Nepotism continues in the Trump administration, as the President-elect reportedly let his daughter Ivanka sit in on a call with neoliberal Argentinian President Mauricio Macri.
Macri, who was elected last year in a runoff against leftist populist candidate Daniel Scioli, told the Japanese outlet Asahi Shimbun on Monday that he considered Trump to be "a bold and aggressive person," adding, "he won the election while making many people his enemy. That shows that his capabilities and insights are excellent."
He called Trump to congratulate him on his win, although Macri had supported Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during the election. But Ivanka, who has been tapped to spearhead the family's corporate empire while Trump is in office, apparently took part in the call, despite critics warning that allowing his family and business partners to be involved in White House business raises ethical questions and could be a conflict of interest.
"In the call, I also talked with his daughter," Macri told the Asahi Shimbun. "I have known her since her infant days."
Indeed, Macri and Trump have been acquainted since the 1980s, when the American business mogul bought some defunct real estate from the Argentinian leader's father. Macri and Trump also "concluded a business contract" many years ago, Macri said in the interview, describing their relationship as being "close" at one time.
The interview reads:
Q: What did you say to Trump in your (congratulatory) call to him?
A: We promised to establish the best bilateral relations ever. I hope that our good relations with the United States, seen under U.S. President Barack Obama, will continue and expand further under Trump. In the call, I also talked with his daughter. I have known her since her infant days.
Q: If businessmen become politicians, what are [the] merits?
A: Those who bear responsibilities for paying salaries and maintaining employment can understand what people are seeking. It has a big meaning amid the current situation in which many leaders of the world are not interested in demands from their people. In the 21st century, technological innovation is depriving workers of their jobs. What is necessary is creativity to produce jobs.
Q: What are demerits?
A: They have to learn political systems. If they have the intention to do so, however, it will not take too much time to understand them. Trump won the election while making many people his enemy. That shows that his capabilities and insights are excellent.
The Intercept also notes:
Trump's transition office has released no details of his call with Macri, but denied an Argentine journalist's report that the president-elect had used the opportunity to ask for help in getting a building permit from the Buenos Aires city council for a Trump Office tower.
[T]he fact that Ivanka Trump took part in the discussion renewed questions about whether the family has taken any steps to prevent its business interests from mingling with those of the government her father is about to lead.
Late last week, Ivanka sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, prompting the first round of criticism.
Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a close business partner of Trump's, are part of the president's transition team.
"Their involvement raises a host of ethical questions," Emily Jane Fox wrote at Vanity Fair, noting that "it appears to violate the 1967 nepotism law put in place after John Kennedy installed his kid brother Bobby as attorney general."
Ivanka Trump's involvement in her father's business affairs, Marine Hyde wrote at the Guardian, "makes it a bit odd that she's sitting in on presidential state business."