Ivanka Trump’s anticipated trip to India this week has already been met with criticism and White House infighting.
The first daughter and White House aide will visit Hyderabad for a three-day conference set up by the U.S. to empower entrepreneurship. While there, the former real estate and fashion executive will speak on a “Be the Change: Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership” panel on Tuesday and appear at another forum scheduled for Wednesday.
Women’s rights advocates have panned her as a false promoter of their cause, while the trip to India comes amid questions about how her eponymous clothing line does business.
The goal of her India trip is to push “the administration’s commitment to the principle that when women are economically empowered, their communities and countries thrive,” she told reporters during a conference call last week.
Yet her “Ivanka Trump” clothing brand has been panned over its labor practices.
India happens to be one of the nations who produce items for the line.
The company, which she still owns but doesn’t manage, hasn’t indicated where exactly its clothes are made. But the Washington Post in July found products to be made only be overseas workers, and it’s up with the times in terms of supervising worker treatment.
The newspaper found many of the products were made in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Post wasn’t able to trace where in India the clothes might be made. The garment industry is one of the nation’s biggest employers — especially when it comes to women.
Women in Bangalore make up to $4.70 a day, the Post found, while toiling away in sweltering conditions.
Trump, who joined the White House staff this spring, has been criticized for not supporting women’s rights measures — or opposing efforts to repeal them.
“Despite all her claims, Ivanka is no champion for women or our empowerment, and she has the record to prove it,” women’s rights advocate and writer Anushay Hossain wrote in a recent CNN op-ed.
Trump has made some progress as of late. She bartered an agreement among Senate Republicans earlier this month to double the child tax credit to $2,000. And she recently broke with her father to condemn Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls while he was in his 30s.
Critics have pointed out she hasn’t blocked her father from rolling certain rules, however, like reducing access to birth control and workplace equality. She was admonished for backing her father’s decision to stop an Obama administration policy of collecting gender gap wage data.
The left-leaning Center for American Progress in early October gave Trump failing grades on global women’s health, equal pay as well as the government’s responsibility to defend women’s rights and ensure equality.
“Ivanka Trump has branded herself as a supporter of women’s empowerment and has positioned herself as the point person on women’s issues within the Trump administration,” the report concluded. “Yet, she also wants the luxury of only being judged based on her work on a few signature issues while ignoring the breadth of women’s challenges and the very real impact of the administration’s actions on women’s lives. But she cannot have it both ways.”
The report determined she had yet to mold a broad platform to combat the many challenges still facing women, with her accomplishments so far amounting “to little more than photo ops and tweets.”
And parts of her book, “Women who Work,” were panned when it was released in May — particularly passages about not being able to get a massage.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently told the Washington Post the first daughter “has been a champion of women’s economic empowerment, not just in words, but in action.”
She pointed to Trump’s part in the World Bank program for women looking to start companies to get easier financial access, “which will empower women across the developing world to start their own businesses.”
Trump was a promoter of working mothers before she followed her father to the White House.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June invited Trump to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, arranged by the U.S. State Department and this year is focused on promoting women.
She’ll attend a 101-seat gala at Hyderabad's Falaknuma Palace, the Washington Post reported.
The local government has rushed to spruce up the city of 6 million ahead of her visit.
The delegation Trump is leading to Hyderabad — where beggars have reportedly been pulled off the street — will be slimmer than what the U.S. has sent in previous years.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided not to send senior officials to accompany her, as the former ExxonMobil chief is engaged in a dispute with the White House.
Although the State Department is undergoing cuts, sources told CNN Tillerson’s decision stems from Trump leading the mission.
An official said Tillerson and his inner circle “won't send someone senior because they don't want to bolster Ivanka. It's now another rift between the White House and State at a time when Rex Tillerson doesn't need any more problems with the President,” the network reported.