In a crude joke, Donald Trump famously said that he would date his daughter Ivanka if they were not related. In a twisted way, the presidential campaign shows that this remark was somewhat prescient. Ivanka is Trump’s advisor, confidante, has been named his “secret weapon,” and was floated as a potential vice-presidential candidate to run with him on the ticket. But perhaps she is even more than that: perhaps it is she, and not Melania, who is the other half of the Trump power couple.
“He will fight for equal pay and equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside of him!” Ivanka said in a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, in which she introduced her father – and, once again, tried to warm up women voters to the thought of a Trump presidency.
The 34-year-old was given a far more prominent speaking slot than her brothers – in fact, she was arguably given the most important slot aside for Trump himself–and she delivered.
She entered the stage to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun,” and she outshined, by far, her stepmother’s plagiarized, proper remarks. In a personable way, she peppered her speech with anecdotes from her childhood, humanizing her father, while also delivering elegant praise and soundbites on policy. The crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena loved her. “I feel like I’m the anchovy on Ivanka’s Caesar salad,” said Tom Barrack, a real estate mogul and Trump’s friend, who spoke right before her, predicting what would come.
If not a stand-in for a first lady, Ivanka is definitely the most important child of a presidential candidate in memory. She’s been repeatedly said to be the Richelieu of the campaign, its “quiet power,” responsible for many decisions, including firing Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and picking Mike Pence as the VP.
Ivanka’s big assignment was to try to rally women to vote for her father, and she defended him against accusations of misogyny and sexism throughout the campaign. This mission was also the focus in her introductory speech–in which she, notably, did not attack Hillary Clinton, unlike her brothers.
“As a mother myself with three young children I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. I also know how privileged I am,” she said, carefully maneuvering the topic.
On behalf of her father, she promised quality childcare and changing labor laws to help women, citing statistics about unequal pay, usually used by the other side of the political aisle.
In fact, in a nod to both her peers and independent voters, she said: “Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat.” Above all, she is a “proud daughter.”
Read more from Quartz on the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.