NY-22 Minute: Analyzing Ivanka Trump's Visit to NY-22

NY-22 Minute: Analyzing Ivanka Trump's Visit to NY-22

Ivanka Trump visited NY-22 yesterday and participated in a round table discussion with Claudia Tenney at Suit-Kote Corporation, an asphalt and paving company in Cortland County, celebrating The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Frank Suits, CEO of Suit-Kote, stated employees received a 5 percent raise as a result of the new law. “It’s incredible to come back to a community to see the effects of a policy you truly believe in,” Trump stated, claiming 6 million Americans have received bonuses or wage increases as a result of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Lobbying for the bill has been a major focus for Ivanka as “Senior Adviser” to her father.


Ivanka is the first child in modern history to become a formal White House employee, though “presidential children have wielded enormous power and influence throughout American history.”

Tax law scholars have documented how The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts will benefit Donald Trump’s family by maintaining special tax breaks for real estate developers and cutting taxes on estates valued over $11 million and on pass-through businesses (Trump is invested in approximately 500 of these). The exact financial benefit is unclear because Donald Trump has not released his tax returns. Estimates suggest the law will lower Trump’s taxes by $11 million per year and $1 billion overall.

Work-life balance was another topic of conversation. “An expansion of the childcare development block grants for the states went from $2.8 billion to $5.2 billion,” Trump said, referring to the recent omnibus spending bill. “That goes directly to states to offset costs of childcare for working parents because it’s become too expensive and too difficult to locate, we need to figure out a way how we can fix the system.”

Claudia Tenney thanked Ivanka Trump as “one working mother to another” for “highlighting the challenges we face and advocating for working families.” In her book, Woman Who Work, Trump thanked her two nannies, “Liza and Xixi” for “helping me raise my own children” and “enabling me to do what I do.” Trump previously discussed how XiXi, who is Chinese, is teaching her children Mandarin.

Anthony Brindisi highlighted how Tenney voted against paid family leave when they both were in the state legislature. “Instead of a private taxpayer-funded campaign event,” Brindisi said in a statement, “perhaps Ivanka can educate Claudia Tenney on the importance of Paid Family Leave.”



Trump then visited the Institute of Technology at Central High School in Syracuse, praising the P-Tech program that combines high school classes with career training at Onondaga Community College. “Now that tax reform has passed,” Trump explained, “and we have deregulated so many industries, the biggest concern is the lack of a skilled workforce.” Both events were not open to the public and met by protesters.

This was not the first time Ivanka Trump visited GOP House incumbents deemed vulnerable in the midterms. Last month, Trump went to California with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and raised money for Protect the House, a joint fundraising committee led by McCarthy and Mike Pence. Like New York, California has several seats that will be pivotal to party control of the House following the November election.


Whether Ms. Trump helps or hurts GOP candidates is less clear. Ivanka’s influence on her father has long garnered speculation, ranging from “the quiet power behind the Trump throne” to “losing the battle for her father’s ear.” There is no doubt she is a key figure to President Trump’s inner circle and was central to his campaign.     

Ivanka has been successful raising money, over $3 million in her “featured guest” role in California. When Donald Trump took office, Ivanka was relatively popular. One poll found her favorability at 49 percent to 30 percent unfavorable, another 42 percent to 33 percent. In April of 2017, Ivanka was the most popular White House staffer.

A year later, Ivanka’s unfavorability rose ten points to 43 percent. Melania Trump became the most popular member of the Trump family with an approval rating of 51 percent.

Whereas First Ladies are mostly viewed above partisanship, Ivanka's role in the White House has diminished that. Trump has become a more polarizing political figure, which suggests she will be more helpful in fundraising and rallying the base than swaying undecided voters.



Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College. 

Read the NY-22 Minute for timely and comprehensive analysis of the campaign. 


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