As the daughter of President Trump’s current ambassador to Russia and a former Fox News host, no one would expect Abby Huntsman to be the toughest interviewer Ivanka Trump has ever faced. But The View co-host deserves some credit for going there with the first daughter during their “exclusive” sit-down at the White House this week.
In a clip that premiered early Friday morning on Good Morning America, Huntsman asked Trump if she is concerned that the Mueller investigation could ensnare anyone that she loves, clearly alluding to her husband Jared Kushner and brother Donald Trump Jr., who both have been under suspicion for wrongdoing during the 2016 campaign.
“I’m really not,” Trump insisted, telling Huntsman that she has “zero concern” about what the investigation might find.
But during the longer interview that aired on The View, Huntsman continued to push her guest on her specific involvement in both the Trump Tower Moscow deal that could be at the heart of Vladimir Putin’s efforts to influence the president and her broader role in the administration in light of her father’s policy of separating immigrant families at the border.
“The president said he had nothing to do with Russia during the campaign, but you did have a role on this,” Huntsman said of the Moscow project. “What was it?”
“Literally almost nothing,” Trump responded tentatively. Asked if it ever crossed her mind that doing business with Russia during the campaign could look bad were her father to win, she added, “It's not like it's a strange thing as a hospitality company or a development company to have a hotel or a property in Russia. We're not talking about Iran. It was Russia! So it really was just a non-factor in our minds. I'm not sure that anyone would have thought of it.”
The occasion for the interview was Ivanka Trump’s new global initiative to empower women in developing countries, but Huntsman used that opportunity to challenge her on how she can “reconcile” that work with the rest of the Trump administration’s more damaging policies.
“You know you’re going to have people watching that say, this sounds great, everyone can get behind women empowerment, but how does Ivanka Trump reconcile pushing an initiative that empowers women with policies from the White House like separation of families that was such an emotional thing for our country to go through?” Huntsman asked. “We didn’t hear from you, publicly, during that time. What do you say to those folks who are struggling with that?”
Trump, who has previously called that policy a “low point” of her time in the administration, replied, “My job as a member of this administration is not to share my viewpoint when they diverge. My role in this regard is not to—is not president of all women’s issues or running all women’s issues across the United States government.”
“Do you wish you had, in that moment, spoken publicly to the American people, or are you happy with the way that that was handled?” Huntsman then asked.
“I think that when you hear me start to speak publicly on an issue that’s active, it’s because my voice isn’t being heard privately,” Trump answered.