The White House could have looked very different if Donald Trump had his way. Former debuty campaign manager Rick Gates writes in his book that Trump wanted daughter Ivanka Trump as his VP.
When Donald Trump raised the idea of daughter Ivanka Trump being his running mate in 2016, he shocked everyone around him — especially Ivanka, according to a new book. Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, writes in Wicked Game: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost that the president was allegedly convinced that his daughter should be on his 2016 ticket, and rejected all other possible candidates. That included the current Vice President, Mike Pence.
“I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?” Trump allegedly asked an assembled group in 2016. “She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, and the people would love her!” Trump’s idea to add his daughter to the ticket became a fixation, according to Gates. The Republican nominee brought up the possibility to his campaign staff “repeatedly,” to the point where they polled the idea twice, placing her name next to a dozen potential VP picks.
“She didn’t poll tremendously high, but higher than we expected, and that only added to the seriousness of her consideration,” Gates noted in an excerpt of Wicked Game obtained by Bloomberg. Trump would not be convinced otherwise, even when presented with qualified candidates like Pence, the Indiana governor. Ivanka, then 34, had no political experience. The fashion and real estate executive assisted with her father’s presidential campaign, but had never held elected office.
Trump’s behavior signaled to his campaign team “just how serious he was about putting his politically inexperienced daughter just a heartbeat from the presidency,” Gates writes. It was eventually Ivanka herself who got Trump to drop it. “She went to her father and said, ‘No, Dad. It’s not a good idea.’ And he capitulated.”
Though she didn’t become vice president, Ivanka did make it to the White House. Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both serve as advisors to the president. She’s served as a surrogate on the 2020 campaign trail, often appearing at events right by his side, or sometimes, in his place. Trump still brings up Ivanka as VP. At an August campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump said his daughter would make a better president than Democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris.
“I want to see the first woman president also, but I don’t want to see the first woman president get into the position the way [Harris] would do it, and she’s not competent, she’s not competent,” he said. “They’re all saying, ‘We want Ivanka!’ Trump said, pointing to the crowd. “I don’t blame them.”