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Ivanka, dubbed the First Daughter, is a senior adviser to her father, US President Donald Trump, as is her husband Jared Kushner. Ivanka enjoys a largely unique position in the White House as an adviser on women’s issues, and has long been seen as the calmer, more reasonable Trump, who acts as a balance to her headstrong father. Many have speculated that she may copy her father and one day run for the presidency herself.
And if she did so she would be following in the footsteps of Bobby Kennedy who, like Ivanka, was controversially appointed to a senior position within the US government by a family member.
When his brother John F Kennedy (JFK) won the 1960 US presidential election, Bobby was appointed Attorney General.
Despite having over 10 years experience in politics ‒ not least as JFK’s campaign manager ‒ it was seen as nepotism by some.
Famed legal commentator William vanden Heuvel explained: “There was a lot of criticism of his appointment.
“Robert Kennedy was 35 years old and his brother appointed him.
“He had never practised law in the private sector and many people questioned the nepotistic aspect of it and the lack of experience.
“So there were a lot of people watching very, very closely.”
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This is very similar to Ivanka’s experience, as her appointment attracted widespread criticism due to her young age, perceived lack of expertise and allegations of nepotism.
Bobby defended himself at the time by saying: “Eventually it just came down to the fact that President Kennedy felt that it might be nice to have somebody around that he could discuss things with. For that reason, I did it.”
Trump’s decision to hire his daughter and son-in-law 56 years on attracted similar criticism.
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Indeed, writing in 2019 book ‘Kushner Inc’, author Vicky Ward claims right-wing media personality Anne Coulter told him: “Nobody is apparently telling you this. But you can’t.
“You can’t just hire your children.”
Don McGahn, who served as Trump’s campaign counsel during the 2016 election and then White House Counsel until October 2018, also reportedly advised him against it.
Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen was also reportedly against the appointment.
His main problem with it, it seemed, was that Trump hated telling Ivanka “no”.
Ivanka and Bobby both faced questions not only regarding their ability to do the job they were tasked with but also whether their appointment had been legitimate.
Bobby, after his brother was tragically killed in a ruthless assassination in 1963, overcame these obstacles and ran for the presidency himself.
Ivanka may be learning on the job in the same way Bobby did and could well run for the Oval Office herself in future.
Bobby, tragically, never got there as like his brother he was assassinated on the campaign trail in 1968.
Mr vanden Heuvel’s comments came on 2018 Netflix documentary ‘Bobby Kennedy for President’.
Kushner Inc was published by St Martin’s Press in 2019. It is available here.
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