Melania may be clinging to New York but it seems that Ivanka can’t move out fast enough. The soon-to-be “first daughter” has revealed that she will step down from her eponymous fashion business and halt all responsibilities within the Trump Organization as she preps for a move to Washington, D.C.
The businesswoman, whose brand is rooted in celebrating “women who work,” will transition to the role of political wife as her husband, Jared Kushner, moves in as White House senior adviser.
Donald Trump announced Kushner’s appointment on Monday, and called him “a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition.”
Ivanka has been distancing herself from her label since her father’s win in November and especially after landing in hot water for promoting a $10,800 bracelet that she wore in a post-election 60 Minutes appearance. In an open letter published on Nov. 21, her company stated:
“Our company’s mission is not political — it never was and it never will be. As a private citizen, with full awareness of her heightened visibility, [Ivanka] will broaden her efforts to take a stance on issues of critical importance to American women and families.”
Her decision to step down entirely from all business operations was made to comply with U.S. ethics laws regarding anti-nepotism in federal positions. While she has declared that she won’t be taking a position within the White House, she has until now served as an adviser to her father’s transition team, and has participated in phone calls and meetings with Argentina’s president and Japan’s prime minister, respectively.
This move effectively cements the young couple, who have no previous experience holding political office or serving the public in any meaningful way, as members of the president-elect’s influential inner circle.
For his part, Kushner has also stepped down from previous responsibilities, including his role as chief executive of Kushner Companies and publisher of The New York Observer newspaper.
Both Ivanka and her husband will also divest many of their holdings in their respective businesses. This decision comes in stark contrast to the president-elect, who continues to dodge the issue of whether he will divest his financial stake in the Trump Organization. He has already announced that he will continue to serve as executive producer of the reality series Celebrity Apprentice.
Kushner’s lawyers state that he is exempt from federal anti-nepotism laws that say family members (including in-laws) cannot be appointed to federal agencies as they do not apply to the office of the president. They will file public financial disclosure records.
“These steps are consistent with federal law and executive branch practice and evidence Mr. Kushner’s commitment to public service,” his attorney, Jamie S. Gorelick, said in a statement.
The Federal Anti-Nepotism Statute was passed in 1967 as part of a Postal Service reform law. It states: “A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.”
It also says that anyone in violation of this is not entitled to payment. Kushner will not receive a salary for his role.