White House Explains Ivanka's Headline-Grabbing Trip to Trump Property Despite D.C.'s Stay-at-Home Order
"She chose to spend a holiday in private with her family," aides say
The White House this week acknowledged that Ivanka Trump, a senior aide to dad Donald Trump, recently left Washington, D.C., despite a stay-at-home order against non-essential travel during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
However, White House aides say, Ivanka and her husband and children were celebrating Passover and, in their view, the family was surrounded by fewer people than if they had remained in the nation’s capitol.
The New York Times was first to report that Ivanka, 38, left D.C. for the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey along with Jared Kushner, also a senior White House adviser, and their three young children.
The family traveled to Bedminster to celebrate the first night of the religious holiday earlier this month, which was April 8, according to two sources who spoke with the Times.
That day, Ivanka tweeted about “a Passover without precedent,” a seeming acknowledgment that many families had chosen to gather remotely — via video call, for example — in order to celebrate while still distancing.
“All across the world we shall sing our songs of freedom and together celebrate renewal,” she wrote with the hashtag #TogetherApart.
Kushner, 39, returned to D.C. to help with the government’s coronavirus response, according to the Times. But Ivanka has stayed and continued working from the club in New Jersey, participating in at least two calls with the president on Wednesday.
Ivanka asked her staff to work from home and avoid coming into the White House if necessary, according to the Times.
The White House on Thursday confirmed Ivanka and her family were at Bedminster for Passover but stressed that Ivanka was still social distancing while “working remotely.”
It was unclear who else she may have come into contact with in New Jersey. (She has a Secret Service detail as well.) The Times reported that Ivanka has told others the Trump club is shut down, which makes it safer than her home in D.C.
White House aides compared it to a “family home” and called the trip nothing more than going to and from her work.
“Her travel was not commercial,” aides said. “She chose to spend a holiday in private with her family.” CNN reported Thursday that the family drove to New Jersey.
During the pandemic, Ivanka has used her social media platforms to call on other Americans to abide by social distancing guidelines to slow coronavirus infections. She’s also shared tips for those staying indoors during the pandemic. This week, she posted information on making cloth masks in order to follow recommendations for people to cover their faces while in public.
“Those lucky enough to be in a position to stay at home, please, please do so,” Ivanka said in a video message in late March. “Each and every one of us plays a role in slowing the spread.”
She tweeted on April 2: “Shelter in place and save lives! #TogetherApart.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered residents to only go outside if it was “essential,” such as going to the grocery store, going to work, getting medical care or doing some forms of exercise. The order also allowed for travel to houses of worship but noted that because of social distancing, most in-person religious services had been suspended.
“Although the risk of severe illness may be different for everyone, anyone can get and spread COVID-19,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus. “Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community.”
Ivanka previously had to work from home in mid-March after coming in contact with an Australian official who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
She tested negative for the respiratory illness and returned to work at the White House about a week later.
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