May 29, 2024
Ivanka Trump stopped distancing herself from her criminally indicted father this summer, as he solidified support among GOP voters ahead of the Republican primary.

People shouldn’t read too much into Ivanka Trump saying last year that she was done with politics, or her failure to thus far appear at any of Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign events.

Behind the scenes, a new report by Vanity Fair says that the former first daughter supports her father’s attempts to return to the White House, especially if she and her husband Jared Kushner believe there could be prominent roles for them in the next administration.

Vanity Fair and other outlets have logged the ways that the former socialite and entrepreneur has stopped distancing herself this summer from her father, which was the case for two years after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. And not all of Ivanka Trump’s gestures of support have been behind the scenes. The former White House senior adviser has let herself be tied to him, at least socially, even as he has been indicted on more than 91 counts in four jurisdictions, including charges in Washington, D.C., and Fulton County, Georgia, over his efforts to overturn the election.

Senior Advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner watch as US President Donald Trump shows an executive order regarding anti-semitism during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House December 11, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) 

Even as a fourth criminal indictment was looming in Georgia this week, Ivanka and Kushner made sure to be seen at the LIV golf tournament Trump hosted at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. As shown in photos published by the Daily Mail, the couple made multiple appearances at the golf tournament last Saturday and Saturday, including at an event where they joined the former president.

Trump advisers told Vanity Fair writer Gabriel Sherman that Ivanka and Kushner have been more visible lately in Trump circles, stoking speculation that the pair are gearing up to take an active role in his 2024 campaign.

They have been living at their cottage on the grounds of Bedminster this summer, sources said. Last month Ivanka attended her father’s birthday dinner, and she and Kushner were guests at an elite MAGA event hosted by Trump: the private screening of the child-trafficking movie “Sound of Freedom” at Bedminster. There, they mingled with the film’s QAnon-promoting star, Jim Caviezel, and such MAGA stars as former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and newscaster-turned-election denier Kari Lake.

“They’ve been spotted more frequently this summer,” a top campaign strategist said to Vanity Fair about Ivanka and Kushner. “They’ve made it clear they’re supportive. They pop into meetings to say hi.”

Trump advisers insisted to Sherman that, at least for now, the couple are only engaging as members of the Trump family and are not participating as official campaign advisers. But other sources told Sherman there is only one reason that the couple would be so engaged, and it’s not entirely due to family loyalty.

“Now that the president is 40 points ahead, of course Jared is pretending he’s involved,” a former Trump administration official told Vanity Fair. “If (Trump) is president again, Jared needs to protect his turf, especially in the Middle East.”

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 06: U.S. President Donald Trump hugs his daughter and Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump after speaking in the East Room of the White House one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, ion February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. After five months of congressional hearings and investigations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the U.S. Senate formally acquitted the president on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) 

The Guardian noted that the political landscape was much different in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capital and Trump’s ignominious departure from the White House. For their part, Ivanka and Kushner couldn’t return to New York City, where they once reigned as a high-society power couple. They instead tried to rebuild their lives in Miami, where Ivanka appeared to devote herself to playing the role of hands-on mother to their three children.

As recently as November 2022, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, was the Republicans’ golden boy and Trump was experiencing a major slump, The Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi said. Aside from Trump’s mounting legal woes, he had lost credibility in other ways.

“An embarrassing number of candidates he’d backed were defeated in the midterms, making the former president look like a loser and causing his allies to turn on him,” Mahdawi said. She noted that the once-loyal New York Post sneered at Trump on its front page: “TRUMPTY DUMPTY.”

Two weeks later, the twice-impeached Trump announced his 2024 candidacy in the ballroom at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Many reports made note of the fact that Ivanka Trump skipped the announcement — though Kushner attended. Ivanka issued a statement to make it clear that she wanted to distance herself from politics.

She said, “This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family.” The statement made it sound as though she wouldn’t campaign for her father, as she had in the past, and she wouldn’t return to the White House if he’s re-elected.

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Ivanka and Kusher’s decision to back away from Trump after he lost the 2020 election seemed like a smart career move at the time, Sherman said. Over the past two years, they also spent little time at Mar-a-Lago, which “echoed their White House habit” of disappearing during Trump administration scandals but claiming credit for the administration’s victories, Sherman added.

But Ivanka and Kushner have been been closer to Trump this summer, as the former president has solidified support among Republican voters. A New York Times/Siena College poll published late last month found that 71% of the Republican electorate still stand with the former president, with GOP voters across almost every demographic group and region and ideological wing of the party dismissing concerns about his escalating legal jeopardy. Trump also holds a commanding 37% national lead over DeSantis and the rest of the Republican primary field.

At the same time, an ABC/Ipsos poll, conducted after Trump was indicted Monday in Fulton County, Georgia, found that 63% of Americans say that the election interference charges are serious.

Sherman said that the onslaught of legal threats facing Trump could eventually prove to be too much for Ivanka and Kushner to handle. After all, the couple “are are highly protective of their brands and likely would not want to be publicly associated with Trump if he were to be convicted on federal or state charges,” he said. But if Trump manages to win re-election to the White House, Kushner and Ivanka wouldn’t want to be left out. “Everyone loves a winner!” a former Trump 2020 campaign adviser told Sherman.