When Ivanka Trump was about 10 years old, she used to dial her dad's office from a school pay phone during recess.
"He would pick up the phone every single time, and he'd put me on speaker phone," Ivanka Trump recalled in a CNN interview last year. "It wouldn't be a long conversation. He'd introduce me to whoever was in his office. . . . I laugh now that it didn't matter who was there. It was colleagues. It was titans of industry. It was heads of countries. He'd always take my call. And he'd always tell everyone in the room how great a daughter I was and say cute things."
Not much has changed. Donald Trump is president now, but he still seems to welcome interruptions by Ivanka, who has an office in the White House and no longer needs to place collect calls to reach her father.
A full transcript of the Wall Street Journal's July 25 interview with the president — which Politico obtained and published Tuesday — shows that Ivanka popped in to chat with Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker about a party they both attended, their daughters who share the same first name (Arabella), and a Journal editorial that Ivanka considered "so very good."
Only six days earlier, Ivanka and her Arabella had walked in on the president's interview with the New York Times. Here's an excerpt:
"TRUMP: Hi, baby, how are you?
"ARABELLA KUSHNER: Hi, Grandpa.
"TRUMP: My granddaughter, Arabella, who speaks — say hello to them in Chinese.
"KUSHNER: Ni hao.
"TRUMP: This is Ivanka. You know Ivanka.
"IVANKA TRUMP: Hi, how are you? See you later, just wanted to come say hi.
"TRUMP: She's great. She speaks fluent Chinese. She's amazing.
"PETER BAKER, TIMES REPORTER: That's very impressive.
"TRUMP: She spoke with President Xi. Honey? Can you say a few words in Chinese? Say, like, "I love you, Grandpa."
"KUSHNER: Wo ai ni, Grandpa.
"BAKER: That's great.
"TRUMP: She's unbelievable, huh?
"TRUMP: Good, smart genes."
In its introduction to the Wall Street Journal transcript, Politico noted that "Ivanka Trump has often made an appearance during interviews with her father, including with the New York Times and Politico, to make small talk."
It is unclear whether the interruptions are strategic or coincidental. As I mentioned, Ivanka has been making cameos in her father's meetings since she was a little girl.
Whether planned or serendipitous, the effect is obvious: Ivanka brings levity into the room whenever she shows up. In less than a week, she broke up serious conversations between President Trump and reporters about former FBI director James Comey (Times) and health care (Journal). That's certainly not a bad thing for the president.
As uncomfortable questions about his campaign and Russia pile up, Trump would be wise to maintain an open-door policy toward Ivanka — or maybe even outfit his desk with an emergency call button that can summon his daughter quickly, if an interview grows too tense.