Perhaps one of the most important decisions a president makes takes place even before his or her election — who will govern if the Commander-in-Chief is rendered unfit for office? The seat of the vice president, who is chosen as a running mate during a candidate’s campaign prior to the election, can dramatically change the direction of a candidacy. Oftentimes, candidates choose running mates who balance out their qualities and are likely to bring positive attention to the campaign.
Take the example of John McCain, who chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 — a decision that “shook up the presidential race,” according to CNBC. Or Joe Biden, whose choice of Kamala Harris reverberated with countless women, Black Americans, and South Asians across the nation and pushed him to win against President Donald Trump. Then there was Obama’s choice of Joe Biden, whose age and style complemented Obama’s reputation as a young, idealistic political rookie who challenged the status quo in Washington, D.C.
Maybe it is because of the significance of the position that many look to the president’s decision as a telltale sign of what the rest of the presidency might hold. And it was also this decision-making process that turned many heads during Trump’s turn as president.
President Trump wanted to keep his VP pick in the family
Like many appointments in Donald Trump’s administrations, the 45th president was apparently going to choose a close acquaintance to be his vice president. According to a book released in October 2020 by Rick Gates, a former political consultant who went on to be a Trump campaign aid, Trump was considering his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as his companion on the ticket, per Just Jared.
“During a VP discussion that included Jared and the other kids all assembled in one room, Trump said, ‘I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?’ There was silence,” Gates recalled in Wicked Game: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed and America Lost, according to Bloomberg.
It seems like even Ivanka wasn’t prepared for the suggestion. “All heads turned toward her, and she just looked surprised. We all knew Trump well enough to keep our mouths shut and not laugh,” Gates continued. “He went on: ‘She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, and the people would love her!'” The author thought at the time, “He’s not joking.”
President Trump has made headlines with comments about Ivanka in the past
That wouldn’t be the first time President Donald Trump has said or done something potentially controversial tied to his daughter and raised eyebrows. In 1996, the two posed for a Vanity Fair cover, with young adult Ivanka Trump sitting on her dad’s lamp with him straddling her hips. The both of them posed on a statue of parrots that may or may not be engaging in sex, according to a compilation by Indy 100.
Trump has also previously called his daughter “hot,” “voluptuous,” and “a piece of a**,” among other things, and said Ivanka has “the best body.” He also once listed “sex” as one of the top things he and his daughter have in common, per the same Indy 100 list.
In another comment that brought Trump under scrutiny, the 45th president once said, “I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” However, Trump has also made a number of comments about Ivanka’s intelligence and work ethic as well.
So, what did Ivanka actually do in the Trump administration?
While Ivanka Trump didn’t go on to be President Donald Trump’s vice president — a position taken on by Mike Pence instead — she did have an active role in the administration. She was appointed senior advisor to her father, and has worked on issues like infrastructure. “In her role, she focuses on the education and economic empowerment of women and their families as well as job creation and economic growth through workforce development, skills training and entrepreneurship,” Ivanka’s description says on the White House website.
Despite this, some say that Ivanka hasn’t accomplished much in her time at the White House, calling her a “grifter,” along with her husband Jared Kushner. The two have come under scrutiny for their lavish expenses (including a $30 million plot of land in Florida) and for allegedly price gouging their father’s hotel in Washington, D.C when they charged the Inaugural Committee $175,000 for renting a ballroom.
Now, there is rumor that Ivanka could be setting herself up for her own political career separate from her father’s presidency (although whether the two can be completely separated is questionable). According to CNN, Ivanka may be considering a run for Senate in her new state of Florida. If true, perhaps she could one day viably climb her way to the ticket as a vice president pick for a future candidate — bringing new relevance to her father’s comment about her being his running mate.
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