Ivanka Trump became a full-time adviser to the President in March 2017 after informally advising her father, Donald Trump, during the first two months of his administration.
Critics point out her lack of government experience, but defenders note her father ran a campaign explicitly on his record as a businessman and on the message of being an outsider and taking an unconventional approach to governing.
While it’s unusual for a President’s child to serve an administration, it’s a familiar role for Trump – she had been her father’s trusted adviser through her young adulthood to her time as executive vice president at the Trump Organization, and, ultimately, to his 2016 presidential campaign.
In the two years since joining the West Wing staff, Ivanka Trump has developed a cadre of signature issues, most of which have bipartisan support and are largely noncontroversial. The President’s eldest daughter does not receive a paycheck for her work, according to White House records. She reports to work regularly at the White House, where she has a second-floor West Wing office.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that the President pressured top aides to grant his daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, security clearances, despite their reservations, rankling other West Wing officials.
It’s not out of the ordinary for senior – and even some lower-level – White House aides to obtain security clearances, and Ivanka Trump’s role has the breadth and depth to require one for her interactions with the President, other officials and world leaders.
The White House did not respond to a CNN request for comment on Ivanka Trump’s role.
What does Ivanka Trump do?
Ivanka Trump’s portfolio includes a few key components: women’s economic empowerment and working family issues, workforce development and promoting STEM education and combating human trafficking.
On Wednesday, for example, she will participate in a meeting at the White House with the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which she co-chairs with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. She’s traveled the country and abroad to see best practices for workforce development and skills-based training, including a visit to Walmart Academies in Texas, a UPS training facility in Georgia and a Siemens vocational training center in Germany.
Part of that workforce development initiative has included the creation of the Pledge to America’s Workers, which has received commitments for skills-based jobs from more than 200 companies and associations, relationships Trump has worked to build. She has worked on the administration’s efforts on career and technical education, as well as apprenticeship expansion. She also spearheaded the President’s direction of a $200 million investment from the Department of Education to expand STEM and computer science education in schools.
Recently, Trump was instrumental in the administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (WDGP) initiative, which the President launched last month. She led the creation of the initiative, which has three pillars: education, promoting entrepreneurship and eliminating legal, regulatory, and cultural barriers to women’s economic participation. The fund starts with an initial $50 million from USAID with the goal to empower 50 million women in developing countries by 2025.
She also helped roll out a more than $1 billion initiative with the World Bank in 2017 aimed at promoting women’s entrepreneurship in developing countries. When World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stepped down, she was tasked with choosing his replacement.
She has also styled herself as a diplomat of sorts, meeting with world leaders on various topics and traveling abroad on the administration’s behalf, including trips to India, South Korea, Germany and Japan.
Trump helped lead the US delegation to the Olympics in South Korea in 2018 and has met with South Korean President Moon Jae-In multiple times. She spoke about WGDP at the Munich Security Conference last month, as well.
Her name came up when the President was initially looking for a United Nations Ambassador replacement for Nikki Haley last year, but he dismissed the speculation, tweeting: “She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism! We have great people that want the job.”
She previously worked on the administration’s push for tax reform, meeting with lawmakers and advocating for the child tax credit. Moving forward, she’s making a push for paid family leave with lawmakers, holding meetings with Republican lawmakers and private sector leaders.
She has also supported her husband’s efforts on criminal justice reform.
It’s unclear how many White House aides report to Ivanka Trump directly, but she does have a small staff, including her chief of staff, Julie Radford, who has been on her team since April 2017.
While the White House has said Trump is laser-focused on the topics in her West Wing portfolio, it’s clear that she continues to advise her father on a broad range of issues, including immigration.
She remained silent as the images, audio and stories of families separated at the US-Mexico border captured the nation’s attention in June, the White House issuing a statement on her behalf. She met with her father to discuss the images of families being separated before he signed his executive order, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN at the time.
The White House has repeatedly declined to comment on the security clearance matter, and Ivanka Trump denied in an interview with ABC News that she had any knowledge of the President intervening in the process.
It’s unclear what the specific concerns were raised during the approval process.
Because Trump and Kushner are a married couple, concerns that surfaced during one person’s security clearance investigation could stall or block both of them from receiving a full clearance. But officials had concerns about granting Trump a clearance that were separate from those raised about her husband, according to one of the sources, though it’s unclear what the concerns regarding her were.
At the time, the couple told associates they believed that then-chief of staff John Kelly was blocking them from getting clearances because he did not feel like they belonged in the West Wing.
The President pushed harder for his son-in-law to get a clearance because of his wide-ranging portfolio, which includes a Middle East peace proposal, and because of heightened scrutiny on Kushner’s inability to secure a clearance, sources said.
His daughter’s portfolio did not require a high-level security clearance, though as a senior adviser who sits in meetings with other senior officials, she is privy to sensitive information.
CNN’s Pamela Brown and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.