It’s no secret that Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are not besties. The Republican presidential pick has little use for the Speaker’s wonky, establishment ways. Ryan, meanwhile, increasingly looks as though he feels about Trump the way most Americans feel about Anthony Weiner: Please, God, just make him go away!
Practically speaking, however, it simply won’t do to have the top-ranked GOP officer holder completely out of touch with his party’s nominee. The optics are terrible, and there’s nothing the political media enjoy quite like stories about internecine unpleasantness.
Under such ticklish conditions, there was really only one way for the two men to bridge this gulf without losing face: Bring in Ivanka.
So it was that Trump’s elder daughter and the House Speaker sat down together for an intimate chat in Manhattan last Monday. Arranged at Ivanka’s behest, the meeting took place immediately after Ryan’s address to the Economic Club of New York: Ivanka briefed Ryan on her dad’s campaign; Ryan regaled Ivanka with war stories from 2012. It was, the Speaker’s people assured me, “a productive conversation.”
The very next afternoon, Ivanka ventured even deeper into the political jungle. Jetting down to Washington, she met with more than a dozen Republican women legislators on Capitol Hill. The topic was her father’s childcare plan, which Ivanka reportedly helped formulate. (The invitation came from conference chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, whose political office did not respond to repeated inquiries about the inspiration for, gist of, or anything else to do with the meeting.) Afterward, Rep. Marsha Blackburn told Roll Call that the confab had been “informative” and said Ivanka seemed knowledgeable about the issue—which is more than has ever been said of her dad in any policy area.