Donald Trump has not had a good record with women this campaign, but on Thursday night his eldest daughter, Ivanka, described her father as a champion of working women and mothers.
Introducing her father at the Republican National Convention — her biggest stage yet — Ivanka, 34, praised Trump’s business sense and ability to “see potential in others,” and she offered personal anecdotes about his character as a father.
A businesswoman in her own right, Ivanka Trump described the presidential nominee’s record of hiring women before similar companies did.
“My father values talent. He is colorblind and gender neutral,” she said to applause. “When Donald Trump is in charge, all that counts is ability, excellence and effort.”
Ivanka, herself a mother, described the current wage gap for women, particularly for moms.
“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put in place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce,” she said. “And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all.”
This is perhaps more typically a Democratic talking point, but as she noted at the beginning of her speech: “Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat.”
Next year, Ivanka will be releasing her second book — one focused on women in the workforce. In the announcement on her website last month, she wrote, “If you ask me, there’s nothing more incredible than a woman who’s in charge of her own destiny—and working daily to make her dreams a reality.”
She is thought to be one of her father’s most influential advisers, a person who can persuade him to hire or fire someone. She has also become one of his most forceful surrogates this election.
The big question is, can Ivanka persuade some female voters to support her father?
Libby Wuller, who recently attended a party hosted by RightNOW Women’s PAC, which works to get Republican women into office, said in an interview before Thursday night’s speech that although she is no fan of Donald Trump and his rhetoric about women, she is impressed with Ivanka.
“She’s intelligent; she’s strong-willed; she has an entrepreneurial spirit. Being a young woman working in the startup space, these are qualities I admire in her,” Wuller said. Despite liking those qualities, however, Wuller said it’s not enough to make her cast her vote for Donald Trump.
However, another young woman, Larissa Martinez, said Ivanka could influence this campaign. “I think she could actually help her father and her father’s operation when it comes to outreach to women because I think there’s a lot of Republican women that identify with some of the balances with family versus professional,” she said. “She’s very eloquent, she speaks very well and I think that she could help mold the way he talks to women.”
At a town hall in Cleveland, Isabel Reid said she is not sure she will vote for Trump, but she does appreciate that Ivanka is one of his close advisers. “She comes off as being intelligent, a smart businesswoman, and someone who’s more informed than her father,” Reid said.
This goodwill for Ivanka may prove to be a powerful political weapon for her father. And while she might not be able to flip votes, she could very well solidify support for him.