Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump’s enormous appeal is due in large part to the presumptive Republican nominee for president’s frank expression and his willingness to take his message directly to voters, Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, said in an interview with ABC News.
“He is the messenger of the people. He is the people’s candidate,” Ivanka Trump told Good Morning America co-anchor Lara Spencer in wide-ranging interview that aired on Tuesday and touched on Donald Trump’s controversial comments, business success and presidential potential.
She acknowledged that her outspoken father’s comments have “gotten him into trouble occasionally,” but said the fact that he engaged directly with voters on social media was powerful because it showed that his words were his own.
“The only filter is himself,” Ivanka Trump said, adding: “He speaks from the heart. He speaks from the brain.”
Donald Trump’s lack of filter has made him a particular focus of critics. Over the years, he has made comments that have been viewed as offensive about immigrants, Muslims, women and those with disabilities.
Presumptive Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton released a new attack ad that recaps some of the presumptive Republican nominee’s inflammatory comments and cautioned that the candidate would not be a good role model for small children who were watching.
Asked how she reacted to the substance of the ad, Trump’s daughter said her father had been the subject of a lot of negative advertising.
“To date it has not been effective,” she said, adding negative ads were almost all “complete manipulations of his words, pulled out of context and packaged for maximum impact as opposed to for truth.”
Americans are “incredibly intelligent and are no so easily manipulated….” she said.
Trump was recently slammed for a now-deleted tweet that utilized a six-pointed star that appeared similar to the Star of David — a symbol of Judaism — in front of a backdrop of money and a picture of Clinton. The text on the image called Clinton the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” It has been widely slammed as being anti-Semitic.
Anti-Semites have long accused Jews of trying to control government through money, but in a tweet Donald Trump slammed the media for depicting the star as a Star of David “rather than a sheriff’s star or a plain star!”
Ivanka Trump, a convert to Judaism, stressed that her father “clearly did not think that was the Star of David,” adding: “My father’s track record of … advocating for Jewish people and for Israel is unimpeachable for a very long time, whether it being the grand marshal of the Israel Day Parade at a time when it was not advantageous to do so.”
She added that her father has been “remarkably supportive” of her and her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three children.
In addition, her father has always supported her ambitions as a woman in business, she said, adding that there is a “flawed perception” that her father doesn’t value women. She pointed to his track record of having employed women “at the highest levels, long before it was commonplace.”
“My father believes in equality amongst the genders economically, politically, socially. That’s it … a lot of people can’t say that,” she said. “They talk about, you know, the ways they all empower women. My father has empowered women, including me, his whole life.”
Ivanka Trump has emerged as one of the key advisers on her father’s campaign. In fact, she and her brother were given the opportunity to talk with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, all of whom were in the final running to be Trump’s vice president.
Donald Trump picked Pence, and his eldest daughter believes the two men are a good match. Asked whether she and her brothers had agreed on Pence, she replied: “It was my father’s decision. We did weigh in but ultimately it was [his] decision. And I think he made an excellent choice.”
Several prominent Republican leaders — among them George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — have chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention that kicked off Monday in Cleveland.
“That’s their choice if they don’t want to be part of the narrative, if they don’t want to be part of the future,” Ivanka Trump said. “But this really is about a forward-looking moment.”
She acknowledged that her father had bothered some in the party due to his unlikely path from real estate mogul and reality TV star to presidential hopeful.
“My father is an outsider, and we went through a very tough primary,” Trump said. “And he emerged from that the winner, but there were certainly ruffled feathers along the way.”
The nation had recently been sharply divided on critical issues including immigration, race relations, national security and the economy. Asked whether her father, an extremely polarizing figure, was the right person to unite the country, she said he was, without question. She cited his business success in “a plethora of industries,” his warmth and his strength.
“Our country needs a president who’s able to dream big and who’s able to execute upon a vision for the future, a positive and an uplifting vision. And my father will be able to do that in a very big and a very real way,” she said.
Ivanka Trump is scheduled to speak at the convention on Thursday — the same night on which her father is expected to accept the party’s nomination for president.
Her father has not given her any indication as to what he’d like her to say, Ivanka Trump said.
“He’s totally left it up to me. I wish he’d give me input. But you know, I think he wants it to come from my heart. And he doesn’t want it to be crafted by anyone other than me. He understands that I know him in all capacities … and when I’ve tried to talk to him about it, he says, ‘Don’t worry. You’ll do a great job. Don’t worry.’ So I’m trying to take that advice,” she said.
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