Ivanka Trump said on Monday that her father felt “very vindicated” by the testimony last week of James B. Comey, the ousted FBI director, who, under oath, accused President Trump of firing him for his handling of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election. Ms. Trump, a senior adviser to the president, spoke out in an interview on Fox & Friends.
Her comments were the latest effort by a White House in crisis to discredit and play down the significance of the account Mr. Comey gave on Capitol Hill, in which he strongly suggested the president had tried to obstruct justice in imploring him to drop an investigation into his former national security adviser’s contacts with Moscow and requesting the FBI director’s personal loyalty.
Mr. Trump said in a news conference on Friday that Mr. Comey had lied about those conversations, and he asserted that Comey’s account proved that there had been no collusion between the campaign and Russia, nor any attempt to obstruct an investigation. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to suggest that Mr. Comey’s move to work through a friend to share with a reporter the contents of contemporaneous memos he kept of his exchanges with the president might have been illegal, and he called the act “cowardly.”
Ms. Trump insisted that her father had come away from Mr. Comey’s testimony “incredibly optimistic” and eager to pivot to a discussion of domestic policy initiatives, including infrastructure rebuilding and vocational education, which the White House plans to emphasize this week.
“With all the noise, with all the intensity of the media coverage and obviously what makes headlines, ultimately, we’re really focused on why the American people elected Donald Trump as their president,” Ms. Trump said.
She said she had been blindsided by the vitriol of Washington and was working to stay out of the fray.
“It is hard, and there is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting,” Ms. Trump said. “I was not expecting the intensity of this experience, but this isn’t supposed to be easy. My father and this administration intend to be transformative, and we want to do big, bold things.”
Ms. Trump sidestepped questions about whether her husband, Jared Kushner, who also serves as a senior adviser, has clashed internally with other senior members of Mr. Trump’s team.
“There is a 24-hour news cycle that gets fed by and is encouraged by lots of salacious details, but at the end of the day, we’re all focused on the work, and that’s very true for Jared,” Ivanka said. “He doesn’t get involved in all of that.”
Ms. Trump also heaped praise on her father’s first overseas trip last month, which included visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, the centers of three of the world’s major religions. Ms. Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry Mr. Kushner, mistakenly described Judaism as one of the world’s largest religions, leaving out Hinduism and Buddhism among others that count many more followers.
“To have covered the three largest world religions over the course of four days, it was deeply meaningful,” Ivanka said during the broadcast on Monday.
In a tweet during the visit to Israel last month, Ms. Trump also erroneously referred to the Western Wall in Jerusalem as “the holiest site of my faith.” The Temple Mount that lies just beyond the wall is considered the holiest site in Judaism.
About the Author
Julie Hirschfeld Davis writes for the Morning Briefing Newsletter.