There was a moment during the presidential campaign when then-candidate Donald Trump made conservative jaws drop as he defended Planned Parenthood on national TV during a Republican primary debate.
"Millions of millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood," Trump said more than a year ago on the CNN debate stage in Houston. "I would defund it because I'm pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood."
We now know, according to a New York Times interview, it was the president’s daughter, Ivanka, who convinced him to spare those kind words for the organ harvesters at Planned Parenthood.
Now off the campaign trail and in the White House, Ivanka Trump is getting a grip on government to gain greater influence with the president of the United States.
In the Times interview, Ivanka said she is “still at the early stages of learning how everything works.”
"But I know enough now to be a much more proactive voice inside the White House," she said. She’s proactively pushing the administration left.
According to the Times, Ivanka’s liberal influence in the White House is expanding. She meets with top administration officials and even reviews President Trump’s executive orders before they are signed.
The two trade thoughts from morning until late at night, according to aides. Even though she has no government or policy experience, she plans to review some executive orders before they are signed, according to White House officials. She calls cabinet officials on issues she is interested in, recently asking the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, about getting humanitarian aid into Syria. She set up a weekly meeting with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary.
Ivanka, described by the Times as a “moderating force” in the White House, intends to push the administration left on climate change, immigration law enforcement, and refugee policy. She said in the interview that she has no “hidden agenda.” That’s true, as her liberal agenda in the White House is plain for all to see.
She’s already said this week that the United States may need to admit more Syrian refugees into the country. She also wants to “go beyond her father’s campaign pledge” and include both mothers and fathers in the administration’s proposal for a paid maternity leave entitlement. Early in the administration, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner successfully defeated an executive order on religious freedom. Ivanka Trump has been a consistent voice in opposition to conservative policies.
All the while, she has held secret meetings with liberal special interest groups – including Planned Parenthood – for their input on policy coming from the White House. And she gets alone time with the president to pitch those liberal ideas.
“A lot of their real interactions happen when it’s just the two of them,” Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner told the Times. Ivanka reportedly will tell other members of the president’s staff “I need 10 minutes alone with my father” when she wants to change his mind. Though not always successful, by her own admission she has “modified” some of the president’s positions.
“I’ll go to the mat on certain issues and I may still lose those,” Ivanka said. “But maybe along the way I’ve modified a position just slightly. And that’s just great.”
As Congress prepares to pass an omnibus spending bill that does not include President Trump’s campaign priorities – cutting government spending, funding the border wall, and defunding Planned Parenthood – conservatives may wonder why President Trump is not fighting harder for his priorities. Are these positions that Ivanka Trump has “modified”?
Ivanka’s outsized influence with the president speaks to the need for conservative voices in the White House. If the president continues to yield to his daughter’s liberalism, he will fail.