How Ivanka Trump's Possible White House Role Wouldn't Be Unprecedented
By JORDYN PHELPS
December 19, 2016, 11:11 PM
• 3 min read
-- Although a Trump adviser says it's a "fair assessment" that his daughter, Ivanka, may play an active role in the administration, she wouldn't be the first child of a president to do so.
Anita McBride, a former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush and board member of the White House Historical Association, points to several historical examples of first daughters taking on active roles to help their fathers in the White House.
“A fair number throughout our history have stepped up to help the president,” McBride said in an interview with ABC News.
“It wouldn't be unusual for a first child to step out, but this may be different if she is directly in charge of an initiative,” she added.
Though the Trump transition team has yet to announce what role, if any, Ivanka Trump may play in the future administration, she and her husband Jared Kushner have been house-hunting in Washington. And adviser Kellyanne Conway has said it's a "fair assessment" that she will be an active player.
"Ivanka is incredibly committed to women in the workplace, women in the economy, women entrepreneurs," Conway told reporters last week. "She has had a wonderful platform during the campaign."
President Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, prominently stepped in to a first lady-like role, McBride said, because her mother did not enjoy the public spotlight.
“Margaret Daniel stepped in to support President Truman,” McBride said. “Bess Truman didn't really like being here in Washington, she had a very limited public life.”
And with Melania Trump expected to delay her move to the White House so that son Barron can finish the school year in New York, McBride says it’s conceivable that Ivanka Trump may assume aspects of the role of first lady.
President Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Maureen, stands as another example of a first daughter assuming a prominent role during her father’s presidency, even serving as the co-chair of the Republican National Committee. She also lived in the White House.
And when Lyndon Johnson came to the White House, his daughter Lynda, who was a college student at the time, moved back in with her parents.
“Lynda Johnson moved back to the White House, went to school locally, and brought her college roommate and lived together in the White House,” McBride said. “It was at the height of the Vietnam War, it was a tough time.”
McBride says Johnson's daughter took an active role alongside her mother, Lady Bird Johnson, and traveled with her through the South to campaign and promote Johnson's Civil Rights agenda.
Regardless of what role Ivanka Trump ultimately plays in her father's administration if any, McBride expressed optimism that the White House will adapt accordingly.
"The White House always adapts to its new occupants, but also the occupants adapt to the history of the White House, so it's all going to work out just fine," McBride said.