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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Ivanka Trump On The 2016 Race And Donald Trump As A Father

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The transcript:

HH: We begin with a very special guest. I have said for months now the best interview in America is Donald Trump. I have to revise that today, because I have the new best interview in America, Ivanka Trump, who is the executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Ivanka, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show with Jon Allen. It’s great to have you, thank you for joining me on election day.

IT: Thank you, Hugh. I know you don’t mean that, but I appreciate it regardless.

HH: No, I do mean that. I got a letter, an email last night. I told my wife that Ivanka was going to open the show, and Brigitte, her friend, sent me a bunch of stuff about you. You are fascinating to Americans, and they don’t ever hear you interviewed. You haven’t done many interviews, have you?

IT: I have done a couple of interviews, but not too many.

HH: Well, I appreciate this. I want to congratulate you, by the way, on the opening of the Old Post Office early. I read that story this morning. I had an office in the Old Post Office when the National Endowment for the Humanities was there, and I don’t know how you turned that into a hotel.

IT: Oh, you’re kidding. That’s amazing. So I mean, you know, it’s an unbelievable building, and it’s got an unbelievable history, tallest building in Washington, D.C., and right on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol. So it’s just such a beautiful, grand building that was becoming dilapidated and was totally under-utilized. So the government actually put out a process looking for private sector redevelopment of the asset. It was a very onerous and very competitive RFD, and amazingly, the Obama administration selected the Trump Organization above hundreds of developers who were seeking this opportunity to redevelop the building. And we’re going to be opening almost two years ahead of schedule. So I would say that’s probably a first for Washington, D.C. and for Pennsylvania Avenue.

HH: It is.

JA: You know, as a resident of Washington, it looks like a coming soon sign for the next resident of the White House.

IT: (laughing) Coming soon, Trump 2016.

HH: Now Ivanka, let me get right to the most important question, the one that my friend, Brigitte wasn’t answered. What do your children call your dad?

IT: Grandpa.

HH: Is he a, grandpa?

IT: Yes.

HH: We just made news. And how are you feeling? You’re very close to delivering number three, aren’t you?

IT: Very close. I’m eight and a half months now, so you know, still a few weeks away, but, and probably, or I’m most definitely not supposed to be traveling. But this is historic. And it’s incredibly exciting, because seeing my father in various roles for my entire life, obviously as a father, but also over the last decade as the head of the Trump Organization, where my brothers and I work alongside of him. And he never ceases to amaze me in terms of his ability to set a course, set a vision, and then ultimately execute while inspiring, in the case of the Trump Organization, tens of thousands of employees along the way. So it is really exciting to just be an observer. You know, I joke, people ask if I’m involved in the campaign, and I’m not. I’m just a really proud daughter who is supporting her father, who knows how capable he is, and how committed he is to seeing this country live up to its potential, and ultimately fight for the interests of the American people. So it’s great.

HH: I saw you, I saw you walk up during the first debate and talk to him. I saw you walk right up to him, and what advice did you give him during that first break?

IT: Oh, I didn’t, I try, I try not to give him advice, especially in a context like that. You just want somebody to be relaxed and to be themselves. And you know, that’s really the advice I give him, to just be himself. So, but you know, it’s an incredible thing, and the learning curve has been obviously…

HH: Sure.

IT: …a steep one. You know, we’ve never been in politics. Politics is definitely not our family business. We don’t even particularly love the word. So just seeing what he’s done in six months is remarkable.

HH: Let me ask you a question about his being a dad. I have a daughter who is just a couple of years younger than you. And she was more often happy with me than upset, but a couple of times, she got really mad, for example, when I wouldn’t let her take the car on New Year’s Eve to Anaheim. So when were you most upset with your dad growing up?

