Ivanka Trump leads meeting at White House in father's absence

Meeting attendees included House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Friday 19 May 2017 20:12 BST
Ivanka Trump leads meeting at White House in father's absence

Ivanka Trump led a roundtable about human trafficking with members of Congress at the White House, while her father Donald Trump was in Connecticut to deliver a commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy.

The meeting, attended by several Democrats and Republicans – including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – seems to be another sign of Ms Trump’s quickly growing role in the administration.

According to the White House pool report, Mr Trump’s eldest daughter spoke about the Trump administration's efforts to fight human trafficking in the US and worldwide. “She noted that next week is Combatting Trafficking and Child Protection Week in Congress, during which lawmakers will present legislation tailored to this issue,” the report said.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told the press that the roundtable was a follow-up discussion to a meeting in February between President Trump, Ms Trump and representatives from several organisations that combat human trafficking.

“We've been conducting interagency meetings... as well as gathering recommendations from the academic, public and private sector,” since the meeting in February, Ms Trump told attendees.

She added: “In 2016, there were over 8,000 cases reported to the National Human Trafficking hotline – a 35 percent increase from 2015.”

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” in November following the election, Ms Trump said that she would not hold any formal role in her father’s administration.

“I’m going to be a daughter,” she told CBS News’ Lesley Stahl. “But I’ve — I’ve said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues. And that I want to fight for them.”

Since January, Ms Trump has been a highly visible member of her father’s presidency, participating in roundtable discussions and meeting with world leaders.

She also recently moved into her own office in the West Wing and gained high-level security clearance.

After concerns were raised that she was not classified as a government employee – and, therefore, did not have to abide by ethics rules – Ms Trump announced that she would instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees.

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