With the announcement that incoming First Lady Melania Trump would be staying in New York rather than moving into the White House in January, there’s been no shortage of speculation about the exact role Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, will take in his administration. Some commentators have written she could be the real “first lady” in all but name. But the most interesting rumor comes in a recent article from Politico, which states that a source close to Ivanka told the outlet that the first daughter would like to use her position to advocate against policies that exacerbate climate change.
While the news offers a glimmer of hope for those concerned about the health of our planet under a Trump presidency, some argue that outside of the single article by Politico, we have no evidence that Ivanka cares about climate change at all. One Huffington Post author calls the original reporting “irresponsible,” casting doubt both on the anonymous source and on the complete lack of detail on Ivanka’s beliefs throughout the piece. A quick Google search reveals that she’s never made a public comment on the subject one way or the other.
It is true that Ivanka has championed other progressive causes in the past, particularly pay equity and parental leave. So the speculation that she may bring a more moderate viewpoint to the Trump administration is not entirely baseless. On the other hand, she’s also proven to be extremely loyal to her father and family, defending him against charges of misogyny even after recordings were released showing him bragging about sexual assault.
It’s hard to imagine Ivanka breaking rank when Donald Trump has taken such a hard stance against climate change in the past – calling it a Chinese hoax, arguing that the US should pull out of the Paris agreement, nominating a climate denier to head the EPA transition team, and arguing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. We’ll have to wait and see exactly what happens come January, but environmentalists probably shouldn’t get their hopes up unless Ivanka releases a statement affirming her interest in fighting climate change.