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anne mikolay 2012 120Poised, savvy, and possessing sharp business acumen, Ivanka Trump has always been a role model for women. Recent events, however, have put President Donald Trump's eldest daughter in a less favorable light, begging the question: is Ivanka Trump using her father's presidency to launch her own political career? She is, no doubt, shrewd, but is she self-serving, cunning even, and perhaps a bit hypocritical? After all, she is doing exactly what she said she would not do. She's making herself at home in the White House.

In a November, 2016 interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS 60 Minutes, Ivanka denied she would have a role in the Trump administration. Despite her passion for women's issues, Ivanka stated she would not act in a “formal administrative capacity” in the White House and planned instead to act only as a “daughter” and look after the family's interests in the Trump Organization. Fast forward two months: a few days before Donald Trump's January 20, 2017 presidential inauguration, Ivanka Trump announced her move from New York City to Washington, D.C. Fast forward another two months, and the First Daughter has been granted security clearance and an office in the West Wing. She has not, however, been designated an official White House employee.

There's a mighty red flag waving here.

Exactly what is Ivanka Trump's role in this administration? Speculation abounds that Ivanka will emerge as the official White House hostess as a result of Melania Trump's alleged hesitance to completely embrace the role. This would not be the first time the White House was served by a “surrogate First Lady”. Three presidential daughters previously assumed the First Lady role upon their mothers dying in the White House: Letty Tyler Semple, Mary Harrison McKee, and Margaret Wilson. Bachelor James Buchanan's niece served as his First Lady; Grover Cleveland 's sister initially served as First Lady until his marriage fifteen months after inauguration. More recently, Susan Ford briefly presided as hostess while her mother recovered from surgery, and Chelsea Clinton accompanied her father on a state visit to Australia during her mother's U.S. Senate campaign. None of these women required security clearance or West Wing access to fulfill their role. Clearly, Ivanka Trump does not want to be a contemporary Dolly Madison. She wants significant input in the White House and apparently is achieving her goal. Ivanka Trump, a private citizen and business owner, will enjoy the privileges of a White House employee without the official designation. The waving red flag here has NEPOTISM stamped all over it.

A government limitation on nepotism exists; Federal law, at 5 U.S.C. 3110, “prohibits a federal official from appointing, promoting, or recommending for appointment or promotion any relative of the official to any agency or department over which the official exercises authority or control...” Thus, Ivanka Trump – and her husband, Jared Kushner - should not have any role in the White House. Prior to Donald Trump's election, senior Trump advisor and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani cited this very Federal law as the reason the Trump children could not work in government. Of course, Giuliani also alarmingly stated conflict of interest “laws don't apply to the president”.

The American people...correction...the Electoral College elected Donald Trump the President of the United States. Neither the public nor the Electoral College elected Ivanka. As the daughter of the President and wife of a senior advisor, Ivanka's move to D.C. is necessary, but a West Wing office is not. Moreover, if Ivanka isn't an employee of the White House (and technically can't be), she should not have security clearance. Apparently, Ivanka Trump says one thing and does another (though that would make her well qualified for a career in politics).