Ivanka Trump, juggling dual roles of White House adviser and daughter of the president, said in an interview aired Wednesday that the United States might need to admit more refugees from Syria, a pointed public departure from one of her father’s bedrock populist positions.
Ivanka Trump’s comments, which seemed to question the basis for President Donald Trump’s two executive orders that tried to bar migrants from Syria and other predominantly Muslim nations, set off a minor scramble in the West Wing. Advisers grappled with a political problem unique to Donald Trump’s family-business White House: how to manage an officially empowered daughter who is prone to challenging elements of the president’s conservative agenda.
“I think there is a global humanitarian crisis that’s happening, and we have to come together and we have to solve it,” Ivanka Trump told NBC when asked about the refugee crisis in Syria, which has created a nativist backlash in European countries.
Asked whether that would include admitting Syrian refugees to the United States, she replied: “That has to be part of the discussion. But that’s not going to be enough in and of itself.”
The remarks, in an interview that was recorded Tuesday, came at the end of Ivanka Trump’s rocky 24-hour trip this week to Germany, her first official foray since taking a West Wing office last month.
A spokeswoman for Ivanka Trump did not respond to questions about her position on immigration — or about whether her remarks were intended to pressure her father.
But two advisers to Donald Trump, who declined to be identified talking about an internal White House dispute, described the statement as a political misstep. Her comments, they said, revealed a simmering private policy debate in the White House that pits Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, against hard-core nationalists like the president’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and the policy adviser Stephen Miller, who see the crackdown on immigration from Muslim nations as fulfilment of a core campaign promise to Donald Trump’s white working-class base.
Breitbart News, the conservative website formerly run by Bannon, posted an article about her remarks that sat atop its list of most-read stories on Wednesday. It was followed by thousands of comments questioning Ivanka Trump’s commitment to the populist causes that propelled her rougher-hewn father to the White House.
The United States admitted more than 13,000 refugees from Syria in 2016, before Donald Trump proposed restrictions. Despite his hard line, support has been rising for admitting more migrants from the Middle East country, now in its seventh year of civil war; 58 percent of registered voters in a recent Quinnipiac Poll favoured an increase in immigration from Syria, 14 percent more than in a survey conducted in late 2015.
In the days after Donald Trump’s election, Democrats and some moderate Republicans expressed hope that…