Ivanka Trump is officially a White House employee. After announcing last week that she would be granted a top-secret security clearance and given an office in the West Wing, President Trump formalized his daughter's role in the administration. Her title is now "Assistant to the President," an unpaid advisor role she seems to have embraced, despite previously stating she would not hold any positions in the White House.
The move to make her an official federal employee is probably overdue: the first daughter has already been present at many of her father's most high-profile meetings. Her White House office is just upstairs from her husband Jared Kushner's; Kushner is a senior adviser.
But a large part of the move to formalize her role is in response to criticism from former presidents' officials. Ethics lawyers from both Barack Obama and George W. Bush's administrations said in a letter that the prior arrangement of an office and clearance, but no title, "appears designed to allow Ms. Trump to avoid the ethics, conflict-of-interest, and other rules that apply to White House employees," The New York Times reported.
In a statement released Wednesday, Trump said she has "heard the concerns some have with [her] advising the president in [her] personal capacity." Her move to unpaid employee means that she is now required to follow strict financial disclosure and ethics laws. "Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role," the statement continued.
Though the move should appease critics who were concerned about conflicts of interest, it's also likely to raise some eyebrows. When Donald Trump named his son-in-law as a senior adviser, many called foul, citing anti-nepotism laws that should have prevented one of the president's immediate family members from being appointed without congressional approval. But the Justice Department released a memo saying such rules do not apply to the White House. Hiring his daughter, a former businesswoman best known for her clothing line, is unlikely to go over much better than hiring Kushner did.
Check out this video of a panel discussing Ivanka Trump's new role: