CLEVELAND — All eyes will be on Ivanka during the final night of the Republican National Convention.
While she’s clearly not the biggest speaker of the night — her father and presidential nominee Donald Trump is also set to speak — she might be the best-positioned to win over sceptical Republicans.
“She’s the Trump secret weapon because she can speak in the first person about how women have prospered in the Trump Organisation, how Donald Trump, unlike Hillary Clinton, has paid women more than men,” veteran Republican strategist Roger Stone told Business Insider.
“I think she helps soften Donald’s rough edges, I think she’s a giant asset, and I think that’s why she’s going to be showcased.”
Ivanka has already been speaking out on behalf of her father ahead of her speech. In an interview with CNN, she described an outspoken but measured man who was an attentive father and thoughtful mentor.
“He is authentic,” Ivanka said. “Nobody tells him who to be. He is himself. He is his own man. He listens to the opinions of others, he respects the opinions of others, he processes the advice people give him, but ultimately he makes his own decisions.”
She also pushed back on characterizations of her father as sexist and racist.
“The most important thing is I know the man,” Ivanka said. “[I] as a woman, I as a person could never support someone who was sexist or racist. I just couldn’t. I would not be able to be OK with that. But I know who he is as a human being and I know those things are not true.”
Trump’s children — poised, calm, and eloquent — present a contrast to the candidate himself. They might help sway voters who are wary of Trump’s brash inelegance.
“I think the family is a big asset,” Rick Tyler, Republican operative and former communications director for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, told Business Insider. “What we know about the Trump family is that they’re a very close family, they work together, they play together, they vacation together, they’re very tight. … And people like that.”
It seems the Trump children are already having a measurable effect on voters in Cleveland.
A reporter for The Washington Post had conversations with voters in a suburban tavern this week and came to this conclusion: “Above all, three days into the GOP convention, people who had been looking for a reason to feel better about Trump said they found it in his family.”
Some of Trump’s children have already spoken. Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Tiffany Trump all delivered well-received speeches at the convention this week.
But political observers seem to have the highest expectations for Ivanka.
She’s a household name in her own right, having built a reputation for herself as a business titan like her father. She has three kids with her husband Jared Kushner, a real estate developer who owns the New York Observer newspaper, and is currently writing a book called “Women Who Work.”
And she works at the Trump Organisation, so she can speak to how her father treats women in the workplace based on her own firsthand experience at his company.
Tyler said he hopes to hear some personal stories from Ivanka in her speech Thursday night.
“They should talk more about, less in platitudes, but more real stories about their father,” Tyler said. “I think that would be very helpful if they did that. If they talked about particular instances, put them in the context so that people get the sense that he’s a good dad and he has a good relationship with his kids, which he obviously does.”
Trump has so far in his campaign had trouble with women voters, a crucial portion of the electorate that could cost him the White House in November if they don’t show up to the polls for him.
A March Gallup poll showed that 70% of American women have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared to just 58% of men.
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