Ivanka Trump defends her role in father's administration, pushes jobs agenda

White House adviser Ivanka Trump defended her role in her father's administration, telling Fox News host Steve Hilton that she was integral to furthering its economic agenda.

"The convening function within government is critical," she told Hilton during an exclusive interview airing Sunday. "And it’s something that I bring -- and probably because I came from the private sector, I realize the efficiency, the nimbleness, the solutions that the private sector brings to every challenge that is out there, whether it’s innovation or job creation."

Her comments came as critics questioned her role in the administration and conservatives, in particular, suspected that both she and husband Jared Kushner secretly opposed aspects of the president's agenda.

"It seems to me that conservatives in particular should appreciate that role as a catalyst," Hilton told her while the two spoke in Alabama. "Because you’re making change happen, not through expanding government, not through spending taxpayer money, not through passing new laws and regulations," he said.

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During the interview, Trump discussed the administration's agenda for economic development which focused on initiatives like job training, manufacturing, and removing restrictions on licensing.

"The future of manufacturing in American is advanced manufacturing," Trump said. "And I do think there’s a disconnect between how people think about manufacturing and the factories of today. Look around us.  They’re clean.  They’re high tech.  They are very much the industries of the future," she said.

She reported that as part of her "Pledge to America's Workers" initiative, the administration was able to see 300 private sector companies commit to training American workers.

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"This economy, because of the policy and because of the environment that’s been created through tax reform and deregulation that has unleashed business and unleashed investment in this country," she said.

Trump added that the administration was working to craft agreements that would make occupational licensing simpler, an issue that particularly affects military families who frequently move. "So we're thinking about compacts.  Where, states say, well, these -- we're going to recognize the licensure that exists," she told Hilton.

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The economy is incredibly "strong," according to Trump, who argued her father's tax reform package offered more room for growth.

"One of the critical components of tax reform is the creation of Opportunity Zones," she said. "So governors determine the ZIP Codes that are most in need of investment, whether they be urban or rural. Eighty-three hundred have been identified across this country -- 8,300 ZIP Codes that were previously unable to attract the same type of capital investments as neighboring areas."