Melania is the First Lady, not me, says Ivanka

Mr Trump addressing guests during a dinner reception at Union Station on Thursday in Washington, accompanied on stage by (from left) Mr Mike Pence, who was sworn in as Vice-President yesterday, Mrs Karen Pence and Mrs Melania Trump.
Mr Trump addressing guests during a dinner reception at Union Station on Thursday in Washington, accompanied on stage by (from left) Mr Mike Pence, who was sworn in as Vice-President yesterday, Mrs Karen Pence and Mrs Melania Trump.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Ms Ivanka Trump has dispelled speculation that she will be filling in as a surrogate First Lady or occupying the East Wing office of the White House.

"I think it is an inappropriate observation," Ms Trump told ABC News programme 20/20. "There is one First Lady, and she will do remarkable things."

She said her stepmother Melania is "intelligent, warm, caring and a remarkable person".

"I am proud of her," she told ABC.

Speculation started swirling after Trump transition sources said Mrs Trump was not expected to move to the US capital immediately and would remain in New York until the Trumps' 10-year-old son, Barron, has finished the school year.

 

WINDS OF CHANGE

We are going to unify our country... We are going to do things that haven't been done for our country for many, many decades... It is going to change. I promise you.

MR TRUMP, to a cheering crowd of thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

ACTION ON JOBS

There has never been a movement like this... Well, you are not forgotten any more... We are going to get it turned around. We are going to bring our jobs back.

MR TRUMP, describing the wave of support among working-class Americans.

In the interview, aired on Thursday, the 35-year-old businesswoman and mother of three asked the American people to give her father a chance.

"My father is an incredible unifier. For every critic, I would say give him time. Let him come into office. Let him prove you wrong," said Ms Trump, who is stepping down from both the family business and from running her fashion label to avoid conflict of interest accusations.

Asked what she would say to tens of thousands of protesters expected to march across the United States today who are worried that the new Trump administration will roll back rights, she replied: "I say, give my father a chance."

Ms Trump, whose husband has been appointed a White House adviser, is known to be a calming influence on her father.

She said she gave him "my feedback, solicited or otherwise" when it came to his Twitter feed, adding: "Of course, at times, I tell him not to."

On her possible role in Washington, she said: "My focus is moving to Washington, travelling around the country and listening and getting great feedback on how I can add positive value."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline 'Melania is the First Lady, not me, says Ivanka'. Print Edition | Subscribe