Republican congressional leaders were reportedly annoyed when White House adviser Ivanka Trump joined an Oval Office meeting over a government spending deal. The GOP lawmakers allegedly viewed the entrance of President Donald Trump's daughter as an interruption that hindered their attempts to push their agenda during the meeting.
On Sept. 6, the president convened a meeting with congressional leaders to negotiate a pending government spending bill and a vote to raise the federal debt ceiling. The meeting was attended by Senate Majority Leader GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Speaker GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate Minority Leader Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Democrats wanted to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government only until Dec. 15 and requested that both measures be tied to a disaster relief package for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, GOP leadership wanted the debt ceiling to be raised by 18 months and did not want to attach the measure to the relief package, the Los Angeles Times reports.
President Trump sided with the Democratic leadership's proposal, later stating: "I think the deal will be very good."
A senior GOP source who requested anonymity asserted that the president's decision left McConnell and Ryan "shell-shocked."
Ivanka then entered the room and reportedly injected a discussion about a proposed child tax credit into the meeting. Sources familiar with the meeting asserted that GOP leaders were visibly incensed by Ivanka's entrance, The Hill reports.
Reporter Sahil Kapur tweeted that a White House aide had told him: "Toward the end of the meeting Ivanka Trump entered the Oval Office to 'say hello' and the meeting careened off topic."
Reporter Kevin Liptak tweeted that a congressional source asserted that McConnell and Ryan "were visibly annoyed by Ivanka's presence."
"Aide brief on WH [meeting] says [Ivanka Trump] entered Oval to say hello, and GOP leaders were visibly annoyed by her presence," tweeted journalist Frank Thorp V of NBC News.
White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short later disclosed that Ivanka had been invited to the meeting.
"We asked Ivanka to briefly join the meeting for an update on the child care tax credit and how we are working to make tax reform a bipartisan issue," Short told the Washington Examiner. "It was a quick and productive conversation."
Ryan's spokesperson AshLee Strong blasted reports that Ryan and McConnell were upset by Ivanka's entrance into the meeting, stating: "That's not true."
The House later passed a $7.85 billion disaster relief package for Texas. Democratic lawmakers have announced that they will attach a measure to raise the debt ceiling and the government spending bill to the relief package when it reaches the Senate.
In July 2016, Ivanka recalled during an interview that when she was in private school, her father would frequently have her call his office during business meetings so that he could put her on speaker phone.
"It was colleagues, it was titans of industry, it was heads of countries," Ivanka told CNN. "He'd always tell everyone in the room how great a daughter I was and say cute things and ask me about a test I took."
Kate Andersen Brower, a historian of White House families, speculated on why lawmakers or government officials would be perturbed by Trump's professional relationship with his daughter.
"It's complicated for staff because they know that, in the end, the family has the greatest influence over Trump and so what they say can be overruled as soon as they leave the room," Brower said. "They don't feel like they can be as honest when a family member is in the room."