Not long after the 2016 election, CBS News’ Leslie Stahl noted to Ivanka Trump that there were widely held assumptions that she would soon have a role in her father’s administration. “No,” she replied. “I’m going to be a daughter.”
Trump World continues to push this envelope. On Friday, Donald Trump announced new sanctions on North Korea, and soon after, the Wall Street Journal had this report:
U.S. presidential adviser Ivanka Trump arrived in Seoul on Friday as South Korea’s leader faced a backlash for agreeing to host a North Korean general blamed for the deaths of 46 South Korean sailors.
Ms. Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, landed in the afternoon and headed to the presidential Blue House in Seoul for a dinner with President Moon Jae-in.
In case this isn’t obvious, Ivanka Trump, who previously created a consumer fashion brand and made frequent appearances on her father’s reality show, has no experience in foreign policy or diplomacy.
And yet, according to the Trump administration, Ivanka Trump reportedly briefed South Korean leaders on the new U.S. sanctions on North Korea. When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked if the president’s daughter had the necessary security clearance for such a briefing, he replied, “She has the appropriate access to brief the president.”
The difference between “access” and “clearance” matters. Indeed, Ivanka Trump is one of several people in the president’s orbit who has not yet obtained a permanent security clearance.
Is it too late for the political world to have a conversation about this? If Hillary Clinton had dispatched Chelsea Clinton to brief South Korean officials about North Korean sanctions, despite having no relevant experience or even a proper security clearance, would congressional Republicans shrug their shoulders or would the walls of Capitol Hill shake from their collective screaming?
For his part, the president called into Janine Pirro’s Fox News program on Saturday night and was asked if he’d spoken to Ivanka Trump since her arrival in South Korea.
“I have,” Trump said. “She is working hard. She is doing a great job. You know Ivanka very well. There is no better representative that we can have go over to a pretty tough place right now in the world in South Korea…. We cannot have a better, smarter representative.”
Of course, Vice President Mike Pence was also recently in South Korea, representing the United States. Apparently, he’s the second best American representative, right after one of the president’s adult children.