Ivanka Trump’s public disagreement Thursday with two of her father’s recent controversies were a rare public rebuke from the president’s daughter and senior adviser, who has said she is “very candid” with her father in private but has largely avoided public criticism.
In response to questions at an Axios event Thursday, Trump said she does not agree the media is the “enemy of the people” and called the aftermath of the administration’s child separation policy a “low point.”
The elder Trump has repeatedly called the press the “enemy of the people,” including recently over the criticism of his Helsinki summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin last month.
Ivanka Trump on Thursday explained she shares frustration with the media’s portrayal of the Trump administration, but added, “No, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.”
.@IvankaTrump: “No. I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 2, 2018
She also confirmed the view that the separation of families on the border was a “low point” for her in the White House, without directly addressing the role of her father or his administration in the issue.
The president had previously said his daughter felt “strongly” about family separation, leading him to sign an executive order that sought to temporarily resolve the crisis.
.@IvankaTrump: “That was a low point for me as well. I feel very strongly about that. I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children…immigration is incredibly complex as a topic.” #axios360 pic.twitter.com/shU32wprwu
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 2, 2018
The president responded to his daughter’s comments Thursday afternoon, agreeing on Twitter that the media is not the enemy of the people, but adding that the “FAKE NEWS” media is.
They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2018
Though cautiously worded, Ivanka Trump’s comments are noteworthy coming from a loyal adviser.
Despite press portrayals of Ivanka Trump as a moderating influence on her father in private, she has not often split publicly with her father as an informal surrogate during the campaign or as a member of his White House staff.
Still, her comments were not the first time she showed flashes of resistance to her father’s controversies that have drawn strong opposition from both parties.
After the public release of the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape in October 2016, she broke a days-long silence with a statement saying her father’s comments on the tape were “clearly inappropriate and offensive.” She also said she was “glad he acknowledged this fact with an immediate apology.”
In August of last year, after the president blamed “both sides” for the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Ivanka tweeted a strong rebuke of the demonstrators at the rally without addressing her father’s comments.
Then in November 2017, she jumped out ahead of her father regarding the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama. She said there was a “special place in hell for people who prey on children,” and added she has “yet to see a valid explanation” for the allegations against Moore and has “no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”
Trump previously ignored questions from reporters about Moore and later defended Moore by pointing out the candidate’s denials. The following month, Trump endorsed Moore’s candidacy.
On other key issues, Ivanka Trump has remained silent or defended her father amid other controversies. She has consistently said she does not believe the sexual misconduct allegations against her father. She also never spoke publicly about his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords, despite reports that she had lobbied aggressively against the move in the West Wing.
Then there are the comments that could, maybe, look like flashes of resistance to the president, depending on an observer’s perspective — like her June 2017 tweet quoting Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chair whom Trump criticized on the campaign trail.
“Too many women struggle to combine aspirations for work and family.” – Janet Yellen https://t.co/1N06ThzjIC
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2017
Five months later, Trump sacked Yellen as expected and nominated current Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.