Ivanka Trump got former Vice President Al Gore inside Trump Tower to talk about global warming with President-elect Trump. If she uses her role as first daughter to serve as an informal climate change czar, her success could end there.
The eldest Trump daughter is close to her father. But she is not a Republican and is less conservative than her brothers Eric and Donald Jr. Ivanka benefits the most from the Trump family brand being about wealth and glamor, the least from its association with right-wing politics.
It’s nevertheless been reported that Ivanka wishes to assume the bully pulpit usually wielded by the first lady and that climate change could become one of her signature issues. She has already served as an ambassador of sorts for her father in more liberal settings, such as her September appearance at “Weekend with Charlie Rose” in Aspen.
Jared Kushner, her husband, comes from a Democratic family. That hasn’t stopped him from emerging as an important adviser to President-elect Trump, who has even floated the possibility that his son-in-law will have a role in the Middle East peace process.
Ivanka has already had an impact on her father’s appeal to working women, helping to shape his approach to parental leave and other family issues. But environmental activism could be a bridge too far.
Donald Trump was elected president by Rust Belt states, with strong support from voters list environmental regulations alongside trade agreements as the reason for the decline in manufacturing jobs. He ran up huge margins in coal states, beating Hillary Clinton by 30 points in Kentucky and almost 42 points in Kentucky.
“He didn’t win on an Al Gore environmental platform,” said a Republican consultant. “Quite the opposite.”
Trump defended coal jobs during the campaign and is said to have been frustrated with some of the regulations he personally encountered in real estate. Thomas Pyle of the pro-energy Institute for Energy Research is the transition team’s point man for the Department of Energy, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell at the Environmental Protection Agency. Ebell in particular is no fan of Gore or the EPA.
Ivanka’s parental leave plan didn’t thrill conservative advocates of limited government. But it could potentially appeal to some social conservatives who might look for new ways to be “pro-family” in a Trumpian Republican Party where government-cutting takes a back seat to other goals.