Ivanka Trump under the radar during 'Made in America Week'

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Story highlights

  • The White House is spotlighting American business with "Made in America Week"
  • Ivanka Trump has not participated

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump kicked off the White House's "Made in America Week" Monday, modeling a $1,000 Stetson cowboy hat, hopping into the cab of a firetruck and gripping a baseball bat.

But his daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka, a frequent presence at White House events like this, including those during themed weeks -- focusing on topics like energy, tech, workforce development and infrastructure -- was absent from media coverage of the colorful festivities and the President's remarks. In fact, she has been relatively absent all week, save for glimpses on her social media channels.
It's unclear whether Ivanka Trump will participate in any aspect of "Made In America" Week. It's possible she's avoiding making an appearance at any of the week's planned events because her own brand of apparel and accessories is manufactured elsewhere.
    She took a formal leave of absence from the brand in January, but kept her ownership stake and moved the assets into a trust.
    A recent Washington Post report found that the Ivanka Trump brand of apparel and accessories are made exclusively overseas in countries such as Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Abigail Klem, who took over as brand president, told the Post that, although the brand is looking for ways to make some goods in the United States, "to do it at a large scale is currently not possible."
    White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered a defense of brands like Ivanka Trump, conceding that "Made in America" may not be achievable for all industries.
    "There are certain things we may not have the capacity to do here in terms of having a plant or a factory that can do it. The beautiful thing about a capitalistic society is if there's enough of a demand for it, it will happen," Spicer told reporters during a press briefing Monday.
    "But some lines, some industries, some products may not have the scalability or the demand here in this country, but like so many other things, if there's enough of a demand then hopefully somebody builds a factory and does it," he added.

    Under-the-radar approach

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    The first daughter appears to be taking an under-the-radar approach, avoiding public appearances and comments that aren't in the form of an Instagram caption, as the administration grapples with a stalled health care measure and growing questions about her brother Donald Trump Jr. and her husband Jared Kushner's June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.
    Ivanka Trump did not respond to CNN's attempt to contact her directly.
    On Wednesday, as the President led a "Made in America" roundtable, Ivanka Trump was not present. Her absence was notable, as the entrepreneur is a vocal advocate for these issues and has frequented White House events on business, including a roundtable discussion on women entrepreneurs with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on vocational training.
    She did, however, post a throwback photo commemorating "National Hot Dog Day." The image shows Trump sipping a Diet Coke at a hot dog stand, no hot dog in sight.

    Missing those NYC hot dog stands. Happy #NationalHotDogDay ! 🌭#Throwback 📸: Bruce Weber

    A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on

    A day earlier, she made a stop at the FIRST Robotics Competition, which was showcased on the White House's Snapchat account. However, there was no press coverage of her visit to the international student robotics competition.
    The event garnered headlines thanks in large part to the President's intervention granting visas to a team of six teenage girls from Afghanistan who would otherwise have been unable to make the trip to Washington to compete because of his administration's travel ban.
    When CNN inquired about details of Ivanka Trump's appearance at the event, her spokesman, Josh Raffel, directed CNN to Trump's Instagram account.
    "Teaching robotics and engineering skills to the next generation of innovators is critical to the future of our economy and the world," Trump wrote alongside a video clip of a speech she gave surrounded by student participants at DC's DAR Constitution Hall.
    She specifically visited with the team of Afghan teens.
    Trump has previously touted the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, particularly for young women, who are underrepresented in STEM fields.
    "Our #STEMGirls are doing so well at @F1RSTglobal #FGC2017 that @IvankaTrump had to see. Thanks for supporting #Afghanistan & #womeninSTEM," the Afghan Embassy tweeted.

    It's a pattern

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    The first daughter has a pattern of being out of sight during divisive moments in her father's presidency.
    Last week, as the President traveled to Paris for his third foreign trip, Trump and Kushner quietly slipped away to Sun Valley, Idaho, where they attended the Allen & Co. conference, an annual meeting of media, tech, and finance moguls often described as "summer camp for billionaires."
    A White House official confirmed their attendance at the annual confab, adding that the duo personally funded their travel.
    The trip came in the middle of new revelations about her older brother's 2016 meeting with Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitzkaya. Younger brother, Eric, came to Don Jr.'s defense in a series of tweets and retweets. Ivanka, however, stayed silent on the meeting.
    These absences have allowed her to avoid any major gaffes or mishaps -- or taking a position one way or the other -- as hot-button issues have played out. She is otherwise an active presence at the White House's roundtables, listening sessions and key events.
    She was not present during the Rose Garden ceremony as her father announced he would pull out of the Paris climate agreement she supported, observing the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
    In March, while the administration's first crack at repealing Obamacare struggled to gain traction, she and her husband were on the slopes in Aspen, Colorado, for a family tradition ski trip.
    When the President fired FBI Director James Comey, his daughter remained in Washington working at the White House, but away from cameras.