Ivanka Trump’s White House role has always been a little unclear, even after she was given an official title of “assistant to the president.” According to an explosive forthcoming book from legendary reporter Bob Woodward, though, Ivanka Trump and Steve Bannon fought a screaming match, in which she claimed the “first daughter” title after he called her a “staffer.”
This reported invective came during the first year of Trump’s presidency, when Bannon was still the White House chief strategist, according to the Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the book. Bannon was telling Ivanka that she had to go through the same channels as the rest of the White House staff.
“You’re a goddamn staffer!” Bannon reportedly yelled at her, according to the Post‘s account of the book. “You walk around this place and act like you’re in charge, and you’re not. You’re on staff!”
Ivanka reportedly took issue with this characterization of her position, according to CNN, which also received the book in advance of its Sept. 11 publishing date.
“I’m not a staffer!” she yelled back at Bannon, according to CNN. “I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter and I’m never going to be a staffer!”
Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment on the contents of the book, Fear: Trump in the White House, as reported by the Washington Post and CNN.
According to CNN’s account of Fear, other top-level staffers disliked and frequently targeted Ivanka and Jared Kushner. There has long been reporting on this theme, for example from Vanity Fair, which in October 2017 referred to the pair as “exiles on Pennsylvania Avenue.” There has also been much discussion of Ivanka’s role in the administration, and how problematic her dual positions as daughter of the president and White House advisor are. Her inability to separate one role from the other, CNN’s Chris Cillizza argued in February 2018, “is exactly why nepotism laws exist.”
However, when Ivanka accepted her unpaid yet official White House position, she said that despite “the unprecedented nature of [her] role,” she would still be “subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” according to USA Today. According to Woodward’s book, though, accepting federal ethics rules did not stretch to accepting the White House rules that other staffers had to play by. And according to USA Today, this might not have been so unexpected — the White House released a statement at the time of her official hiring, which referred to “her unprecedented role as First Daughter.”
These sorts of encounters between members of the administration weren’t entirely uncommon, though, according to CNN’s account of Fear. Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus reportedly referred to the top members of the administration as “natural predators at the table.”
“When you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls, things start getting nasty and bloody,” Woodward quotes Priebus as saying, according to CNN. The only thing left up to question is which animals Priebus was assigning to which members of the Trump administration.