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Spicer: Trump has a right to defend Ivanka

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Ivanka Trump does not have a formal role in the White House

But she is a key, trusted adviser to her father

Washington CNN  — 

Ivanka Trump is making her own quiet start in Washington, nearly three weeks since her father assumed office.

The first daughter has kept a relatively low profile, eschewing press interviews and making few public appearances.

She’s been spotted by pool reporters in the West Wing, where her husband, Jared Kushner, serves as senior adviser to President Donald Trump. Last week, she accompanied her father on a trip to Delaware to pay respects to the family of a fallen service member, the solemn occasion highlighting their close relationship. She brought Mandarin-speaking daughter Arabella, 5, to the Chinese Embassy for a Lunar New Year party celebrating the “Year of the Rooster.”

And on Tuesday, Trump posted a photo from the East Wing of the White House with 10-month-old son, Theodore, in tow.

“Taking a call in the White House with my personal assistant Theodore,” she wrote, with a heart emoji.

While Trump does not have a formal role in her father’s administration, she was a crucial voice during his presidential campaign, and before that, a key player in his real estate business, something unlikely to change.

Dinner party diplomacy

She plans to use her national platform as first daughter to continue to promote women’s empowerment, a cause near to her heart and her skill set. In December, she called members of Congress about legislation aimed at making child care more affordable.

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Since then, she’s gotten to work building relationships, hosting two private dinner parties with business executives focusing on women in the workplace. The first working dinner took place before the inauguration at the home of friend Wendi Deng Murdoch; the second, last Thursday at her new DC home, per a source close to Trump. The dinners were first reported by Fortune and Politico.

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Both dinners were attended by Dina Habib Powell, a former Goldman Sachs executive who also served in George W. Bush’s White House and State Department. Powell has been advising Trump, and now serves in a senior White House role focused on entrepreneurship, economic growth and the empowerment of women.

Familiar role

Trump’s proximity to the White House is a natural extension of her Trump Tower childhood, growing up observing the inner workings of the Trump Organization under her father’s tutelage.

“My father believed it was important for us to do hands-on work of some kind or other. He wanted us to get to know the people and the processes that actually made our company run, from the ground up. Even when we were kids, there was talk around the dinner table about how we all might join the family business some day,” she wrote in her 2009 memoir.

Trump went on to work in real estate development for the Trump Organization, gaining her father’s trust in the process.

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Ivanka Trump's impact on Washington

“She … has a great way of being able to, you know, talk to him,” Ivanka’s brother, Don Jr., told CNN’s Gloria Borger in a recent interview. “He trusts her.”

From urging him to act more presidential during the rough-and-tumble months of the campaign to helping him pick his running mate, the President’s eldest daughter, 35, is one of his closest confidants, top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Borger.

“Ivanka Trump was in a very unique position to give her father voice in choosing a vice presidential running mate. Because she knows what Donald Trump expects,” Conway said.

Trump dismissed speculation that she would be the “real” first lady in a Trump administration, calling that observation “inappropriate.”

“There’s one first lady, and she’ll do remarkable things,” Trump told ABC News last month.

Business ties

She formally stepped away from the Trump Organization and her eponymous apparel and accessories brand in January. She divested herself of significant assets, including all of her common stock, and converted her equity in the Trump Organization into fixed payments, per an official briefing on behalf of the transition last month.

Her father’s role has, however, taken it’s toll on her namesake brand, which is now led by Abigail Klem, who serves as the company president.

02:37 - Source: CNN
Trump son-in-law sets sights on DC home

Citing “performance,” high-end department store Nordstrom declined to purchase Ivanka Trump products for the fall season, and other retailers have followed suit.

While she’s stayed completely quiet on the matter, it’s clear it bothered the President, who took to social media Wednesday morning.

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person – always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” he tweeted.

Washington life

In the meantime, Trump has kept busy settling into her new life in Washington. Trump and Kushner are renting a home in DC’s Kalorama neighborhood, just steps from the Obamas’ post-White House abode.

She’s been seen at multiple neighborhood hotspots, including local café Open City and boutique cycling studio Flywheel.

Trump and Kushner got dressed up for the Alfalfa Club dinner two weekends ago, causing a stir on social media in light of ongoing protests due to the President’s controversial executive order on immigration and refugees. The couple also reportedly went on a date night at RPM Italian, co-owned by NBC’s “Apprentice” first season winner Bill Rancic.