Ivanka Trump pleaded with her father to issue a heartfelt apology in October after the leaked Access Hollywood tape was released showing him boasting about grabbing women by their private parts, The New York Times reports.
Donald Trump, then the GOP nominee, at first denied making the comments after an aide rushed into his Trump Tower office to reveal that The Washington Post was about to break the story. With his daughter by his side, the soon-to-be president and members of his team eventually watched a video of the 2005 episode that quickly proved him wrong.
“Mr. Trump’s reaction was grudging: He agreed to say he was sorry if anyone was offended,” The Times reports, citing several sources who were present as the crisis unfolded.
Advisers warned Trump that would not be enough, and Ivanka “made an emphatic case for a full-throated apology,” The Times writes.
“As she spoke, Mr. Trump remained unyielding. His daughter’s eyes welled with tears, her face reddened, and she hurried out in frustration.”
Trump was widely criticized for the “apology” he issued later that day, in which he dismissed his comment — “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p—y. You can do anything.” — as “locker room banter.”
Facing extraordinary backlash, including from Republican leaders, Trump released a videotaped apology hours later, saying, “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
Ivanka, 35, a former model, entrepreneur and hotel developer who’s now officially one of her father’s closest advisers, has faced harsh criticism that she is complicit in her unpopular father’s agenda.
She told The Times in interviews last week that she aims to be a moderating influence on the president, particularly on the issue of gender inequality in the U.S. and abroad.
But The Times alleges that Ivanka’s interest in gender issues derives from a “Women Who Work” hashtag and marketing campaign she created a few years ago for her eponymous fashion brand. Her new book of career advice for women in the workforce, released Tuesday, is also titled Women Who Work, and has added further fuel to the fire of critics who see her efforts as self-promoting and trying to reap personal profit off of the presidency.
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Ivanka has said that she finished the book before the November election and — after harsh criticism of her suspected profiteering motives — also promised not to promote it for ethics reasons. But she has given several interviews in recent days ahead of the book’s release, some of which featured the book.
Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Girls Who Code, asked Ivanka on Tuesday not to use her story in the book unless the first daughter stops being “complicit” in her father’s policies.
Ivanka dismissed questions about her motivations for embracing feminist themes, telling The Times, “Suddenly, after my father declared his candidacy, it became that all the things that I was doing that I was praised for, the same people, the critics, viewed them through this different lens. Somehow, all the same things they applauded me for as a millennial, as a female entrepreneur, were now viewed very cynically as opportunistic.”
Though she may have her father’s ear, The Times noted that Ivanka has “rarely if ever rejected him, rebelled or distanced herself from him.”
“I’m his daughter. I’ve known him my entire life. He trusts me,” she told the newspaper. “I don’t have a hidden agenda. I’m not looking to hit him to help myself.”