IT: Oh, gosh (laughing)

HH: (laughing)

IT: Too many to name, but normally, when rights were forfeited, just like you suggested. It was a great injustice as a child. It is funny, though, because now I’m a parent myself. I have two toddlers. My oldest toddler is, my daughter, Arabella, she’s four and a half, and she challenges me every day. Everything’s a negotiation. So I actually appreciate him now, how much harder it is to be a great parent, to be a disciplinarian. It’s so much easier to sort of acquiesce and give them what they want, especially, you know, when the stakes are pretty low. But it’s a tough job, so I’m learning this real time myself right now. And it makes me appreciate the role he played, you know, as a parent all the more. So giving kids a strong, moral compass, having, and really want to work and find what it is that they’re passionate about and then deploying that work ethic. And especially when they’re born into privilege, it’s hard. So I respect him very much for giving that to my siblings and myself.

JA: I’ve got two about the same ages as yours. A four and a half year old is my eldest as well. So I respect your decision to have three. Good luck with that, because two’s pretty tough.

IT: (laughing) I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple of months.

JA: You mentioned earlier that politics is not your family business, but I look at you as a business executive, as somebody who has been passionate about a good number of causes over the years, and I wonder might you run for office someday?

IT: You know, my focus is very much on our business, and especially now. You know, my father is 100% into this, and 100% committed, and you know, this is his primary focus, which means that my brothers and I are running a very big business. And so we’ve never been busier, but you know, for now, I would say it’s definitely not a focus of mine.

JA: I did not hear a no there.

IT: I’m happy, you know, just to watch this. Sorry?

HH: I didn’t hear a no, either. That was not a Shermanesque statement.

IT: You know, I’ve actually, I would say no definitively, but I’ve learned over my not too long life…

HH: Very smart.

IT: …that you never know what happens. But definitely, it’s not on the radar for me any time in the near future.

HH: Ivanka, today is primary day. I’m way out on a limb. I predicted your father is going to win, and I think fairly, with a lot of margin between him and second place, who I think is going to be Governor Kasich. But what is your pitch to the people of New Hampshire who are listening on 1260 tonight, or up in Derry, where I’m broadcasting, or anywhere about why they should pick your dad over any of the other Republicans who are in the field?

IT: Well, I think first of all, we don’t take the excitement and support for granted. So you know, for him to win New Hampshire, people have to come out and vote. So you know, we definitely don’t look at this as a done deal, and we hope that the enthusiasm and support translates. And to be, you know, we’re excited that it will, but I would encourage everyone to get out and vote, and we’re actually going to be going to a bunch of different voting locations, my whole family, and meet with both the volunteers and the people themselves that are coming out to vote, and really thank them. So I was doing that this morning, and we’ll be doing that again this afternoon. But you know, really, I think what this country needs is somebody with a track record of execution. And my father has executed at the highest level across multiple industries for decades. And you know, that’s what this country needs, somebody who’s a pragmatist, somebody who’s not afraid to be a leader. My father, since he stepped into this race, has set the agenda for everything that the party on both sides of the aisle has been talking about, on all the issue. And that’s what a leader does.

HH: Did he always tell you, did he always tell you growing up you could do whatever you wanted, because development is such a hard business, and here you are the executive vice president, and I know the difficulties of that Old Post Office project, because having been a tenant there for a while, did he always just say you could do whatever you want?

IT: You know, I think it’s actually one of my father’s great gifts. He has encouraged not only my siblings and myself, but all the people around him to really swing for the fences and try and achieve their full potential. So you know, there are no excuses. You know, excuses weren’t something that he loved. It was always about finding solutions, doing and pursuing what it is that you’re passionate about. So amazingly, he really didn’t push any of us into real estate. He expressed the fact that obviously, he’d love it if we’d be interested in joining him. But he really wanted us to keep our minds open to other opportunities, because he strongly believes that unless you’re passionate about what it is that you do, you just won’t be successful. You’ll be at work.

HH: Ivanka, thank you so much for opening our New Hampshire night special, and I will see you in Houston at the debate on the 25th, and then again in Miami. And I hope you’re with your dad on both of those occasions. I’m sure he’ll still be in the race. I’m not sure how many other people will be, but Ivanka Trump opening the show today, congratulations, and good luck on the delivery of baby number three.

JA: Masel tov.

End of interview.


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