“We’re working that out right now,” Trump told Fox News Sunday.
They’re both “very talented people,” he said. “I would love to be able to have them involved. I think we’ll have to see how the laws read.”
He added: “If you look at Ivanka, she’s so strong, as you know, to the women’s issue and child care, and so many things, she’d be so good. Nobody can do better than her. I’d just have to see whether or not we can do that. She’d like to do that.”
As for Kushner, Trump said: “I’d love to have Jared helping us on deals with other nations and see if we can do peace in the Middle East and other things.”
CNN has reported that the couple have been house-hunting in Washington D.C. in preparation for a possible move there with their three children from New York City.
What Trump is apparently trying to “work out” is how to bring the couple into his administration without breaching a federal anti-nepotism law that bars public officials, including the president, from hiring family members. The law also applies to those related by marriage.
But Newt Gingrich told Fox News last month that there could be a way around the law.
“I think they would have to get a waiver to the anti-nepotism law,” he said. It “might be a little tricky, although I think if they worked at it, they could do it.”
The New York Times reported last month that Kushner had discussed the nepotism law with a lawyer. He believes that by forgoing a salary and putting his own real estate holdings and the newspaper he owns, The New York Observer, into a blind trust, he could take a role in the administration.
Involving the couple in government could raise a whole new host of conflict-of-interest concerns. Trump has said he may hand off control of his businesses to his children to avoid his own apparent conflict of interest. But if his children are also in government the same issues arise. (In any case, experts say handing businesses to the Trump children, who can still profit from their father’s activities in the White House, does not avoid conflicts of interest, particularly if he simply reclaims them when he leaves the White House.)
Ivanka Trump currently serves as the executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization and also heads her own fashion brand.
She said in November in a “60 Minutes” interview that she would not take a role in government, adding: “I’m going to be a daughter,” although she is “passionate about certain issues” that she vowed to “fight for.”
Trump seemed to back off from his early loud boosterism for government roles for his family after he was criticized for reportedly pushing to obtain security clearances for his children.
Trump, however, picked both Ivanka and Kushner to serve on his transition team (along with sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr.). Trump had talked shortly after the election about involving Kushner in peace negotiations in the Middle East.
Kushner has played a key role in transition decisions. He was widely seen as responsible for blocking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) from having any role in his father-in-law’s upcoming administration. As U.S. attorney before he was governor, Christie successfully prosecuted Kushner’s father, real estate developer Charles Kushner, for criminal tax evasion.
Trump and his daughter were more recently taken to task after Ivanka sat in on the president-elect’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and joined her father’s phone call with Argentine President Mauricio Macri.