Exclusive: With D.C. in Paralysis, Ivanka Trump Says She's 'Laser-Focused' on Women's Empowerment

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June 12, 2019

By Carlo Versano and Justin Chermol

With Congress and the White House at loggerheads over just about everything, Ivanka Trump is quietly working to advance her sweeping portfolio of policies designed to benefit women and families.

On Tuesday, the president's eldest daughter, who also serves as an adviser, went to Capitol Hill to advance a first-of-a-kind initiative called the National Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, which codifies women's roles in global conflict resolution.

"We're now the first country in the world that requires women to be at the table when negotiating peace agreements and mediations," Trump told Cheddar's J.D. Durkin in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

"We should be really excited about that fact."

That plan, which has the rare stamp of bipartisan approval, complements Trump's efforts to increase opportunities for women in the U.S. economy, which is currently benefiting from its lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.

More than 60 percent of the six million jobs created since President Trump took office ー itself a continuation of a trend that began in 2010 under President Obama ー have been filled by women, Trump said. "Women have disproportionately benefited from our policies and the Trump economy."

Trump pointed to the doubling of the child-tax credit, which was part of President Trump's landmark tax law passed by Congress late in 2017, as a policy that lifts up American families and "recognizes the cost of raising a family in the modern world." While that tax credit did in fact double, other provisions of the tax law, like the elimination of the personal exemption, offset that credit for many families.

"We also are working really, really hard to expand affordability through the double child tax credit," Trump said when discussing the importance of women's empowerment at home. "So it's something we're laser-focused on."

Trump spoke to Cheddar from SelectUSA, a forum in Washington to encourage foreign direct investment in the U.S. Trump was accompanied by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other top White House advisers who were promoting their peace initiative.

Touching on the student debt crisis that has become a flashpoint of the 2020 campaign, Trump said she endorsed the idea of vocational and trade schools as an alternative to four-year colleges and universities, particularly for those considering careers in fields undergoing massive technological changes.

"I would never want to disparage the unbelievable university ecosystem we have," she said. "But most people don't go to college, so we have to debunk the narrative that is the only viable route to a family-sustaining career."

She added: "There are tremendous opportunities to secure high-paying jobs, and in some cases, leaving you better off than attending a university and graduating without a skill-set that's in demand by employers today."

Trump, who herself transformed from New York socialite to business executive to among the most influential voices in the White House, advised younger Americans just starting out in their careers to take advantage of the tight labor market to "discover what it is that you love."

"If its not working, be bold" and change course, she offered.

With calls growing from some Democrats to impeach her father ー or worse ー Trump remains focused on her work for women. But when asked if she's frustrated that that work doesn't get more coverage in the media, she interjected:

"All the time."