Only direct intervention from his own treasury secretary stopped Donald Trump nominating his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to lead the World Bank, according to a new report.
Citing two anonymous sources, the Intercept said the appointment “came incredibly close to happening” in January 2019, but for Steven Mnuchin’s decision to step in.
Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs banker and film producer, stayed in the post for all Trump’s four years in office, a rare feat among Trump’s cabinet picks and advisers.
The head of the World Bank is always chosen by the US. In January 2019, Jim Yong Kim resigned. Rumours abounded that Ivanka Trump, an executive in the Trump Organization before her father entered politics, would be chosen.
Three months later, Trump told the Atlantic: “I even thought of Ivanka for the World Bank … she would’ve been great at that because she’s very good with numbers.”
If he had nominated his daughter, Trump said, “they’d say nepotism, when it would’ve had nothing to do with nepotism. But she would’ve been incredible.”
Ivanka Trump told reporters her father offered her the job but she turned it down, as she was “happy with the work” as a senior White House adviser.
She filled that role for all four years of her father’s term – attracting widespread accusations of nepotism and profiting from her office.
She helped select the new World Bank head, David Malpass, then undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs and a controversial choice.
Scott Morris, director of the US development policy program at the Center for Global Development in Washington, told the Intercept “a growing number of countries” are not happy that the US always picks the World Bank head.
“For them to hear how close it was to being the US president’s daughter probably adds fuel to the fire that the Americans are so cavalier about this,” he said.
In April 2019, the Atlantic also reported that Trump sometimes called Ivanka “baby” during meetings, and said: “If she ever wanted to run for president I think she’d be very, very hard to beat.”
Rick Gates, a former Trump aide, has claimed Trump wanted his daughter to be his running mate in 2016.
After her father’s defeat by Joe Biden, Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also a former senior White House adviser, moved their family to Florida. After months of speculation, Ivanka said she would not challenge an incumbent Republican, Marco Rubio, for his US Senate seat.
Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr, is a more active political presence, often polling highly with Republican voters about potential nominees for president in 2024. Like other figures, he trails his father by wide margins.
Donald Trump continues to lie about his election defeat, which he says was the result of electoral fraud. He, Donald Jr, Ivanka and other members of the Trump family remain in legal jeopardy, amid investigations of the former president’s political machinations and financial affairs.
In the Atlantic interview in which he raised the World Bank idea, Trump also called his oldest daughter “a natural diplomat” who “would’ve been great at the United Nations”.
In her role as a presidential adviser, Ivanka Trump endured some notably awkward moments on the diplomatic stage, from inappropriately taking her father’s seat at a G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017 to being filmed, in Osaka two years later, trying to join a conversation between world leaders.
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