Ivanka Trump’s advisory role in Donald Trump’s White House is “nepotism” according to Foreign Minister of Germany Sigmar Gabriel. He described the situation to German media outlet Funke,
“For me there are things that remain strange, like for example the visit of his daughter to Germany which was treated almost like a world event, while the mix of politics with family and business reminds us instead of nepotism and would be unimaginable here.”
His criticism came in April as a response to Ms. Trump’s role in her father’s government, including a visit to Berlin for the W20 summit on women’s empowerment. While Gabriel is not the only foreign leader to criticize Ms. Trump’s role in the Trump White House, he is one of the most prominent to do so thus far.
Criticism of Ms. Trump’s role has not just been foreign, but also domestic. In March, Ms. Trump’s position as adviser to the President was called a “violation” of ethics laws by Obama’s chief ethics counsel, Norman Eisman. These laws “generally prohibits a federal official, including a Member of Congress, 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.” He has been, overall, extremely critical of Ms. Trump’s role in her father’s White House.
Also in March, Ms. Trump’s position was defended by the chief spokesman for Mr. Trump’s presidental campaign, Jason Miller, on the basis that the role is an unpaid, voluntary one. According to Miller, Ms. Trump’s volunteering her time makes the appointment ethically valid and not an act of nepotism by Mr. Trump. Others have also defended Ms. Trump’s role, pointing to other influential Presidential children in the past, noting that even if Ms. Trump’s role is new, influence is not. Doug Wead, author of a book about children of previous presidents, as well as a former Bush advisor, points out specifically Anna Roosevelt as an extremely influential presidential child, though not the only one.
Despite that defense, critics point out that Ms. Trump does receive benefits as part of her role, such as a West Wing office, a government issued phone, and security clearance.