Ivanka Trump: 'There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting'

Story highlights

  • Ivanka Trump made a rare television appearance Monday morning
  • She is back in the spotlight for the White House's workforce development week

Washington (CNN)Ivanka Trump said Monday she is surprised by the "viciousness" of the media covering her father's presidency, referring to the growing "cloud" of distractions resulting from the Russia probe.

President Donald Trump's daughter and top adviser also said on "Fox & Friends" that her father felt "vindicated" by James Comey's testimony last week before the Senate intelligence committee, in which the former FBI director said there was no investigation into Trump personally during his time at the FBI.
"My father felt very vindicated in all the statements that he's been making and feels incredibly optimistic," she said. "With all the noise, with all the intensity of media coverage and obviously what makes headlines, ultimately, we're really focused on why the American people elected Donald Trump as president."
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    Asked whether it was hard to get things done in light of the ongoing Russia investigation, Trump admitted she was "a little blindsided" by distractions she attributed to media "ferocity."
    "It is hard. And there is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience, but this isn't supposed to be easy. My father and this administration intends to be transformative, and we want to do big, bold things and we're looking to change the status quo. So I didn't expect it to be easy. I think some of the distractions and some of the ferocity was — I was a little blindsided by on a personal level," she said.
    "But for me, I'm trying to keep my head down, not listen to the noise and just work really hard to make a positive impact in the lives of many people. At the end of the day, if you want to think about difficult, it's the factory worker who's been laid off. Difficult is the mother who lost a child to opioid abuse. So these are the real challenges and I think that does put it in perspective."
    Trump's comments are striking given her father's own reputation for harsh talk. Amid a heated media environment, the President has been especially aggressive, ramping up fights on Twitter that have distracted from his White House's own messaging efforts.
    Trump made her first of two appearances on Fox News this week to promote the White House's "workforce development week," another opportunity for the White House to try to set the agenda and messaging for the week. It comes, inopportunely, as embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to testify before Senate Russia investigators Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
    The first daughter also said husband Jared Kushner "loves" his job as a senior adviser and head of the newly-formed Office of American Innovation.
    "I mean, talk about impact," she said, noting his role modernizing government, as well as foreign policy initiatives, which included planning and organizing much of the President's first foreign trip.
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    The FBI is looking into the role Kushner held during the campaign and transition, including his contacts with Russian officials, his role in the campaign's data analytics operation and his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn. There is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the FBI's probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing.
    Trump dismissed ongoing reports of internal West Wing drama.
    "There is a 24-hour news cycle that gets fed by and is encouraged by lots of salacious details. But at the end of the day, we're all focused on the work, and that's very true for Jared. He's somebody who just likes to get things done so he doesn't get involved in sort of all of that," she said.