WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has said that the horrific images from a chemical weapons attack in Syria compelled him to authorize a missile strike against an Assad-regime airbase last week. But according to his son, Eric Trump, another key White House voice may have also influenced his decision to use military force.
According to an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Eric Trump said he is “sure” that his sister, and newly appointed West Wing adviser, Ivanka Trump, encouraged their father to carry out a the strike against the Syrian president.
The US fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian airbase after more than 80 people were killed, including children, in chemical weapons attack in Idlib province.
“Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I’m sure she said: ‘Listen, this is horrible stuff,’ ” Eric Trump told the Telegraph.
Eric Trump is not involved with the administration and is currently running the Trump Organization in his father’s absence along with his brother Donald Trump Jr.
“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,” he added.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on The Telegraph’s story.
The day before the strikes, Ivanka Trump tweeted: “Heartbroken and outraged by the images coming out of Syria following the atrocious chemical attack yesterday.”
And the day after, she tweeted: “The times we are living in call for difficult decisions – Proud of my father for refusing to accept these horrendous crimes against humanity.”
Ivanka Trump, who is married to Jared Kushner, another Trump senior adviser, took an official job in her father’s administration earlier this month. She and Kushner have curated reputations as moderating influences on her father.
Despite a focus on issues such as women’s health, equal pay and affordable child care, Ivanka Trump’s influence can be felt outside those realms, too. A top ally, Dina Powell, is now a deputy at the National Security Council.
In an April 5 interview with CBS, Ivanka Trump said that her role would focus on the economic empowerment of women and education, but left the door open to advise on additional issues, telling Gayle King: “I’ll weigh in with my father on the issues I feel strongly about.”
According to her brother, she wielded her influence in support to last week’s strikes.
“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,” Eric Trump told the Telegraph. “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.”