Roles for Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner come into focus
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Ivanka Trump is poised to play an active role in her father’s administration, assuming some of the duties normally assigned to the first lady.
Trump transition aides are already planning for an “Office of the First Family,” in the East Wing where the current office of the first lady is located, sources familiar with the plan told CNN.
Melania Trump is still expected to play a role in the White House. However, Ivanka is expected to have a prominent slot as well. A source said she is likely to play the part of Washington hostess as well as advise her father on issues including family leave to climate change.
“No decisions have been made regarding Ivanka’s role,” Hope Hicks, Trump’s spokeswoman, told CNN.
Titles for Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, have not been determined. Kushner, a publisher and businessman, is moving closer to finalizing what his specific role will be and two things have become a near certainty: it will be in the West Wing and he will likely have an office there, according to a source with knowledge of the planning.
Kushner has played a key role in Trump’s campaign, as a top adviser, alongside President-elect Donald Trump’s three adult children — Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.
Trump has indicated Don Jr. and Eric will retain control of his business operations while he’s in the White House, while Kushner and Ivanka are reportedly expected to move to Washington and work closely with him in government. The couple spent Sunday house-hunting in Georgetown, two other sources told CNN.
“Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office,” Trump tweeted.
The details remain murky, however, both because of Trump’s opaqueness and a federal nepotism law. Passed in 1967, the law states no public official — from the President down to a low-level manager at a federal agency — may hire or promote a relative.
Kushner is related to Trump by marriage but not blood, but the law specifies “son-in-law” as a type of relative covered by the rule.
However, there could be a loophole for the ban. The law states that any appointee found to have violated the law is “not entitled to pay” by the federal government, which offers the opportunity for Ivanka and Kushner to forgo paychecks while still serving the administration.
Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, said Thursday the law applies to Cabinet members, but there may be leeway when it comes to West Wing appointments.
“The anti-nepotism law has an exception if you want to work in the West Wing because the President is able to appoint his own staff. So, of course, this came about to stop maybe family members serving on the Cabinet,” she said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“But the President does have discretion to choose a staff of his liking. And so if that is true, and that legal advice holds, that will open up a realm of responsibilities,” she added.
Trump postponed a news conference previously expected on Thursday to answer questions about how he will avoid conflicts of interest as president. It’s now expected sometime in January before his inauguration.