Ivanka Trump told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King in an exclusive interview Wednesday that she manages “any conflict” of interest that arises concerning Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
President Trump’s elder daughter, who recently became an official government employee as assistant to the president, said it’s incumbent upon her to “avoid conflicts of interest.” Trump is retaining a stake in the hotel, raising ethical concerns from critics, as the hotel negotiates its lease with the federal General Services Administration.
“[M]y stake in the hotel is part of the trust, and I manage — any conflict that comes up,” Trump said in the interview. “So basically how they break up the issues, is this likely to cause a conflict or is it a manageable conflict, in which case you can retain your interest? But you have the obligation to recuse yourself,” Trump said. “So Penny Pritzker, for example, served in the Obama administration, and she maintained a massive portfolio of assets. But the burden was on her to recuse herself from potential conflict.”
“So I’m not going to be involved with talking about leases with the General Services Administration if that could potentially create a conflict for me,” she added. “So, I understand the obligation on me to avoid conflicts of interest, and I take that seriously.”
Trump also said she avoids the appearance of any conflict of interest with foreign leaders attempting to curry favor with her father’s administration, claiming she doesn’t know who stays at the hotel, or when.
“I think just generally, you can create so many hypotheticals around how someone could benefit or not benefit,” she said. “And all I can do is follow the guidance of outside counsel who told me how to structure these assets based on fact pattern.”
As an official government employee, Trump now must comply with all the same ethical guidelines as any other federal employee. For weeks, she helped her father’s administration, but without any official role.
Trump also addressed reports that there are warring factions within the White House, with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s husband and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, offering clashing ideas.
“I try to stay out of all that,” Trump said. “I think that it is healthy and good to have people who don’t — always agree on every single issue. You want that diversity of opinion at the table. And I do think we have a lot of different viewpoints at the table.”
“But they’re not at odds with one another,” Trump continued. “I think anyone you ask will say that that’s a positive thing, and that’s a productive thing, and that lends itself to a better outcome.”