Ivanka Trump's transition to the ways of Washington has been very rocky

Trump brings Ivanka on stage
Trump brings Ivanka on stage


    Trump brings Ivanka on stage


Trump brings Ivanka on stage 00:54

(CNN)On Wednesday, Ivanka Trump breezed into a meeting between her father and the top Congressional leaders of both parties. It didn't go well.

Some Republicans in the room were "visibly annoyed by Ivanka's presence," according to a source who spoke to CNN's Deirdre Walsh. Ivanka "entered the Oval Office to 'say hello' and the meeting careened off-topic," the source added.
Wednesday's breeze-by was the latest in a series of episodes in which tactics and strategies Ivanka has long utilized to wield her influence on her father and his advisers appears to be backfiring on her in the White House.
Ivanka's decision to sit in the President's seat at a session of the G-20 gathering in Germany created considerable controversy. Her tendency to pop into when her father is giving media interviews -- as brilliantly documented by CNN's Betsy Klein -- has raised eyebrows. The fact that she -- and her husband, Jared Kushner -- have a dedicated press operative within the White House is decidedly unorthodox. Her onstage appearance at a tax reform event Wednesday in North Dakota felt slightly out of place, but was nowhere near as odd as the way Donald Trump told the crowd it came about:
    "She wanted to make the trip., She said: 'Dad, can I go with you?' She actually said: 'Daddy, can I go with you?' I like that, right? 'Daddy, can I go with you?' I said, 'yes you can.' 'Where you going?' 'North Dakota.' I said, 'oh, I like North Dakota.' Hi, honey."
    At that point, Ivanka arrived on stage and spoke briefly, thanking North Dakotans for their support in the 2016 election.
    But such moments, regarded as "sweet" or "nice" in the world of business have turned more sour for Ivanka in official Washington -- thanks in large part to the tremendously unique role she plays: First daughter and assistant to the president of the United States. There's no clear demarcation where one role ends and the other begins, making it very difficult for those who have to deal with her on a daily or weekly basis to know whether they are getting the daughter of the president or a trusted adviser to the president -- or both -- at any given moment.
    Ivanka, from a very early age, has been at her father's side. As she recounted to CNN's Gloria Borger in 2016:
    "I was probably 10 years old and I'd call collect to the Trump Organization," Ivanka Trump recalled of her private school days at the Chapin School in New York City.
    Hiding in a janitor's closet during recess, she would dial her dad, who would put her on speakerphone with whomever happened to be in his office.
    "It was colleagues, it was titans of industry, it was heads of countries. He'd always tell everyone in the room how great a daughter I was and say cute things and ask me about a test I took."
    As Ivanka grew up, she became more and more a part of the family business. And when that business expanded into reality TV, Ivanka followed -- often appearing on "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" playing a familiar role: Able sidekick to her billionaire dad.
    When Donald Trump shocked the world by winning the White House last November, lots and lots of people who didn't vote for him clung to the belief that Ivanka had a calming and moderating influence on her father -- as she always seemed to on those reality TV shows.
    As the President put it when inviting her up on stage in North Dakota: "Everybody loves Ivanka. ... Sometimes they'll say, 'you know, he can't be that bad a guy -- look at Ivanka.'"
    But the reality of Washington and the White House has been something very different. Not only has Ivanka's much-touted infuence rarely been seen -- she pushed hard to keep her father from pulling out of the Paris climate accords, for example -- but the ways in which she has previously exerted that influence have also been found wanting.
    Asked about Wednesday's drop-by, White House legislative director Marc Short told CNN, "We asked Ivanka to briefly join the meeting for an update on the child care tax credit and how we are working to make tax reform a bi-partisan issue. It was a quick and productive conversation."
    Ivanka defenders insist that she has done a number of things behind the scenes to keep her father's presidency on track and to ensure that her views are well represented. And it's admittedly difficult to know the inner workings of the President's relationship with his eldest daughter; there's no question that, to the extent Donald Trump listens to anyone, he listens to his eldest daughter.
    But what's also clear is that the approach Ivanka has used successfully to influence her father -- and his inner circle -- in the past is proving to be far less effective in politics than it was in business.
    What's less clear is whether Ivanka will -- or can -- change that approach. She's in something of an impossible position -- caught between being her father's daughter and being an adviser to the president of the United States. It's a position she knowingly chose, however, and one -- through a variety of permutations -- she had occupied her entire adult life (and even before that).
    "If she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her," Trump acknowledged in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8. "That might be the only bad thing she has going, if you want to know the truth."
    Politics is, of course, different than business. Ivanka Trump works for the American people, not her dad. And the people she's interacting with -- members of Congress, foreign diplomats and leaders -- aren't working for her dad, either. They are bosses in their own right, with constituents all their own.
    To date, Ivanka has struggled to adopt to that changed dynamic. Which is why she continues to struggle to be an effective player in political Washington.