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Donald Trump's political maelstrom could be close to sucking Ivanka back in

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert,Erin Snodgrass   

Donald Trump's political maelstrom could be close to sucking Ivanka back in
  • Ivanka Trump has recently worked to distance herself from her father's turbulent political life.
  • Despite saying she was done with politics, family acquaintances say she could reconsider.

It's been nearly two years since Ivanka Trump announced she was "done" with Washington politics.

In the time since, she's worked hard to distance herself from her father's turbulent political brand, skipping his 2024 campaign announcement and saying she "would never" return to being his senior advisor.

But, as the saying goes, never say never.

Friends and acquaintances of former President Donald Trump's eldest daughter say she could consider a comeback as his political influence surges again and the country approaches the next election, as first reported by Puck.

"It's becoming more of a reality that President Trump could be president again," R. Couri Hay, a society publicist and longtime acquaintance of the Trump family, told Business Insider.

Hay noted that Melania had washed her hands of politics in much the same way that Ivanka did, but now can be seen standing next to the former president at events, smiling, and receiving guests. "She is gracious, mingling. My understanding is that privately she's saying she's ready to be first lady again if called."

Hay added: "Then why are we so shocked and surprised that Ivanka could, too, feel the call of the siren? Despite the rocks on the shore, the call is very strong."

According to the report by Puck, citing a person familiar with her thinking, Ivanka is "warming to the idea of trying to be helpful" to another Trump administration and is "privately not ruling out having some sort of role" in the White House if her father is elected again.

"She's not like 'Hell no' anymore," the anonymous source told Puck.

A representative for Ivanka declined to comment.

In a recent comment to Puck, a spokesperson for Jared and Ivanka told the outlet, "As they've both repeatedly stated, Ivanka and Jared continue to focus on their family and lives in the private sector and do not intend to go back to politics."

A friend of Ivanka, who spoke to BI under the condition of anonymity to speak freely about their relationship with Ivanka, told Business Insider they'd be surprised if she made a full-fledged return to politics, but added that she has definitely softened her hardline stance on avoiding politics in the future. They said that she'll likely be visible at the upcoming Republican convention when the family is trotted out in support of Donald Trump's reelection campaign.

While she weighs her options, Ivanka is keeping her personal brand in mind, said her friend, but it's too soon to tell whether a return would help or hurt it.

In 2018, Ivanka shut down her namesake fashion brand following stores, like Nordstrom, dropping her products amid calls to boycott doing business with the Trump family. She also faced fierce criticism from celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson and fashion designer Alexa Chung, and was socially shunned for her role in her father's White House.

Despite taking a financial and reputational hit for continuing to support her father at the time, Ivanka has slowly returned to her high-profile socializing with the world's elites alongside her husband — who similarly distanced himself from Donald Trump's orbit following his father-in-law's departure from office in 2021.

Ivanka and Jared were among the global elites who attended the glamorous Ambani pre-wedding celebrations earlier this year, and the former first daughter also graced Kim Kardashian's Instagram in photos from the influencer's 43rd birthday party last year.

For some, Ivanka and her personal brand will forever be toxic because of her previous work and proximity to her father. But others will see her and her father as distinct entities and be willing to be associated with her — so long as she's not completely in her father's political orbit, meaning she'd be endangering at least some of her connections if she decides to jump back in.

Since Donald Trump left office, Ivanka has come to understand the risks to her reputation if she remains closely associated with his political life, her friend told BI, adding that she's become more comfortable with what that looks like either way. Still, her friend said, it's not an easy situation for her to navigate because of the volatility of the political side.

If she does return to politics, Ivanka's friend said, she will likely take a more deliberate, lower-key approach than before, prioritizing the work that is most important to her, such as when she visited Maui shortly after the 2023 fires.

"I remember talking to Ivanka — there was a period where she was extremely happy with the work she was doing, she felt it was important, she was engaged and involved," Hay told BI, referencing Ivanka's time in politics. "She liked it. But the sword always has two edges, and she felt the other side of the sword, and that's when she had enough."

In addition to intense public scrutiny and ethics investigations regarding her personal business dealings, Ivanka, notably, was initially swept up in the civil fraud case against the Trump Organization, and was compelled to testify in the case. However, the claims against her were ultimately dismissed.

"But now, from a distance, the tide is potentially turning, according to polls," Hay said. "The idea of assuming some sort of role is something I can imagine Ivanka might be thinking about."

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