Ivanka Trump on Donald, Marriage and Motherhood: 'I'm a Daughter, Not a Clone'
"I am his daughter ... so I will give him feedback, solicited or unsolicited," Ivanka Trump says of her father's presidential campaign
In an expansive, two-part interview with PEOPLE this week, Ivanka Trump is opening up about balancing her many businesses, raising three children with her husband, Jared Kushner, and dealing with the demands of her father Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Like many working mothers, Ivanka Trump is constantly juggling many things at once.
Mornings at her Manhattan apartment are all about spending quality time with her three kids, Arabella, 5, Joseph, 2, and Theodore, 3 months, with husband Jared Kushner.
“I want my children to see me first every morning, so I wake up at 5 a.m. and make sure to shower and exercise before they get up,” says Ivanka, 34, in a two-part interview with PEOPLE. Then she makes a breakfast of “fancy” oatmeal topped with almonds, walnuts and berries – “anything to get the kids excited to eat oatmeal,” she says with a laugh – before dropping Arabella and Joseph off for summer activities. “I have to strap the baby onto me, especially with the other two running around!” she says.
Then it’s off to work at the Trump Organization, where Ivanka has stepped into a leadership position alongside her brothers Donald Jr. and Eric, managing the company’s international hotels and golf courses, in addition to her job running her own personal Ivanka Trump brand, which encompasses everything from shoes and clothes to diamonds. There’s also her website, IvankaTrump.com, which is devoted to giving advice to women who work.
“There just weren’t voices in the mainstream space that were really celebrating the multidimensionality of today’s women,” she says of offering advice and inspirational stories to everyone from aspiring corporate leaders to working mothers to stay-at-home mothers. “I really wanted to create a lot of positivity and to profile incredible women who are doing it their own way.”
It’s been just over a year since Trump, 70, entered the race as the unlikeliest of 17 candidates in his party – eventually clinching the Republican nomination – even as he made shocking statements about illegal immigrants, Muslims and women.
Given Ivanka’s poise – she is careful never to put a foot out of place – one wonders what she really thinks of her father’s brashness, how polarizing his campaign has been, and what it’s doing to the family brand. She addresses those issues guardedly.
“I’m a daughter, not a clone. So of course daughters often disagree with things their fathers say,” she says, during an extended interview at her office at Trump Tower July 18. “But I share my viewpoints with him privately, not publicly. I’m not the candidate.”
While she says she has no official role in the campaign, the “Ivanka Seal of Approval” appears to hold powerful sway with her father.
In March Trump told PEOPLE he was trying to tone down his harsh rhetoric after she cautioned him to “ act more presidential.” In June it was reported that she and her husband orchestrated the ouster of Trump’s controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. (Ivanka declines to comment.) And on July 13 she met with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence before her father finalized the decision to tap him for VP. Is she Trump’s most influential adviser? Possibly. “My father raised me to have strong opinions, and he respects and appreciates them,” she says. Ultimately, though, “He makes up his own mind.”
For the selection of Pence, “I was there alongside my brothers to offer my opinion, but the decision was very much my father’s,” Ivanka says. “He had great chemistry with Gov. Pence. I thought it was an excellent choice. The job Gov. Pence has done in Indiana with employment, with reduction in taxes every single year, with cutting the budget but also increasing spending in certain key areas, namely schools and health care, is rather remarkable.”
Trump himself admitted to PEOPLE that he values his daughter’s opinion above most – even when she did tell him to “act more presidential,” which he considered to be a challenge.
But Ivanka says she’s not trying to change her father’s ways.
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“I wouldn’t have the hubris to tell my father to change his approach,” she says. “I am his daughter, though, so I will give him feedback, solicited or unsolicited.”
Wife, mother, unofficial presidential campaign advisor? “My life is chaotic right now. I’m exhausted 90 percent of the time,” Ivanka says. “But it’s been an amazing time.”
And her husband, real estate developer Jared Kusher, 35, says she’ll never let anyone see her sweat.
“Ivanka excels at everything she puts her mind to – she is an amazing wife, mother, friend and entrepreneur,” he tells PEOPLE. “I continue to be amazed with her ability to balance all of her many priorities without ever letting anyone feel like they don’t come first. I’m a very lucky man.”