For US President-elect Donald Trump, it’s family business
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For US President-elect Donald Trump, it’s family business

The presence of Donald Trump’s children during his official engagements raises questions on their possible influence in his administration

world Updated: Dec 16, 2016 10:36 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Donald Trump,president-elect,US
Donald Trump (left) with family members during a function in New York.(AFP File Photo)

Americans appear to have got themselves four-and-a-half Trumps for the price of one, as president-elect’s adult children continue to sit in on his meetings, interview aspirants for the cabinet, and prepare for roles in the administration.

Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, the three children, and Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, drew more attention at the president-elect’s meeting with Silicon Valley leaders on Wednesday than his deputy-elect Mike Pence.

There are reports that suggest the First Lady’s office, a political institution built by compelling and powerful personalities such as Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, may turn into the First Family’s office.

That’s just talk for now, but as speculation swirls about the extent to which the Trump children will play a role in the new administration, so does concern about the influence of his business interests on his presidency.

Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are said to be looking around for a house in DC in anticipation, as the speculation goes, they may join the administration in some capacity, paid or pro bono.

Kushner especially, who has emerged as one of Trump’s most trusted advisers. A real estate tycoon like his father-in-law, Kushner has been a crucial bridge to the powerful Jewish community being one of them himself.

Trump’s sons, Don and Eric, are expected to focus on running the sprawling family business whose largest presence outside the US is in India, but their continued involvement in their father’s official duties has raised doubts about their influence.

Read More: India is doing great and no one is talking about it: Donald Trump

Don Jr, for instance, helped his father pick Congressman Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, as the nominee for the cabinet post of interior secretary — the Trump scion had once touted himself a candidate in a lighter vein, citing his interest in outdoors.

Ivanka and Kushner had joined the president-elect in his first meeting with a foreign leader, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, that had first raised questions about the family’s role in the incoming administration, and they have continued.

And given the possibility that Melania may not be a keen White House player sticking with her minimalist role in the campaign, Ivanka has emerged as the real power in the east wing, the family quarters of the White House.

She has started already, calling lawmakers to push her child care reform legislation. And Ivanka is expected to play a larger role in the administration, with the distinct possibility of a coveted office or a cubicle in the crowded executive wing.

Asked about their role in the administration, Kellyanne Conway, former Trump campaign manager and now adviser, said, “I think that we would benefit tremendously by having them inside the administration if in fact that can happen.

“Ivanka is incredibly committed to women in the workplace, women in the economy, women entrepreneurs. She has had a wonderful platform during the campaign. Certainly she and her father announced our childcare plan.”

Read More: PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi joins Donald Trump’s team of economic advisers

First Published: Dec 16, 2016 10:19 IST