When NBC’s Peter Alexander asked Ivanka Trump whether she believes the more than a dozen women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment and assault, she bristled at the idea of the question itself.
“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated there’s no truth to it,” she responded in an interview that aired Monday on the Today show. In fact, she continued with a restrained laugh, “I don’t think that’s a question you would have asked many other daughters.”
“Do you believe your father’s [sexual misconduct] accusers?” -@PeterAlexander— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 26, 2018
“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated there’s no truth to it.” -@IvankaTrump pic.twitter.com/23AVPgcOdE
This might be true. But the other, bigger truth of the matter is that Trump’s father is the president of the United States, and she is not just his daughter but his senior adviser. Asking her opinion on the veracity of the many allegations against the president — some of which describe strikingly similar situations to the ones he described in the infamous Access Hollywood tape — is exactly the kind of question that senior advisers should expect.
This holds especially true because Donald Trump himself recently waded back into the subject after the Washington Post profiled accuser Rachel Crooks (who’s now running for Ohio state office), causing Trump to tweet that she is “a woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met.”
Crooks’s story echoes a pattern seen throughout several of the others, in which Trump allegedly groped and kissed women suddenly and without their consent. Crooks told the Post that as she was introducing herself to Trump for a business meeting, he “started kissing me on one cheek, then the other cheek. He was talking to me in between kisses, asking where I was from, or if I wanted to be a model. He wouldn’t let go of my hand, and then he went right in and started kissing me on the lips.”
This accusation also echoes the Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump bragged that he “just start[s] kissing [women]. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
As Ivanka pointed out, President Trump has repeatedly denied the accusations — but many have found his explanations lacking in substance. With Crooks running for Ohio state office and the #MeToo reckoning only growing — a reckoning Ivanka tried to align herself with after Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes — the question of the president’s alleged behavior isn’t going away anytime soon.
So for all her annoyance over Alexander asking her about it, Trump did end up answering the question. “I believe my father,” she said. “I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.”