US President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump said he is “sure” his sister Ivanka Trump helped push their father to launch a missile strike on Syria in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.
Speaking with the British daily The Telegraph in an interview published on Tuesday, Eric Trump said that his sister used her “influence” with her father to push for the missile strike.
“Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I’m sure she said: ‘Listen, this is horrible stuff,’” he said, adding that she was “heartbroken and outraged” by the chemical weapons attack.
Following a chemical weapons attack last week in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, in which at least at least 86 people were killed, including 27 children, the US navy launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian regime’s Shayrat Airfield, from which the Trump administration said the deadly attack was launched.
“Ivanka is by his side in Washington. She is not involved in everything. I think she comes and goes with issues she deeply cares about but when you get to a certain level of power a lot of times, and you see this in business too, a lot of times people will say yes just because you happen to be the boss,” he said of Ivanka and the president.
Eric Trump, who along with his brother Donald Jr. now runs the Trump Organization in place of their father, said that the fact that Ivanka is the US president’s daughter allows her a degree of influence on Trump’s thinking that many non-family members don’t have.
“I think the beautiful thing about family is you play on a little bit of a different dynamic and once in a while you can pull them aside and say: ‘No disrespect but you might want to think about this or maybe you crossed the line here,’” he said.
“I think it gives you a sounding board who is a little bit more unconventional than the 37 people that might happen to be standing round a table at that one time who just want to appease.”
Eric, who acknowledged he is not involved in any government decisions, said his father had been opposed to acting in Syria before the chemical attack.
“My father will act in times like that. And by the way, he was anti doing anything with Syria two years ago. Then a leader gasses their own people, women and children. At some point America is the global leader and the world’s superpower has to come forward and act and they did with a lot of support of our allies and I think that’s a great thing.”
“I stay out of politics and I stay out of the administration but you can tell he was deeply affected by those images of the children,” Eric Trump said, adding that “it was horrible. These guys are savages and I’m glad he responded the way he responded.”
Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism after marrying Jared Kushner, officially became a White House employee last month, following questions over her role as an informal adviser were raised by ethics experts.
Like Kushner, who also serves as an adviser to the US president, reports have credited Ivanka with having a large influence over her father’s decision-making.
In his interview with the The Telegraph, Eric Trump also said nepotism was a “beautiful thing” and said it was only logical the president would appoint family members to manage his business and to key White House positions.
“You trust the people who are closest to you. Who is he going to trust most to run a company? He is going to trust somebody who he trusts implicitly,” he said.
“He knows I care about the family. He knows I care about the brand. He knows I deeply care about the properties, our amazing teams. And he knows I’m going to do everything I can humanly possible to take care of that.”
“Is that nepotism? Absolutely. Is that also a beautiful thing? Absolutely. Family business is a beautiful thing. The same applies for Ivanka. Ivanka is by his side in Washington,” he added.
Agencies contributed to this report.