition spokesman declined to comment on the event.

Ms Trump's interest and influence on these issues was clear during the campaign. Encouraged by his daughter, Mr Trump offered a childcare plan in September, which includes guaranteeing six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers, as well as some incentives to encourage employers to provide childcare to workers.

The policy would require congressional approval - a considerable hurdle. Such proposals are not a high priority for the Republican leadership and it is not clear how well they will be received by conservatives in Congress.

AP

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