How Ivanka Trump Has Always Been Most Like Her Father – and His Favorite

Those who know and have studied the Trump family agree that the president's daughter Ivanka has always been his favorite -- and the one with whom he shares the most in common

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President Donald Trump‘s grown children Don Jr., 39, Ivanka, 35, and Eric, 33, each play an important role, whether in his business empire or his administration. But those who know and have studied the trio agree that Trump’s daughter Ivanka has always been his favorite — and the one with whom he shares the most in common.

A Trump administration source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, “He has always liked that she was pretty and looked good on his arm.”

Adds a Manhattan source who’s done business with the family: “It’s not vulgar. It’s, ‘This is his crown jewel, presenting it to the world.’ She’s his creation.”

While working at the Trump Organization, Ivanka quickly outshone older brother Don Jr. and was put in charge of their father’s prize Florida project at Doral.

“She meant glamour, sex and style, and that is what Trump Sr. wanted as the face of Doral,” says a Florida development source.

Now Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, have West Wing offices and White House titles as advisors to the president, while Don Jr. and Eric have remained in N.Y.C. to run the family business.

FILE: Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner Welcome Third Child
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

A source close to the family says that although the brothers have sometimes chafed at Kushner’s position at the center of Trump’s new world, they don’t resent their sister for her White House role. By all accounts, the three siblings are very close and have formed a bond over their father’s lessons in cutthroat competition — something they shared a laugh over during a 2004 interview with New York magazine.

“We were sort of bred to be competitive … I remember skiing with him, and we were racing. I was ahead, and he reached his ski pole out and pulled me back,” Ivanka told New York, with Eric chiming in: “He would try to push me over, just so he could beat his 10-year-old son down the mountain.”

The New York business source says, “Donald’s love is tied to performance. They love him fiercely, and they are desperate for approval.”


Despite this, Ivanka — who the source close to the family says out of all his children is “most like” her father — at times tries to distance herself from his “worst” behavior.

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“Ivanka is very aggressive, but wants to make sure that she’s not perceived as being like her dad,” the source says. “She’s tried to handle herself by making it clear she loves her father dearly, but separating herself from the very worst of things.”

“Because she’s the most like him, she does things to try to distinguish herself from his worst qualities,” the source adds.

Though the first daughter has been virtually unwavering in her support of her father on the campaign trail and in the White House, she notably broke with him on opening U.S. borders to Syrian refugees, saying in April that it should be “part of the discussion.”

“I think there is a global humanitarian crisis that’s happening, and we have to come together, and we have to solve it,” she told NBC News at the time, adding of allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.: “That has to be part of the discussion, but that’s not going to be enough in and of itself.”

Her father, meanwhile, has signed executive orders to limit the flow of refugees — including those from Syria — into the U.S., as well as travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

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According to a May New York Times report, Ivanka also clashed with her father on how to handle the release of the Access Hollywood tape that showed him boasting about grabbing women by their private parts.

After The Washington Post published the bombshell video in October, Ivanka reportedly pleaded with her father to issue a heartfelt apology. When he remained unyielding, “his daughter’s eyes welled with tears, her face reddened, and she hurried out in frustration,” the Times said.

For the most part, however, Ivanka has faced harsh criticism that she is complicit in her father’s agenda.

“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact then I’m complicit,” Ivanka said in an interview with CBS News’ Gayle King in April.

“I don’t know what it means to be complicit,” she added, “but I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”

  • With reporting by SARA NATHAN and LIZ MCNEIL
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