Ivanka Trump fielded a softball interview from a State Department spokeswoman at the high-powered Doha Forum Saturday, skirting the tough interviews more powerful officials at the conference faced.
U.S. State Department spokesperson and former Fox News contributor Morgan Ortagus posed open-ended and positive prompts to the president’s daughter like, “You were able to put women’s prosperity into the national security strategy. That was so important to me that you did that and I’d love for you to explain that,” according to BuzzFeed News.
Trump spoke about her work on women’s economic empowerment, a project dubbed Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, which Ortagus is also a part of, according to BuzzFeed. When asked by The Daily Beast if Trump said anything of interest, BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith, who was in the audience for the interview, said, “Basically no.”
The forum brings together policymakers from across the world in the Qatari capital, and they usually sit for hard-hitting interviews. Higher-ranking officials than Ivanka Trump faced down journalists. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin answered questions from a CNBC journalist about sanctions on Iran, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went back and forth with a CNN anchor about impeachment. A former lead anchor of Al Jazeera interviewed Rwanda President Paul Kagame. The foreign minister of Turkey was asked about his government’s alleged war crimes in Syria, according to BuzzFeed.
MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin wrote, “No other government official attending this forum is being interviewed by a spokesman for that government.”
“Ivanka Trump could have requested to give a speech, as other government officials did, instead, rather than fielding fair and independent questions from any journalist, local, American, or European, she decided to sit down and be interviewed by the official State Dept spokeswoman,” Mohyeldin wrote. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s interview may not be in line with the image the Doha Forum would like to project. The conference’s Facebook page has thus far published only one video from this year’s gathering: the vice president of Ecuador saying, “The truth needs to go on the offensive; or it would lose the battle.”