Politics - News Analysis

Melania Trump’s Relationship with Step-Daughter Ivanka is Reportedly ‘Complicated’ After Repeated Clashes

It is rumored that Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump don’t have the warmest relationship.

A 2017 Vanity Fair profile of Melania described her relationship with Ivanka as “fine.” They have very different roles in the Trump administration: While Melania stays out of politics for the most part, and resides in the East Wing of the White House, Ivanka goes out campaigning with her father, and has her own office in the West Wing.

There’s never been a first daughter quite like Ivanka. She is directly involved with policy- making, and strives to be considered as one of her father’s advisers.

Even though there’s not much overlap between her and the first lady, her role in the White House is reportedly causing tension. According to the New York Times, her relationship with Melania is “complicated.”

Former Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly had to act as mediator between Ivanka’s staff and Melania’s staff when this sort of tension arises.

Kelly had previously been quoted describing the Trump children’s involvement in their father’s administration as “playing government.” Apparently Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, had to intervene when both women posed for photo ops with black children within days of each other.

According to the Times, while Melania was in Ghana as part of her tour of Africa, she held a baby in Accra, and the photo was distributed to the press, and video of the meeting was posted to the first lady’s Instagram.

Just two days later, in a video posted to Ivanka’s Instagram, she high-fived a young black girl in North Carolina, while she was visiting recovery sites following Hurricane Florence. The video was the closing scene of the video, where she talked with North Carolinians.

Apparently this caused tension. John Kelly was tasked with talking to the teams of both women about the … overlap of black children photographed in official White House press materials and Instagram posts?

The pair also argued over having a “Trump Family Office” in the White House, but Melania won.

CNN reporter Vicky Ward says what Melania wants, Melania gets.

Appearing on The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert, Ward said:

COLBERT: Who is there to say “no” to these people?

WARD: So here’s an interesting suggestion: Melania Trump… is the only person in my book who has ever successfully stood up to Ivanka Trump and won. I have a scene [during the transition in which] Ivanka Trump has told the world that she’s not going to be joining the White House. Absolute rubbish. Behind the scenes [she was] making all the plans. [She actually had] a “Trump family office” drawn up for the East Wing, which is normally the territory of the First Lady. When Melania Trump heard about this, she put a very quick end to Ivanka’s plans.

COLBERT: So, all our hope rests on Melania Trump.

Ward revisited the Melania-Ivanka standoff in an ABC News The Investigation podcast, and she suggested a motivation for Jared and Ivanka’s misbehavior: “Most people go into government for public service. They do seem to have gone in for self-service.”

Ward said she doesn’t know if “these two will be held accountable,” but it could “two ways: Either they will, as a combination of Congress and prosecutors or, you know, their path, their trajectory will continue as it has which seemingly is remarkably unstoppable.”


meet the author

Nicole James is a lifelong Democrat and political activist who first cut her teeth as a teenager volunteering for Mike Dukakis’ presidential campaign. She has worked and volunteered for John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, HFA (Hillary For America) and Organizing For Action. She’s passionate about liberal and progressive causes, and considers President Obama her most favorite president ever. She holds her Bachelor’s from Boston College and her Master’s from Columbia University, both in Economics. When not working as a writer, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her three college-aged children.


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