Trump Repeatedly Wondered About Ivanka Being His VP in 2016, Former Aide Says — Which Campaign Denies

Sean Neumann
·3-min read

Chip Somodevilla/Getty From left: President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump had to talk dad Donald Trump out of whether she should join him on the Republican Party's ticket in 2016, according to an upcoming book by one of the president's former top campaign aides.

The Guardian and The Washington Post report, citing the book, that Trump wondered to others if his then 34-year-old daughter should run for vice president after his team began discussing who should be his running mate in June 2016.

"What about Ivanka as my VP?” Trump, now 74, allegedly suggested to his campaign aides, according to Rick Gates, his former deputy campaign manager-turned-witness in the Russia investigation.

“She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful and the people would love her!” Gates says Trump said, making his campaign run polling on the idea twice.

Trump's 2020 campaign denies the story, recounted in Gates' upcoming book, Wicked Game, out Oct. 13.

"This is not true and there was never any such poll," Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump's 2020 campaign, said in a statement.

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Carolyn Kaster/AP/Shutterstock From left: President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump

The president was skeptical of the other options his campaign suggested, including his eventual running mate, Mike Pence, according to Gates' book as described by the Post. What's more, Trump would not stop suggesting the idea of Ivanka as vice president until she told him herself it was a bad idea

According to Gates, Trump agreed to bring Pence, 61, onto the ticket after the Indiana governor unleashed a "vicious and extended monologue” about 2016 rival Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's nominee, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, over breakfast with the future president.

Ivanka, 38, is now a senior adviser with the Trump administration along with her husband, Jared Kushner.

She was previously an executive at the Trump Organization and has long been seen as a top lieutenant to her father. Critics have said she is unqualified for her White House work and have questioned her credentials.

"I stand before you as the proud daughter of the people's president," she said at the Republican National Convention in August, before launching into a 15-minute speech suggesting the president is misunderstood.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images From left: President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump

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The adult Trump children are some of the president's most vocal defenders and they have polled well among Republican voters in the past.

A January 2020 poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey showed conservative voters prefer both Don Jr. and Ivanka over politicians such as Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador.

Nonetheless, Pence was the clear favorite among GOP voters in that survey: 40 percent of the 1,800 Republican or Republican-leaning voters said they hoped to see the vice president take on Trump's role in 2024.