'It's like a palace.' White House refuses to say on the record what Ivanka's job is


Apparently, the Trump White House believes that "daughter of the president" is a self-explanatory job title.

Being the daughter of a sitting president certainly comes with a number of expectations. But it's not actually a job.

Yet the Trump White House seems content to provide no details whatsoever about what Ivanka Trump's role in her father's administration is, beyond her biological connections — even when asked directly by journalists.

At the Columbia Journalism Review, in an in-depth piece titled "The Queen of Spin," reporter Hannah Seligson took a thorough look at Ivanka's presence on her father's team — and also her rather familiar willingness to play the press to suit her preferred reality.

Ivanka has "has succeeded at crafting and maintaining a narrative about her role in the White House," one which conveys the image she wants the world to have of her.

"Ivanka has mostly preserved the public perception that she is a benevolent and moderating force, and repeatedly evaded blame in the press when scandal has struck the White House and the Trump Organization," Seligson notes.

And this slipperiness about who she is and what she does extends even to the basic facts of her position in her father's administration.

"Ivanka certainly benefits from a vague yet all-encompassing role," Seligson writes, which contributes to the difficulty the press has experienced in holding her accountable for anything that comes out of the White House. Which is just how they want it.

As Seligson and journalism professor Jay Rosen told MSNBC's Ari Melber, Ivanka remains a very present yet still almost intangible member of Donald Trump's team in the White House.

Or as Rosen put it, the "palace."

SELIGSON: Does she really have the interest of the American people at heart?

ROSEN: I think it's extraordinary that not only do we not know what Ivanka's qualifications for serving in the White House are, but we really have no idea what her job description is. And in Hannah's article, she asked the White House, 'Could you just tell us what Ivanka does?' And they refused to reply. That is kind of amazing. It's like a palace!

SELIGSON: No one would go on the record to tell me what Ivanka's job description is.

Ivanka has not exactly tried to remain hidden, even as she and everyone around her do their best to keep her actual role a secret.

She went on a so-called "listening tour" — which didn't even take her out of the White House — to help further the issues she has claimed to care most about, like women's issues and economic advancement.

She took the stage at the G20 women's summit in Berlin to tout her father as a "tremendous champion" for women — to which the crowd responded with booing. And she literally sat in her father's seat at a G20 conference with world leaders.

She published an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, pushing for a national paid family leave policy and fluffing her father's proposed budget — which would do nothing to help families other than those like hers.

And Ivanka has been at her father's side throughout his time in office, even though her supposed "influence" over him has proven laughably futile.

Only when she is begged for comment on detained activists investigating abuse at her shoe factories in China; when it's "Made in America" week at the White House; when she's busying lawyering up after being implicated in the Russia scandal; or when she — someone who converted to Judaism — is asked to condemn her father's support for anti-Semitism does Ivanka try to fade from public view.

Little wonder why Ivanka is just as unpopular as her dad.

And the White House's refusal to give the American people any actual information on just what exactly Ivanka does all day isn't likely to improve those polling numbers.

The White House is not actually a royal palace. But the Trump family sure enjoys treating it as such.