Ivanka Trump at a meeting with Japan’s leader, Shinzo Abe, has caused an uproar, the Independent is reporting.
Pictures of the 35-year-old at the meeting has increased concerns that the Trump family might influence the president-elect’s political responsibilities. In addition, many people are bothered about the conflicts of interest that may arise between his business and political duties, considering Ivanka Trump plays a key role in managing her father’s empire.
The 70-year-old’s businesses include an international chain of hotels in Europe, North America and Latin America. Ivanka presides as vice president for development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization. The 35-year-old also owns a fashion label and jewelry business, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry. She has been described as one of the most recognized and influential women in the world.
This is not the first time that Ivanka’s presence has stirred controversy. After her family did an interview on 60 Minutes, Monica Marder, the vice president for sales at her jewelry line sent an email to reporters of the business woman wearing a $10,800 gold bangle bracelet that she wore during the interview, with the hope of getting people to patronize the jewelry line.
“Please find attached a style alert of Ivanka wearing her favorite bangle from the Metropolis Collection over the Weekend on 60 Minutes.”
Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, and newly appointed National Security adviser, General Mike Flynn were present at the meeting as well. Kushner has emerged from the backdrop as one of Trump’s most influential advisers and is reportedly looking to make a play into politics.
The 35-year-old who allegedly froze Chris Christie out of the president-elect’s inner circle is apparently looking to put his multi-million dollar business in a blind trust. According to sources, he has consulted a lawyer because he does not want to violate any federal laws.
The Trump Organization had revealed that Mr. Trump was planning to transfer his network of businesses to his children. However, it did not reveal how it would be done. Experts have said any transfer which still leaves the president-elect as owner and aware of his holdings would be a mockery.
Mr. Trump’s adult children and Jared Kushner are also on his transition team, which has been bedeviled with problems since inception. Mr. Trump has denied reports that he is looking for top level security clearances for his children and son-in-law.
Pictures of a 35-year-old Ivanka only came to light when the Japanese government released several photos. The Trump team had barred U.S. journalists from being at the meeting. On Tuesday, Donald Trump also prevented assigned journalists from following him to a restaurant to grab a steak dinner.
Some observers have speculated that Ivanka Trump was only at the meeting as “decoration” and did not participate in any discussions with the prime minister. In addition, a source hinted that the businesswoman would not be attending any more meetings like that in the future.
“Mr. Trump has always encouraged Ivanka and his children to attend meetings with him. This meeting in question was very formal. However, they obviously need to adjust to the new realities at hand, which they will.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was at the meeting with only an interpreter.
This latest incident has not done well to calm down fears that family members with no security clearance and no foreign policy experience are being allowed to sit down with heads of state. Moira Whelan, a former deputy assistant of secretary of state for public affairs said in a worst case scenario, Ivanka Trump needed a security clearance and was required to be an expert in Japanese affairs.
Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight revealed that the fashion line owner had no reason to be at the meeting, given the fact that she was an executive of a corporation with capacities for international business development.
“You can’t have people with financial conflicts of interest mixing with White House business.”
The meeting between President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lasted about 90 minutes with VP-elect, Mike Pence, joining the two men towards the end. Trump and Abe declined to go into details about what was discussed at the meeting. The prime minister of Japan is the first person to meet with Mr. Trump. Japan has been a strong ally of the United States, but allegedly became concerned over statements made by the 70-year-old politician in a buildup to the elections.
Trump had insinuated during his campaign that he was going to pull out thousands of troops from Asia unless the countries paid for their presence. He also promised to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to help revive American jobs. This would be bad news for the Asian country which is wilting under an ageing population and a dwindling demand for goods and services.
Japan’s prime minister said the meeting had revived his belief that he could work with Mr. Trump. The billionaire businessman said it was a pleasure to welcome Japan’s number one statesman to his home to herald the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]