Feb 18, 2018

Kelly skeptical of Ivanka's paid family leave push

Donald and Ivanka Trump at a White House meeting last week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ivanka Trump continues to advocate internally for a paid family leave policy — though conservatives inside the administration have told me she's getting some high-level blowback.

In conversations with associates, John Kelly has dismissively described paid family leave as one of Ivanka's "pet projects" and said he doesn't understand how it fits into the White House's agenda.

  • What's next: A White House official told me this tension came to a head a few weeks ago. The official told me the issue is being "hammered out internally" and Kelly approved a policy process to work through the issue.
  • To be fair to Ivanka, paid family leave is not a rogue endeavor, even though much of the White House considers it a non-starter. I'm told she coordinates any meeting she has on Capitol Hill with the White House's Office of Legislative Affairs.
  • And while the idea looks dead on arrival to me, some conservatives on the Hill have left the door ajar. When the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus chairman, Mark Meadows, says he doesn't rule something out, then it's probably unwise to do so. Some other conservatives, including high-profile senators Mike Lee, Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst, have also come out in support of paid family leave.
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