Perhaps she was trying to avoid being asked about her father’s impending impeachment or about her husband Jared Kushner’s buddy-buddy relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the man whom the CIA says ordered the execution of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ivanka Trump, whatever her reasons may have been, opted not to take questions from actual serious journalists during an appearance at the Doha Forum in Qatar where she was invited to speak about her vanity project — the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative — which advocates for the type of women’s economic development that her father’s administration has typically ignored at best.
Instead, unlike an array of other participants in the forum ranging from the Turkish foreign minister to the president of Rwanda to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — all of whom subjected themselves to intensive and rigorous questions from real reporters — the president’s oldest daughter would only answer the series of softball questions pitched her way by an official State Department public relations representative and former Fox News contributor, Morgan Ortagus, who also happens to be assigned to work on Ivanka’s signature project.
- “You were able to put women’s prosperity into the national security strategy. That was so important to me that you did that and I’d love for you to explain that.”
- ”Speaking of travels you’ve been in Morocco recently…Can you tell us more about the trip and highlights?”
- ”You also returned on a swing through Latin America with our Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. Can you tell us about some of your impressions?”
- “What can everyone here that’s representing the private sector do?”
- “With all of the successes of the initial launch what are you doing to ensure this lasts much beyond your time in the White House?”
The president’s daughter couldn’t have faced a less probing series of questions from an entertainment news reporter asking about her fashion line for a feel-good morning breakfast program.
The highly controlled interview was so poorly regarded that even a Russian journalist covering the Doha Forum was inspired to exclaim that “Even Vladimir Putin doesn’t get interviewed by Dmitri Peskov,” referring to the Russian Press Secretary.
While at this stage of the Trump administration few people expect much from the unelected White House fixture that the president’s daughter has been for the duration of his term to date, Ivanka Trump squandered an opportunity to present herself as a person of sufficient enough intelligence to respond to the thoughtful questioning of real journalists.
Having done so may have been the safest alternative for her in this situation, but it makes taking her signature initiative seriously as difficult as it does her overall role in her father’s administration.
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Original reporting by Otillia Steadman at BuzzFeedNews.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.