First Family

Ivanka Trump surprised by 'viciousness,' 'ferocity' of father's critics

Cody Derespina

Ivanka Trump, in an interview Monday with “Fox & Friends,” said she has been surprised by the “viciousness” and “ferocity” that greeted her father’s presidency -- but also said President Trump felt “very vindicated” by former FBI Director James Comey's recent Senate testimony. 

Ivanka, a political novice like her dad who has been thrust into the Washington spotlight as a senior adviser to the president, nevertheless glided past the more controversial interview topics like a seasoned vet Monday. But she did provide a glimpse into the first family’s daily battle with detractors.

“There’s a level of viciousness that I was not expecting,” Ivanka said, in between promoting Trump’s initiatives in infrastructure and job creation. “I was not expecting the intensity of this experience.”

She added: “But this isn’t supposed to be easy. My father, and this administration, expects to be transformative.”

President Trump has been routinely assailed by a Democratic opposition that, at the least, seeks to stall his ambitious agenda and, in some corners of the party, seeks impeachment.

“Some of the distractions and some of the ferocity, I was a little blindsided by on a personal level,” Ivanka said.

She said, however, that Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday backed up much of what her dad had been telling the press – to little avail – for months: that Trump was not being personally investigated for any alleged Russia ties and that Comey had orchestrated a leak to The New York Times on at least one occasion.

“My father felt very vindicated in all the statements that he’s been making and feels incredibly optimistic,” Ivanka said. “[We’re] incredibly focused on the reason we all went to Washington and what we’re fighting for.”

Ivanka spoke about the Trump administration's efforts to upgrade the skills of working Americans in an effort to match those who are searching for work with jobs. Noting that there were 6 million available jobs in the U.S., she said the White House was "trying to bridge the gap between skills and the jobs."

Ivanka also praised President Trump's first foreign trip, during which he visited Saudi Arabia, Israel and Italy. Ivanka, who converted to Judaism before she married Trump senior aide Jared Kushner, said she was particularly struck by a visit to the Western Wall.

"Every day in this experience has been surreal, but that was truly an unbelievable moment," she said. 

Dismissing rumors that Kushner was embroiled in so-called palace intrigue, Ivanka said Team Trump is trying to ignore the news cycle and work toward fulfilling campaign promises.

"Ultimately," she said, "we're really focused on why the American people elected Donald Trump president."